In this article I will be showing you 3 simple and effective ways to clean up your mixes with an EQ. The equalizer is such a great tool for creating space in your mix.
The Muddiness Area
Around 250 Hz – 600 Hz is a generally muddy area. cleaning up this area with most instruments can seriously make your entire mix a lot cleaner. It also frees up a ton of headroom to cut away at this region.
I usually make a narrow Q boost and sweep it around this area until I hear that really annoying mud sound, then I turn that boost into a wider Q cut, removing the mud from the mix. I usually do this twice.
Now, don’t jump to conclusions. A lot of people just automatically cut away at this area because they feel that is right. Always trust your ears and see what it actually does to the sound. In fact, sometimes this ‘muddiness’ sounds absolutely brilliant on things like snares and organs, so experiment to see what works well in your mix.
High Pass And Low Pass Filters
I always high pass what I don’t need out of my instruments. But I always do it quite subtly. Using steep cuts can lead you to creating an unnatural processed sound.
If you cut away everything you don’t need out of the bottom end with all your instruments, except for kick drum and bass guitar, you’ll instantly get more clarity in your mix and free up so much headroom. If you feel like you are getting an unnatural processed sound from high passing, try using a low shelf instead and cut away gently what you don’t need.
While everyone is using high pass filters, don’t forget about low pass filters. Filtering out unneeded highs can really clean up your mix and let things like cymbals and the high end of acoustic guitars shine through the mix.
While using high pass and low pass filters, be very careful you don’t remove too much from your original signal.
The Annoying 3000 Hz Area
Around the 3000 Hz area, there’s this really annoying tone. It kind of makes the sound harsh and unpleasing. I usually do a pretty wide Q cut of a couple of dB around this area, to just remove this tone, usually on guitars and snares. Also, sometimes saturation can help smooth this area out a good bit. When I use saturation, I tweak the knobs until this area has smoothed over and rounded a bit, then I use light EQ to remove it a bit.
So in conclusion, EQ is the best tool for making space in your mix. I hope these tips have helped you out a bit. Use these tips as guidelines towards making decisions in your mix and remember to always mix with your ears, not your eyes.
Thanks for reading.
Look forward to more mixing tips soon.
Have a nice day.