Submitted by thewhippinpost on Thu, 30/11/2006 - 14:38.

Another easy trap to fall into when feeling tired and lazy is the tendency to boost an instrument in the mix via the EQ, when in fact - unless for creative reasons (like deliberately altering the sound to achieve an effect or whatever) - cutting should be your preferred option. Here's a few reasons why...

EQ is a Filter

Remember, EQ is basically a filter, and as such, applying it introduces resonance and phase-shifting at the cut-off point.

(Hmmm... phase-shifting; how to explain that! OK, try this: Put your hands together - as though you're clapping - so that your fingers are "perfectly" aligned. Each finger represents a frequency <- poor example but humour me here FFS! Now slightly twist (or turn) your left hand so you can see 10 fingers. Phase shifting!

... Yeah, well you do better then!)

So anyway, this is basically comb-filtering which manifests itself as tiny amounts of distortion which is another reason why you should be concious of the quality of mixing equipment you use.

At this point we could go in various directions but this whole series is supposed to be digestible nuggets so I'll cut to the basic chase.

With the above in-mind, it should be easier to understand why cutting EQ is preferable to boosting, on account that boosting will make the phase distortion more noticeable.

Some Quick EQ Tips:

  • When recording: Capture the source as "hot" as possible to keep the signal-to-noise-ratio high.
  • Use balanced cables for sound sources coming into your PC/mixing surface to further the above tip.
  • When applying a Q bandwidth to a frequency range, a setting of 1.0 (the "magic Q") sounds more natural and generally avoids any masking problems.