Favorite EQ Hacks #1-3
This last segment these air my five my six favorite e q hacks and what I wanted to leave you with this course is six things that if you can get your head around this and wrap your head around these these hacks these which I think a hack is something it's really simple if you just do it give you results every time without you having to think about it I like stuff like that um if you implement these things on your mix is you can't not get better mixes in there really simple and I they have helped transform the way I work with the q and when I mix and I love sharing them because they work and instead of you chasing your tail looking for the perfect plug in or the perfect you know dog or the monitors or whatever it is you think is going to be a good mix instead focused on implementing some of these these techniques with your cue you're gonna have massive results and that's what I want for you I want you to believe this course and say I did this one thing the gramm suggested and it actually...
worked ok otherwise you know we're just consuming information so try try some of these things let's let's hit it from the top of the number one thing you should start doing today if you are not doing it is e q and mono what is mono and why should you care since we don't listen to stuff and mount of these days we have stereo we have two speakers we've got headphones that aaron stereo this is huge for me because I can tell you from experience I heard about working in mono when I was growing up and when I went to school and I ignored that advice and then one day a friend of mine who's a great mixtures like yemen I q and mono and I think you really do that yeah so I went and tried it and it it works like amazingly and explain why it works in a second and I have never gone back and it was just sort of ignorance on my part what we're doing this whole time we even listen to this whole time is stereo if I play you my mix here that stereo that's cool right that's that's what the final mix is going to be like if you're going to hear it some guitars on the left some on the right I get that but how do we know what's the right q curve? How do we know how to get the cue just right on a track? The thing you should do is fold your mix in tamano for a moment and then make your e q decisions while listening to your mix in mono okay so mondo could be a simple as if you have ah audio interface with a mano button on it some do you could hit that or if you have a monitor controller thatyou route your audio through your speakers has a mano button if you're in pro tools or other dolls have something like a stereo with plugging instead of using it to make your mix why'd you make it zero percent so now my mixes in montana that's normal that stereo but with this plug and I'm using it to make my mixed mano you could do that or just for a moment if you don't have something like that, you could take your your pan pots on your master fader and flipping both up to the middle all we're trying to do for a moment and explain why is stopped listened to our mix in stereo where I can hear a guitar over here I can hear a guitar but here whatever I want to hear everything on top of each other coming at me out of one speaker one source right um and here's why when you take and let's get rid of marty make you my entire mix when you listen to a trach you're mixing stereo it is really easy to just pan things like we talked about a little earlier paying the guitars left and right because I can't distinguish them but if they're if it's amano it's really hard to hear everything too the chorus now it's harder for me to hear all the guitar parts and distinguished the oregon and it's a frustrating way to work because it everything's on top of each other and you still desperately wanted pann something else that you can hear it and but forcing yourself to listen to your mix in mono and then go make your decisions is humongous because then you have to use e q to hear things so if if that guitar if my guitar's like when we looked at earlier today I came to this conclusion let's say the acoustic guitar I came to this conclusion on the curve I did this when I mix this back home while listening in motto, so it's really hard to hear the the acoustic guitar, but with this q is a little bit easier. I was making an e q decision while in mono, so if I get to the coast of guitar, I keep killing until I got here that acoustic guitar in mono when everything is on top of each other and if I can't hear the acoustic guitar, I'm not done each ewing it's kind of like a thing that forces me teo keep fiddling with it till it's, right? Whereas if I just had in stereo and I panned it to the right and a little bit of the q, I could hear it fine, but in mono it's really hard to hear everything here separation and that forces you to continue to cut and boost in shape and do complimentary carving until you can hear everything really nice nice in mono because if you start to get some separation when everything's on top of each other, oh, I can hear the snare drum nicely now or the bases and covering up the kick trump or the vocals or sitting on top of those thick guitars when in reality I might pan the guitars out, but if it sounds good on top of each other, you know you've got a great cue occurred because the moment you pop it back out to stereo it's only going to sound even cooler it's already got clarity, but now you've got some wit because you got the stereo spectrum, so in practice I spend eighty to eighty five percent of my time listening to my knicks and mono and I do all my e q decisions they're aa lot of my compression decisions or tweaked they're making sure my volumes where I wanted to be and I try to get a mix that sounds so good that I forget I'm listening to it in mono like I can hear everything the way I want