Waves F6 Dynamic EQ - Vocal and Drum Mixing

In a lot of my early mixing and music production work, the one area that I struggled with the most was equalisation. I think this is true for most producers when they first start out, as there aren´t too many hard and fast rules to follow, and when there are, you will always find examples where these rules are broken, and with excellent results too. 

At that time, I felt like I had a bit of advantage from the studying and practical work that I did during my music technology degree at University. I knew a lot of the theory on how to make space for all elements of a mix to sit together in a well-balanced way. But in the early days, this often didn´t work out in practice. And that was the key - practice. There really isn´t any shortcut or substitute for the hours spent tweaking knobs and dials and listening to the results. 

However, if there is one thing that could have made things easier back then, it would have been having access to a dynamic EQ like Waves´ F6. If you aren´t familar with this plugin, according to Waves:

"F6 is a dynamic equalizer that features six floating, fully-adjustable parametric filters with dynamics, as well as HP and LP filters. It provides multiband compression, equalization, expansion, and de-essing in one interface."

So essentially, it is the Swiss Army Knife of EQ and dynamic control plugins.

I was first introduced to the idea of dynamic equalisers quite a few years ago, and have since integrated it as an essential part of my mixing toolkit. But if I had access to one when I was first starting out, I think it would have saved me a lot of frustrated hours spent trying to make space in certain instruments for others. This would have been the case particularly with getting vocals and snare drums to cut through the mix clearly.

The ability of a dynamic EQ to use a side-chained source to trigger momentary changes in the frequency content of an audio signal is such a useful feature. Since starting to use F6, I´ve found I have to make less tonal compromises with one instrument or group, in order to make space for another instrument, especially if it´s not constantly playing throughout the song. It allows me to focus more on general tone shaping rather than carving space. Now, if I need to make room for another instrument to cut through, like snare for example, I can use F6 to carve the necessary space only when it hits. This leaves the frequency content of the original instrument(s) intact. Or at least intact to the original tone shaping cuts and boost I´ve made based on what sounds good for that instrument.

So today I thought I would take a look at two particular examples of how I use F6 with adding reverb to vocals, and getting the snare to cut through guitars and other instruments. Hopefully you´ll be able to take some points away from my approach here and apply them to your own workflow. And maybe I might just be able to help a novice mixer or two to not necessarily find shortcuts or substitutes for doing the work and practice, but perhaps help them achieve a bit more clarity in their mixes a little sooner than I did.

Thanks for reading/watching