Alternative EQ Tips For Improving Audio FidelityNayskii
I’m not saying you should avoid EQ entirely, but ever since I started avoiding EQ during the mixing process my audio fidelity has been dramatically improved.
There are often other solutions that work just as well as EQ without knocking your signal out of phase:
-sound selection or sound design is #1.
-composition is the next best.
-linear phase eq can work, but you’ll want to render it into the audio so you don’t generate shocking amounts of latency.
-saturation or clipping can work to bring up the highs. turn the overall level down and you’ve basically turned down the lows while retaining phase coherence.
-parallel processing can help you to bring up aspects of the signal while still having the dry, phase coherent signal remain dominant.
Filters are like EQ and can cause the same phase problems.
Multi band compression ALSO relies on eq to perform the band splits and has similar issues to EQ. Try putting 20 “dry” ableton multibands in a row. You’ll hear a disperser or all pass like effect where a kick drum starts to sound like a laser.
Now with all that said:
It is essential to avoid becoming dogmatic about ANYTHING in music production, and to get into the habit of devising little scientific tests for every hypothesis. Use oscilloscopes, copy twenty instances of a “dry” plugin to see if it’s really dry. Phase invert your “dry” chain in a wet/dry rack to see if it completely cancels the real dry signal. Then you’ll know if your “dry” is really dry… stuff like that will tell you if your ideas are correct.
You should also start exploring hard clippers like gClip, kGlip or even camel phat with the preset cleared. Much of the time a clipper will actually provide much more transparent level control than a limiter or compressor, especially when trying to retain the fidelity drum transients.
Certain sound combinations HATE being in a limiter together and cause intermodulation distortion. Try sending a long, clean 808 sub and an 808 open hat through a limiter together. This particular sound combination is a nightmare for some reason I don’t properly understand. Sending those same sounds through a clipper instead can ameliorate this issue.
Any process that has a time component or a phase component will modify the phase coherence of your transient moments, smearing them and making them lose the feeling of physicality and three dimensionality.
Test test test and do not use any mixing process because you “should”. The only reason you should process your sounds during mixing is because you can identify a problem that the process can solve.
Sound selection, composition, and most of all LEVEL is 90% of mixing. This unsexy truth does not sell plugins or mixing courses so you typically don’t learn it on YouTube but it’s the truth and it will set you free.
If you learned anything useful please consider checking out my renegade music coaching community and record label over at https://ProducerDojo.com.
Lots of love
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