Recording is a fickle process.

You want a big, huge, life-changing recording, but you end up with something that sounds more messy than it does big.

How can that be?

If I add more to this song, it should get bigger and fuller, right?

Sometimes that works…sometimes.

But oftentimes we’re just adding and adding without really asking the question “Am I making this better?”

So I thought I’d share with you a few examples of how doing LESS can have a much BIGGER impact on your recordings.

Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks”

This is considered to be one of the best examples of a killer rock drum sound. But go back and listen to it. What do you notice?

A big, huge kick drum with tons of low end?

Nope.

Compared to modern recordings, the kick drum lacks a lot of low end and punch. But notice how you don’t really miss it when you listen to the song. You just want to rock out.

Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah”

This is one of my favorite recordings…ever.

And it consists of…a guy and an electric guitar.

That’s it.

But it’s his performance that draws you in. The intimacy of the vocal, the warmth of the guitar, and the lush reverb.

A full band version would have never gotten much attention. This is EXACTLY how Jeff should have recorded this song.

Joe Gilder’s “Understanding EQ

(He he he…you knew I’d sneak that in, didn’t you?)

The whole premise behind the way I teach EQ is to use it to take things away from the music, not add to it.

Just like muting a track in your mix can be more effective than adding more instruments, turning down specific problem frequencies can have a much bigger impact than turning up a bunch of “good” frequencies.

The end result? You take away the bad, and you’re left with a whole lotta good.

Now I’m not saying this is the only way to use EQ, but it works.

To give it a shot for yourself, go here:

www.UnderstandingEQ.com

  • Led Zeppelin did cool things to get drum sounds like recording drums in train stations, and also using one mic far away with a fuck-ton ov compression on it.

    But while we is on the subject ov Led Zep minimalism, one thing their producer did was put on a mix and wander down the hall from the control room while it was playing. Anything that was in the mix that he couldn’t hear down the hallway would get taken out (ov the mix) compleatly.

    • That’s an awesome idea. Just leave in the stuff that matters…love it.