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Monday, 28 December 2015

Mixing "Weather The Storm" Pt.4 - EQ

G’day guys! This is the fourth video in my series on mixing “Weather The Storm”, an industrial track by my friend Jaye. He sent it in to me and asked how I would mix it and I thought I’d make a video series going through all the basics of how I mix it.

Part 1 - Setting up the Session

Part 2 - Balance

Part 3 - Mix Bus Processing

In this video, I’m going through my EQ moves for the individual tracks in the session. In the Mix Bus blog, I go through how I put an EQ over the mix bus to get the overall feel of the track right, but here I’m getting a bit more in depth.

Speed Racer

You may notice that I get through the EQing of the track in under 10 minutes. This is an extremely quick EQ of the track, but in those 10 minutes I get the song sounding very close to finished using minimal EQ moves.

It’s tempting to get bogged down into soloing each track in the mix one by one and labouring over the individual EQ’s until they sound perfect. I used to do this, but soon found that this process is both extremely time consuming and a bit counter-intuitive.

If you get EQ each individual track by itself, you’ll spend a lot of time getting that one track to sound good by itself. Then, you’ll put it back into the mix. Many of the moves you’ll make will be inaudible, so you’ve wasted time. Some of the other moves will clash with the rest of the mix, so it will sound worse.

Instead, I think it’s more beneficial to listen to the mix as a whole and think about what jumps out to you. A/B with your reference track and check with what you think the song needs. Then you can use your EQ to make those changes in your mix, and then go back and check to see if it helped.

This style of mixing is much more productive, as every move that you make is audible and benefits the mix in a way that you feel is important.

You may have noticed that I put all my EQs in this video in the last insert of each track. The reason for this is that Pro Tools has a feature where you can bypass every insert in a given slot (this one is insert E), by holding Command+option (Control+Alt for PC) and clicking on the insert. Because I have nothing else in these inserts, I can very quickly reference where I started today and where I finished up. Very handy!

Cut The Lows, Boost The Highs

You may have noticed during the video that I was cutting a lot of the low end out of tracks and that I was boosting a lot of high end. You may also remember that in my Setup and Mixbus videos I did the same thing, and by now we have a lot less low end than when we started.

This isn’t a common rule in every single mix that I do, but I tend to find that getting a bright and clear sound usually means cutting quite a bit of low end. Low frequencies tend to build up very quickly in a mix, and they get in the way of the sounds of the low end instruments that you want to be nice and bassy.

I find that cutting the lows from sounds that don’t need it means that sounds like Kick drums and Bass guitar are punchier, tighter and more impactful. There’s also a lot of talk about how speakers can produce other frequencies more accurately when they aren’t occupied with unnecessary low frequency information, but that’s a topic for another day.

My reasons for boosting a lot of the high end in the tracks was because it sounded like it needed it. When A/Bing against the reference track, my mix was sounding a little bit dull, especially in the vocals, so boosting up that high end really gave the mix a bit more clarity and bite.

The rest of the EQ moves mostly involved picking frequencies that I felt sounded a bit annoying and pulling them out a little bit. You’ll notice that I didn’t do anything too drastic, but pulling a little bit from these frequencies that sounded wrong to me in each instrument made quite a bit of difference in the end result.

If you have any questions or comments about this blog, feel free to post in the comments section below. Until next time, Have a good one guys!!!

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