My 1-year-old son Owen loves this cartoon turtle movie we found on Netflix.
It’s about the life of this cute little baby sea turtle, and the moral of the story is that everybody needs a little “nudge” in the right direction from time to time.
Lucky for the turtles, they have instincts that tell them what to do. As soon as they’re born they head out to sea, somehow automatically “knowing” what they’re supposed to do.
Not so with us humans…at least when it comes to using EQ.
It’s really hard to know where to start. You may understand the concept of EQ, and you may know that you NEED to use EQ on a particular track, but you just don’t know what frequencies to start with.
Do you cut the mids first? Boost the highs, boost the lows? And how the heck do you decide which frequency to boost or cut?
So you bravely grab an EQ band and you boost the crap out of it. Then you sweep it up and down, looking diligently for that “offending frequency.” What you discover is that ALL the frequencies sound bad when you boost them like that. So you end up randomly cutting frequencies because you think they sound bad when boosted.
But are you cutting the right ones?
How do you know?
I’ll start with the less popular answer — It takes time.
The more time you spend with EQ, the more comfortable you get with identifying frequencies and learning how to manipulate them properly. The best thing you can do to learn how to use EQ well is to use EQ all the time. Finish lots of mixes. Put in the time.
BUT…I know first-hand that having some sort of starting point can be just the thing to help nudge you in the right direction. (Otherwise, you’re just playing a fun game of “Twister” with all the EQ knobs.)
So, in an effort to help nudge all you cute little mixing sea turtles in the right direction, I created a bonus video for my Understanding EQ customers called “My Go-To Frequencies,” where I share with you the specific frequencies I tend to go to first when I’m working on a particular track.
You can grab it here:
There’s no shortcut. You still have to put in the work and train your ears, but at least you’ll have a solid place to start.
And as always (let’s say it together, class) USE YOUR EARS!