EQ BEFORE OR AFTER COMP? MASTERING CHAIN TIP

 

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Welcome back. I'm Streaky. Today, I'm going to answer one of the most asked questions I get on Q and A's which I did last Friday. Thanks for turning up those people that did. In fact, it was Monday, not Friday. Where is my life going with this lockdown? But this question is about my mastering chain. What comes first, EQ or Compressor? So, by the end of this video, you will know exactly where to put the EQ or Compressor. Does one come before the other? What is the point of putting one before the other? But because it's Monday, I want to keep this brief and quick, because you've got to get on with your life, working week and all that. So it's a little, two minutes. Let's see if I can stop shouting and actually condense what I've got to say into two minutes. That'll be a challenge in itself, but this is how I approach the mastering chain.

Right. Let's set the timer off. Okay. Off we go. So my approach to setting up my mastering chain is exactly the way I've always done it when I had hardware. I like to keep things in order so that it doesn't change all the time. I don't change the sound I get consistent finish. So if you are in the box, it's the same as if you're out of the box too. And you can obviously have a mixture of the two, but that doesn't answer the question. Does EQ come first or compression? Okay. Well, compressors, I tend to use more for flavor. So usually, the first thing I go into is something just tube-y to warm things up, to get things going. Then I go into an EQ, which is going to be a broader EQ to flatten the sound out. Something like a BAX or something where it's just like a PULTEC or something where I can just really wide bells. I can lift up the top or the bottom just to get some shapes.

What I'm doing first of all, is I'm getting color, I’m getting shape into it. Once I've got that basic part done, then I'll go into a more detailed EQ to do anything that needs taking out. So I'll have an EQ there. Then I'll probably go into a compressor just to push it all together to get a gluey sound. Because I liked that. But then I'll have an EQ after that to open it up again. So I might've brought it all down with a compressor like that and then open it up with an EQ afterwards. And then I might go into a multi-band if I need to. Just to tighten up areas or maybe a de-esser at the top.

And then if that has taken too much off, then I'll go in with another EQ to counteract that. But when I say I go into all these things, I don't do that on every single track. You shouldn't do that on every track. You do what the track needs. So the point of the matter is it doesn't matter if you've got one before or after the other. Usually, I've got an EQ after a compressor because the compressors push the sound together. So I really want to open that up before I go into the final limiter, because that's always the thing at the end of the chain. I want it nice and open. I want the dynamics there because I'm hitting a limiter, which is essentially a compressor right at the end. So that's going to push the sound down. So, before I get into that, I want to make sure that I've got it nice and spiky with some EQ.

So to sum it up, go into an EQ to get the balance right, just to get the top and the bottom to balance off really wide shelving EQ. Then go into something, maybe to warm it up, just to get a more of a sound. And then I'll go into another EQ to really strip the areas that I want to do more detailed EQ. Then I'll go into a compressor to take all that stripiness and pull it all together. And then I might need to go into another EQ to open it up. That's essentially in and out, in and out, in and out. So, I hope I've done that in two minutes (probably not). Please like this video if you want more stuff like this. I hope that's helped you in some way with your mastering chain this week, when you're mastering your own music, or if you're mastering for someone else. Make sure you watch the video that's coming up next. It's me mastering a basic set up for you and I'll see you on the next video. Cheers for watching. Bye.

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