There is a common misunderstanding about EQ (equalization) and its practical use. So often I see live and studio engineers making very harsh boosts to a channel (or track in recording), and I think to myself how much farther they would be if they just CUT OUT bad frequencies rather than boost other ones. I am not the first to write about this, nor will I be the last, but my explanation is here. All sounds have some tonal properties which make them what they are. When I arrive to mix either an album or a live concert, one of the first things I do is listen to what I can TAKE AWAY from a particular instrument. I usually identify them one source at a time. The resonant, or poking out frequency is the first thing I'll attack. Some will argue with me, "but that's the fundamental of that sound!" - stay with me, remember I mix with my ears, not from a theory book. By first identifying that frequency with a BOOST in the suspected area, then immediately after, I'll flip, and CUT that frequency with a parametric eq. What begins to happen is like magic. Usually after pulling out 1 or 2 of these "overpowering" or dominant frequencies, the source comes alive the way you've dreamt it should. The source feels like it's been set free from the boomy dungeons of audio Mordor. This is what I do in my mixes 95% of the time. Once I have those pokey areas cleaned up, now on a seperate vintage modelled Neve, Pultec, or API EQ (UAD or Universal Audio is my go to here), I will, on occasion, ADD a touch of boost to a particular area. So on a vocal, that might be around 4-12 Khz, on an acoustic, that might be around 6-8 KHz, on a bass, once I've pulled out the usual problem areas, (keep your eye out for 110-120 HZ), a slight boost at 60 Hz might be perfect. On electric guitar, once you've cut out the harshness correctly with a tight Q (many times around 2.2-3.3 KHz) then a slight BOOST around 4 KHz or other can be just what the audioctor ordered. if you're looking for character, using a vintage EQ to slightly BOOST a frequency, can many times give you oodles of character, and give it 'that' sound. Starting with subtracting in your EQ habits will take you you to places you've never been before if all you've ever done is boosted. You'll find once you've set the source free from the resonant problem areas, that the sparkle is back and it really can shine and speak the way you want it to in a mix.
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