The code of the beat.

Use Plug-Ins? Don’t Slam the Signal


How to Avoid Distortion and Other Leveling Problems When Using EQ Plug-Ins


Ask any mix engineer about the sort of recording issues they typically have to troubleshoot, and more often than not you’ll hear a story about distortion and the like.
I can’t tell you how many songs that I’ve mixed where I had to put a limiter on certain sounds to try to kill the signal—stop it from slamming—and break down or weed out distortion from the recording. But in today’s DIY (Do It Yourself) recording environment, I should expect on one hand; but then again on the other hand, this must often can be avoided by how you use your plug-ins.

For the most part, when we use plug-ins, we’re mostly “boosting” (bringing up, enhancing the elements of a recording), especially an EQ plug-in. And at times, many people actually “slam” the signal that goes into the plug-in. (Vocals are quite delicate, so this goes double for that.) So here’s my recommendation for how to avoid slamming the signal that goes into an EQ plug-in.

When you put an EQ plug-in across a channel, turn the input of the plug-in down by maybe 2 db’s and you should be fine. I usually use the Focusrite EQ 6 band, and as soon as it’s engaged, I immediately turn the input down. You can see how hard the signal hits, so you may need more than 2db’s. If you needs to boost more, the outputs can be turned up also (if the plug-in has outputs). Having the inputs lower and the outputs boosted is not a problem. As long as the signal doesn’t overload the plug-in, you should be fine.

Articles, Beatmaking, Beatmaking Education, Beatmaking Practice, Beatmaking Themes, Theories, and Concepts, BeatTips, Book on How to Make Beats, Cus, Features, Hip Hop Production Techniques, Hip Hop/Rap Music Education, Recording, Mixing, and Mastering, The BeatTips Manual

About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual