All EQs are the same, right? The only thing it should be doing is altering the amplitude, or loudness, of certain frequencies.
The problem is that when you increase or decrease the amplitude of certain parts of the spectrum, there are loads of things to keep in mind! Q (band width), shape, and gain amount are standard parameters of EQs, but there’s more to it than that.
One of the most popular EQs, the Fabfilter Pro-Q2, is fantastic. It looks great, it’s super responsive (you can just grab the spectrum anywhere and drag as needed!), but that’s actually one of its greatest pitfalls. It’s almost TOO easy to see the spectrum and adjust, to the point that you’re mixing with your eyes instead of your ears, and before you know it, you’re introducing phase to your track through excessive mid-side EQing.
The bottom line is… I just don’t like the sound I get when EQing with the Pro-Q2.
It could be because I always forget to enable natural or linear phase mode, but I just don’t find the result of the Pro-Q2 to sound natural for small changes, and lately, I’ve been gradually using the Pro-Q2 less and less.
Instead, I’ve been using the WAVES Q10 EQ! The spectrum analyzer is left blank, which completely eliminates the “mixing with your eyes” problem. I also find that the way the bandwidths adjust to be extremely natural sounding, and reminiscent of hardware EQs. I have found that the Q10 sounds clean and natural, even when making large cuts, and thanks to Alex Tumay, I’ve been using it on my vocals nonstop for cutting.
If I’m not using the Q10, I’m using the API 560 (usually not for cutting vocals). I’ve been able to gain outrageous control over my midrange with the 500hz slider – I use this for pianos, background vocals, and especially synths. I also love what the API 560 does to the sub, when adjusting the 30hz area. I just can’t get enough of this EQ when slotting (kick and bass, or vocals and piano).
I’ve tried tons of EQ plugins, both free and otherwise, and the Q10 and the API 560 are currently my favorites. If you find that you’re doing damage with your EQ, try keeping these things in mind:
-Large changes to the audio spectrum may cause phase issues (conflicting soundwaves)
-Use wider Qs than you think!
-Don’t micro-cut excessively. If you’re finding yourself using 10 different cuts on a single EQ, you’re probably overlooking a simpler, more effective solution.
Try slotting your kick and bass together with the API and let me know what you think! Shoot me a DM @mastr.productions