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EXPLAINING COMPLIMENTARY EQ TECHNIQUES

December 23, 2018

BY CJ JACOBSON

Have you ever wondered how some audio engineers can mix a song and have each instrument sound clear and in its own frequency field? Its because there were strategic cuts and boost with different Q levels to eliminate 2 instruments taking up the same frequency field in a mix. This process is called 'Complimentary EQ Techniques' and it leads to a clearer mix. Most mixes you hear have had this done in the mixing stage.


You do this technique when you have 2 different instruments taking up the same frequency field, like the bass and kick drum or the vocals and piano.

For this example, I will use the most common scenario, the bass guitar and kick drum. Lets say you boost the bass guitar at 200hZ by 1.8dB with a Q setting of 2.2,  you should not boost the kick drum at the same frequency range. You should actually cut the kick drum at 200hZ with the same Q setting. The amount you cut depends on how it sounds. Just dial it in until you are happy with the sound. This makes the 2 instruments coexist together in harmony in the mix and makes for a clearer and transparent mix.


So you basically do the opposite of what you do to the other track that is in the same frequency field. Easy cheesy, right?