Begin by listening to your mix with your eyes closed. See if you can distinguish where there may be resonance or problem frequencies in the spectrum. Then use the spectrograph to see if your suspicions show up visually. They won’t always. The spectrograph (or analyser) can lend a helping hand but your ears are the best spectrograph you will ever possess.
Below is a step by step guide to finding and dealing with problem frequencies. There is also a video showing how to do it using Logics Linear Phase EQ. This video mastering tutorial is silent and follows the written explanation below. Try this technique using the downloadable piece of music. On the page after next is a video of this technique being applied to the same piece of music. You will be able to see if you found the same areas to be problematic.
Video Following the Guide Below For the Linear Phase EQ Mastering Technique:
In the suspected area…
1. Choose a frequency band.
2. Boost the gain of the frequency band by a good few dB – you’ll hear the lift in an area of the mix
3. Perhaps narrow the affected area (Q) a little.
4. Sweep the frequency up and down and listen closely.
5. You may notice that as you sweep across a certain area, you’ll hear a slight resonance, or hear it become noticeably louder.
6. Narrow the EQ band some more and sweep again – focusing in more on the suspected area.
7. Consider applying a small notch like reduction at the point of the resonating frequency.
What you uncover with this technique may well be a problem frequencies and the fate of the final listening experience depends on whether you decide to reduce them or not.
One thing to listen out for is the way the resonance, or increased volume sounds. You may be sweeping across the resonating frequency of a single musical instrument, in which case the resonance will have a pure tone and will be in keeping with the particular chord playing at that time, or the key the music is in. It’s fair to say that the more musical ear will be better at detecting the relationship between the resonance and the chord/key of the music. But there is another kind of problem frequency which usually requires more attention. Find out what is is on the next page.
Download practice track for EQ here – Maria Sins-Changes.wav
Huge thanks to Luke Scriven for his contibution to MasteringTuition.com by providing practice material. Contact…badomenstudios (at) gmail (dot) com