EQ Mistakes Part II
We already talked about the first two trusting presets, boosting more than cutting this one's is amazingly helpful. This mistake, I see all the time is focusing too much on what the cue curve looks like instead of what it sounds like. And we talked about this a little bit yesterday. Um, this is one knock I have on a lot of the issues is you can see him, I mean, in one sentence or unhelpful to visually get a representation of, you know, here's the low and down here, and I can see have cut this thing in the red eye boost this thing in the orange of cut this thing in the yellow, but the problem with looking at a q curve is no one cares what it looks like because it's not a real thing to see no one's going to see your e q curveball, all that matters for us is what we're in the audio worlds. All that matters is what it sounds like that pretty obvious, but if you are staring at this e q curve while you, you boost or cut, you might start to boost and think, you know, like, let me grab one her...
e, so don't mess up my if I had this queue, I might be listened to the base, and I might be boosting here and think I'm getting up to six that looks pretty high like I don't really want to boost anything hard in that but that it may need more and if you were just listening to it and you have just the console, you might just keep turning until it sounds good and go how that sounds good, but you're getting this visual stimuli and you're saying, oh, that's looking kind of crazy so you stop, you know, or you've got like this cut you let, do you that look at how much this orange dip I mean, I'm taking out a lot and you're you're making a decision based off of what you see on a plug in readout, which is totally irrelevant to your final mix on and in fact, what we talked about yes, jay, with how frank philip petty did that whole talk on your brain, your brain activity when you listen to music, what with visual stimuli with your eyes open, you have a certain amount of brain activity when you close your eyes and listen to the same music they've done. Scans are all of a sudden there's more brain activity happening when your eyes are closed and that's because you don't have any visual stimuli, you're not seeing anything you are just really focusing so that's why closing your eyes? It really helps you hear what you're doing to attract so I've seen people do this, I have caught myself saying this, I'll I'll make you a little bit and I'll say, um, I'll be tweeting at, listening to and say, yeah, that looks about right, looks about right? What does that even mean? Like, nothing should look right? We're not visual people. This isn't graphic design. This isn't a movie production is his audio there's nothing that anyone's going to see? They're going to hear it and and you should try to get away from paying too much attention to what each you curves look like and then focus more on what it sounds like. And I see too many people being afraid of cutting or afraid of boosting or afraid of how sharp, you know a q is we're gonna look at what is a q four to look at that the next segment there, they might say, that looks weird to me. Who cares? You know, it's, not about what it looks like, does it sound right? And there's? A lot of this comes from the fact that I think about the issues that people have been using for decades on consoles. They don't have a graphical read out like we have here, so let's pull um nigh where is it? Yes, I sell, I can't read very balmy I thank you so this is one when I when I grew up mixing in studios we had actual ss cells and so I was familiar with this layout but look this is an e q as well on the left you've got four bands where is thie? The approach is one here has technically five but it's got five and two filters it's got these colors you know five different points I could take you well the ssl has the same kind of bands it has four bands and to filter so it's almost the same type of the queue but there's nothing to look at all they have are knobs I don't really even know what that q looks like it's I can see it's narrower or wider aiken boost or cut I can choose the frequency but I can't see anything that's happening so instead I have to rely on my ears of like a boost and then I move the frequency around a mess of the q and it's that sounds good to me but if you were to give me a graphical readout of this it might look crazy and if I saw that it might make me, like think twice about what I'm doing and I want you all to get away from trusting what you see because that has no bearing on what it sounds like you know I don't like extreme booster cuts because they can sound extreme but if it looks weird to you, it doesn't really matter and it's a mistake, I see a lot of people making us focusing too much on what the curve looks like, so not that you can't use these accuse, but grab the knobs moving around or grab these and move them around but don't don't get too much weight to what you see that makes sense because at the end of the day no one's going to see it and all you want to be able to do is say, man without the queue it sounds kind of covered up with the cue it sits nicely and who cares what those numbers are and who cares what that curve looks like? There's only this sounds great that makes sense let's do the last the last mistake here and then and we can answer questions as well. Um this one sounds obvious, but the fourth mistake I see is assuming that every track even need z q um, as much as I love you, I'm like an e q advocate I mean, everybody, the mixes love zeke you but if you could pick anything I would taking cue every single day as much as I love it um not every track needs it ok, I've got a tangerine track that has no plug ins on it I've got a harmonics guitar track were we actually literally had to really distorted guitar and we're hitting some cool harmonics on and take a listen to it somewhere um right here at the ends of pretty cool track cool dirty stuff in the mix that sounded fine I'd set the volume and I could hear it find nothing was covering it up so there's no weak you on it there's a guitar part called guitar quiet and it's when this whole in this whole song everything cuts out um and I just played a target of this one section start I didn't do any cue because there's nothing else even really playing in that section is my vocal that guitar there's no issue there um and then some of the gang vocals there's no weak you on some of them those air here at the end where I'm just kind of layering um some more of me to kind of thinking up this section stay x and stows horrible and no e q not tune you just sing it put in the mix and it works but no weak you needed because if it feels right it's doing it supposed to do I don't want to put anything on it so I'm very minimalistic in my approach I really try to do is little as possible because the more processing you do the more you can mess up something don't be afraid of processing you know I want to be afraid of doing something but every time I'm adding a plug and I'm doing something to the audio and I want to keep it as natural as possible but to why? Why throw any cue on