Old 12-09-2019, 04:52 PM   #1
Dork Lard
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Default How do you plan out the EQ'ing for a mix ?

I've been reading up and watching detailed vids on how to EQ a mix, like snare kick toms distortion gtrs bass strings etc... but I haven't quite come across anyone explaining how they'll EQ the instruments in relation to the other instruments, you'll read things like cut out some mids on the kicks to make room for the gtrs... but they'll usually just look at one instrument at a time, not a clear guide to where each instrument should sit for the mix to be coherent as a whole.

Do you just save an FX chain for each instrument and then apply those to every new session, or do you do that but then finetune as you go for a particular mix - and if you do, how do you decide which tweaks are the right ones, there's dozens of frequencies and one tweak will affect another and so on.
Do you follow some sort of a guide ?
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:33 PM   #2
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Do you follow some sort of a guide ?


Literally, not making a joke there. I seem to need to cut 200-250 Hz pretty much every time I record acoustic guitar and so on but I do that, because I heard that. If I hear something that needs to be fixed, I grab the best tool to fix it at that time.

Be careful with the term "carve" where EQ is concerned IMHO, thoughtful massaging would be a better way to think about it. Carving is for thanksgiving turkey and poorly recorded source tracks - doesn't mean we shouldn't carve 'something' if we have no choice, but we shouldn't show up to the party with knife in hand if that makes sense. That's not mixing, that's fixing.

So, as others pop in with advice, be sure to stop and listen for what the suggestion is supposed to correct, what it means and how it sounds and most of all, if your ears agree with that in your mix. Don't blindly through prescriptive EQ corrections unless it is also academic. Just urging that the entire idea of mixing is hearing and making necessary adjustments case-by-case as that will almost certainly end up with a better result.

As far as instrument A with instrument B and so on, consider the frequency ranges they both share, if they share them, listen and try to figure if the are competing and if so, how to get them to play well together EQ wise. I know those are broad brush answers but they matter.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:40 PM   #3
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEjOdqZFvhY
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:10 PM   #4
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I've been studying and practicing mixing, so will chime in.
First off that art of mixing video is really good, albeit really cheesy. It will give you a lot of things to think about, including how to use Eq in a mix. Are you mixing stuff you recorded or someone else's recording?

Related to what Karbo said, learn how to use your EQs real well, then learn to hear what the instrument/sound or mix needs in each situation, not the same formula every time because every kick, guitar and tom will need something slightly different depending the instrument itself, how it was miced, what mic was used, the room, what register it was played in, etc. Sure, Specific instruments tend to have problems in certain frequencies more often, but you can never assume where the resonance might be, and it always varies. (for example a kick might be resonant at 50 hz or 90 hz, and will require different treatment). Also there is no right or wrong amount to cut, do what sounds good. That said being subtle is going to sound more natural. A guideline some follow is boosts should be wider and more subtle, and cuts more narrow to sound natural. But again if it sounds good it is good. If something seems drastic but it sounds good to you, go for it.

So maybe a chronological way of thinking about it:
1) First big picture, before EQing anything, is the instrumental arrangement, that is deciding what instruments will be playing at the same time in the song. Do they occupy the same frequency ranges or do they clash and mask one another, and what do you want them to do. So if you have control of the instrumental arrangement, think of whether you want things clashing or things having there own area in the spectrum and choose the appropriate instrument for that role, play in the appropriate register (say for example if a rhythm guitar is playing first position chords, then write a harmony guitar part that is up an octave for example) ( or maybe you want to guitars to overlap a bit to give a more blended or layered sound), etc. Also think of what role the instrument will play (if it is background instrument, perhaps it will be a bit darker sound, if a lead instrument, perhaps brighter?). This is something that will make sense the more productions you go through the process of creating.

2) The next thing, once you've decided the role you want each instrument to play (back ground, lead, harmony, clashing wall of sound or distinct sounds) and they have been recorded (assuming you are the recordist), I then listen to each instrument in solo a little and note if there are any nasty resonances or unpleasant characteristics that got recorded (ideally if recorded well, this isn't needed, but you may not notice it until later or maybe someone else recorded it). The 200 hz Karbo likes to cut on acoustic is a good example, but it could be any frequency depending on the instrument. This is sometimes call "corrective EQ" because you are removing some resonance or unpleasant frequency you don't like. A lot of people like to shelf the lows out of just about everything except kick and bass, to keep it from getting muddy, but it can also be overdone and start to sound thin, so a little overlap with guitar, keyboards etc is ok, just depends what you after.

