Mix-a-lot: Where your EQ at?

These kinda technical music articles are one-offs. Reason? If you’ve read this post titled Content & Blog Ideas for Music Brands, you will know.

I also want to take a moment to thank my friends who make sweet sweet music. As someone who doesn’t know much about the subject, I relied on them for help. They were kind enough to patiently explain EQ to me. Thank you Pruthu, Jarvis (Dr. J) and Becky – you guys are the best. And of course, my husband D.R.R TrollKill for always going out of his way to help.

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No, we aren’t concerned with your Emotional Quotient (no one is). But we do hope you’re making the most of the top-notch Equalizer (EQ) tools available online.  

What a Tool

The EQ lets you adjust the volume of specific frequencies to create a refined music. Mastering this fundamental tool for mixing can give you mega manipulating powers

If you’ve recorded a bunch of sounds or are using the Loop Pack, a 3-band EQ will give you demigod-like control over the frequency spectrum to create a well-blended song that sounds good. It takes practice, precision and patience.

Werk It

The voice is sweet. The drums sound perfect. The piano is dreamy as ever. The guitar is slaying. Separately, these sounds are killing it. But when you put them together, it’s not how you imagined it to be. Why does it sounds muddy, limp, muffled, jarring or like the musical equivalent of eating a pizza with no toppings?

Although there’s nothing wrong with the individuals sounds themselves, together they’re fighting for the same frequencies. Like the piano might be entirely drowned by the guitar or the drums might overpower the voice.

But with the EQ, you select their individual frequencies and tweak it like there’s no tomorrow. Say by lowering/cutting the guitar’s frequency and increasing/boosting the piano’s, you can shape the music to suit you. Mold certain parts to shine or quiet down when they need to.

ELI5: You can make loud, make soft and make magic with great EQing skills.

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Hob Knob

Mastering the EQ isn’t as chill as working the volume fader. The best way to learn how to engineer sound is by actually doing it. Get the feel of the 3-band EQ with its knobs and all. Use the Low (Bass), Mid and High (Treble) gain knobs to tinker with the level of the each track’s frequency. You’ve got room to play – cut up to 30- dB or boost to up to 30+ dB.

While you’re at it, explore the Mid Frequency knob. It gives you extra control, letting you set the Mid’s exact range anywhere between 100 – 8000 Hz for your cutting and boosting needs. Treat the Mid Gain and Mid Frequency knobs as your go-to troubleshooter for fixing nasty frequency issues.

Fiddler on the Tune

When EQing, don’t hustle. Make subtle, small 2 dB moves till you narrow in your sound. Why? Well, the smallest change in dB can make a massive difference to the final piece.

As basic as this might sound, don’t forget to listen carefully to every incremental change. Trust your ears and your spidey senses.

And hopefully, thou shall not over-process. If you ask us, try not to spend more than 30 minutes at a time mastering your mix to avoid overthinking things.

Drop me a line if this helps you in any way.

Images from pexels.com

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