to hear it and that's how I know when the was right when things start to sound good and moto because this is the other thing to think about where are people going to listen to your your mix? You know, like we said earlier there most people are not going to be sitting in front of a pair of speakers evenly and the sweet spot and go listen to that nice separation I can hear the guitars it's nice and clear they're going to be sitting in a sofa and it's playing on the stereo or they're in their car and they were closer to the left speaker's they're not even in the sweet spot even in their car or it's in the kitchen or wherever it's background music if I have a couple of speakers over here by the time these speakers hit my ear it's a mano source it's no longer stereo because it's like dude that's it makes sense to things hitting my year at the same time to my ear just sounds like a mano source so fine banking on panning to give me separation that's that's no but I know I need I need the cue to give me a separation I need to know that even in mano you can hear every instrument beautifully and then of course if it's a stereo you're going to hear it even more so I spend so much time forcing myself to make my decisions and motto and for a while it's frustrating because I'm like I can't get the can't distinguish the guitars or I can't distinguish the accused a guitar it means you don't have the right to cue curve. You can't get the sound good. Amano it's not right once you get it right, mano pop it back out to stereo that's how you're gonna shit this song it's going to sound great? That makes sense quick follow question from matt anderson, who wants to know? Is it better to record everything in the center that way you are already listening in mono, then you can go to the mix and then pan is that the best way to go about that? Either way? I mean, I see what you're saying because if you're recording and mano you're starting to hear while you have a chance to change the recording, you're listening to an amount of that's a great way to do it. I don't even do that. I usually quick tio record the drums. I start panning. I'm a recorder guitar start panning it that's a great way to work, probably in the recording faces keep it all up the middle and make sure that you're recording starting up, come up together pretty nicely and mono that's a great idea. Cool. Thank you gave me a great idea I'm gonna do that on my next record will done matt anderson. Another one here from m two letters who says graham when I q and mano I take the stereo signal and I send both signals left and right toe one mano speaker instead of hitting the mono button and my dog sometimes it sounds better but why what happens really when I hit that mano but and what is it doing um I mean in theory sending it all to a simple mano speaker is actually more real mano than what we're doing here we're in the monos button we're basically telling the speakers to play the exact same thing out of both speakers so ignore the panning and so then it creates a phantom image in the middle where it sounds like it's all coming out of the middle I don't that makes sense so in practice again I'm not I'm not that smart so I don't I don't spend too much time worrying about is it real mono or not real mano all they want to do is use mano as a hack to make it harder for me to wake you so I will make sure did I hit the mono button which is going to take the stereo images collapse it for second in the middle and mess with that? I don't need a separate monta speaker to do that no because if I turn off one of the monitors that I'm going to hear this stuff though is coming on the right so the guitar that I painted the left I won't ever hear it all I was thinking if you didn't do any painting if you didn't leave any planning, it would be in my suggested before it didn't do any painting it would be a mano yeah and then yeah, just one speaker um but just is easy to if there's no painting it's just that we already have a mano signal so I don't I don't I guess maybe that's really the question I don't need it to literally be one speaker I just need the the frustration of hearing all the tracks on top of each other that makes sense. Yeah, another mano question here will listening and mono reveal the phase issues? Yes, that's a secondary bonus for for listening back and mono and I'm this is a huge problem just mixed a record where they might was a live album they recorded a worship service at a church and they had miked up a bunch of stuff and I guess a couple of their electric guitars were stereo might I don't it was too much two microphones on one cabinet or if it was this a simulator that had stereo effects but whatever it wass a couple of electric guitars sounded cool and stereo, but he folded to mano the guitars disappeared are they sounded really thin? It reveals when you've got phase issues so I your drums are a huge problem if you have multitrack drums like here where we have overheads and then you know, top and bottom snare mike and kick drum there all point the mikes are pointing a different directions. So when you collapse that tamano, it reveals where there's some things need to be flipped. The phase needs to be inverted. So there's, so many benefits of referencing the monaco's you hear problems go well, I didn't hear that stereo and then you could fix it. And again, if it sounds good and mano it will also sound good stereo but the river it's not always true. That makes sense. Yeah, makes sense. All right, so we know send me e mails about questions about that if you have him talk a lot about it on my web site because I'm a huge advocate of mixing amano, it will help you out a lot, eventually going to flip back to stereo. But do your hardy queuing in mono and you'll? You have much better results related to that once a man mano