3) Then start to listen to the whole mix, and if the steps above were fairly successful, getting a good mix should be less work, but you will still need EQ to dial everything in. Start by getting the levels of all the instruments roughly balanced and panned. Now with all the instruments playing, listen to see if each instrument or element in the mix is doing what you want. For example, you might think "that rhythm guitar is a little too present, but if I lower the level, it gets lost. Cutting some mids or highs will move it back in the mix a bit and make it less present without it getting lost. Or, that vocal is not quite present enough but if I turn it up, it just sticks out too much above the band, well then you might boost a little 4 k just to make it a little more present. Or, the lows of the guitar is summing with the bass in the low mids frequency and that range is sounding muddy or boxy because of too much 300 hz or something so you will cut some out of one of the instruments. Another approach when instruments are clashing is to cut a frequency in one range on one instrument then boost it a little on the other and you can do that in a few different frequency ranges to create separation and definition of the 2 instruments, if that is the goal. The art of mixing gets into how to shape a mix in detail with EQ but also, level, panning, and effects. I recommend watching it start to finish, then watch it again later. (different mixers may have different work flows. Some may , in contrast to the above, bring in just the drums ,eq compress, etc, the bring in the bass and get that sitting right with the drums, then add the vocal, then the guitars, etc, no right or wrong way- I like this bringing one element in a time, but again others like to throw up the whole mix and start that way. Try to pick an approach and stick with it to be more methodical about it and develop a work flow).

4) Learning what instruments tend to take up what frequency ranges is something you should learn if you haven't because then you know where in the frequency spectrum your instruments need to have content and be heard and what role they play in a mix. You can find charts that list the freq ranges different instruments take up- you don't need to memorize exact numbers, its just so you have a general idea, because again, every instrument and situation will be different. for example your highs above say 7k are mostly cymbals, acoustic guitar, vocal air, mids are vocals guitars, low mids guitars, keyboards, lows, bass and kick (just an example). It is common to get boxiness or muddiness in the low mids maybe around 350 because so many instruments have info in that range that tend to overlap so is something to look out for, you can never say exactly where its happening so you have to use your ears in the end and determine what to cut to get it under control).

5) Then, to see if your mix is where you want it, reference it to some of your favorite commercial tracks and listen to the different instruments in each spectrum to see how close you are to those. Are the highs as bright (cymbals for example), are the guitars and vocals of similar presence, do the bass and kick have the same fullness, etc. Also you can throw a spectrum analyzer on your master or monitor bus and look at the curve of your mix, compared to the reference mix is it a similar shape or are there dramatic troughs and peaks, (if you want a full balanced mix it might have a bell shaped curve. Now, you don't want to mix by looking at this curve, use your ears, but it is useful to see if you are in the ball park.

Regarding saving an effects chain with certain settings, you can certainly do that to save time (many people surely work that way) but you will always need to make tweaks depending on the situation. Regarding which frequencies, that is the artistic part of the mixing process, there is no right or wrong if it is an original creation, its what you think is good. Over time you will decide what is good and what isn't and that will determine "correct" or "incorrect". If you aren't sure what "good" is, you could start by trying to emulate the mixing style of a band you admire, then eventually you will come up with your own version of what is good or best as you develop your own mixing style. Another way to say that is if you gave raw tracks of a mix to 2 different mixers to mix, both talented and experienced, you could end up with very different sounding but still good mixes.

The rest is just practice, eventually, you'll know what goal you want to achieve, and you'll reach for an EQ when that is the best tool to accomplish your goal.

Let me know if that doesn't make sense.

