It ain’t true.
The next thought that pops into your head is something like this: “Are you saying that a $900 EQ plugin isn’t any better than my stock EQ that came free with my recording software?” Nope. Not saying that at all. Just like I wouldn’t argue that a Toyota Corolla is better than a Bentley Continental. But if they’re both a stick-shift, and I don’t know how to drive stick, neither one of them is any good to me. In the same way, if you don’t know how to effectively use EQ to get the most out of your tracks, it won’t matter if you’re using stock EQ’s or EQ’s yanked directly out of Abbey Road Studios, the result will be the same. You’ll be grinding the gears, messing things up, and probably screaming at the tools. Oh, and your mixes won’t sound any better. You may not like what I’m telling you, but deep down you know I’m right. I know because I’ve been there. I’ve had those late nights. Way too many cups of coffee. Eyes burning. Teeth grinding. Almost to the point of tears from the sheer frustration of wrestling with a mix that refuses to come together. The more you tweak, the worse it sounds. Then you make a horrible decision. You open up iTunes and listen to your favorite album, and it sounds amazing. Full and rich. You switch back to your mix, and it sounds something has gone horribly wrong with your speakers. You check the cables and settings. “Nope, that’s just the way my mix sounds.” You start to wonder if you’re getting brain damage from all the times you bang your head on your desk. This was supposed to be fun. This was supposed to be a creative outlet. It feels more like a prison… Now for some good news…followed by some bad news. The good news is this: You absolutely CAN create amazing, jaw-dropping, friend-impressing mixes in a home recording studio. The bad news? It takes a lot of time to get there. Very few people set up their home studio on Sunday and have a chart-topping hit mix by the following weekend. Just like learning to play guitar, it takes time and practice. But there’s another variable you can add to the equation that can (in many cases) speed up the results considerably. What is it? Having a mentor. No, I’m not talking about weekly cups of coffee and long walks. I’m simply referring to following someone who’s gone before you. Someone who has figured a lot of this stuff out. Someone who can shorten your journey from frustrated and embarrassed to “holy smokes, did that mix come out of my studio?!”
What Goes Into a Good Mix?
Obviously there is no magic pill I could give you that would cure all your recording and mixing woes. There’s no single technique or trick that will save the day. Knowing how to use EQ well won’t solve every problem you’ll ever face in your studio. But NOT knowing how to use EQ — how to wield to to take your tracks from good to great — will absolutely prevent you from making the music you want to make in your studio.[/text_block]