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Equalisation, Dispelling Myths and Avoiding Common Errors

Articles BASIC AUDIO Series

This series of elementary level articles branded as BASIC is designed for amateur sound engineers seeking to increase their awareness and competence in the mixing and in theaudio recording in general.

With a focus on equalisation, in this short article we will explore some key concepts and dispel some common myths, providing a solid foundation for those wishing to further their knowledge and skills in this fascinating area of music production.

Equalisation Objectives in Mixing

Equalisation is a crucial artistic and technical process in music mixing. It serves to make each element of the mix distinctive and clear, improving the overall harmony of the track. This includes the preventive correction of unwanted resonances and the adaptation of each sound source to specific frequency bands, to ensure that it occupies its own tonal space in the mix, without masking the others too much.

Dispelling Common Myths

  1. 'More EQ is Better'Excessive EQ can create an overloaded and unnatural mix. It is essential to use EQ in moderation and with a well-defined purpose. More selective and deeper purposeful interventions require in-depth knowledge and experience.
  2. 'EQ Can Solve Everything': EQ can improve some aspects of an imperfect recording, but it cannot compensate for a poor quality initial recording. The search for optimal sound always starts at the source.

Common Errors in Equalisation

  1. Excessive Use of EQ: An overly invasive EQ can significantly alter the original character of the sound. The aim is to improve in clarity and tonal progressiveness, not to radically transform (unless special effects are sought).
  2. Neglecting the Context of the MixIt is essential to consider how each modification fits into the overall mix to ensure that each element integrates harmoniously.
  3. Unreliable Monitoring: One of the biggest challenges in mixing is making sure that what you hear is an accurate representation of the sound. A mixing environment with inadequately treated acoustics, unreliable audio monitors and wrong positioning of the listening point can lead to wrong decisions in terms of EQ and sound in general.


For more on equalisation

For a detailed discussion of equalisation and mixing techniques, the Digital Audio Mixing Manual (Best seller on Amazon in December 2023) is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to hone their digital audio skills.

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