Last edited by JohnnyMusic; 12-09-2019 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:04 PM   #5
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This might help a bit:

- https://blog.landr.com/eq-cheat-sheet/
- https://www.audio-issues.com/music-m...ull-ever-need/
- https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/mu...cy-cheatsheet/

I wouldn't actually use those for mixing, like Karbo said using your ears is where it is, but these charts can give you some insight as to where certain sounds are in the spectrum and how to separate hem in a mix.
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:00 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post


Literally, not making a joke there. I seem to need to cut 200-250 Hz pretty much every time I record acoustic guitar and so on but I do that, because I heard that. If I hear something that needs to be fixed, I grab the best tool to fix it at that time.

Be careful with the term "carve" where EQ is concerned IMHO, thoughtful massaging would be a better way to think about it. Carving is for thanksgiving turkey and poorly recorded source tracks - doesn't mean we shouldn't carve 'something' if we have no choice, but we shouldn't show up to the party with knife in hand if that makes sense. That's not mixing, that's fixing.

So, as others pop in with advice, be sure to stop and listen for what the suggestion is supposed to correct, what it means and how it sounds and most of all, if your ears agree with that in your mix. Don't blindly through prescriptive EQ corrections unless it is also academic. Just urging that the entire idea of mixing is hearing and making necessary adjustments case-by-case as that will almost certainly end up with a better result.

As far as instrument A with instrument B and so on, consider the frequency ranges they both share, if they share them, listen and try to figure if the are competing and if so, how to get them to play well together EQ wise. I know those are broad brush answers but they matter.
It's what I try to do as well. But if you have say a common rock trio of bass-gtrs-drums AND keys, synths maybe strings as well, it's fairly difficult to know where to go and making THE right decision is often elusive. And applying pro guidelines before getting to that point might be the intelligent thing to do.

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Oh boy... here I go for 2hrs40 then.



JohnnyMusic thanks for that indepth reply, I read it fully and will keep it in mind as I get back to Reaper next.


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Originally Posted by technogremlin View Post
This might help a bit:

- https://blog.landr.com/eq-cheat-sheet/
- https://www.audio-issues.com/music-m...ull-ever-need/
- https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/mu...cy-cheatsheet/

I wouldn't actually use those for mixing, like Karbo said using your ears is where it is, but these charts can give you some insight as to where certain sounds are in the spectrum and how to separate hem in a mix.
Thx. Those are interesting, I've seen a couple before. But yeah at the end of the day those are rough guides, but really with the stuff I make (electronic metal with all kinds of various Kontakt Library sounds/synths/keys) each instrument or preset will have its own thing going on with all kinds of mids highs and lows and I'm just going to HAVE to get good at gauging on the spot.
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:54 AM   #7
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It's what I try to do as well. But if you have say a common rock trio of bass-gtrs-drums AND keys, synths maybe strings as well, it's fairly difficult to know where to go and making THE right decision is often elusive. And applying pro guidelines before getting to that point might be the intelligent thing to do.
Most everything I mix is bass/drums/keyboards/guitars/vox other than a handful of electronic tunes I wrote and mixed a few years back. It shouldn't be that elusive, honestly. If tracks are fighting each other, then the tracks and/or the composition is likely at fault. Nevertheless, there really is no prescriptive bag-o-tricks to do this well, if there were, everyone could apply them and their mixes would be great. There are common scenarios but can turn into a rabbit hole quickly unless you have specific tracks/mix to ask about.

I would look for existing tracks and or participate in the mixing contest here for experience purposes.
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:41 AM   #8
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Oh boy... here I go for 2hrs40 then.
damn short part of your life span :P


if you wanna be an expert, get experience.

and learn the physics
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Old 12-11-2019, 04:41 AM   #9
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Most everything I mix is bass/drums/keyboards/guitars/vox other than a handful of electronic tunes I wrote and mixed a few years back. It shouldn't be that elusive, honestly. If tracks are fighting each other, then the tracks and/or the composition is likely at fault. Nevertheless, there really is no prescriptive bag-o-tricks to do this well, if there were, everyone could apply them and their mixes would be great. There are common scenarios but can turn into a rabbit hole quickly unless you have specific tracks/mix to ask about.

I would look for existing tracks and or participate in the mixing contest here for experience purposes.
sounds damn good. Lots of space in there.

