maybe this question has already come up (though I couldn't find it ...), and surely most of you will have their own best practices here...
EQ or Compression, what do you put first and why?
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It is general practice to compress first, then EQ. That is why, in almost every hardware channel strip you can buy, the compresser is before the EQ. Also, most consoles have their inserts before the EQ section. Consoles that have a built in dynamics section almost always have the dynamics before filters (EQ) (Some of the really high end ones - SSL, Harrison, Trident, etc... are switchable).
Certain filters are almost always located before the dynamics section, such as HPF, LPF, etc... If you really want to change the sound, or have an "egregious" frequency in the source sound, you might notch or shelf certain frequencies before compression, but it isn't all that common.
Also, try to use equalization as little as possible. If you are the one doing the original recording, ALWAYS play with mic placement before even thinking about touching and eq. Equalizers work by using small changes in phase. If you heavily eq something, you are heavily altering the phase of it. Never a good thing if you can avoid it. If you can't, try to use it sparingly (unless you find yourself a linear phase eq).
As always, there are really no set rules with this, so you are more than welcome to put them in any order you'd like. As long as you get the sound you're looking for, it doesn't really matter how you get there.
Good luck and happy knob tweaking!
I'll usually put compression last in my chain, as it can easily be undone by other processes like eq. Maybe undone isn't the right word, can I change that to "mucked up"?
I've just never liked the sounds I get if I put compression too early in the chain, the only thing I'll ever put after compression is a limiter, but that's actually just more compression.
Another reason, is that sometimes I find it's not needed after I've finished doing everything else. I not a bad habit to avoid using compression needlessly.
When I mix dialogue I usually have Gain/trim -> filters -> denoise -> eq -> opt special treatment -> fader -> compressor
I like to have the compressor at the end of the chain, working just a little on the dialogue at normal level, and more and more when I rise the level. Sometime I have eq and then compressor, there isn't an absolute rule.