the second principle, the second half is to mix like a mom. Okay, I stole this from my friend kevin ward. There's a great mixing engineer, you should check out his stuff to mix coach dot com I'll give him a little plug. I stole this from him because he talked about he said it in a certain way and I was like, wow, this is a great concept because in essence, is what I've been doing but he says, and I do this without thinking about is when I flipped it to mono and I'm listening at everything, everything it's all collapsed it's all hard to hear. I try to think like I'm the mom of every band member, okay, so I for a moment, I have to do wanted a time, so I'll listen to it in modern pretend I'm the mom of the drummer and I want to make the mom just wants to hear her kid, I want to hear my son or I want to hear my daughter, so for a moment, I want to make sure can you hear the drums? You know? And I'll do that in this case, like we're talking about a cruise to guitar, how to really e q it I would listen as the mom of acoustic guitar player and see if I'm here the acoustic guitar. I would be irritated mom, right now because I cannot hear that accused the guitar, and so I need to make sure that either turn it up in volume or the you must not be right because I can't hear it. Everything is drowning it out, and I go down the line mix like a mom on the mom of the lead guitar player, on the mom of the bass player, on the mom of the background vocalist. Now, the caveat is the mom probably wants her kid to be the loudest thing in the mix that's not what I'm saying because you can't have that random accused to guitar or that random harmony vocal, the loudest thing in the mix because it's not the most important I mean, no mom knows that every mom, thanks for kid, is the most important kid, but you need to think like a mom too. At least make sure that you've systematically going down the line for every track and make sure you can actually hear it if you focused for a moment and ignored everything else can I hear everything? If the answer is yes, good, but still something they're going I have important over others, so it's not about. Everything is allowed to set just if it for a moment on the mom of the organ player and I can't hear the organ and what's the point of having in track it's either not important going to cut it and that mom's going to be disappointed or we need to make sure that we get the that organ right, so she goes, oh yeah, I hear the organ here, my kids and that's all you need so it's a system for me to go down the line mentally instead of you two, and you might have the right to just turn up the volume or exactly it could be just a volume problem, so you know if your initial mix through, like, if you're like me and you like to do a mix without a plug ins for a while and get some initial settings of your volume, if that sounded good, but then as you're mixing any q and you find that e q alone isn't fixing the problem, it could just be sometimes I'll spin for every killing, a bass guitar, and then I realized, I just need to turn it up three tv, and that sounds better, you know, so it sometimes it is just a valium thing. In this in this example, let's, think about it is an e q thing, while you're e queuing and wall, you're in mono think like a mom when you go down the line and as you bring in instruments, make sure you can still hear everything for a moment. So do a mental checklist like you might have forgotten about the bass guitar cause you mixed it an hour ago, but now you're down to the last track you got from them for a moment. Can I still feel the base the right way and that's all I do that makes sense makes like a mom. It helps. Um, ok, third hack is subtracted beat you if you take away something from this course, take away that subtracted the queue for the wind. Pretend as much as you can like you can't even bustan thank you. I'm not opposed to boosting and you see, you know god boosts all over this mix, but that's not what I reached four first I would rather you pretend like all antique you can do is turn down or get rid of bad frequencies. If you think like that first, you will benefit because you will then reach to cut first and you will start clearing up space will be getting rid of the nastiness, which is goingto allow you to hear the good stuff in your track, it's going to give you more head room on your master fader, which is going to give you more clear sounding mix on ly positive things can come from subtracted que so think of subtracted the q first I have no problem with boosting a little bit then, but most people I think, think about boosting first, what can I boost to make it sound better? And I want to get you to think the opposite subtracted. Thank you pretty simple is not really much to explain there, but if you take away something, take away that that that will make a huge difference in your mixes. And I, for the longest time I had professors tell that to me class using e q to cut first rather than boosting and always thought that was the silliest thing like, well, then, why doesn't let me boost? You know why I like because it is really it was really pride because it's easier to boost the mystic cut it's ways, or to think any more base will turn it up. And so I, as a young, arrogant eighteen, nineteen year old, was like, no, you don't know you're talking about, I'm going to grab any q and boost because I compose there's nothing wrong with boosting. And there's nothing wrong with boosting except for it's a lazy way to work if that's your first inclination, I would say you only help yourself by removing bad frequencies and then you start once the moment you start doing this, you start to hear like the potential of your tracks, your track might be better sounding than it and it is you just don't know because the bath stuffs covering