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Old 01-27-2001, 07:18 PM
dw dw is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 154
Default pros and cons of comp-eq or eq-comp

i would like to hear from seasoned mixer the pros and cons of having the comp before EQ ( as we normally used to ) as oppose to EQ before hitting the comp. Thanks
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Old 01-27-2001, 10:22 PM
Corey Shay Corey Shay is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Orlando, FL, USA
Posts: 755
Default Re: pros and cons of comp-eq or eq-comp

Ah, this age old question... Well, I found what usually works best is to listen and figure it out, it depends on the track. But, a little theory can be used to guess better. I usually eq before compressing vocals. Why, because I usually want to use the eq to change the tonality of the voice so that it sits better in the mix, but I want to make sure all the notes are at the same overall level. Singers can cover a wide range of pitches and of course the signal itself is a lot more complex than say a bass guitar. If you eq after compression you might find that the compression you did was a bit of a waste of time because when the singer changes the shape of his mouth you will find certain words or shapes come through more than others, almost defeating the purpose of compression, which is usually to keep the singer at the same level.

Compressors can help to smooth out any radical adjustments required when eqing. However, sometimes you want certain notes to stand out more than others. The fundamental notes of a bass is a good example, and then you might want to eq after compressing.
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Old 01-28-2001, 01:48 AM
Hsk Hsk is offline
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Winnipeg, MB. Canada
Posts: 105
Default Re: pros and cons of comp-eq or eq-comp

It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. In general I suggest EQ then Compress for vocals or individual instruments tracks while mixing. The logic is that you want to adjust the tone characteristics as desired, and once the spectrum has the right balance, you compress the amount required to contain the sound within the track. However if you are using a lot of compression there will often be problems due to vocal sibilance or some other low energy part of the spectrum that will rear its' ugly head. That is why I am a huge fan of multi-band compression on Vocals. I generally go Multi-band-comp(C-4) first then EQ. The multi- band to controls the dynamics for each portion of the vocal spectrum and you can also adjust the levels of each band much like an EQ. From there a little EQ (+ some Aphex Aural or . .) may be needed to get the vocal to sit just right in the mix.

Also some plugins have side-chain EQ or split modes, which allow adjustment of how the spectrum of the sound affects the compression. I generally put any EQ after the compression when using frequency keyed compresion like this. This removes some of the interplay between things which makes it easy to adjust.

Best thing to do is decide the net result you are trying to achieve, think thru the plugin options you have at your disposal, then set up the chain and tweak to get the result.

In the case of setting up a large PA or Club system I would compress and then EQ the mains. In these cases the compressor is to contain the program material, while the EQ is to adjust the sound system properly to correct for the sound system and room.

Just my 2 cents. . .
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Old 01-28-2001, 04:04 PM
Marc Edwards Marc Edwards is offline
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 287
Default Re: pros and cons of comp-eq or eq-comp

What about Comp then EQ, but take the comp key from the output of the EQ?!?!?
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Old 01-28-2001, 04:10 PM
Giles Reaves Giles Reaves is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Nashville, TN Area
Posts: 178
Default Re: pros and cons of comp-eq or eq-comp

Won't it be great when we can drag plugs around to change the order! On those "old" analog consoles, there's usually a switch to change the EQ and Comp order. Great way to hear the difference quickly. In PT (if there's room) the way I deal with this issue is to use 3 inserts. Say an EQ, then Comp, then another EQ. Copy the first EQ's settings to the second EQ, then bypass one, and then the other, and see which one you prefer. Not the slickest method, and maybe someone's got a better one, but it will let you know which way works better.
And here's one reason to compress first. If you boost or cut a band with serious energy in it, and then compress after that, you will have to adjust your compressor treshold as well, cause you will have changed the level coming from the EQ. So if you plan to play with EQ, see if you can do it post comp. If not, keep an eye on that compressor and adjust it as well if nessasary.
Giles Reaves
Somewhere Between Tennessee & Utah...
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