Mixing with EQ: How to Properly EQ a Mix
Dec 03, · A tutorial on how to eq and mix your instruments in pro tools and other DAWs mainly soft synths. ?Watch Part 4: mybajaguide.com?v=PFsmjRcz83U&. Dec 16, · The first step to knowing how to EQ is understanding where all your instruments fit on the frequency spectrum. That’s why we created this EQ cheat sheet for all your EQing needs. Seeing where each instrument fits on the frequency spectrum will help you identify which instruments and frequencies might be fighting each other in your mix, and will help you get the best possible mix .
I n this episode I explain to you step by step how we go about mixing instruments and mixing synths. I understand that big mixing projects can get quite overwhelming, especially when you are not completely sure how to treat each sound, and having to choose from all your plugins.
There are so many different types of sounds, and they all need to be treated differently. How To Mix Music is our essential guide to becoming a music mixing professional. With this series I help explain and teach music mixing to you — musicians, producers, and aspiring mixing engineers. I share our years of experience and insight on music production, mixing and mastering. Covering the necessary preparations, tools, underlying physics and insider tips and tricks to achieve the perfect mix and master.
The first episode covers setting yourself up to become a great how to stop dogs urinating on furniture. We discussed monitoring, DAWs and plugins, composition, and stem preparing. The second episode covers organizing your mixer, setting up your signal flow, and understanding the essential plugins EQ, compressor, reverb, and delay. The third episode covers how to improve your stereo image and make your mix sound wider.
Also, we covered how to use the essential plugins to mix kicks and snares, the backbone of a song. The fourth episode covers how to mix drums and how to mix bass.
We covered how to mix bass sounds, claps, percussions, toms, crashes and hi hats. In this article I cover the exact workflow we use at Heroic Audio for mixing instruments and synths. I explain step by step how we place these different elements in the mixing space, go over our compressor settings, and give equalising tips to achieve a clean and crisp mix. In this cheat sheet I outline easy step-by-step solutions to the 19 most common problems for mixing instruments and mixing synths:.
There are many different types of synths. Each of these has a different wave shape and frequency content which may also change depending on the note played.
Each synth will need to be mixed differently according to its sound. I will now explain how to mix a variety of these different synth types and how you can treat them best to improve your song. Lead synths are very important in a track. They may vary greatly from one to another, but are most often used to play the lead melody of the song. Placement As they are usually a focal point in the track, lead synths sound great when placed in the center of the mixing space.
In some occasions you can also experiment with stereo placement of lead synths. This could be possible in emptier mixes, where the lead would not be in danger of being masked by other elements. Therefore, they rarely have low frequencies. Nevertheless, stay consistent and always clean up the mix by setting a high-pass filter right before the key frequency. For lead synths how to eq instruments in mixing is often somewhere between Hz and Hz.
Set a low-pass filter at around 12kHz to define its high frequencies. This way you keep the high-end aspect of the lead synth, while saving enough space for the hi hats and crashes to come through cleanly. Compression Same as with saw synths, lead synths can have either a short or a long attack and release. If the attack of the synth is short, you can set the attack time of the compressor slightly after the attack time of the synth to give it a punchier impact.
This is often somewhere between 15 milliseconds and 40 milliseconds. We often set the release time of the compressor somewhere between 60 milliseconds and milliseconds. If the lead synth has a long attack and release you might want to give the compressor a lower ratio to keep a subtler dynamic sound.
With a long attack of the synth, the attack of the compressor can be shorter and with a softer knee. Same as with saw synths, only boost lead synths if it is really necessary. Boost frequencies around 1kHz to bring the synth more to the foreground.
Boost how to use city cash new york and company between 6kHz and 10kHz to enhance its brightness.
Reverb Depending on the style of the song, lead synths can sound great with some reverb. Sending the lead synth to the main reverb can give a bigger and more spacious feel to the track. A saw synth may be used as the lead in a track, but these versatile synths can also be used as support layers to fill out the frequency spectrum. Placement Saw synths are often used to give a song more body in the mid frequencies.
Especially when the saw synth is used to play the main chords throughout the song, it sounds great when placed in the center of the mix. When the saw synth is played for shorter instances or in higher keys with higher frequenciesthere is opportunity to experiment with placement on the sides of the mixing space.
