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 filed 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 filed, 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, so just dial it in until you are happy with the sound. This makes the 2 instruments coexist together in harmony in the 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?