EQ: the simple secretof mastering success
Do you want your music masters to sound fantastic compared to all your favourite artists and releases ?
Forget all the fancy plugins, gear and tricks you’ve seen people talking about – EQ is the real key to mastering.
If the the overall EQ and level of your song are right, you’ll be in better shape than almost every other home studio recording out there – and probably a good many professional productions too, these days !
If you want:
Deep, punchy bass
Without sounding boomy
Clear, open highs
Without sounding brittle
Full, rich mixes
But not muddy, or cluttered
Lively, exciting mid-range
Without being harsh
Perfectly balanced sound
Translates to any playback system
…then an instinct for EQ is all you need.
And EQ expertise is accessible to anyone.
Sounds simple, right ? Well, it is – but getting there can be harder than it sounds. The good news is, I know I can help.
Who Am I ?
My name is Ian Shepherd – I’ve been a mastering engineer for over 20 years and I run the popular Production Advice website, helping people make their music sound great. I founded Dynamic Range Day to campaign against the Loudness Wars and I've developed two plugins with MeterPlugs.
And I used to struggle with EQ, too !
People often ask me during attended mastering sessions exactly what I’m doing when I EQ these days – why I make the decisions I do, and how I “know” what the right choices are.
And until recently, I used to reply – “It’s an instinct – I just know”. I’ve been mastering for so long now that choosing EQ settings has become almost like second nature to me.
Since starting the Home Mastering Masterclass course and answering people’s questions about using EQ in mastering, I’ve come to realise that it’s not quite that simple.
I’ve always had an instinct for EQ – but I had to LEARN how to achieve my goals
While thinking how best to help members of the mastering course, I’ve remembered all the training and help I had when I was getting started. And, I’ve gained extra clarity on the things I’ve learned to do myself – the way I think about EQ, the way I listen and the way I make my choices when I’m mastering.
And that’s why I created Home Mastering EQ – to give YOU those same skills
What is it ?
Home Mastering EQ is a “deep dive” into using EQ in mastering.
Almost 5 hours of HD videos using a varied set of musical examples, entirely focused on EQ, EQ and only EQ
You'll find out:
The crucial step you must take
Before using any EQ
The difference between EQ balance and EQ matching
And why it matters
Why analogue and digital EQs are different
And when to use them
How to “speak EQ”
Using keywords to remember how different frequencies sound
How to understand the way EQ makes you feel
And translate it into knowing what your music needs
The videos are designed to be watched in order, introducing new ideas, techniques and methods at every stage. Here are some examples:
Video 1 - Introduction
- The goal of EQ in mastering
- A simple rule of thumb that will help you decide what your music should sound like
- The ten key "pivot" frequencies you should work with first
- How to decide if you should boost or cut
Video 2 - Bass
- The difference between "punch" and "thump"
- How EQ affects our perception of the mix - and how it DEPENDS on the mix
- How to instantly choose the right place to boost the bass - almost every time
Video 3 - Mid-range
- How "Q" values need to change for a natural sound at any frequency
- How to get a ringing, energetic strumming quality from the guitars
- The REAL secret of "analogue warmth"
Video 4 - Top
- The dangers of adding top end
- How to decide between "shelf" or "bell" EQ
- How hearing too much can tell you what's missing
Video 5 - Techniques
- Using "mid-side" EQ
- The dangers of "frequency sculpting"
- When boosting and cutting at the same time is a worthwhile exercise
- How to use your "muscle memory" to help remember the right EQ
Just saying: this is fun!Fun to train my ears, fun to listen to your very good videos (they are packed with useful info, not babble!)I’m learning, and I’m enjoying the ride ;)Dag Ove Vareberg
How I mix and think about mixing have changed dramatically thanks to Ian.I expected to learn, but not to this degree.One of the best investments in training I have made to dateWayne Duke
I would like to say a huge “Thank You” to Ian for taking so much care over your videos. I’ve watched a lot of production videos over the last few months and yours have been the best made, and the clearest, often by a very long way.Chrissie Caulfield
Frequently Asked Questions
Are these videos just for mastering, or will they help with mixing, too ?
This is the main question I get asked. I made them specifically with mastering in mind, but I asked people who’ve bought them if they thought they would be helpful for mixing too – and the answer was Yes !
“Of course, they totally can be (and should be) applied to mixing. It’s the best thing I have seen about EQ balance !" – Pierre Blanchette
“Yes. I especially like the idea of using keywords to help remember what we’re looking for in EQ" – Josiah Quad
“I think the EQ videos are very helpful not only in the area of mastering, but the principles apply to mixing too. The detailed review of the frequency ranges and techniques gives one a new way to think about mixing a song so that it will be ready for mastering when the time comes" – Jac Mandel
Will these techniques work with my style of music ?
I’ve chosen six different musical examples from a wide range of styles:
- "Leave Behind" by Fabien Kamb feat. Krummstoff - Dance
- "Broken Hope" by Sworn Enemy - Metal
- "El jardin de las flores efimeras" by Santi Vega - Acoustic guitar
- "Just Travelling" by Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker - Folk
- "Perpetual Impetus" by Rob Fernandez - Progressive
- "Love Of the Game - Shoegazer Remix" by Artemis - Indie/drone
Are these videos online, or do I get to download them ?
The videos are yours to keep – you can download and watch them whenever you like.
Do you include specific instructions on how to make my music sound like [insert artist name here]
There are no recipes, no easy answers, in music ! The right EQ always depends on the original mix, and what your goal is for the sound.
But I’ve included as many strategies, suggestions, ideas and techniques as I could possibly think of in these videos, and if you put them to work you will get closer to your goal !
Full 60-day 100% Money-Back Guarantee
I've had such a great reaction to these videos from everyone who has seen them, I'm certain you'll find them useful too. I want you to be completely happy though, so if you're not satisfied for any reason, just contact me within 60 days for a full refund, no questions asked - and the videos are yours to keep.
Ian, the Home Mastering EQ series as just as awesome, and useful and thorough, as everything you put out!László Gálosi
Putting these videos together was hard ! I really had to dig deep to figure out how I think about EQ, how I listen, and how to translate that into examples and techniques that would help you do the same thing. But I think because it was so hard to puzzle out, the end result was really effective training for you ! And the feedback I'm getting is that people agree. To give it a try yourself and let me know if it works for you - click here now.