1. Using an equalizer before a compressor: When an equalizer is placed before a compressor in the signal chain, it allows the engineer to shape the tonal balance of the track before compression. This means that any frequency boosts or cuts applied by the equalizer will affect the levels that the compressor is working with, potentially resulting in a more natural-sounding compression.
2. Using an equalizer after a compressor: On the other hand, using an equalizer after a compressor means that the equalizer is processing the audio that has already been affected by compression. This can result in a different tonal balance compared to using the equalizer before the compressor, as the compressor will have already made its own adjustments to the level of various frequencies.
3. A good rule of thumb is to use the equalizer before the compressor when the primary goal is to shape the tonal balance of the track, and use the equalizer after the compressor when the primary goal is to make fine adjustments to the overall tonality after compression has been applied.
4. Ultimately, the choice of whether to use an equalizer before or after a compressor during audio mastering will depend on the specific needs of each track, and the desired result. Some engineers may find that using the equalizer before the compressor produces the best results in most cases, while others may prefer to use the equalizer after the compressor for greater control over the final tonality. Experimentation and critical listening are key to finding the best approach for each situation.