I thought a discussion would be in order, considering that most of us will often use both.
Accordingly, I thought it would be interesting to see what our members think, and how you approach the order of EQ and Compression in a mix...
The discussion doesn't need to be limited to just the track level, or just the bus level.
So...do you generally Compress first? Or, EQ first?
My own answer is... it depends.
On a bus level, say for example, a drum kit bus, if there are particular frequency transients that tend to jump out, I don't want the compressor to focus on or react to just those frequencies, so I prefer to EQ first, leveling out potentially problematic frequencies first, so that the compressor is reacting to "the whole" as opposed to the parts of the whole, and in setting that order, that isn't reacting to just those problem transients alone.
But... there are also many times I prefer to compress first, grabbing any and all possible problem transients before the signal hits the EQ, leveling out the track first, so that I can fine tune it with EQ afterwards.
Generally, I'll first consider what part of the signal I don't like frequency-wise, and what frequencies
I may want to attenuate before the signal is compressed. If there's a particular frequency that I don't like, I'll work the EQ first, that way the compressor's threshold won't be triggered by those frequencies that I'll likely end up getting rid of anyway.
Although - there are many occasions where I prefer to compress first, where it can kind of "firm up" the dynamics of the track before it goes to the EQ, and it also often gives me an indication of what type of EQ the track will need.
So... what say you?
Are there particular scenarios that dictate which you use first?
Or do you always use the same order?