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Offline rigpimp

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EQ Help
« on: December 11, 2017, 11:30:29 PM »
I allow myself to get extremely frustrated trying to properly EQ live recordings.  I will spend hours and hours even though I know the "Drive it out til it sounds like shit and then back up off it" rule.

Up, down, wide, high, low and never feel like I get it right.

Anyone have some tips on where to start learning EQ'ing patience?  Or what to read & practice?  I know there are resources here and online I just need someone to point me in the right direction. 

For now I am gonna begin here:  https://pae.izotope.com
Mics: Schoeps MK5 G MP, Schoeps CCM 4 Lg MP, Schoeps MK8 MP, nBob cables > PFA, KCY 250/5 > PFA
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Offline furburger

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017, 02:38:15 AM »
I allow myself to get extremely frustrated trying to properly EQ live recordings.  I will spend hours and hours even though I know the "Drive it out til it sounds like shit and then back up off it" rule.

Up, down, wide, high, low and never feel like I get it right.

Anyone have some tips on where to start learning EQ'ing patience?  Or what to read & practice?  I know there are resources here and online I just need someone to point me in the right direction. 

For now I am gonna begin here:  https://pae.izotope.com

I have a hardware-based (component, Kenwood) analyzer that is a *great* visual tool.

I would NEVER EQ a show with my ears only....and I've heard many a person make a show sound worse when going that route.

I stay away from computer-screen/software EQ's, as I don't care for the lagtime (even if it's microseconds)

99% of the time, I can EQ a show in less than 2 minutes time....anything more than that is overthinking it.

the analyzer shows the peaks/valleys, then I even them out.

I do call 625hz the 'mud' frequency, as it's above the snare drum (250-400hz), yet below most intelligible vocals. (800hz-1khz)

90% of the time lowering that will reduce the muddy sound in an arena (of course, in conjunction with shaping the lows)

I also make sure not to over-err on the highs, as they can create a brittle, washy sound....usually I set them where it sounds good before application, but then I bump 16khz, 10khz and 6.3khz back a couple clicks, then apply the EQ.

no resources; all self-taught.

that people reach out to me all the time for help makes me think I'm on the right track.


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Online Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2017, 10:53:00 AM »
Under the circumstances I'll shoot you a PM.
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Offline wforwumbo

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2017, 03:39:45 PM »
As a studio guy I can definitely weigh in here.

What you have kind of asked here (without really knowing), is the equivalent of me as a young and green taper saying “so I have my phone microphone, how do I get a good live recording with that?” Well, for one thing that’s not the ideal gear to use - not that you can’t do it, it’s just that you’re facing myriad problems right off the get go; also, it’s not really understanding the system - different gear/mics/capsules/stereo configurations/techniques/LOCATION will all yield different results. And then, once I understand all that, I need to learn HOW to use all this gear to create a functional tape, altering my process as I learn and become experienced. Well, EQ is kinda like that - there are MANY different types of EQ, each with its own characteristics and usages; then once you understand all that, you must learn through experience how to effectively manipulate it to get the desired end product.

There is no simple way to learn or even understand EQ. There aren’t hard-set rules. Many producers like to talk about frequency ranges/bands for things like increasing or decreasing “mud”/“air”/“crunch”/etc. Sure there are some ranges where certain sounds or aspects of them like to be, but IMO that’s the wrong way to go about EQing, entirely. In my opinion it’s best to understand how to listen, and then once you’ve isolated what needs adjustment then keep whittling away til the sound after equalization is closer (or at) what you desire. 

Contrary to furburger, I don’t use a spectrogram to guide my EQ usage; I trust my ears instead. But then again, I have spent COUNTLESS hours at mixing desks or with headphones on, tweaking EQs to get the sound I want. It’s really one of those things that comes with experience and practice, but it requires assloads of both to understand - and then fluidly control - how to use an equalizer. That said, I’ll agree with furburger that MANY people don’t know what they’re doing, and can/do make recordings worse by using EQ to detrimental effect.

If you REALLY (and I mean REALLY) are wanting to understand EQ, there are two steps I would take if I were you:

  • Get yourself a copy of FabFilter Pro-Q 2. In addition to LOADS of features that are useful and will be helpful down the line as you learn EQ, it has the particularly nifty feature of being able to isolate any band that you are actively manipulating, and it can solo that band while you sweep its frequency and Q/resonance in real time. This is really useful in training your ear WHAT to listen for, while also making the job of HOW to EQ easier - once you know what you want to adjust.
  • A VERY general rule when using an equalizer is: if you need to boost, do so with a VERY broad resonance, and no more than about 3 dB or so while you are still learning how to use it. If you are cutting, either use equally broad and gradual shifts, or if you need to cut out a problematic frequency, do so with VERY high Q and at extreme gain reduction. The soloing band feature in Pro Q 2 is great for this as you can vcreate a resonant bell filter, set its gain high, solo it, and sweep until you find the trouble frequency. 

