Equalizer Strategy & Philosophy

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01h 11min


Go Deep Into EQ Theory and Techniques

The most commonly used tool in an audio engineer's toolkit is the venerable equalizer (EQ). Over the years, EQs have become a powerful creative tool and the most fundamental mixing and mastering device every engineer has at their disposal.

In part 1 of the series, The Study of EQ Controls, Grammy winner Fab Dupont teaches you what each knob's function does, and in this tutorial, he dives even deeper to teach how and when to skillfully apply any type of EQ.

Learn tricks and techniques that will help form or refine the foundation of how you approach EQing your mixes and masters.

Over the course of this hour-long tutorial, Fab Dupont explains:

  • The history of EQ choices and how they've evolved over the decades
  • How to recognize the sonic differences between analog and digital EQs
  • Learn to master the subtle differences between types of EQ and know when to best apply
  • Compare several common EQ topologies including Pultec, Neve, SSL
  • The classic boost + cut trick on the Pultec
  • Strategies for using fully parametric EQs without getting lost in endless parameters
  • Using multiple EQs to achieve a clear and focused mix that doesn't sound like mud
  • How to compensate for the tone of pieces of gear with transformers, tubes, etc
  • Find and eliminate frequencies, remove masks from your tracks for clearer and more powerful sounding mixes
  • Should EQ come before or after compression? Learn to recognize which way is best suited for a mix
  • How to hear subtle changes in tone to be sure the settings and techniques you're using are helping and not harming your mixes

By mastering these fundamental skills and techniques, you can keep your focus on the music, not the settings.

Equipment & Software

Hardware EQ

  • Pultec EQH-2
  • Neve 31102
  • SSL Logic FX G383


  • UAD Pultec EQP-1A
  • UAD SSL E Channel Strip
  • UAD Neve 31102
  • UAD Helios 69
  • Avid EQ-III
  • Flux:: Epure v3
  • Sonnox Oxford EQ + Filters
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Fab Dupont

Fab Dupont is an award-winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of

Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.

He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.

Fab has received many accolades around the world, including wins at the Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards, US independent music awards. He also has received Latin Grammy nominations and has worked on many Latin Grammy and Grammy-nominated albums.