it up, so if your kick drum, you're like, I don't like my kitchen it's probably a bad frequency covering up the good parts of your kick trump so give yourself some credit, you might as well have a good track, you just need to cut out some of the nastiness. I mean, you know, I went to nashville well, I was doing a workshop there, but I went a day early and spent some time with one of my buddies and he's like, hey, they were doing a session and I love session players and national because they will literally get together like a band and all they do is just record and they're like a killer drummer, a killer guitar player, bass player and they do this all day every day they go home at six and they hang out their families it's, it's like business it's great, they're not in a band they just play for a singer songwriter that wants a record right and they have this down to a science but if you watch the engineer on that day talk about the channel strip concept in the beginning of the day today he's got a great sunny drummer on a great sounding kit in a great sounding room with really great mikes and he still is each ewing on the way in and what was he doing he's cutting a lot of times low mid frequencies he's cutting out the stuff that doesn't sound great on the overheads so when it's recorded those drums sound great but there was already greatness there but he was removing the stuff that was covering it up in you and I had so if he has to cut stuff surely we have to cut stuff if we have a bedroom or a basement or you know a loft or some random place you're recording it's not going to be a great sounding space so you probably have frequencies that don't belong there that were in the room you know to cut him out of hand and then you tracks will probably sound better in a few guys here in the room have you done any mixing and mano it already queuing amano I got a little confused I thought I hereby the council but I thought it was like born on the single track preyed on my no no you got all mixed in confusion got it way had a follow up question come in from sergei who says would subtracted be the way to go even when getting tone out of a guitar before recording you still be using so attractive on that in the recording phase is that the question is well before recording he says, I mean, yeah, if there's something the tone that just is too much of a buildup like definitely like if the guitar sounds just really fat really thick and like I don't need this guy taught to be that thank you might as well roll off that tone up on your guitar or you're tampering there's accused on the guitar doesn't eat you on the the amp so roll off it doesn't to be there. I know guitar players, I am one we think guitar is the most important instrument in the world and be instance, we think is the most important instrument the world we want it to be is thick in full and awesome as possible and in reality a great guitar in the mix is a lot thinner than you think and we've shown that right? I mean, look at what I've done here in my guitars um I I love how thick the sound well, I love that so much, but in the mix after a cute is what they sound like a lot thinner why did they sound thin or why did I do that? Because there's a base I can't have my sweet awesome thick guitars and a thick base without it sounding money something's got to go we can all stand in the same spot in the line if it's that visual concept when we all have to find our spot and so I tell guitar players and I probably should have done this on day one but I'm just I love the guitar probably should have rolled off some of that low in on recording day and it would have had to cut out as much and mixing day but I'm a guitar player so what can I do way have some other questions here about other instruments one viewer wants to know is cutting the mids on drums always a necessity you know I tend to do it out of habit because there's always something down there to me that just doesn't sound good um but technically there could be a scenario where it's it's a perfect recording of a drum and there's no low mid buildup so no I can't say it's a necessity but do I do it all the time? You bet I do I always do and then this one comes from tracy see and they want to know do you find that you make more cuts when you seek you a piano compared to other instruments no, I don't think it's any different um it depends if the piano is the emphasis if it's like a piano ballad um I won't cut a ton out of the piano because I want the fullness of the piano it's going to probably capture the low in for me so I will leave it almost as is but if it's a piano in like a rock mix where there's a bass guitar and some other guitars that I don't need a lot of low and in the piano so I will do a lot were some track to be cuban cut out some of that stuff's all you hear and feel is the keys being hit but it's not really caring that weight so it just depends on what his role is I guess I have a question about sometimes I get a bass track that's just like I know the easiest way to fix this is ah get a better bass player, but when it just comes in like super cliquey when they're not muting their strings and whatnot and it feels like there's never enough e q in the world to get rid of that do you have a strategy for that at all? You know, get a better bass player? Yeah, I mean, you know you can help I mean, I'm not a great bass player and I play based on this track and I have a really cheap, based on playing, like a one hundred fifty dollars, squire base. And I love that thing. But one thing that's off between it and me, there's. A lot of some of that clicking this that I just wish weren't there. And so I could eat you some of it out. But part of it is just it is what it is. You know, I don't have victor boot to come in and play for me. If he did, it sound a lot better.