MixCoach Podcast 064: EQ Before or After Compressors?

EQ before after Compressor

EQ Before or After Compressors?

With this podcast; we ask ourselves, should we put our EQ before or after our compressor?

Raw Transcript:

Kevin: This is the MixCoach PodCast, number 64.

John: On this week episode, we’re going to talk about EQ before or
after the compressor.

Hey Kev, how’s it going?

Kevin: Hey, John.

John: We’ve got a cat in the studio with us today, if you guys hear
any meowing, then you can say hi to Tigger.

Kevin: Say hey, Tigger[SP]. She won’t say anything of course

John: [ss]…She’s not going to say anything, no. All right, so, this
week we’re gonna actually talk about EQing and compression and kind of the
relationship there, so I guess, I guess kind of the big question most
people have is, well, like, “Okay, do you EQ before or after your
compressor?” So Kev, kind of, what do you feel like you do when it comes to

Kevin: Well, on compression, I mean I usually, you know, I’m a big
advocate of using filters (Which is very basic EQ).

John: Right.

Kevin: And so I almost always, well, I will say that I always at least
filters before compression, because if you’re EQing a vocal mike and you
know there’s a plosive or a p-pop.

John: Yeah

Kevin: You don’t want compression, you don’t want your compressor to
work on that on that when it’s not going to be there anyway….

John: …Right…

Kevin: …because you’re going to filter it out so you may as well
filter it before hand. Usually I’ll at least filter before I EQ.

John: Right, I think the same could be said for acoustic guitar, as
well, where it’s like if there’s a boomy acoustic guitar, you’re gonna take
out some of that boom in with the filter, then you don’t want that boom to
like actually trigger the compressor, that sort of thing. Something that
isn’t actually there. So, then do you most of your other EQing after the
compressor, that sort of thing?

Kevin: Well, if I was going give someone a formula for when to
compress and EQ and what order to do it, I would say, most likely, it would
be to cut or correct before you compress. So cut before compress. I don’t
know if that’s a…

John: Yeah, you know, that’s kind of the conclusion that I’ve come to
as well. Where as like even sometimes though like if you’re just doing a
mild, kind of a like where you’re just taking a little bit out maybe like a
dB. of gentle, you know, cut out of something just to kind of shape it.
Sometimes I’ll do that after, just because it’s easy to do after, that sort
of thing. Where it sounds right still to do it after. But if I’m doing
like, if there’s a massive ring or some sort of a frequency that’s just off
the charts that you want to cut, I would always cut that before, for sure.
Because you don’t that triggering the compressor.

Kevin: You know, I guess if there’s a rule of thumb. I’m thinking back
to any for instance that I would use that I would EQ before, and the only
time I would EQ really guess 80 percent. We talked about the 80/20 rule.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: 80 percent of the time I EQ before I compress. Unless, there is
some kind of, like you say, maybe some air to some vocal.

John: Yeah

Kevin: You probably wouldn’t add that before the compressor because
your compressor may look at that as sibilance or look at it as something
that needed to be compressed, so I would probably, at the very least, cut
before you compress and boost after you compress.

John: …Yeah….

Kevin: …That seems to be more…

John: Whenever I was early mixing, I basically heard that and then
used that as kind of as rule of thumb. Or not a rule of thumb necessarily,
but hard and fast law, where I had an EQ on my chain, then compressor, and
then another EQ. The only problem I had with that was that I would separate
EQs that were reacting to each other creating a whole new EQ curve that I
never actually saw graphically, or never actually had it in one place. And
I would have open two, plug-ins, “Oh, where is that one at to change?” You
know, that sort of thing.

So the only problems you run into with that is if it’s not all in one
place like a channel strip plug-in it can get kind of confusing that sort
of thing. But, again, I agree with you for sure. Of you’re doing anything
corrective, if you’re cutting out, especially if you’re cutting out big
frequencies, cut before, and if you’re boosting like some air or something
like that, always boost after for sure. That’s kind of the way I’ve looked
at it.

Kevin: I would also say, with that in mind, don’t over think it too

John: Oh, yeah.

Kevin: …because I would think this where the analytic side. This
kind of stuff sometimes needs to be done when you’re not actually in the
heat of the battle…

John: For sure…

Kevin: …of mixing. You know you need to kind of think, “Okay, this
is big EQ boost that I’m doing right here. Maybe, I should duplicate this
plug-in and bring it to the end or or bring after the compressor.” I
wouldn’t probably wouldn’t as a rule of thumb…

John: Right.

Kevin: …have two compressors on each channel.

John: Exactly.

Kevin: I mean 2…

John: Two EQs?

Kevin: EQ compressor then an EQ, again.

John: Right.

Kevin: I wouldn’t do that as a rule thumb because I think that’s
taxing to your system. It probably is not benefiting you in any way. I
would only do that when there is something out of the ordinary like you
have to add a huge curve, or something after. Then I would probably think,
“You know, do I need to do this after or before I compress it?”

John: Right.

Kevin: So i wouldn’t over think it but as a general rule would EQ
before you compress almost all the time.

John: Right on, right on.

Kevin: Thanks, for listening this has been the MixCoach Podcast the
PodCast dedicated to making your next recording your best recording. For
more tips tutorials and even a free course, be sure to visit us at

Question: Does this help you decide which order to use your EQ and Compressor?

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