Home Recording Mixing Frequency Decisions - dummies

By Jeff Strong

When you start the process of mixing your home recording tracks you need to make decisions regarding which frequencies to boost and which ones to cut. Here’s a good trick to use when initially trying to decide which frequencies to boost or cut:

  1. Solo the track(s) you’re working on by clicking the Solo button in the track’s channel strip and set your parametric EQ to a narrow Q setting (a high number).

  2. Turn the boost all the way up (turn the EQ knob all the way to the right) and sweep the frequency setting as you listen (to sweep, just turn the EQ knob’s frequency dial to the left and right).

  3. Notice those areas where the annoying or pleasing sounds are located.

    This can help you better understand the frequencies that your instrument produces.

  4. After you find a frequency to adjust, experiment with the Q setting to find the range that produces the best sound and then adjust the amount of boost or cut to where it has the effect that you want.

After you determine the frequencies that you want to work with, do your EQing to the individual track while the instrument is in the mix (not soloed). You’re trying to make that instrument fit as well as possible with the rest of the instruments, and to do this, you need to know how your instrument sounds in relation to all the stuff (music) going on around it.

When making adjustments in EQ, your goal is to make all the tracks blend as well as possible. In some instances, this means making some radical EQ moves. Don’t be afraid to do whatever it takes to make your mix sound good, even if this means having cuts or boosts as great as 12dB.