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Cleaning EQ

When we mix, we have to take into consideration that several instruments are sharing the same frequency space. When these spaces are too “full”, it might cause a masking effect.

To minimize this, it is very important to clean up each of the audio tracks to allow each of them to co-exist with the others.

This is where the cleaning EQ comes in.

It’s the first EQ that we put in our processing chain that allows us to reduce the unnecessary/resonant/less important frequencies in our sound source.

This is a very important first step, because it will determine the rest of our processing.

Should be your first eq on your signal path. The purpose is to remove unwanted frequencies to be able to create space/room for all your instruments in your mix.

To remove unwanted frequencies:

Step 1: Insert the EQ3-7 band on your channel strip.

Step 2: listen to your track in the context of the mix and try to identify sonic issues.

step 3: Solo your track and locate the issue when the track is playing by itself. If you found other issues while in solo, identify them.

Step 4: Identify the frequency bandwidth (Lows, Low-mids, mids, high-mids, highs)

In Pro tools, you can solo a band of frequency by holding the shortcut Shift + Control, Then click either on the frequency knob, or on the dot on the graphic

Roll the frequency parameter until you found the band of frequencies you previously identified.

if you can't find the issue right away, Don't hesitate to a/b compare, with and without the shortcut

You can also adjust the q factor (bandwidth) of the selected frequency's band

To adjust the Q factor:

use your mouse to get the pointer on the q factor of your frequency's bandwidth.

You can either use your mouse and click + drag the Q's knob to get a narrow bandwidth

Or you can use the scroll of your mouse/trackpad to adjust the q parameter

Once you’ve found the issue, you can use the sweeping EQ technique to verify if the issue was a resonant frequency.

step 1: Adjust the Q to get a narrow bandwidth

step 2: boost the frequency's gain by +6 to +12 dB

You should hear a ringing frequency, if not, adjust the frequency's parameter a little bit from the right to the left until you hear a ring.

/!\ Be careful on some sounds, those resonant frequencies appears on some part of the song, you should use a dynamic eq in this case /!\

Once you found the unwanted/resonant frequency lower the gain.

Create a small dip to tame/remove the issue.

Then bypass the frequency's band to compare with and without the process.

Unsolo your track, listen in the context of the mix and compare with and without the EQ.

Close your eyes, click on the bypass button a dozen of times, and while keeping your eyes closed, click on the bypass button. if it sounds better with the processor, you did a good job. If not, redo all steps.

It's a good exercise for your ears.

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