Join Bobby Owsinski for an in-depth discussion in this video EQing the mix buss, part of Audio Mixing Master Class.
- [Instructor] Okay, so you missed it. The bounce of your mix is great, but there's something off in the frequency spectrum. Here's how to use an EQ across the mix buss to make everything sound a whole lot better. Don't worry, even the best mixers do this sometimes. So let's listen to the song without any EQ, this is just the raw mix as it's done. Take a listen. ("Thunderdog" by Snew) Now, it sounds pretty good, except that the low end just seems a little light.
So what I'm going to do is insert just a standard native EQ. In this case, it's the 7-band EQ that I like, from ProTools. Nothing special. And we'll add a little at a hundred hertz. And we don't want to add too much, because if you have to add a whole lot, that means you've missed it really badly, and you should probably go back and re-EQ everything, go back and listen to your kick drum and listen to your bass, 'cause you've mixed it badly. But if you add the balance pretty good, you could add a couple dB, and will feel pretty good here.
So, let's have a listen. ("Thunderdog" by Snew) Now, all of a sudden, the low end is just a little bit rounder, little bit wider. Now, I'm going to bypass this, and halfway through the passage, I'll insert it, so you can really hear the difference. ("Thunderdog" by Snew) Now, you can hear that it got a lot rounder on the bottom.
It doesn't sound like we add too much, it just sounds natural, and again, if we start to add three dB, five dB, whatever, that's way too much and you're better off going back and re-EQing or just listening to the balance, it might be just a balance thing sometimes. Many times, we use EQ when we should be raising the level of the bass. Let's listen to the high end now. On the high end, it's just a little dull, so let's add some of the tinkly stuff up top. And I'll do the same thing, I'll just add a couple of dB, just so you can hear it.
I may not go that high normally, but have a listen, and we're at 6k. ("Thunderdog" by Snew) That sounds pretty good. Let's listen with it bypassed, and halfway through, I'll insert it. ("Thunderdog" by Snew) Everything that has high end is just a little brighter, little cleaner.
One of the problems, though, with 6k is the fact that it may be a little too low, the frequency selection may be a little too low, and as a result, what'll happen is it'll add some sibilance to the vocal. Now, it doesn't here, but that's very common. So you're better off if you start with this up higher, and around 10k will actually get the job done, it'll sound pretty good. ("Thunderdog" by Snew) Now, one of the things that you should be doing is constantly ABing against either songs that you like, CDs that you like, again, the higher the quality, the better, or things that you've mixed before that you really like.
So don't be afraid to add EQ across the mix buss, just don't add too much, because if you do, it probably means there is an internal problem within your mix that you have to go fix, and a good way to always keep track of how that mix is sounding is to use something like MagicAB that you can do an AB test, an easy AB test, and listen to something that's been mastered and something that sounds really good and compare your mix to that. So remember that sometimes even the best mixers don't get their frequency balance right, and they have to add something on the mix buss in order to either get some more low end or some more high end.
So what you're going to do is add a rather transparent EQ across the mix buss. Transparent means it's very colorless, because you really don't want to change the mix all that much, change the sound of the mix, you just want to add a little top or a little bit of bottom. So the next thing is, add a very small amount of low end if that's what you need, or add a very small amount of high end if that's what you need, or a little of both, if you think that's what's needed as well. Remember that you might have to go back and remix if it's more than a couple of dB that you have to add.
Sometimes adding a lot of EQ at this stage just is an indicator that you really got it wrong.
See how the pros handle the critical balance between the bass and drums. Learn where, when, why, and how EQ should be used on virtually any instrument. Become proficient in tailoring just the right effect for each particular mixing situation. And master the key to fat and punchy sounding mixes: compression. Tune in every Thursday for a new tip!
- The Abbey Road Studios reverb trick
- Secrets to a powerful and punchy mix
- Using compression like NYC pros
- Listening tips and tricks used by the world's best mixers
- How Van Halen gets their guitar sound
- Making vocals shine
- Adding excitement to boring pad tracks
- Setting up your mix to get the best results in the least amount of time
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.