In this tutorial we’re going to be looking at dynamic EQ which is a technique that is hardly used by most mixing engineers. It is mostly used in the mastering stage but today we’re going to look at how to use dynamic EQ in mixing.
The major difference between a static and dynamic equalizer is that when you create a cut or boost on a static EQ it stays constant throughout the whole song. A dynamic EQ only creates the cut or boost when the signal hits a certain threshold.
It is a very handy tool for fixing a specific problem frequency, not a good tool for removing unwanted frequencies like mud, rumble, mic bleed, boxiness etc.
Not to say you can’t use it to remove unwanted frequencies, you can if you feel like it’s working well with the material you’re currently working on. If it sounds good then there’s no reason you shouldn’t use it.
But it works well to fix dynamic problems, more like a multiband compressor that is why it is mostly used in mastering when the engineer can’t go back to the mix to fix the problem. Before dynamic equalizer tools were available you had to automate the EQ in order to achieve the same effect which can be really time consuming.
Sometimes you may find that the cut or boost you create works well in certain parts of the song and doesn’t sound good in other parts, that’s when dynamic EQ can come in handy as well.
Most of the time you’ll find that using a compressor on things like hi-hats and cymbals doesn’t give you the desired results, you can use dynamic equalization to solve the problem, even for things such as overheads.
It can also be used to fix harsh vocals, whereby if you create a big cut to fix the harshness, the vocals start to sound dull in other parts of the song when you’re using a static EQ. It is also great for fixing sibilance and plosives sounds, the letter P can create a lot of nuisance which can be easily fixed with dynamic equalization.
Some singers sound good when they sing soft parts but create a lot of piercing nasal sound when singing high notes, so instead of using a static EQ which will make the soft parts dull you simply fix the problem frequencies using a dynamic EQ.
Instruments can also sound harsh especially a guitar solo or solos in general. Some notes can resonate and have a lot of sonic flaws, other notes will play louder than others. And when you bring up the volume some notes may sound too loud, that’s when you can use dynamic equalization to fix the problem without ruining the sound.
You can also do some mid side processing and sidechain with dynamic EQ, the possibilities are just endless. Another great feature is that you can adjust the attack and release time just like you do on a compressor.
Sometimes a compressor, especially if it’s working too hard, can kill a lot of harmonics but using both dynamic EQ and compressor can result in a really great sound.
I find that dynamic EQ works really well to boost or add things like presence or brightness because your boost will be controlled dynamically. That way you end with a really pleasing tonal balance.
I wouldn’t recommend anyone to use it as a go-to-plugin for equalizing, but only to fix a specific problem frequency that occurs in certain parts of an arrangement or song especially if your music is recorded live.
Hope you found the tutorial useful, if you have any questions then leave a comment below, you know I always respond 🙂