Nothing can be more frustrating than a badly mixed track. You have all the elements in place, but it doesn’t sound right. As a musician or music producer, you know that having a balanced mix is crucial. It’s the final stage of the music-making process that gives your music a professional touch. One of the most important tools you can use to achieve a balanced mix is equalization.

In this post, we’ll look at equalization techniques and tips to help you get your mixes to sound balanced and professional. Start with a clean slate. It’s important to record your tracks before you start to EQ your tracks properly. Ensure they’re well balanced, the levels are set correctly, and there is no unwanted background noise. This gives you a clean slate to EQ your tracks.

RELATED: Get Vince DiPasquale’s New Course, Science of Sound: Equalization >

Understand frequency ranges: Knowing and understanding the different ranges is key in EQ. Low frequencies are between 20Hz and 250Hz, mid frequencies are between 250Hz and 4kHz, and high frequencies are between 4kHz and 20kHz. Each frequency range has a distinct sound that can be used to shape your tracks.

Know what to cut and what to boost: One of the most important things to know when EQing is what to cut and what to boost. For example, if you’re working with a guitar track, you might want to cut the lower frequencies to reduce bass rumble or boost mid-range frequencies to make it sound more present.

Keep things subtle: It can be tempting to go crazy with EQ to make something stand out, but it’s best to keep things subtle. You don’t want to change a track drastically, as it can throw off the entire mix. Try making small adjustments and listening to how they affect the overall sound of the mix.

Use EQ in context: EQing in context means EQing your tracks in the context of the entire mix. You want to ensure that each track sounds good on its own but also fits well with the other instruments in the mix.
Use subtractive and additive EQ techniques: subtractive EQ means removing frequencies that don’t contribute to the overall sound, while additive EQ means boosting frequencies that contribute to the overall sound. Using a combination of both techniques can help you achieve a well-balanced mix.

Prioritize instruments: You want to ensure that your most important instrument is prioritized in the mix. For example, if you’re working on a vocal track, you’ll want to prioritize it over the other instruments in the mix and ensure it’s given enough space to shine.

Use EQ to fix problem areas: There will always be problem areas in a mix that need fixing. Whether it’s a harsh frequency or a muddy bass, using EQ can help you fix these problems and make your mix sound more professional.

Don’t overdo it: As mentioned before, it’s important to keep things subtle. Don’t overdo the EQ, or you’ll end up with an unnatural mix.

Check your mix in different environments: It’s important to check your mix in different environments, such as in your car, on headphones, or on speakers. This way, you can hear how the mix sounds in different contexts.

EQ is an essential tool for achieving a balanced mix. By understanding different frequency ranges, knowing what to cut and what to boost, using subtractive and additive EQ techniques, and keeping things subtle, you can achieve a professional-sounding mix that stands out. But remember, the key to achieving a balanced mix is to listen carefully and experiment.

You can play around with different EQ settings until you find what works for your tracks and always remember to check your mix in different environments.

RELATED: Get Vince DiPasquale’s New Course, Science of Sound: Equalization >