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damn short part of your life span :P


if you wanna be an expert, get experience.

and learn the physics
boy, you guys weren't kidding when you said that thing was cheesy. It has so much cheese I'm surprised it wasn't eaten by mice.
What ?...
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Old 12-12-2019, 09:33 AM   #10
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I kind of, sort of, have go-to eqs I *might* start with, but (aside from different vibes having different goals) it's just to get a few tracks halfway there and not start eqing from total flatness. Put them in context and they'll get stuff that can only be determined by where the other instruments are falling, even if the instrumentation is the same as the last 10 songs. Other instruments' shapes and also their levels and panning make a difference to what something sounds like it needs. Then if I hear something that wants *real* eq (and I assume some will want it then and there ) I'll do it.

When I assisted engineers in the stone age, some started soloing tracks and eqing them right away, and others never eq'd until they heard something that needed it, and never soloed anything except when fine tuning or checking something out. EQ always happened with all tracks up, and never by rote. It's all about doing what works for you workflow-wise and sound-wise. IOW, there are mental templates engineers use but there are a million of them
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:33 PM   #11
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I kind of, sort of, have go-to eqs I *might* start with, but (aside from different vibes having different goals) it's just to get a few tracks halfway there and not start eqing from total flatness. Put them in context and they'll get stuff that can only be determined by where the other instruments are falling, even if the instrumentation is the same as the last 10 songs. Other instruments' shapes and also their levels and panning make a difference to what something sounds like it needs. Then if I hear something that wants *real* eq (and I assume some will want it then and there ) I'll do it.

When I assisted engineers in the stone age, some started soloing tracks and eqing them right away, and others never eq'd until they heard something that needed it, and never soloed anything except when fine tuning or checking something out. EQ always happened with all tracks up, and never by rote. It's all about doing what works for you workflow-wise and sound-wise. IOW, there are mental templates engineers use but there are a million of them
Yeah makes sense.
I mean the EQ thing does become absolutely necessary in places. I guess they're not commonplace. I think most of the bands out there (interested in DAW production) are either rock, metal, or some variation of those or maybe pop, none of which require a ton of instruments ... I guess the guys doing electronic music come across more difficult items to mix.
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:36 PM   #12
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I've got this conundrum currently. Some electronic metal session and there's a part with staccato heavy gtrs, bass, the drums and then there's mid-rangy strings in the back (they have to be fairly low pitched to be atmospheric) but then a synth lead at the forefront, and that lead is conflicting with something. I've tried doubling it with a +12 higher octave, I've tried boosting the highs a bit, tried moving it around with panning or imaging plugins... it just doesn't sit there nicely as it should. Bad synth. BAD.
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:54 PM   #13
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I can truly appreciate your taking ^that approach.

Far too often we get attached to things and try to fit square pegs into round holes (then think there is some mixing trick that is missing) - where the real magic is not being afraid to change anything in order to serve the song - can't stress that enough. If you are moving around entire octaves and it isn't working, the part being played may not be right for the arrangement. Doing what you are doing, and nothing working, usually means the instrument is wrong (in this case synth patch whathaveyou) or the orchestration is wrong for the song.

It's pretty amazing how much easier things are to mix when the instruments and parts played support each other instead of fighting each other - songs tend to mix themselves when that is accomplished. So do not be afraid to completely change what is played as well as the tones, and in some cases the guts to drop that part and so on because it's far more important and rewarding to search for and find things that work - one reason great covers sound so good when covered is because the parts fit, each part supports the other parts, they don't fight each other which is far less about mixing. Many don't know or don't want to accept that, because it's HARD to do vs grabbing VSTs and yanking knobs, but it really is the root of a good sounding song/mix etc.

Now if someone is handing you tracks and you have no choice, then it's mostly just work and polishing turds to an extent which is another story.

We're rootin for ya.
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Old 12-13-2019, 04:31 PM   #14
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boy, you guys weren't kidding when you said that thing was cheesy. It has so much cheese I'm surprised it wasn't eaten by mice.
What ?...
cheeses christ - those were the days man
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:12 AM   #15
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My advice is to avoid following the infamous EQ Cheat Sheet.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:34 AM   #16
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My advice is to avoid following the infamous EQ Cheat Sheet.
Well, if a person has no idea where instruments fall, it is a good way to learn the concept of the frequencies and how instruments will have fundamentals in different ranges, though in the end it is just a guideline due to the timbre of every instrument being different, and you should use your ears of course...
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Old 12-19-2019, 03:46 PM   #17
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This one inspired me alot:

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/DasProblemDenKlang.pdf

Little translation:

question for the soundengineer:

Why does this recording sound so queasy?

