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Mixdown: Comp before EQ or reverse?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by amper, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I was playing around with a rough mix of a few of our newly-cut tracks tonight, The raw tracks peak at about -3dBFS, and I was setting them up with compression first, gain-adjusted to peak just under full scale (-0.1 or so), then adding in the EQ, and again adjusting the gain to peak just under full scale, then adjusting the faders to the desired final mix level.

    Everything sounds OK so far, but does this sound like a good general practice? I left all my recording books with the on-location studio setup.

    Should I maybe EQ first, then compress? Or do something entirely different? All this is being done in Logic Pro 7. All gain adjustments are reductions--when you kick in the compressor inserts, the meter jumps *up*, which seems weird to me...

    [edit]I guess I should have mentioned that I'm just working with the drum and bass tracks right now, and my philosophy here is to nail down the dynamic signature of the instrument first, then adjust tonality with the EQ.
  2. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    I'm not sure what you mean by, "nail down the dynamic signature." Put the compression where it sounds good, or where it does its job best if you're looking to limit peaks. No really hard-fast rules in mixing, just whatever works. Generally, I find that depending on the tone I'm after, the instrument recorded, the plugin or hardware I'm using, and whether or not certain stars are in alignment, or out at all, a compressor could end up anywhere in the signal chain. Helpful, huh? :D

    What you're doing sounds fine, as long as it sounds good to you. Don't fix it if it ain't broke, unless you like monkeying endlessly with tracks (I know I do sometimes ;) )
  3. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    In general, I've always been taught that it's better to EQ after compression, since radical EQing can affect the compressor in an unwanted way (for example, too much bass boost could cause more pumping on the compressor. If you want more bass, it's generally better to get the dynamics under control and then add EQ)... but, there are no rules. If it sounds good, then it's good. :)
  4. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    On my bass tracks I usually compress first and EQ last, but like jabber said, there is no hard and fast rule and you really should just see what sounds best. Spending an hour playing with different methods is more educational than a whole day of reading opinions on the internet IMO.

    Also, don't rule out plugins and hardware that isn't specifically a compressor. Bass doesn't always need a ton of compression at the mixing stage (especially if you're applying a multiband on the master channels), and often things like a SABDDI give just enough at mix time. I've also had good luck with Sonar PE's tape sim plugin.