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In this course, author Bobby Owsinski reveals industry tips, tricks, and techniques for producing professionally mixed audio on any digital audio workstation. He offers recommendations for setting up an optimal listening environment, highlights the most efficient ways to set up and balance a mix, and shows how to build a powerful sound with compression. The course also explains how to master the intricacies of EQ; incorporate reverb, delay, and modulation effects; and generate the final mix.
In this video I am going to show you an EQ technique called juggling frequencies. One of the biggest problems during mixing is when two instruments clash because their predominant frequencies are in the same bandwidth. This often happens with two similar guitars in the mix, like if they're both Strats played through Marshals. But it could happen with other combinations too. Sometimes it happens between a guitar and a lead vocal, or a snare drum and a guitar, or a keyboard and a bass. The way to avoid this is to use a method called juggling frequencies. Veteran mixers know that equalizing a track without listening to any of the other tracks at the same time inevitably causes a frequency clash.
The way to avoid this is to listen to other instruments while you're EQing. When you fine-tune instruments that have frequencies that clash, just solo those; here is how this works with these two guitars. Let's listen to them first. (music playing) This sounds so much alike that it's really difficult to determine that there are two different guitars playing at the same time. In fact, it sounds like they are both Gibsons or guitars with humbucking pickups and they are played through the same style amplifier, and this is what you get, where there is no definition.
Now, of course if we wanted to, we can pan them like this, and here is what it sounds like. (music playing) Now you can tell for sure that they are two different guitar parts, but they really have the same sound. Listen once again. (music playing) They are both panned up the middle. It's really hard to tell that they're two different parts there. So what we are going to do is we are going to juggle some frequencies. The way this works is that two instruments shouldn't have their frequencies boosted at the same place.
In this case, neither of them are boosted, if you look at both EQs. So what we're going to do is we are going to use a little bit of subtractive equalization, and we are going to change the sound of both of them by juggling some frequencies. Now watch. Here is the first guitar. (music playing) Now put the Equalizer in. (music playing) With this guitar, you can hear that it's a little bit fuller and there is more body now, and what we are going to do is we are going to carve the other one so it's a little bit more treblier.
Now you see in this 1.5K or so, this is where the notch is here. So what we're going to do is we are going to boost a little bit just in that place on the other guitar, and watch what happens. (music playing) Okay. Now, we are starting to hear that there is two different guitars there: one is a little bit chunkier and the other one is just a little bit more treblier.
Now we are going to actually carve those out a little bit more. I am going to go up to 6K is a magic frequency for guitars. It's about the upper high end of a guitar. Guitar amplifier rolls off somewhere around 8K, and anything above that, if you boost it, you really don't get much out of it, but 6K is a magic number because that's where the high frequencies come in. so watch what happens on this guitar. (music playing) Now, we are getting more definition.
Now if we go back to the other one--and this is the way we are always going to do it. We are going to go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth until we get the definition that we are looking for. So now, we may even cut the high frequencies in that same place on this guitar. (music playing) Now, we're going to go back again. And we can see how much we boosted it here to make that sound.
We are going to do something else. We are going to add the highpass filter in, and watch what happens. We are going to get rid of a lot of the low frequencies as well, so you'll be able to hear the definition as soon as that happens. (music playing) Now, you can hear there are two guitars there.
Now they sound somewhat different, but we are going to go back. We are going to tweak it even more. (music playing) In this case, I am going to take the Gain. I am going, where we cut before, I am going to cut it back a little bit. (music playing) And going to go back to the second guitar, move this up a little bit.
(music playing) Now, if we take the two guitars and we pan them a little bit, now you can really hear the difference. (music playing) So you probably have to do a lot of back-and-forth EQing where you start with one instrument, EQ it, then go to the other one, and EQ that, and then back and forth and back and forth until you hear them both distinctly.
Now with this we might spend a little more time and make them both more distinct, but let's hear what they sound like in the track first. Let's unsolo them and have a listen. (music playing) Now, I am going to refine this guitar even little bit more.
(music playing) Now in this guitar one of the things I'll do is also add a highpass filter, add a little bit more definition. Hear both of them. (music playing) Now, you can hear they both sound a little bit different, and they don't sound like the same guitar anymore. And when we put them in the track, see what it sounds like. (music playing) So that's how frequency juggling works.
It's used whenever you have two instruments or vocals that clash frequency-wise. You want to make sure that the two offending instruments aren't boosting at the same frequency. If one instrument is boosted in the frequency range, the other should be cut in that frequency range. Remember that after frequency juggling, an instrument might sound terrible when soloed by itself, but it should work well in the track.
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