Tip 1: Cut first, then boost
This may seem strange for a nonprofessional at mixing. Supposedly, in order to make the bass lower, engineer simply need to turn the low frequencies knob… And all he will get is just a duller bass, instead of the much-coveted mellow well-shaped sound, which is essential for the bass and expected by EDM music mixing mastering service clients. Those who have been running the audio services for at least a few years know about this rule and achieve fabulous results. Indeed, first, you need to cut and decrease the frequencies responsible for unimportant harmonics, and then you probably won’t even need to add anything. Boosting isn’t bad in principle; however, long-term experience confirms that you should start shaping the sound with the immediate addition of frequencies only if you are 100% sure it’s necessary.
Tip 2: Narrow or Wide
This tip expands the previous one in some way. Professional audio engineers experience has proven that if you need to amplify a particular frequency range in a song, a broad bandwidth will work well. However, cutting with a narrow bandwidth is also quite normal, as this resembles some kind of a surgery, when extra components are removed.
Tip 3: Bleed
There is no unanimous opinion about bleed telling whether it’s good or bad. In the context of equalization, it can become a source of trouble and force an online mixing engineer to search for trade-offs. For example, if a snare bleeds into guitars, any EQ manipulations will alter the sound of the snare. This can be partly fixed by setting the gate to trigger when the guitar becomes silent, so the bleed snare doesn’t make it into the main sound of the track.
Step 2: Long before the equalizer
This issue is important primarily for the record producers, but the audio mixing engineers should also be familiar with the topic in order to avoid spending hours fixing the record, which was initially poor. Before you push the REC. button, you need to understand what role the instrument will play in the future song and where its place will be, so online mixing and mastering services engineer can adjust the settings accordingly. Imagine that we are taking an acoustic guitar for a duet with a singer. Of course, in this case the timbre of the guitar needs to be as rich as possible to fill the track space. And vice versa, if we try to achieve the full acoustics sound for a group of 10 people, we will only get inaudibility, a stack of frequency conflicts and the “battle” for the song transparency during mixing.
Both of these scenarios require completely different approaches to recording and mixing and different tones of the instruments. Approach the process of recording intelligently – this applies to selecting the recording tool, the microphones, their arrangement, quantity, and even the room, where the recording session takes place. If you do that, you won’t need to use any mad options during the equalization of initially poor tracks. Don’t worry if the entire track sounds a bit “odd” – sharp, empty, thin or something else. Remember that an mixing music wit equalizer job is to turn a mishmash of instruments into a smoothly sounding pattern, so extra components have to be removed in advance. If the instrument performs its function and sounds well in the overall mix, then everything at mixing was done correctly.
Step 3: No “leaving for the end”!
Don’t see the EQ as a solution to all problems of a poor production. The equalizer is a tool that is used during online mixing and mastering services to achieve an ideal cohesion of the parts in a well-prepared song. It’s not an engineer’s duty to fix audio mistakes of the others. The approach “we’ll fix it later in the studio” has never helped anyone to reach the top of the charts.
This requirement applies to both mixing live instruments and electronic music. A small change of the microphone position, a suitable synthesizer timbre or use of layering – and your project will sound ideally. Maybe in the skillful hands of a rap music mixing engineer it will even turn into a masterpiece, who knows?
Don’t be lazy and spend some time selecting the instruments and sounds, and the audio equalization will become a creative process designed to highlight the unique characteristics and roles of every line in a song.
Step 4: About cutting and boosting
Much has been said about it, but every novice has to be told over again – when cutting frequencies, it’s recommended to use a narrow bandwidth (high Q parameter numbers). This is explained by both human ear characteristics and the particularity of the procedure of mixing itself. Therefore, by cutting small portions, we can come closer to the desired sound gradually and gently. Boost, on the other hand, should be done with a wide bandwidth. Of course, sound processing must not be confined to any dogmata, but still, try to start with some proven music mixing and mastering equalization techniques and services provided by your studio will benefit.
Step 5: Cutting goes first
Before adding to the sound something that you think is missing, get rid of everything unwanted. Imagine that the vocal in the new project given to the studio was recorded with the unsuitable microphone and has a strong boxy sounding. Don’t rush to the exciter or your favorite vintage equalizer available at your orchestral music mixing and mastering studio that colors the top end nicely. If you do that, you risk getting a harsh vocal, and the song will still sound blurry. To avoid this, work with a low cut filter and carefully clean the lower midrange area of the track with a narrow bandwidth (see step 4). This should make enhancing the top end an icing on your beautiful cake. I think you know what I’m talking about.
Step 6: A complex Low-Mid range
I think everybody heard the mixing mastering engineers saying that low-mids are responsible for the completeness, body and warmth of the sound. So there is always a temptation for mixers to give the instruments as much of this “life spring” as possible. But the problem is that this frequency area is an intersection of almost all elements of any tune, even of the instruments that are seemingly responsible for the Highs component. If you providing mixing deprive the Hats and Cymbals of their lower component (which lies exactly in lower midrange), they will turn into some incoherent tinkling. That’s why when performing the equalization of particular parts during mixing, you should keep in mind that they will have to coexist in this complex frequency area. Or maybe Step 2 was performed incorrectly and you need to pick a more suitable sound before getting to mixing music stage.
Step 7: See about the room
Imagine that your track is the real space, just not infinite, since our ear can’t hear all frequencies in audio. So the more instruments do you put there, the less space remains for each of them at audio mixing. This also happens because of the elements’ intersection in the low-mids area (as was mentioned in step 6). In this case, a more thorough work with the equalizer is required during online hip hop mixing and mastering service, because the more instruments are involved in music, the harder it is to prevent them from conflicting with each other. If the arrangement and production are done with an understanding of the sounds’ positions in space and their next processing in the mixing service, everything becomes a bit easier. You just have to listen to the raw tune and decide which of the sounds have to be put in the foreground and which of them will be “farther” from the listener. The numerous stems should probably be grouped and regarded as a single layered instrument during the equalization on online audio mixing
and mastering music services. This approach is frequently used at online audio mixing services with equalization.
Working with the equalizer should resemble solving a jigsaw puzzle – if some frequency in audio is highlighted, the same frequency must be weakened in the other sound, and then they will fit nicely.
A well-known by audioengineers tandem of instruments with the same frequencies range is kick and bass. There is a number of ways to “make them friends”; everything depends on the music genre and an engineer’s idea. Of course, this issue is resolved with the help of the equalization, if you amplified the 100Hz area of the bass (thump), then you will need to cut the kick drum in the same range. The same effect can be achieved with the different variations of the sidechain technique, since we are talking about space in music track.