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A simple EQ question.

I hope it's okay to post a mixing question here. I have been around RO a while so I'm not trolling.

So I'm mixing(my own stuff).

The beginning of the song is just voice and a guitar, I leave in a fair bit of low end, so it's not all thin and pasty. I want to hear the fullness of both as they stand on their own.

Then later on in the song, as bass and kit come in, I dial back some of that bottom end in the voice and guitar so they don't compete with the bottom end of the kit and bass.

Does that make sense? Is it a fairly standard practice? Is there something in there that would make it a bad idea?

Thanks folks



Cucco Mon, 09/11/2006 - 07:29
Yo Keith -

This is always one of the toughest things to get right in a mix. Too much in the 200 Hz realm and the mix gets muddy...not enough and it's thin and strident.

My tendancies are to not cut the lower portion of the voice. Since we (humans) are VERY familiar with the sound of voice, altering it much will be quite obvious. As for the guitar...tough to say. If there's a lot of LF stuff there, it might make sense to reign it in throughout the entire mix.

Anyway, perhaps a long-sustain compression on voice might be enough to bring the vox to the front of the mix and keep it from competing too much with the LF stuff from the bass and drums. In general, I'm finding that a lot of folks are mixing the vox too low in the mix nowadays (unless the engineer is the vocalist...then it's usually way TOO much) - don't be afraid to bring it forward in the mix. My comfort level tells me:

Bring it up in the mix to the exact point at which I'm comfortable with it and then take it up roughly 1 dB more. This usually puts the vocal right in front where it should be instead of burying it.

As for EQ settings - when someone brings me a track which has a vocal part which is too far back in the mix, I do one of a few things:

1 - MS processing and then use that to bring out the voice (not usually by pulling up the fader - this would make the whole mix collapse a bit. Instead, I usually EQ the appropriate part with a gentle Q to get the vox out just a little).

2 - EQ the fundamentals - for male vox, this can range anywhere between upper 200's and mid 400s and females can range anywhere from upper 300s to 750 or so. (Be careful...too much boost here can cause serious muddiness or bloating.)

3 - EQ the harmonics - particularly the higher frequency ones. Doing so will bring out a bit more intelligibility of the vox. If done too much, it can make the whole mix quite strident, so care must be used to get that delicate balance. Usually the center frequency falls between 7kHz and 12 kHz.

Cheers (y)


Zilla Mon, 09/11/2006 - 09:40
took-the-red-pill wrote: ... beginning of the song..I leave in a fair bit of low end, so it's not all thin and pasty.... later on in the song, as bass and kit come in, I dial back some of that bottom end in the voice and guitar ...Is it a fairly standard practice?

Pretty standard, really. In the old analog console days engineers would dedicate several channel strips just to lead vocal. Each channel would be preset and muted/unmuted for different sections of a song.