David Crosby

Queen Latifah

Jennifer Lopez

Mark Ronson

Les Nubians

Toots And The Maytals

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2021 Nov 29
I have just joined PUREMIX and the first video has really helped me. Very insightful and made me think a lot. I would recommend this and I will be watching it again. Thank you.
2021 Jun 13
Is it only me or does any of the other members think that the Uad Pultec and Hardware Neve sounded similiar, do reply???
2021 May 17
Hello, thank you for the videos offered! Unfortunately, I am disappointed not to be able to follow this lesson because the translation is not offered in French, I cross the rights so that one day we can read it in French! Thanks again 1000 miles for your great videos! And There you go! ;)
2021 May 17
Hello, thank you for the videos offered! Unfortunately, I am disappointed not to be able to follow this lesson because the translation is not offered in French, I cross the rights so that one day we can read it in French! Thanks again 1000 miles for your great videos! And There you go! ;)
2021 May 04
I think, it's one of the best tutorials here, and I watched many.
2020 Dec 28
Genius...thank you!
2020 Dec 15
Not only a great engineer, but an excellent teacher! Incredible tutorial Fab.
2020 Dec 13
The plug in sounds more "Dark"
2020 Dec 02
Fab is really Fabulous, it took him minutes to make me understand essentials that I did not understand in months with dozens of tutorials. Merci beaucoup Fab !
2020 Nov 27
Impress !! lot of information to absorb thanks fab
2020 May 05
OMG! So pro Fab! Thanks for ever
2020 Apr 22
the uad pultec doesn't sound fatter than the hardware (at the least in the moment he is saying that) - quite the opposite!
2020 Apr 22
Great Maestro Fab!!! your explanation is awesome!! Thanks!
2020 Mar 02
Think before you touch! )
2020 Feb 17
If you're EQ settings are starting to look like this... My recommendation is you take a break. LOL! Awesome.
2019 May 28
Was is just me or was, when the A/B-ing of EQ before and after compressor, the EQ always bypassed when it was after the compressor?
2018 Dec 24
Two phrases I just added to my approach: "You're pretty. I like your dress." "Metro-sexual EQ." :^) Thanks, Fab! I'm enjoying your tutorials.
2018 Nov 30
Very nice video, comparing different EQ’s and general vibe.. but I don’t quite see the logic in comparing a plugin model of a 4000E Brown Knob to a 4000G Black Knob hardware? Also, a 10k hi-shelf on any SSL starts its rise way below the 5k point apparent on the Avid EQ3 at that same setting, so that’s just very different and not even a comparison. Try setting the EQ3 at around 5-7k and adjust the Q a bit as to not make the shelf have such a quick rise. That will make it sound a lot closer to any SSL EQ plug-in ITB.
2018 Jul 03
Superb as always
2018 Jan 25
Fab i just met you but i already love youuuuu :>
Rob Sidhe
2018 Jan 13
Great lesson for me too! Is the "band pass" function of some eq plug-ins a little better than the "boosting before cutting" technique when searching that right frequency? or is it a bad habit anyway? Thank you
2018 Jan 10
Increíble Fab, excelente información y manera de explicar, aplaudo de pie la excelente clase.
2018 Jan 07
Hey Fab. You´re such an sympathetic & funny teacher. Eaven boring stuff would be interesting with you. Thanks for this lesson & the whole puremix side.
2018 Jan 06
This was amazing lesson with a fantastic teacher. Pure gold!
2018 Jan 02
great ears, great teaching. thank u!
2017 Oct 19
Pure Gold. Thanks
2017 Sep 17
Wow - what a lot of great knowledge you shared! Thank you. A bit of feedback: I suggest that you consider broadening your perception of your audience. Referring to studio folks as 'guys' or 'dudes'; choosing the term 'emasculating' to describe taking a great characteristic out of a sound; assigning gender to plug-ins with 'pretty dresses' that we should not be distracted by and instead demand from them 'What can you do for me?' - is unsettling and distracting - rather like a neglected frequency in an otherwise elegant mix. Thank you for listening.
2017 Jul 17
Another excellent lesson by Fab. Quite overwhelming, I have to say! A lot of the examples are definitely not night-and-day to my ears, and I wonder if I can make music without such levels of sophistication (sure I can!). I do think Fab is one of the 'least' broad stroke-mixers here. Anyway, very impressive stuff. Thanks.
2017 Jun 15
I looked at quite a few tutorials of Fab, I still can't put less than five stars, this one is no exception to the rule. I would have rated 5 +. Awesome !!!
2017 Jun 12
I am amazed at the amount of knowledge in these tutorials, vast amounts and I never walk away feeling I haven't learned something valuable.
2017 May 26
Very great teacher !!! Thanks a lot !
2017 May 21
wow - great teacher! Thanks! :) Great website also :) Im in UK and this site is really great resource - best I've come across!
2017 Apr 25
Salut Fab. À quand le sous titre en français! :)
Fabulous Fab
2017 Apr 24