Answer:

This should be a "true" documentation. I'm proud that i didn't used any adulterant filters.
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:03 PM   #18
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To balance the eq a little and reduce 200-250 I will
lie the acoustic back at the top plate a little and raise the microphone as well.

Works for me

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Old 12-19-2019, 04:17 PM   #19
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It's about depth.

around 500Hz and 3k seems near.
1k dominance seems far away.
Presence-area from 1.5k to 5k speaks on his own.

It's much about the balance in your mids. So the mix translates to any system.

I love my adam s3x-H. I know them and I trust them.
You need an accurate sounding set of speakers.
I don't understand all that talk about speakers with silky highs and shit.
When the highs are silky, so the speakers tell.
When the highs sound horrible, so the speakers tell.

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Old 12-19-2019, 10:54 PM   #20
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My advice is to avoid following the infamous EQ Cheat Sheet.
My advice is to see them for what they are: a reference to build your knowledge and experience, not an instruction or how-to for mixing

It's bewildering to me how people tend to do things they have no experience in without 'referencing' information from people that are experienced. Those EQ charts are stemming from someones experience, so they are at least learning material from my perspective.
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Old 12-20-2019, 02:24 AM   #21
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My advice is to see them for what they are: a reference to build your knowledge and experience, not an instruction or how-to for mixing

It's bewildering to me how people tend to do things they have no experience in without 'referencing' information from people that are experienced. Those EQ charts are stemming from someones experience, so they are at least learning material from my perspective.
I think the problem is not with the chart itself, but with the title "EQ Cheat Sheet". I think people would dismiss it less if it was called "Arrangement Helper" or something...

If I want to hear more breath from a flute, or less hammer percussion from a piano, it's not going to help me.
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:01 PM   #22
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I think the problem is not with the chart itself, but with the title "EQ Cheat Sheet". I think people would dismiss it less if it was called "Arrangement Helper" or something...
If you mean that some people are not capable of thinking for themselves,I totally agree
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Old 12-24-2019, 02:51 AM   #23
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Hey, I always start cutting resonant peaks first and go through the track with corrective EQ on all the main parts to cut out some space. When this is done I have a much clearer image of what is needed at then I'll start to shape instruments that need more drastic changes with a sound design-ish approach and lastly I'll start to boost or cut with minor curves to make the instruments sit together. This process is of course not completely linear as described here, but more a back and fourth process, but the gist of it is in that order.

I also highly recommend using ear training software like Train Your Ears(spectral hearing) or Syntorial (this is geared towards sound design, but it will develop your mixing ear just as well). I've used this a couple of minutes everyday for 6 months and my ears are just as good or better than a few professional mixers I've watched taking frequency recognition tests on youtube (including Warren Huart). This has made me really sensitive to hearing resonant peaks and I'll often hear what to cut before sweeping or looking for it.

That said I'm not a pro level mixing engineer by any means, even though my ear are very good. Sometimes my ears are better than my mixing skills so I don't always know how to apply what I'm hearing to the context of the mix and sometimes I start cutting resonances only to realize they aren't actually hurting the track. I even still have doubts about my decisions and go back an check what I've done a thousand times only to realize that I made the right decisions from the start... Learning to mix is definitely a process :P
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Old 12-24-2019, 04:37 AM   #24
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An article I read recently talks about building up the tracks in a mix in order of importance. If the vocal is the most important sound in the mix, and sounds great on its own, try to preserve as much of that sound in the final mix as possible. Add in the next most important track, and if it hides anything important in the vocal, that second track needs to be cut with EQ so that it doesn't compromise the vocal. The trick, apparently, is to mute and unmute the second track while actually concentrating on the vocal sound. This same principle can then be applied as each subsequent track is added in, and this should help make a lot of your EQ decisions feel more logical.

Not bad advice for a rank amateur such as myself.
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Old 12-25-2019, 02:50 AM   #25
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I can truly appreciate your taking ^that approach.

