Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Matching EQ


  • This topic has 11 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 8 years ago by tblizz.
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      I was wondering who uses “Matching EQ” during mixing. Various plug-in EQ’s have this function and it’s useful to match the tonal characteristics of a reference audio file. I’ve seen it used on the mixbus, using a reference track from a popular artist, but not so much on individual tracks.

      Native Instruments recently introduced an open multi-track audio format for DJ’s, but this list shows you can also find stems in other styles. It’s very cool to hear how Kevin Killen is mixing stems for Duncan Sheik, but who has found a way to successfully implement “Matching EQ” into their own mixes?

      Mike Krowiak

        Hi Martijn. How will you use EQ matching? On individual tracks? I experimented with it for Mastering, DJ'ing, but I seem to get better, more musical results with EQ'ing by ear... Sorry for the non-answer 🙂 , -Mike.


          How will you use EQ matching?

          Well, I’ve used Matching EQ for a track on a friends demo that was poorly recorded but reminded me of a specific Lenny Kravitz song. Lo and behold, that EQ curve did wonders for my friends track! However, it didn’t work at all on his other track so it’s hit & miss.

          I find it useful sometimes as an educational tool to compare the EQ curve of your own (finished) mix to that of a (similar) professional mix and then make your own adjustments. Not broad strokes, but individual tweaks.
          I never had much success using it on individual tracks though. For example, I haven’t been able to duplicate Kevin Killen’s bass sound on White Limousine. Maybe because it differs so much from track to track? Alas, no easy fixes… but let me know if you found a way to make it work! 😉

          Here are some YouTube links on the subject:
          Auto-Match EQ with MAutoDynamicEQ
          Dynamic Spectrum Mapper

          Lee Hawkins

            Hi Martijn,

            I have experimented with EQ match a lot recently but have rarely had great success. I think it all depends on the reference track used, hence the hit and miss nature of it. Again. like Mike I tend to us for mastering only rather than individual tracks.

            The one that I have had some success with in the Dynamic Spectrum Mapper which is more of a multi-band compression tool / Limiter but somehow it seems to get closer to the reference track in terms of feel and vibe. Not always but sometimes. Haha.


              The Dynamic Spectrum Mapper is really innovative, but for me it could really use a GUI-switch for a simplified set of controls and presets. I don't use it regularly so every time I want to use it, I have to look at the manual again to know what I’m doing. Kind of a vicious circle! 😉

              • This reply was modified 8 years ago by tblizz.
              Hector Jon Jon

                Hey Martijn,

                I find myself using it a lot like Lee. Mostly on Mastering. I've used mostly the Izotope Matching EQ and I think it works great for that purpose, I also want to give a try to the FabFilter EQ Matching to see and compare results. For me, when I use it, I feel that subtlety is the way to go here. When I've tried to use it more aggressively I hear that the results are too extreme. Anyway that is my own opinion hehe.


                Charles Monteiro

                  just wondering, if you EQ match to a reference track to for example try to get a similar bass sound are you using a band pass filter on the reference track ? Also do you apply the EQ match after you have subtractively EQ-ued out any room boxiness / bad resonances on source track ? after taming source track with mild compression ?


                    I've had mixed luck with matching EQ, but mostly it made my mixes worse, so I just quit doing it. It's best to try and match a pro reference mix using balance and EQ moves on individual tracks, rather than mess with the master buss EQ curve. You can throw things out of whack pretty quickly.


                      @chasm: the basses I work with are usually DI, so no compensation for any room nodes necessary. Mild compression could probably benefit EQ-matching, especially if certain notes jump out and cause a peak in the spectrum. The key in which the bass plays is probably also an important factor, but I haven’t really put that theory to the test.
                      Interesting questions indeed!

                      Charles Monteiro

                        the way I think of it is that broad based EQ matching is similar to what a mastering tool like Izotope provides for with genre specific EQ templates, don't have FabFilter in front of me but I do believe I recall a parameter that controls the granularity of the matching algo, I just got Izotope over Xmas , perhaps they provide EQ matching as well. So to that extent what I would like to do is extract profiles for several reference tracks that I may have for a particular genre/ similar artist etc and develop an average profile and apply that to a target song. Just like I don't expect a preset to do the trick and especially with EQ, I don't expect EQ match to nail something down but rather something to tweak, it can be expedient and useful but usually creativity and taste kick in anyhow.

                        Lee, that Spectrum Mapper is a very interesting beast, I eagerly await for a discounted sale.

                        Nick D.

                          I use Voxengo curve Eq when im having issues and I want to reference something. It at least points you to problem areas and in that way a matching eq is very useful. The iZotope version is cool because it allows a mix function which is a little better for matching stereo mixes, you can be a little more subtle. I like the matching algorithm better in curve eq, and when I have attempted it on stereo files, it needs to be tweaked in most cases, but not as fast as the iZotope.

                          The dynamic spectrum mapper isn't really a matching eq. Its closer to a shapeable multiband compressor, with a 100 (just guessing) bands. its very similar to Voxengo Soniformer. there are differences, but the best part about the dynamic spectrum mapper is using it in parallel. you can do 100:1 ratios and it has a mix knob to dial it in. I would say its like a fancy version of the waves MV2, but you are able to tweak it. The soniformer has even more tweakable parameters, and the best part with that one is that instead of a single ratio over the entire spectrum, you can choose ratio, attack, release, and threshold over the entire spectrum, so its similar to a standard multiband except the bands are infinite? (as many as you want as far as I know). They are all great tools and I use all 3 a lot for parallel mix duties.


                            Great responses so far! One plugin that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Melda Production MAutoDynamicsEQ.
                            There’s an interesting YouTube video and article on the subject.

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