there if you don't need it? Ideally, like we talked about the beginning, the first segment you can seek you while you record and you can set up your mic placement as an e q as well if you can get that sounding amazing and somehow you've chosen maybe instruments that complement each other well maybe it played one electric guitar part on one and that's really beefy but the other guitar parties a real thin guitar maybe ivan les paul threw a box and I've got a telecaster through offender deluxe and they sound different, so in the mix they actually kind of stick out nicely against each other they may not even need any cue I'd rather do is little is possible because the whole point is just gonna hear everything and if you can hear everything, don't assume you need to grab a nick you but I fall for this all the time I see something and I'm like should I put something on it? Because because I can and nine times out of ten if it sounds fine and you're debating putting something on it, just leave it alone but I see this mistake a lot where people assume every tracking thank you or every tracking its compression yeah, I sometimes put look through every individual track on the frequency analyzer and I usually see some small bit of information on the low end and it's really low level but I still put any kun just cut all that out anyway, so I just feel a little bit of that over several tracks together maybe it actually can't hear the difference either, but does that add any kind of phasing its use of your beauty cutting stuff, especially with a filter like that there's really? Hardly any artifacts that could be added from that? Okay, what's the time it's boosting and then sometimes if you do really weird e q cuts that really sharp cute thank you cuts that I think you can add some issues there, but with a filter I'm never afraid to filter stuff out. Um okay, I mean one of one of my friends fab do paul he's a grammy award winning mixture and he always he was he's kind of the opposite, but I love his logic he's like on on this track I'll throw a high pass filter on it because I can, you know, you know it, man, I need it you may not even hear the lohan, but he'll just process it just because he can there's no right or wrong here, but I love personally, if you like it's a secret win for me, if I can see tracks and I mix it, don't have any processing on them, I don't know why, because it doesn't really matter, but to me it says either it was recorded well or it says I had the restraint, teo, like hold off from wanting to insert a plug in on every single track because that's kind of what we get into and you get into mixing, you think it's all about activity like, ok, someone gave me a track to mix now, it's time to insert plug ins and change stuff, and I love for us to get away from thinking like that and think like an artist and think about you get a track and you listen to it and you listen to the song and you say, what is this song need? It might have a lot of needs, you know? It might be like, well, the drums aren't kicking in, the base is kind of flat and the vocal is getting buried that's okay, you can get to work on those, but if there's some things that really do sound fine, then leave him alone, you're you're messing with something that doesn't mean you need to be messed with, you know it is applies to any creative are not there with video like don't don't continue to enhance stuff doesn't need to be enhanced if it sounds looks great it is great that sounds great it is great so restraint on ly process would need to process and it forces you to beam or intentional I want you to know why you're using an e q I want there to be a reason for every single week you on here and if you're not really sure that's a good indicator that you don't need it to take it away and see if it still sounds okay, that accent we actually had a question about the hue there with janardan wants to know do you recommend for every single track I mean I just answer would be no I mean if it needs it is that am I hearing the question right? Yeah, no, I think I think that's that's the way to approach it if it needs it but not necessarily a hard and fast rule yeah, and as you doom or mixing, you're going to figure this out you're going to figure out if something needs because that the quote I might be the question you have like grandma how do I know if it needs it and what I think is your biggest um tool for you as a mixer is the fact that you probably are a musician you probably love good music so you may not know how to eke you properly, but you know what a good guitar sounds like or you know when a mix that you listen to sounds perfectly balanced and you can hear every element of the mix in compare what you know sounds good to what you're hearing in your own mix and if you're not satisfied with what you hear, then it needs something and if it sounds cool to you, it doesn't need anything and you can trust trust the fact that you know good music sounds like don't don't you have that in the back of your mind? You know, a good music sounds like that's that's what that's all mixing engineer is trying to do is take some tools that we have to say man, I I know good country music sounds like some mixing a country song this doesn't quite sound like that so what's missing or what's in the way of what can I do to get it to sound like really cool country music that's all we're trying to do if you simplify your process to that, then you'll know I don't think this needs in the because that that slide guitar sounds awesome or vocal, okay, but something's missing it might need to queue so you know that and you don't have to be a scientist to figure that out you're a musician, you know good music sounds like all right here's a question from making waves we had four other people vote on this for mixes with large track counts do you ever group similar instruments into buses and then e q the buses as opposed individual tracks absolutely I've got that here my drum bus ivy cued that um but it doesn't mean I don't have any q am actual drum tracks I still have some of the kick someone's snare tom's for that some may be that yeah tom's so absolutely I I like to do is little is possible yesterday I touched on this that sort of my top down mixing approach if you can if you can use one q on a guitar bus and you carve out some low end and you scoop out some weird mid frequencies and you bring out a little sweetness and this one frequency and it makes all the guitar sound a little bit better great then that's less you have to do later but keep in mind with the cue that you might have five guitars that are grouped in that group but they still might need individual treatment from against each other. They might sound a little better as a whole now, but still one electric guitar is covering up another electric guitar and the accused to guitar sounds totally different so that needs to be treated a little bit differently so it all gets down to start where you can. Globally, maybe. And if that might help. And that made me unless heavy lifting on individual track level. But I'm not afraid to get in there and fix what needs to be fixed.