Muddiness and lack of shimmer are two EQ issues that many of you might have trouble with. Related frequency bands are also known as boom and sparkle, or thickness and air. They go by many names, but their presence or absence will not go unnoticed. Muddiness becomes havoc on your low-end, clogging up the mix and decreasing definition and clarity. However, simple EQ moves can. In the next tutorial, we will show you how to add sparkle to the high-end, brighten your instruments and open up your mix.

As usual, we prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW. It includes most of the major elements of a full mix. Let’s take a listen to it.

This is a screenshot of my mix taken before processing of the high-end.
~Full Mix – High End (Unprocessed)

As we can hear from the audio example above, our mix’s high end lacks clarity and is pushed into the background. We could solve this problem by adding an EQ to each channel of our mix that contains high-end information, or by boosting the top end with an EQ on the master. This isn’t a mistake in itself, but we believe we can get a much better result by grouping the instruments like hi-hat, ride, and shaker and processing them separately from the rest of the mix.
This is a screenshot of my mix and its channels grouped together.

Grouping and processing the high-end

Our project now appears to be much more organized after we created a few group channels. Among the other groups, there is the “HIGH END” group, which we are about to process.

MDMX Overdrive by Waves Audio is our plugin of choice for this task. There are two types of overdrive: Type A and Type B. Type A is better suited for low-end frequencies, while Type B is preferable for the mid-and high-end. The main portion of the interface is dominated by a large Gain knob, which controls the amount of overdrive. Aside from that, we have a filter section as well as input/output controls, both of which are equally important. The dynamic section in the middle of the interface offers two modes: Punch and Rider. Punch mode is a fixed-ratio compressor with adjustable knee and release times, whereas Rider mode is a gain rider that works similarly to a gate, but is smoother and more sophisticated. Let’s hear our high-end group solo, first unprocessed and then processed with MDMX Drive.

This is a screenshot of my mix and interface of MDMX Drive plugin applied to the high-end group.
~High End Group – Unprocessed
~High End Group – Processed With MDMX Drive

Finally, let’s hear how our processed high-end group sounds in context with the rest of the mix.

~Full Mix – High End (Processed With MDXM Drive)

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