Far too often we get attached to things and try to fit square pegs into round holes (then think there is some mixing trick that is missing) - where the real magic is not being afraid to change anything in order to serve the song - can't stress that enough. If you are moving around entire octaves and it isn't working, the part being played may not be right for the arrangement. Doing what you are doing, and nothing working, usually means the instrument is wrong (in this case synth patch whathaveyou) or the orchestration is wrong for the song.

It's pretty amazing how much easier things are to mix when the instruments and parts played support each other instead of fighting each other - songs tend to mix themselves when that is accomplished. So do not be afraid to completely change what is played as well as the tones, and in some cases the guts to drop that part and so on because it's far more important and rewarding to search for and find things that work - one reason great covers sound so good when covered is because the parts fit, each part supports the other parts, they don't fight each other which is far less about mixing. Many don't know or don't want to accept that, because it's HARD to do vs grabbing VSTs and yanking knobs, but it really is the root of a good sounding song/mix etc.

Now if someone is handing you tracks and you have no choice, then it's mostly just work and polishing turds to an extent which is another story.

We're rootin for ya.

Along this same line...

Take a minute to think about how many great parts elicit a knee jerk reaction of "Wait, Seriously?..." when you hear them outside of the mix.

Sometimes your notion of where you need to start is just going to paint you into a corner.
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Old 12-26-2019, 04:21 PM   #26
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I'll throw my two cents into the ring...

I DON'T "plan out the EQ for a mix." Ever. Every group is different, every music genre is different, every song is different, every recording is different, so how could you possibly pre-plan ANYTHING before loading up and LISTENING to the tracks? I always approach mixes from a viewpoint of "what pisses me off" to start. Your first goal is necessarily a good, working static mix to create a bedrock foundation. Getting there from freshly-loaded tracks may or may not be easy. If the song is good, the performances are good, the arrangement is good, and it's well recorded, then it's fairly easy. Just get the gain levels roughed in, pan things around to create a soundscape, and you're there with a working static mix. If you have to go in to edit timing, pitch, fix resonances, add sampled drums to "fix" the cardboard boxes and ash-can lids that were recorded with crap mic technique, then you have some more work to do. Either way, it starts with loading up the tracks, and just listening to them, and balancing gains so that you have something to work with. During this phase, I don't touch the track faders, I adjust the clip gain levels on the tracks themselves. That gives you a hard starting-point for everything else that follows. Once you have the tracks imported, listen through them and "fix what pisses you off." Are the individual drum tracks time-aligned to the overheads? Make them so. Which perspective will you use for the drum kit? Throne side or audience side? Pick one, then pan the kit pieces until they line up with the overheads. Are there any heinous resonances (tuning or room issues) in the drum tracks? Surgically EQ them as needed. Any excessive bleed? Gate/Expand/"clean" the tracks. Once you have a rough balance in the kit, listen to the kit composite and ask "does it sound like a drum kit?" If not, fix the first thing you hear that pisses you off. Could be dynamics, could be EQ, could be both. If the kick drifts in and out, then fix it. If the snare is inconsistent fix it. If the overheads are spitty, fix them. You get the idea. Don't worry about trying to get the "ultimate super-uber metal kick drum sound" just yet; focus on getting a nice, proper basic drum kit mix. Next, move on to the bass guitar. Again, get it up in level to fit in with the drums, and fix what pisses you off. Then move on to the main chordal accompaniment instrument(s) like guitar or keys, or whatever. Same thing. Get it into the mix, fix any issues, then fix what pisses you off. Repeat for the rest of the tracks. Now you have a very basic mix. Take a pass or two through it starting to dial into the next level of "things that piss you off." Start identifying and fixing any tracks that clash with each other. Kick and bass, or keys and guitars. Start playing with grouping, dynamics and EQ to get every track to sit in the mix without jumping out or disappearing. And absolutely make sure that your vocal has a good place to live in the mix, and that you can hear every syllable uttered.

Once you have a mix where all the tracks are audible throughout, everything has a sonic space and nothing is simply annoying you, you have achieved a basic static mix. This is what you will build on.

After that, you can start playing with dynamics and EQ for effect, and start making "artistic" adjustments, to make the static mix "interesting," or to fit within the paradigm of a given genre. Then, follow that up with a wave of automation edits to get the mix to breathe and "live."

