You’ve probably heard the phrase “carve out a space in the mix for each instrument” before.

It’s kind of a vague phrase, and I’ll admit I’ve used it quite a bit here on Home Studio Corner. So today, I want to explain it in a bit more detail, and give you three steps to actually use an EQ to carve out space in the mix for your instrument.

But first lets talk briefly about why that’s important.

If you have a song with 24 tracks of maybe 12 different instruments, there are a lot of sounds competing for your ear’s attention. If you don’t use any EQ, then there’s a good chance that there will be a lot of build-up, especially in the low mid frequencies.

Each instrument has it’s own range that it likes to “live” in, and by using EQ effectively, you can give each instrument it’s own space in the frequency range.

How do we do that? Well, let me share with you three steps to use an EQ to give each instrument it’s own space.

1. Wide boost, sweep across the entire range.

The first thing you need to do is pull up an EQ on a particular track. Next, use one of the frequency bands, and do a nice, wide boost. Something like six to ten DB should work.

Now sweep that boost across the entire range of the instrument, and listen to what it sounds like at the different frequencies.

2. Identify important AND unimportant frequencies.

As you’re sweeping the EQ across the range, identify which frequencies are the most important to this instrument, and also which frequencies are the least important or the most harmful to your mix. A word of advice: don’t trust your first instinct.

Sometimes, it may seem correct to boost 250 Hz on a particular instrument, when in fact, it was actually 500 Hz that you needed to boost.

3. Combine HPF with EQ cuts.

Aside from cutting problem frequencies, it’s also a good idea to remove excess low end from most of your tracks. These simple steps can help you get a nice, clean mix with all of the instruments working together.

Removing excess low end plus removing certain problem frequencies are the keys to getting a nice, balanced mix.

How do you carve out space in your mixes with EQ?

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