Have you seen the movie “The Waterboy” with Adam Sandler?
It’s a silly movie.
Bobby Boucher wants to play college football, but his mama tells him that “foosball is the devil!”
Well, today you need to imagine me with a thick Louisiana bayou accent (I grew up in Mississippi, so that shouldn’t be too hard for you) saying, “Boosting with EQ is the devil!”
Now, I think Bobby’s Mama was wrong about “foosball,” but I’m right about EQ.
Mixing can be tough. No doubt about it.
But a common tendency among beginners is to use EQ to “add to” the sound.
They think EQ is meant to be used to:
- add more bass and warmth and “punch” (by boosting the lows)
- add more “presence” to the track (by boosting the mids)
- add more “air” to the track (by boosting the highs)
Add, add, add.
Boost, boost, boost.
You end up with MORE than what you started with.
In my opinion, the best way to mix is to start with a bunch of tracks and start TAKING THINGS AWAY. (Think of it as a sculpture.)
It’s already a challenge to get all the tracks to blend together nicely. Why make it even MORE challenging by boosting frequencies, thereby adding MORE sound into the song?
You’re working against yourself.
More cuts, less boosts.
Boosts aren’t always bad, but if that’s your go-to EQ move, you might want to re-think your approach.
Cutting is the way to go, but only if you do it right. Otherwise, you might as well be boosting.
To learn my non-boosting, devil-free approach to EQ, hop on your fan boat and skim on over to:
I got this email a couple days ago, and it was just too cool not to share with you.
Michael (one of my customers) wrote:
Understanding EQ changed my whole world a few months ago, I have started Understanding Compression this week and the quality of my mixes has taken a giant leap. My friends and clients have been letting me know I’m on the right track.
You know what’s so cool about this email? The thing that fills me with warm fuzzies?
The fact that Michael’s friends and clients are noticing a difference.
Wanna know why that’s cool?
Because friends and clients are usually completely oblivious to the recording process. They don’t care about compressor ratios and EQ curves. They don’t care about muddy-ness or crossfades.
They just know when something sounds GOOD.
They know if they would actually voluntarily listen to in the car on a road trip.
Why? Because the technical stuff (the recording, the mix) isn’t getting in the way. Nobody cares if you used parallel compression on the drums. They just know whether the drums make ‘em wanna dance or not.
Your job is to get out of the way.
If you’re doing your job, the average listener will be able to listen to the MUSIC and not the recording.
Now I’m not one to say my training videos are “world-changing,” but I seem to get a lot of emails like the one above. People are having lots of “ah-ha!” moments. Their recordings are getting better, and they’re having more fun.
To learn how to “get out of the way” with compression, clicky-click here:
Do your mixes sometimes sound like poo?
Guess what? You’re completely normal.
Thinking you should never make bad mixes (especially if you’re just starting out) is like telling my 1-year-old son Owen that he should never fall flat on his face.
It just happens. (more…)
How about a little Q&A for ya?
QUESTION: I want to know how to make my music sound good on many systems (computer speakers, car stereos, etc.). A lot of times my music doesn’t sound good in my car but sounds terrific on my studio monitors and headphones. Commercial music seems to sound good anywhere. What are they doing that I’m not? (more…)
I made up a word.
It’s a cross between “mono” and “terrific.”
…or perhaps “horrific.”
It depends on how you look at mixing in mono.
If you believe mono kills your mixes, makes them sound lame, flat and boring, I’ve got news for you.
Mono’s not the problem. (more…)
Here are some of the top compression mistakes that I’ve come across.
If you’re guilty of any (or all) of these, don’t worry. I am, too.
Here are five compression mistakes that keep even us “smart” folks stuck.
1. Waiting until the end of the mix to add compression to the mix bus.
This is the easiest way to unravel a great mix. If you want to compress the entire mix (which is totally fine to do), make sure you add the compressor to your mix bus EARLY in the process.
Then make all your mix decisions while listening to the mix THROUGH that compressor. (more…)
Got this email yesterday:
Hey Joe, this is Josh Herring (I’m part of your Mix With Us community). I read your recent email regarding creating a portfolio and I was looking for some advice. Is it something tangible like a CD and a business card or is it a website that you try to promote online? I would like to start putting mine together but I don’t know where to start.
Thanks for your time, Mix With Us is awesome! Just thought I’d throw that in there.
Thanks Josh. Great question.
I tend to lean more towards a website (or at least some form of digital solution), just because I’m normally interacting with people over email. (more…)
I mentioned this on Facebook the other day. It’s kind of humorous, AND there’s a lesson here for all of us.
Here’s an email I got from one of my subscribers:
You send these emails, but I think you’re just looking to make some cash. How do I do the same? I offer to do recording, mixing, mastering for free but no takers. Any advice?
And here’s a summary of my response: (more…)