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Do You Put The Equalizer Before Or After The Compressor?

Should the EQ come before the compressor, or should it be the other way around? This decision will have a huge impact on your mix. But the truth is that there’s no golden rule on which should go first. 

Equalization, or EQ, adjusts the balance of frequency components of an audio signal. EQ can boost or highlight specific frequency bands in a track. You can make a kick drum punchier, brighten vocals, or reduce unwanted sibilance. Some EQ changes can be static, meaning they apply throughout the song once your tracks are set.

Compression is a tool used to manage the quietest and loudest parts of the mix. When the audio signal exceeds a certain level, the compressor lowers its volume to reduce variability. This can make vocals smoother, drums sound tighter, and bring out subtle details in the song. Unlike EQ, compression changes based on what’s happening in the song. It goes up and down with the volume, helping you keep things in control.

When you blend the EQ’s tonal-shaping characteristics with a compressor’s dynamic sculpting, you can bring a unique sound signature to life. The most important aspect of using these two tools is the order in which you place them, which can impact the sound of your final mix, tonal quality, and coloration.

EQ Before Compressor

EQ pre-compression feeds the sound into the compressor, which has already been through tonal adjustments. This order can make the compressor react differently, especially if significant EQ boosts or cuts are applied. 

The result of EQ pre-compression tends to be a warmer, rounder tone. When the compressor acts on an equalized signal, it might smooth out some of the EQ’s sharpness or emphasis, blending the frequency changes more organically with the original sound.

EQ After Compressor

EQ post-compression sculpts the tonal qualities of a dynamically controlled signal. The compressor has already done its job of taming peaks and enhancing quieter parts. Now, the EQ can fine-tune.

The outcome of EQ post-compression often leans towards a cleaner, clearer sound. Equalization is not affecting how the compressor reacts; it’s refining the already-compressed audio. Any boosts or cuts made will keep their character as they won’t be further modulated by compression.

What is Multiband Compression?

A multi-band compressor blends elements of traditional compression with equalization, offering control over various aspects of an audio signal. This advanced compressor ………..

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Tags: compression, eq, equilizer, mastering, mixing, tips, Tutorial

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