The Mysteries of EQ - or how I learned to stop making music and obssesively master instead

Sorry for the ridiculous title, but I have an EQ question i thought I’d pitch into the MI crowd:

Lets say I am an intermediate / advanced beginner at recording and mixing and mastering my own synth pop songs using Logic as my DAW (and a bunch of MI gear of course).

After carefully mixing and mastering for too long, and getting ready to upload my EP to bandcamp, I notice in one final review that one song sounds a little bit foggy and unclear. So I open an EQ on that channel and I cut a little out of the bass frequency under 40hz, and cut a little narrow bit around 180 because it sounds a little better in my ears. The bass was a little boomy and maybe clouding everything else out. here’s the question part:

prior to cutting the frequencies my levels were peaking at minus 0.4, after cutting them i was in the red at plus 1.6. Ok, maybe I am not really an advanced beginner but a stone cold beginner, because I wouldn’t think that cutting frequencies could result in an increase in my levels?

last bit of backstory here:
this is just a stereo master file with nothing on it but a little gentle loudness maximizer courtesy of izotope ozone on the stereo out. Without the cut to the eq my levels are fine, after the cut I’ve got clipping. Can anyone explain to stone cold dunce like me why this would happen?

Thanks in advance

Bit confused; do you get clipping in your final uncompresses master, or only when you play back on Soundcloud?

Just during playback of the final master within Logic, my level meters are peaking red at +1.6 dbfs where previously the level meter for that track was peaking at - 0.5 dbfs.

while I am at it, here is something else I don’t understand. If the levels on the main stereo out show -0.5 dbfs, but the level on the individual channel is peaking red at +1.6, am I clipping? Do i need a remedial lesson on dbfs and digital clipping?

thanks for the speedy response, it’s appreciated.

Do you hear any digital clipping?

None at all. Seems to sound fine.

In that case you should probably stop mastering and release your stuff. :slight_smile:

The reason the level increases when you cut some frequencies is likely due to phase cancellation. Edit: If you have a mix with a level of positive or negative and you add to that a waveform that is in the opposite half, you will reduce the output level… if you get where I am going. :slight_smile:
As for the clipping, almost all modern DAWs use floating point math so there is a pretty large headroom for every track. The clipping on individual tracks is likely not clipping in ‘floating point’ and, as long as you are not bouncing out the individual tracks to aif / wav etc., you shouldn’t worry. Just don’t clip the master. :slight_smile:

I would not underestimate intersample peaks. Even though it sounds ok, it may be possible the ISPs produces some artifacts during mastering, which could be real annoying.
This “somehow something is wrong, but i can’t put the finger on it”-feeling really sucks.
And when confronted with ISPs, the only way out is re-bouncing with less volume. No problem when you produced the stuff yourself and pain in the ass, when these are recordings of musicians in a customer project.

might try some shelving frequencies above the top part of the sound, and make sure you are cutting any supersonic upper harmonics you cant hear as well. They could be exciting the compressors or causing clipping you arent hearing.

yes something about the phase i think

very late, but thanks all for the helpful comments.