November 08, 2016

Why EQ Designs Suck For Drum Mixing

You know that stock EQ that you’ve been using since the first day in your DAW? What about those really nice EQs from your favorite plugin manufacturer that model boutique hardware? Yeah, neither one of those is very likely optimized for your drums – which really sucks.

EQs Are Designed For Electric Instruments

We’ve been using them since the dawn of recording music, but the truth is that most of the EQs on the market (both hardware and software) aren’t built with drums in mind. That’s not to say they don’t work, because just as long as they’ve been around, we’ve been lusting over them, trying to add the best ones to our collection.

But the majority of EQs are old, or built based on old designs. The standard parametric EQ is extremely effective, but you really need to study and know what you’re doing before diving in and using it intentionally (anyone can boost and sweep).

Finding The Sweet Spot

There are EQ curves that work best for specific sounds, and drums are no exception to that. There are so many different ways to find them though, between stacking EQs and learning the science & math behind it, most engineers get bored at the notion. After all, mixing is as much a creative and musical process as the actual writing process.

Traditional EQs and the people behind them didn’t necessarily share that thought. If they did, they sure did a good job hiding it behind plenty of technical reasoning. While being able to critically listen to a sound and determine what needs to be adjusted, being able to say something needs a “5 dB reduction at 4kHz” isn’t the only way to go about it anymore.

How New EQs Are Changing The Game

We’ve found a “best of both worlds” compromise with tools like DF-Q, which allows you to maintain the creative mindset while adjusting a plugin backed by those same techniques that have been used for decades. We took the years of trial and error out of the equation.

The process has been simplified, giving you control in layman’s terms such as punch, clarity, and attack. It’s set up in a way that even a non-technical musician can easily tell what’s being adjusted.

Looking for More Ways To Step Up Your Drum Mix?

Pick up our guide “EQ Your Drums Like A Pro” absolutely free to learn more about creative approaches to effective shelving, some of our favorite EQ techniques, and how to get the most out of tools like DF-Q.

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drum mixing   drumforge   drums   engineering   eq   guide   learn   mixing