Welcome back. I'm Streaky. Today, I'm going to give you my top five EQ mistakes that I see people making on YouTube and on their own mixes. So the reason I'm talking about EQ today is because if you're a regular viewer of mine, then you will know that if I hit 50K before the 25th of December, I'm on about 36 now, then I will be giving this away to a lucky subscriber. So make sure you all subscribe and ring the bell, because if I hit 50K, they will go to someone that is in the comments on the video that I make, giving that away.
Anyway, back to today. So EQ is one of the main things that we all do. I'm essentially an EQ Ninja because my main task in my job is to EQ. Know exactly what to do when and where. I've spent about 25 years refining my IQ technique so that I can then come onto YouTube and give it all away to you for free.
So what are they? Number 1 is low cut. Now, when you're mixing, doing some low cuts is a good thing, but when you're mastering or on your mix bus low cut isn't a good thing because essentially let's talk about low cuts for mixing first of all. Yes, low cuts are good because you can get them in. You can basically manipulate the sound. So if you've got a vocal or something, you're going to do a low cut on it. So it hasn't got a load of stuff getting in the way of the bass and muddling up that lower end area. But when it comes to on your mix bus or in mastering, having a low cut on there essentially means that you're going to be taking away from the bass and from the kick.
Now you really going to notice it on the kick. And if you haven't got big chunky speakers where you can hear the sub, you can hear the kicks going on, you might be doing a low cut and then what's going to happen is a lot of people cut about 40Hz. I wouldn't cut anywhere higher than probably 20Hz. And that's because I can hear that low. I can hear how it's affecting the top end. By putting a cut in, it's going to make them the mids come out more, which is what people used to do in the olden days when they cut vinyl. But these days you really want to leave that low end in there. So people tend to cut 40Hz, big no-no for me. So that is mistake number one.
Now mistake number 2 that I see happen all the time is that people talk about cutting. Number two. Now what I see a lot on YouTube, especially is people giving advice on doing loads and loads of cuts. Now again, when you're mixing on individual tracks, doing cuts is okay to do, because that's all about making space for other instruments. When it comes to mastering or on your mix bus doing crazy big cuts or big sweeping cuts is not a great idea because what you're better off doing is boosting rather than cutting. Because if you're boosting, you're adding some juice, you're adding some flavor of the EQ. You're not necessarily just taking away all the time. Now you can do some little cuts here and there, which will then make a little bit more room. But I prefer just to boost a little bit on each side, say, and then let the actual curve of the boost be the subtraction itself. Try to tend to boost more than you cut.
Step number 3, you're doing too much. Usually, it's because people can't hear what they're doing. So they end up adding say 6 to 10 dB of EQ in certain areas. Problem that happens here is as soon as you add loads in one area, you've got add loads in another area, and then that goes on and on and on. And before you know it, that sounds really colored and you've just got too much EQ happening. I know you're doing really at the end. It's you've just ended up turning it up. But with the EQ out, you don't really want to be doing that. You want to just do little subtle EQ tweaks here and there, because what that does is that does compound over each bit of equipment you do. And as you gain stage up through various different bits of equipment, then those little touches really build into something big, rather than just doing a massive sweep on 1 EQ, that's just really messy and it's just not the right way to behave. It will just overprocess things. And you won't get a good sounding mix by doing that. So little tweaks in more places rather than big tweaks in one place.
Step number 4 is M/S EQ. Now M/S EQ is complete buzzword. Everyone talks about M/S EQ. That's obviously the trick that all mastering engineers do. M/S EQ is, yeah, whether you're just using M/S all the time. Well, I'm not basically. And nor should you be, because the problem is with M/S is pretty radical, is pretty dangerous stuff in the wrong hands, especially. But again, going back to the previous issue is people tend to overdo it. So they'll put too much M/S EQ on. Now, if you don't know what M/S EQ is, M S stands for mid and sides. And so what will you've got any information that's happening in the middle is the mid and anything that's happening on the outside, this reverb-y stuff or things that are just panned really wide. That is the sides.
So what tends to happen is people over EQ. So it really brings the mids out and then it, or they'll really make things super wide and then it gets all phase and weird. And that around your head feel is what phases. So you've really gotta be careful with M/S EQ. People tend to really overuse it because it does really dramatic stuff straight away. And yeah, that sounds great for two minutes. It's like when you get a new plugin and you stick it on everything and it's really overdone. So really go careful with M/S EQ. As a mastery engineer, is there as something to get me out of jail or just do a little tiny bit of it just to maybe make a really flat mix, stand out a bit. There's plenty of videos on my channel talking about M/S EQ.
And there's ones showing you little tricks that I do with M/S EQ. But you'll notice all those tricks are very subtle. I won't do it on loads of stuff. I won't do loads of it. So yeah, M/S EQ, that's the mistake I see people getting overexcited about it and just slapping it on everything. So don't do it. I'll link a video there if you want to see that.
And number 5, which is my favorite, because a lot of people don't realize how to do this, but they start EQing from the top down. Now, this is a really simple thing to do, which will take your mixes and your mastering to a massively better level is a really cheap way to master, a really cheap way to get a mixed sound and good is just bang loads the top end on it sound brighter. Your ears pick up around 1K better than they do in the lower frequencies.
By adding some top EQ on it all sounds really bright and open and airy and great. Problem is with that also sounds very thin. And it also doesn't just sounds a little bit hard on your ears. So really the way to do it, say it sounds great is start from the bottom up. So get the bass right and the top will fall into place. You won't need to put the top on. It sounds really classy. So we all want things that sound really classy, really good, that sound posh and big. And so really the low mids are the most important thing to EQ. Getting the bass tight is where you want to be. But it's really getting those frequencies that are from about 800Hz down. Getting those sounding good, spend more time on those than the top. Because the top, you can just put a little bit of say 1dB at 12K on a shelf, and that will just open all the tops up and do the job it needs to do.
Sometimes you don’t even have to do that if you've got the low mid and the actual bottom end right. So they want to be tight in the low end and then you want the mids that's what gives you. There's a lot of stuff going on in the low mids that gives you all this width chunkiness, and it just feels more wholesome and more real. So that's where you want to be aiming. Don't do the cheap trick of just being top down, really bright, and then not worrying about the low end. But this comes back to using some really good headphones and getting the best speakers you can and the best listening environment. Because if you haven’t got that, then you're not going to be able to EQ anyway. So there's a video coming up right now on EQ and how to hear EQ. So make sure you watch that. But don't forget to like, and subscribe to this one because I do videos like this every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So make sure you don't miss out ring the bell, and then you get a chance to win the Maselec EQ. I'll see you on the next one.