Using Pre and Post EQ to make the most of your mixdown
What’s the difference between Pre and Post EQ? When and where should you use it?
The equaliser is arguably one of the most important tools in mixing, and knowing where to use it will benefit you a great deal. The idea behind Pre and Post EQ is simple – it’s all about where in the chain you place the EQ and what you intend to do with that EQ.
Here’s a quick example – if you have a lead with a lot of low-end, and you’re using Cubase Channel EQ (which default’s as a Post EQ) and a Reverb on the channel, you’re effectively applying Reverb to the full frequency sound, low-end and all. Applying an EQ to shape the sound before processing it can help to clean up the reverb sound.
Pre & Post EQ is particularly effective when coupled with dynamics processing – shaping the sound and removing unwanted frequencies before running it through a compressor for example, will change the way that compressor is reacting. Ultimately if the sound doesn’t need a frequency in the mix, then having it in the source will just cause the compressor to overwork when it’s not necessary.
Generally speaking, any type of corrective EQ (removing unwanted frequencies) I’ll do on the Pre EQ, while the more creative EQ and placing the sound into the mix I’ll do on the Post EQ.
Pre and Post EQ is also a great trick to use creatively with effects like Distortion or Reverb, being able to shape the sound before running it through those effects, can drastically change the outcome. With plugins like Kilohearts Phase Plant which have a modular effects system, you can inject the Pre & Post EQ technique directly into the sound design process.
For an in-depth walkthrough of how I use Pre & Post EQ, check out the video tutorial here: