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Garnish Music Production School in London

Vocal EQ & More – Piers Moth’s Mixing Course Blog # 1

Vocal EQ & More – Piers Moth’s Mixing Course Blog Week 1

I arrived on the course having missed 3 hours, and sadly, lunch.  Having missed the section on acoustics,

I got there just at the time everyone was starting to import tracks ready for mixing.   Our instructor, Al, got straight into the principle that music should well colour coded and organised to make mixing much easier.  A point which can be easily forgotten and parts get lost/out of synch etc… as I’m certain you’re all too familiar with.

He talked about some very useful tips when mixing, grouping instruments, and useful short cuts.  This is extremely useful and saves a lot of labour intensive treatment of individual tracks! He proceeded to talk about panning and how panning is used generally to imagine you’re facing a stage and  watching an actual performance.  A nice picture of sound, with vocals at front, guitar/keys to side, and to pan a drum kit as if you’re actually playing it-makes sense.  I’d always used panning fairly randomly I guess, so it was nice to think  more of how you’d expect to hear a track and pan it accordingly.

EQ VocalsPersonally, the most interesting thing I learn’t that day, was vocal EQ and frequency sweeping for resonant frequencies, and
he explained with great clarity about using it for EQing vocals, and how the inbuilt Logic EQ which I was using but there are people in the course using all sorts of DAW.  Most importantly, he explained how instruments and vocals can be given clarity with the eq by ‘removing’ all the rubbish, and this gives them in turn more clarity and independence in the mix, especially when combined with effective panning.  This principle that, ‘crap’ should be removed rather than boosting the ‘best’ qualities of each and every  instrument (Hence Sweeping).  Previously I’d never seen or heard such detailed and practical use for the EQ and realised how this alone can bring out what you actually want to hear so everything can be heard individually,  not just as a mush of sound. Al showed us how similar instruments will ‘fight’ for similar frequency ranges, and by taking out the  uncharismatic frequencies from each instrument, say for instance a rhodes vs a piano, you can improve the clarity and each instrument can be heard.

I am loving putting this advice into practice at home, and can’t wait to come in and learn about compression and reverb as, although I’ve always used them, I’ve never really understood or been able to appreciate how they  affect different sounds when sitting in an overall mix.  For me personally, this course, is obviously extremely well structured, fantastically taught and perfectly paced with great tutors with years of experience as producers.  It’s taking off straight from the areas where I needed help, in order for my  tracks and music to sound professional rather than bedroom.

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