#7 Abusing the EQ on the channel strip Ton Ten Mixing Mistakes

#7 Abusing the EQ on the channel strip 

In every Sound seminar that I have taught, I use this example to prove a point. When showing people how to eq a mic, I will set the mic up in a wrong way, play the channel for them, then ask what needs to happen? Every time I have done this someone always says change the eq at such and such. Then I will take the mic and adjust it properly. You can see the light bulbs going off their heads. I am surprised at how many people will reach for the EQ knob before checking where the mic is placed or aimed. 

You may or not remember that "way back in the day" there was no EQ on consoles. In the recording Studio days when you needed to change EQ, you moved the mic.  When I start a rehearsal (or a new mixing gig)l in a new setting, I will listen to every drum, and amp. I want to know what that instrument sounds like before it gets to my console. As a rule, I will try to "amplify" the instrument without coloring the sound. I believe your mix will be cleaner the less EQ you use. 

On vocals I use a high pass filter, to clean up breath noise and plosives. (Ps and B's) 

I will use EQ on Pianos due to the resonant nature of the instrument, and to keep it from getting muddy. I rarely boost. The biggest mistake of using EQ is boosting something that is not there. I have heard people say to put more bass in a female's voice. There is no bass in her voice, to begin with. So if you boost the bass filter, it will sound unnatural. The second biggest mistake with abusing EQ is sound checking on a single instrument and only EQing during this check. For example, I will EQ the kick by itself, but then re-visit the input when the whole band is playing. I don't dial in the attack of the kick drum until all the instruments are in the mix. 

If you have to use a ton of EQ on instruments to avoid feedback, then examine speaker placement and system tuning. Remember, natural most likely is better!

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