Captain Terrific

Handy EQ Reference

35 posts in this topic

I have heard the cut rule and try to stick to it unless I am using eq more as an effect to alter the sound(not that I am fantastic with my eq's)...

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this guide mentions boosting a lot but i read somewhere that its not good to boost with eqs, only cut because it can cause masking. was the author speaking shit? if not, anyone have any tips to avoid masking when boosting eqs?

There's no hard rule, but in general there is good argument for the cut vs boost idea.

'Masking' occurs when two or more sounds are heard together. If one of the sounds is sufficiently loud, it will affect your ability to hear the other (kind of drown it out). A simple example is watching TV while a heater is running or a kettle boils (happens all the time in my little flat) - the noise of the heater/kettle makes you instinctively reach for the remote and turn up the TV. The noise has masked the TV. Another example is when you you have trouble talking to someone in a loud club or pub - the music is masking your voice.

Another feature of masking is that it is frequency dependant - sounds of similar frequency will mask each other more effectively than those with very different freq's. Time and other factors come into play, but too complicated to get into here ;)

The argument against boosting EQ is that you are effectively making a sound louder in certain frequencies - this in turn has the potential to mask similar frequencies in another sound. This reduces your ability to hear it, and you'll instinctively go and turn up that other sound. This in turn masks something else... you run around chasing your tail turning everything up and up until the whole mix is overloading.

The argument for cutting EQ is that by making the sound quieter in certain frequencies, you actually reduce the masking effect and you'll reveal more of other sounds, making them easier to hear. The result is you may not need to change the levels at all, as you are already hearing things just fine.

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There's no hard rule, but in general there is good argument for the cut vs boost idea.

'Masking' occurs when two or more sounds are heard together. If one of the sounds is sufficiently loud, it will affect your ability to hear the other (kind of drown it out). A simple example is watching TV while a heater is running or a kettle boils (happens all the time in my little flat) - the noise of the heater/kettle makes you instinctively reach for the remote and turn up the TV. The noise has masked the TV. Another example is when you you have trouble talking to someone in a loud club or pub - the music is masking your voice.

Another feature of masking is that it is frequency dependant - sounds of similar frequency will mask each other more effectively than those with very different freq's. Time and other factors come into play, but too complicated to get into here ;)

The argument against boosting EQ is that you are effectively making a sound louder in certain frequencies - this in turn has the potential to mask similar frequencies in another sound. This reduces your ability to hear it, and you'll instinctively go and turn up that other sound. This in turn masks something else... you run around chasing your tail turning everything up and up until the whole mix is overloading.

The argument for cutting EQ is that by making the sound quieter in certain frequencies, you actually reduce the masking effect and you'll reveal more of other sounds, making them easier to hear. The result is you may not need to change the levels at all, as you are already hearing things just fine.

that makes sense.. if you make sure the sounds you're introducing are kept tight to only the frequencies they need to be - then you won't be chasing your tail trying to fit things in the mix. this is what i do when producing tunes, is this what you're talking about? if it is, i'm glad i'm doing the right thing!

ie. take the bottom-end out of lead synths, guitars, and your highs out of your basses etc. (removing unnecessary frequencies).

someone's post on another forum read that using the 'cut' method, one must dip the frequencies either side of the frequency they wish to boost.. this really didn't make much sense to me.

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love this guide, great reference's for the noobs that walk thru my building thinking they know it all. props man! this made my day.

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Nice guide. I have a couple of others as references, but not as in depth as this one! Another to add to the list. Thanks!

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