I've been looking up articles on dynamic EQ and it seems to be mostly positive. I'm wondering if there's any downsides if someone were to go crazy with it like in the following workflow:

Let's say someone has a typical rock song with drums, bass, guitars, vocals and each individual track is already eq'd to their liking (but the track hasn't been compared to any other track in the song). If they want the kick to come through with minimal masking, they add a sidechain/dynamic eq to all other instruments who produce frequencies in the range of the kick drum. That way they duck out a bit when the kick drum hits. Then after every track has that, they move on and do the same thing again, but this time with the snare. Then cymbals. Then bass guitar. Then guitars, etc etc..

I'm just wondering when too much is too much and artifacts or pumping or other weird things would start to happen.

  • But what if some of the "artifacts" are things you want? Half (or maybe 90%) of stomp-pedals distort or clip the source sound, after all. Sep 9, 2020 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


I guess there is no fixed point where 'too much is too much'. This depends on many different factors like

  • the quality of the the tracks
  • how each track interfers with the others
  • what sound you are looking for
  • etc.

The best way to distinguish such a point is to use your own ears and decide it for every case on your own.

If it sounds good, its good.

A very important point here is to take some time off from your track. If you are mixing your song over a long time periode at a stretch, your ears will adapt to the sound (So what maybe usually would sound weird to you, will sound normal). Listen to some other music which sounds good to you and come back later using these songs as a reference point. It's important to prevent yourself from 'over producing' the song.

I can remember myself mixing some of my recordings the whole night through. It sounded awesome in that moment. When i came back the other day and played the track back, i was wondering what the hell i was doing...

  • Thanks. I don't have a specific song I'm mixing in this scenario. I'm just wondering more about what would happen if someone had the time and CPU to do something like this. Would it eventually sound awesome or completely weird. In theory the tracks would no longer interfere with each other (if they ever did) by doing this Sep 9, 2020 at 16:26
  • Maybe 10 years ago or so, there was a whole flash-in-the-pan 'genre' of EDM where every kick drum, the entire BT would dive out of the way & take half a beat to come back to full volume. It sounded like $h1t. You can go too far.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 9, 2020 at 16:58
  • I wonder if that's more a product of attack/release timings or eq. Interesting nonetheless! Sep 9, 2020 at 17:23
  • @ekjcfn3902039 I guess this might help to make it sound more clean, but could eventually lead to making it sound 'clinical'. I think it would steal away the 'human' or 'natural' factor of the sound. The same way too much quantization can make a groove sound robotic and stiff.
    – Olli
    Sep 9, 2020 at 18:02
  • @ekjcfn3902039 I think the genre which Tetsujin might be reffereing to is called jump style. Whats going on there is when the kick drum hits, the volume of the baseline is going all the way down and when the kick fades out, the volume of the baseline comes back up. This is called sidechaining. For this particular genre it is used very concise and giving the music some 'drive'. But this technique can also be used (not only on drums or bass) in a sutle way to make some 'room' in the mix for other tracks to stand more out.
    – Olli
    Sep 9, 2020 at 18:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.