EQ Cut Saw synths tend to get muddy very quickly, make sure to set a high-pass filter right before oh well whatever nevermind shirt key frequency to cut a way any unnecessary rumble. A rule of thumb here is to never have frequencies below Hz. Depending on the type, the saw synth can be rich in high frequencies. To prevent this from happening, set a low-pass filter at least somewhere between 10kHz and 14kHz.
This way the synth has still a sharp impact while you save space for your hi hats and crashes to come through cleanly. Compression Saw synths can have either a short- or a long attack and release.
If the attack of the synth is short, you can set the attack time of the compressor slightly after the attack time of the synth to give it a punchy impact. If the saw synth has a long attack and release you might want to give the compressor a lower ratio to keep a subtler dynamic sound.
EQ Boost Only boost saw synths if it is necessary. Boost frequencies between Hz and Hz to enhance the sound of a round, and full body. Boost frequencies between 6kHz and 10kHz to enhance the brightness of the saw synth. Reverb Be hesitant on giving saw synths reverb, they often have a big frequency range and easily clutter the reverb space. Placement Pluck synths are usually short in length. Therefore, they are rarely used to play the main chords of a song.
Because of their shortness, pluck synths can sound great on the sides of the mixing space. EQ Cut Set a high-pass filter right before the key frequency to prevent the mix from getting muddy.
This is especially important if you pan the pluck synth to the side of the mix. Pluck synths often need their higher frequencies to have their impact in the mix. Set a low-pass filter around 12kHz to allow this, while still keeping enough space for your hi-hats and crashes to come through cleanly.
Compression Generally, pluck synths have a short attack and a short release. It sounds great to set the attack time of the compressor after the attack time of the pluck synth to enhance the punch of the sound. This is often somewhere between 20 milliseconds and 40 milliseconds. The release time of the compressor can be short as well, between 35 milliseconds and milliseconds often sounds great. EQ Boost In some occasions you can boost between 5kHz and 10kHz to enhance the higher frequencies and make how to eq instruments in mixing pluck synth cut through the mix a little more.
Reverb If the song and mix allow, pluck synths can sound beautiful with a little reverb. Use the main reverb for this. Atmospheric synths do a great job at supporting the rest of the track, filling the frequency spectrum and stereo space nicely. Placement Atmospheric synths are used to create the atmosphere of a space that is not or cannot be created by reverb or by recording. These synths often have big frequency range and a wide stereo image.
Used wrong, atmospheric synths can ruin your mix. Used right, atmospheric synths create that special atmosphere you are aiming for. EQ Cut With a low-pass filter you can cut away the high frequencies of the atmospheric synth. If you choose to let these synths keep their high frequencies, they will appear closer and brighter. If you choose these synths to have less high frequencies they will appear deeper and further away. If these synths have low frequencies they will appear deep and heavy, if these synths have less low frequencies they will appear lighter and more breathable.
Since these synths often have low frequencies while being very stereo, they are a danger in making your mix muddy. If the low frequencies are not an important aspect of the sound, make sure to cut these out with a high-pass filter. If you want to maintain the low frequencies, you can control the stereo image of the atmospheric synth by using a multiband stereo imager.
I make sure all frequencies below Hz are completely centered monoand frequencies between Hz and Hz are not too much on how to display a flag at half mast sides. This prevents the mix from sounding muddy.
Compression It often sounds great to compress atmospheric synths subtly. Use a soft knee and a low ratio of about The attack can be short, but the release time of the compressor can be long. EQ Boost We rarely boost atmospheric synths. In some occasions however, you could boost frequencies between 5kHz and 10kHz to enhance the brightness of the synth. Reverb Atmospheric synths already create a sense of space and do not necessarily need reverb.
You could choose to apply the main reverb to your atmospheric synth, to make it more part of the space of the rest of the song. But be careful, as this might clutter the reverb space too much. Placement Keys how to say i love you in latin language piano or organ can sound great both in the center as well as on the side of the mixing space.
Find the best spot for them by avoiding the place where they might mask, or get masked by other elements in the mix. Masking is a mixing problem that occurs when two or more elements are using the same frequencies at the same time. When this happens, one element will be less audible than it should be — it is being masked by the other element. EQ Cut Make sure to cut away any unnecessary low frequencies, especially when the keys are placed on the sides of your mix.
