Sorry for the lack of posts lately! Back-in-bowl!

Topic for today: Always add EQ? Answer-not always, but when you “hear” that it is needed-yes, by all means.

It is so easy to get in the habit during recording, of thinking that since you most-always add extra EQ to, say-a kick drum, that you always need to start from there. Not.

Example: You open up a new track, and even before you actually listen to to the sound-your fingers (via a mouse these days) automatically reach for the low-end and the high-end EQ spots. Why? In my personal case; because of my own bad habits. Not anymore though…unless of course I am forced to, by someone else who is paying me. Even then, I still warn and bitch. Sometimes I win….sometimes not.

How I really win though, is by learning from others! I had the pleasure to watch producer/engineer John Agnello a few years back, recording a cool-young band in my Hooverama studio in Charlotte, called Elevator Action. I changed a lot of my approach after seeing John work. The first-and one of the main things I noticed was this: he didn’t automatically do much….of anything. He just listened. Then-he did stuff.

So have I, for the most part in my career, but not always. Again-old habits can sometimes be confused with wisdom….and sometimes not. Sometimes they are just bad habits. I am all for “starting templates”, but I am also for starting fresh, at least in your head-every time. This, after your basic settings are in place.

Instead of one mic inside the kick drum and a lot of top and bottom-end EQ, John used two mics and virtually no EQ; one mic inside, and one mic outside the drum. The one inside (a dynamic mic) was where the snap came from-and also the presence in the sound of the kick drum. The one outside the kick drum (a condenser mic) was really used as a “low-end boost”- a bass knob. Both mics used together; in lieu of much EQ. The result: a much more natural and (sorry for the term) cooler-sounding kick, and he didn’t have to push his electronics on his tracks as much. In this day of “a million” tracks available to use, why the heck not?

To drop another name here, my buddy and long-time co-recorder (OVO Productions, Ltd) Mark Williams also preached this to me. Try either a different mic or another mic in conjunction with the one you are already using to get your sound, without all the “auto-EQ.” Much better..much hipper. Thanks, Large….

EQ is like a condiment. Sometimes your best choice IS to cover-up something in salt and sugar….but mostly-not. Mostly-just cook it right to begin with.

Bon Appetit!


Jamie Hoover