Nowhere in there is a "plan" for EQ, or anything else. EVERYTHING is in service to the song as represented by the tracks you have to work with. What you'll have to do to get a solid pro-level mix for the garage band down the street will be vastly different from re-mixing a Quincy Jones produced track with every monster session player you can think of on it. If you applied the same processing you had to use on the bass track from the local garage band to a track played by Nathan East, you'll be shooting yourself in the foot. Think about what you need to do processing-wise to get the Meshuggah bass sound, and then imagine applying that to the bass on Queen's "Under Pressure." Or dialing in the Metallica drum sound for The Police's "Murder By Numbers." ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ask yourself "what does this NEED" before you reach for a knob.
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Old 12-26-2019, 06:08 PM   #27
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I think what you are saying here Dave, is that you need to get "pissed off" before you can mix anything...Ha!

Anyhoo, Good general overview of the process.
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Old 12-26-2019, 10:29 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnsjethro View Post
An article I read recently talks about building up the tracks in a mix in order of importance. If the vocal is the most important sound in the mix, and sounds great on its own, try to preserve as much of that sound in the final mix as possible. Add in the next most important track, and if it hides anything important in the vocal, that second track needs to be cut with EQ so that it doesn't compromise the vocal. The trick, apparently, is to mute and unmute the second track while actually concentrating on the vocal sound. This same principle can then be applied as each subsequent track is added in, and this should help make a lot of your EQ decisions feel more logical.

Not bad advice for a rank amateur such as myself.
Following that comment... Don't be afraid of individual tracks that ended up kind of a submix of multiple elements themselves. If there's mad bass bleed in the piano mics, for example. OK, fine. I have piano and the bottom end of the bass from those tracks then! Let's fill in just the top end of the bass from it's isolated track! As opposed to thinking you have to separate the things first and then ending up with mutilated sounds to show for it. More of an example for working with a live recording I suppose.
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Old 12-27-2019, 03:06 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by JohnnyMusic View Post
I think what you are saying here Dave, is that you need to get "pissed off" before you can mix anything...Ha!

Anyhoo, Good general overview of the process.
LOL!! I'm actually a pretty happy guy... The "pissed off" factor is just the way I explain tackling the first thing that annolys/bothers/unbalances things. It's the old sculptor's routine of taking a block of marble and removing everything that ISN'T the staute. Continuing that analogy, though, if you always approch your work with a preset in mind before the delivery of the marble in the first place, you'll always wind up with a Manneken Pis, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not ideal, however, if you want a David or Pieta... Not every kick needs a gate, comp, mid-scoop EQ, transient controller, and layered samples, for example.

I stumbled across the Warren Huart video on starting a mix, and it's pretty much the same thing that I do. He's better at it, though! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjg8YfT-5pw)
To sum up, get the tracks balanced and located, and THEN assess what is needed. What is NOT needed is a pre-conception of what you will have to do before starting to work with the tracks!
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Old 12-27-2019, 03:45 PM   #30
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I get it, I just thought it was funny, the way you expressed it.
Yeah presets are pretty useless when talking about EQ, or Compression or gate, and similar processors.
Presets can make sense as a STARTING POINT, though, with effects and synths etc, that you can then tweak to fit what you need.
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Old 12-27-2019, 03:56 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by SoundGuyDave View Post
What is NOT needed is a pre-conception of what you will have to do before starting to work with the tracks!
Due to 20 years of plugin marketing, and internet mixing advice that in reality is fixing/rescuing, it can be very difficult to dispel the myth. If it doesn't sound encouragingly good by just turning the raw tracks up, something is usually wrong. It can be very difficult to get that across I'm finding. The priority should be... quality of the instrument, quality of the arrangement, quality of the performance, quality of the act of getting that into the DAW unharmed.

Yes, I mention arrangement because the very first thing to get someone into EQ carving territory is an arrangement/orchestration where instruments are stepping on each other. Nail that, and it mixes itself to some extent. Don't nail it or have sub par performances and you'll spend all day trying to EQ yourself out of that corner you mopped yourself into from the getgo. One of the best mixing tools I have is the mute button FWIW.
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