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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Nov-18 > 1O TIPS on using EQ (aka ‘cut rather than boost’)

1O TIPS on using EQ (aka ‘cut rather than boost’)

Getting the EQ side of mixing perfected is one of the most important tasks for the producer. Here are 10 tips to help you master an art that can bring breadth and depth to your productions…

1 Yep, go low

Rather like volume, you’ll want to cut rather than boost EQ levels to accentuate other sounds. Think about a room full of people talking; the volume gets louder and louder as more people seek to be heard above others. That’s like mixing and EQ-ing, when everything ends up going up too far and challenging the other elements in the mix. If you use more whispered tones, you’ll be more in control, so your initial EQ process should be about lowering levels – small notches here and there, to make others stand out.

2 In fact, cut everything (almost)

Taking tip 1 a few steps further, there are many that advocate putting a high pass filter across everything above 50Hz, that is cutting everything below it, except your kick and bass. These are the only parts that need low-end detail so cut the bass elements from everything else to cut down on rumble. Sure, there are exceptions – sound effects, low orchestral and other instruments – but if you allow your bass elements to sit on their own in their frequency range, you’ll introduce more space for the whole mix. And that is what it’s all about…

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About MusicTech

Mastering is frequently regarded as a technique that is best left to the experts, one that requires an almost superhuman level of hearing and a bespoke mastering suite, filled with state of the art equipment. It’s little wonder that when many music makers and producers reach that stage in the process, they outsource their mastering without a second thought. However, that need not always be the case. In our cover feature this month, Adam Crute unravels the deep mysteries of mastering and explains how – with a little know-how – you can take on the daunting task of preparing your music for release yourself. Also in this issue, we had the amazing honour of speaking to Doctor Who’s new composer Segun Akinola. A BAFTA Breakthrough Brit, Segun’s compositions for the beloved series are inspired by the original, experimental approach that the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop spearheaded in the 1960s, but they still retain his own unique stamp. Elsewhere, we have a whole new heap of lovely products in our review section, with IK’s all-analogue UNO synth in particular being a tremendously useful (and fun!) piece of tech. Our practical, DAW-specific guides this month cover a typically vast range of topics alongside a general guide to EQing your tracks. I hope you enjoy this issue.