@Slowlearner: Don't despair, it takes time. The problem may be your monitoring, the problem may be your monitoring level or your room. No natter what, it's important to not get discouraged. If your intuition is off-track then use your mental presence to check your moves until you reprogram your intuition. For example, if you see yourself cutting or boosting enormous amounts with your eq, be aware that you may be going in the wrong direction and reign in the madness. Check the results elsewhere and adjust to taste. Over time, you'll get it.
2017 Apr 21
Great video Fabrice, thank you! I have a question. I have been mixing for years and EQ is still the only process that messes me up. I already followed what you say 100% but I often end up with scooped mixes, frequency holes around the low mids. How do you tell what frequencies should be cut and what should be pushed? It sounds like I'm cutting bad frequencies but on a mix of 50 tracks the wrong subtraction leaves my mix unbalanced. Any thoughts? Thank you everyone!
2017 Mar 28
Great work. Could you make a similar one dealing with compressors?
2017 Mar 05
Bananas! :)
2017 Feb 24
This is why I subscribe to Puremix. La pédagogie de Fab au sommet de son art. :)
2017 Feb 17
@pawel_lunapark - Awesome suggestion..would love to see a tute on exactly this
2017 Feb 16
Fab ! Equalizer Strategy & Philosophy ? You are Golden, as always ... I`m wondering ... brass, strings mixing lesson ? s'il vous plaît merci
2017 Feb 14
Amazing!!Nothing like a clear and concise explanation from Fab Dupont. Not only is he a master at mixing, but also a great teacher/mentor.
2017 Feb 14
Great Tutorial!!!...Please do a similar one on compression too.....and maybe reverbs and delays aswell...i dont ask for too much do I !!!
TC Hotrod
2017 Feb 11
In parallel with full mixes videos, I really like that kind of tuto dedicated to specific subject, which mixes history, philosophic vision, and practical tips. We leave it with a new and fresh approach, getting things as they look (and sound) easier to tame.
Chris Wyatt
2017 Feb 11
Best EQ tutorial on the web. Great lesson Fab!
2017 Feb 10
So clear. So pragmatic. So good. Thx!
2017 Feb 10
So glad I signed up for this site! Fab makes sense of very complex subjects with ease! Great video for sure. Loved this one.
2017 Feb 10
Is the Will Knox track deliberately mono?
2017 Feb 09
2017 Feb 09
Probably the best tutorial on EQ I've ever seen. Thanks Fab.
2017 Feb 09
I may be wrong in [practice and theory], but in particular, when I need to add a hpf , in some instances, I'm using the sub band of a linear eq to create a bell shape narrow cut , which (to me)means I am not having to go and make adjustments to the low band so much and I am getting my very bottom tidied up, albiet at the cost of everything below the narrow bell cut, which I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad sounds good to me but this is where I sometimes question what I'm hearing. I try and look at eq as rationed with little to spare..
2017 Feb 09
EDIT re: previous post---The effect of the HPF is really "obvious"...
2017 Feb 09
re:59:00-1;02:00 - The effect of the HPF is really and I'm wondering, is the 0.5db cut made around 100 hz a corrective move to the phase altering instigated by the HPF slope? I'm trying to wrap my head around the give and take of the HPF.If you had say, placed the HPF curve to start at a lower frequency(20hz or so..), would the corresponding cut have been higher, perhaps closer to 120-130hz to re-correct ( so to say) the phase after the hpf cut? If you had not placed the HPF on at all, what is the likelihood of even having needed to make the cut at 100? Trying to see the relationship here.g
Richard Boyer
2017 Feb 09
I think your a genus, little crazy, weird scientist, but it maybe me
2017 Feb 09
2017 Feb 09
Great Tutorial, thanks. That arpeggiated, delayed guitar part on the Will Knox track is absolutely fantastic.
2017 Feb 09
Thanks,Fab.You are really a good teacher!!
Johnny London
2017 Feb 08
Wonderful stuff! Thank you Fab!
2017 Feb 08
As always, very instructive and entertaining, Fab. Thank you! Over the past year I see many people, including yourself, showing off the UAD plugins a lot. I am sure they are good, but do you think they are something of a fad (as were Sonnox, Soundtoys, etc., all of great quality), or are they a "must have"? (And now you start with Flux! :-) )
2017 Feb 08
Fun fact about mic'ing, the Beatles AND kick drums: "For example, on Ringo’s drum sound, I wanted to move the mic closer to the bass drum. Well, we weren’t allowed. I was caught putting the mic about three inches from the bass drum, and I was reprimanded... And so, I was sent a letter, from one of the guys in the office down the corridor, giving permission—only on Beatles sessions—to put the microphone three inches from the drum."
2017 Feb 08
Hi Fab...Excellent tutorial and pretty much guilty on many pointers you made. Made very much sense and will go back to the drawing board and clean up my mixes. Thanks
2017 Feb 08
Great fab!
2017 Feb 08
Very useful!! Thanks
2017 Feb 08
Thanks FAB!!!!
2017 Feb 08
Your Pultec has a lot more oomph than the plugin that is what I heard.
2017 Feb 08
This is very very informative. Big thanks Fab.
Marcos Rogerio
2017 Feb 08
wow !!! thanks teacher !!!