Mixing with EQ properly has many benefits
Most attributes of synths can be found here, so cutting or lifting certain frequencies within this range can help it to either stick out or hide away. Mix as appropriate to the individual synth / patch. PRESENCE kHz Boost kHz range to add more grit and to help the instrument cut through the mix. . Nov 09, · If you don't want to alter your instruments sound with EQ but you are still hearing some clashing in the mix, try panning one instrument to the right and the other to the left. Giving clashing instruments their dedicated space inside the stereo field, will bring out their unique frequencies and help differentiate them within the mix/5(71). Sep 05, · Mixing with EQ on the bass guitar depends on the high-end snappiness or the low-end bass you need for your mix. Boost the lows for more thud and boost the upper-middle frequencies for more snap and string volume. For more info check this article on 3 steps to mix bass.
It talks about how to EQ all the instruments together in your mix. If you like this excerpt, go grab the full eBook and video tutorial package here. Knowing where the problematic areas are for each instrument is an invaluable EQ skill to have.
You also need to know how to make all the instruments fit together with each other in a busy mix. This chapter focuses on strategies to use when you want to create separation between all the instruments in a mix and how you go about giving each element and track a place to shine. Everybody needs to fit in the playground so you need to find the right frequencies for each instrument so that they all play nicely together.
Filter Up to Hz on most instruments except bass and kick drum. Add a low-pass filter on instruments as well. This is an underutilized trick. Sweep around to find frequencies that pop out and make the instrument sound worse. This can be a weird resonance because you recorded it in a bad room that caused weird comb filtering or reflections to be introduced into the sound.
Or it can just be the typical problems inherent in the recording, like boxiness in the kick drum for instance. When I hunt for problematic frequencies inherent in the sound, as opposed to cutting out frequencies to make room for other instruments, I tend to solo the track.
Then you just repeat the exercise with other instruments that need more room in the mix. You usually have some choices as to where you want to accent each instrument.
Take the kick drum and the bass guitar in the lows for instance. You might want to do the typical trick of boosting one frequency in the kick and then subtracting the same frequency in the bass. But which frequency should you choose? Is it the type of song where the kick is felt rather than heard?
Then maybe a boost at 60 Hz is where the kick sounds the best. The style of music can really dictate whether you want the bass guitar sitting on top of the kick or underneath the kick in the low-frequency spectrum. And two mixing engineers might do two completely different things but still achieve a great mix.
Sometimes you still need to add boosts to your instruments to really bring out the character. If a kick drum needs more weight, then boosting the lows is the way to go. If the snare needs more attack, then a boost in the higher mids is where you find it. This is a surefire way to make all the elements of a mix clash together, resulting in a cluttered and unclear mix. Think of it like a division problem. You have a set amount of apples, and you need to divide them among a set amount of people.
Similarly, you have a set amount of instruments that you need to divide among the frequency spectrum. Divide the frequencies evenly among instruments and achieve better separation and clarity in your mixes. You can do this by rebalancing the faders or adjusting the output gain on your EQ.
Depending on whether you used a lot of cuts or boosts you might need to either increase or decrease the output gain. When I use the Fabfilter Pro-Q 2 I tend to turn the automatic make-up gain on the EQ to make it easier on me, but not all plug-ins have that option so you simply need to use your ears and adjust the mix accordingly. Once your instruments are properly balanced and rebalanced in the frequency spectrum you should be able to hear everything much better.
However, you might have some dynamics issues with an instrument being too loud in some parts and too quiet in others. As you move through the mixing process and keep adding processors such as EQ, you will inevitably change the initial balance you made with only volume and panning. Even if you keep your gain structure of the plug-ins relatively perfect, you will still need to keep adjusting the volume. Think of it like following a style guide while designing or scales and chord charts while performing.
You can design many different things within a style guide, and you can play chords and solos several different ways each time. This sounds backward but you can find where any instrument is clashing with another by simply finding the frequency range where it starts masking the other instrument.
For example, I can easily make the acoustic guitar mask the vocals by boosting around the frequency spectrum and listening to when the vocal starts feeling cluttered.
Throughout the process of listening to your mix on different speakers, you should make notes on how you need to fix the mix in the frequency spectrum. That helps you find the best frequency balance for your mix. Likewise, mixing quietly on a bad speaker really trains your ears to EQ with balance and separation. Going back and forth like this and checking the frequency balance of the entire mix will create a good overall balance to start with.
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