If you have further questions about any of this stuff please feel free to ask here or by PM if you prefer that.
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2017, 03:49:36 PM »
"FabFilter Pro-Q 2 [...] has the particularly nifty feature of being able to isolate any band that you are actively manipulating, and it can solo that band while you sweep its frequency and Q/resonance in real time."

That, right there, sounds like a wonderful ear-training tool. $200, but still . . .

Online Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2017, 04:46:22 PM »
Pro Q is totally worth the price IMO. Pro-MB too  ;D
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Offline kuba e

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2017, 06:02:53 PM »
I am making only a few recordings a year. This free plug-in may be useful for people like me who are learning slowly gradually.
http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/
You just ctrl+clik on the spectrum to solo the band. Use mouse wheel to change Q.

Thank you to Wforwumbo for nice explanation.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 06:08:03 PM by kuba e »

Offline rigpimp

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2017, 12:23:58 AM »
Wow, FabFilter Pro-Q 2 has been sent from heaven.  There will be a little bit of a feature learning curve (pun intended) but as SamH says in the comments on the Youtube video below for the plugin, "Am throwing money at the screen."

Introduction to FabFilter Pro-Q 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYTCQeggyzo

FabFilter Pro-Q - EQ Tips & Tricks"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSNYBbPAvKE
Mics: Schoeps MK5 G MP, Schoeps CCM 4 Lg MP, Schoeps MK8 MP, nBob cables > PFA, KCY 250/5 > PFA
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Offline if_then_else

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2017, 04:25:44 AM »
If memory serves, there.are seasonal discounts with the Fabfilter plugins at the EOY.

Offline Perry

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2017, 04:05:46 PM »
Good advice in this thread. A few of things I've learned from experience, YMMV:

1. I have to be completely sober when I EQ. Otherwise, I can get carried away.
2. Use a parametric equalizer with variable Q.
3. Don't work at it for hours at a time. Aural fatigue sets in and I can no longer "hear straight". This is especially true when using headphones.
4. Make small changes and listen for a bit, repeat.
5. When I think I've got it dialed in, I put it aside for a day. Re-listen tomorrow with fresh ears. I rarely get it right on the first try.
6. Listen to the final product in several environments (headphones, home stereo, car, etc.) before finalizing your project.

I've always used the parametric EQ that comes with Audition but after looking at Pro-Q 2 I'm steppin' up my game.
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Offline EmRR

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2017, 05:28:13 PM »
Compare on multiple systems. Go back and forth between speakers and headphones, for instance.  For many people, bass is easier to sort in headphones than speakers.  I have big speakers, small speakers, really tiny speakers, and headphones.  In multiple rooms. 

Make those big broad moves with EQ to find the sweet or sour spots.  Many times in the end, I find the only move that doesn't make something worse is very small, like +1 or -1 dB, but bigger moves are useful for hearing it more clearly. 

Occasionally a narrow band can save something missing, like the bottom thud of a kick drum in a sea of mud, or sibilance in vocals or cymbals.  There, you are searching for a narrow resonance, and steering it so as to not affect surroundings. 

Offline Scooter123

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2017, 11:00:55 PM »
A good audience show will take minimum an hour or two to master

Many use isotope to scrub a recording before diving into details.  The pre-scrub will remove clicks (claps) and hoots and hollars.  An hour show will take about 5 minutes for isotope to process.

Then dive into the details, such as specific issues, a talker, more clapping, more whistles.  Izotope with the specral graph can isolate and remove those for you.

Finally, when the recording is clean, start to EQ.  For Schoeps in a large boomy building, I will do a high pass filter at 80, maybe higher.  For Neumanns, you'll need to boost the bass and cut the highs. 

Use a cue sheet file, so the song splits will stay the same on multiple attempts at your mix. 

Yes, try various EQ settings with a nice pair of speakers, headphones, and perhaps some Auraltone speakers.  If it sounds bad on Auraltones, you have big problems somewhere. 

Understand that there is probably very little above 16,000 except some harmonics

Buy some good books at Amazon, but there is no substitute for trying and making mistakes.  I only learn by making mistakes.





Regards,

Scooter123

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Offline rigpimp

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2017, 12:24:18 AM »
I am not typically worried about talkers, clappers and whistlers.  If that bothered me I'm actually pretty handy with iZotope's RX Advanced suite and the lasso tool.  I can use those noise reduction modules as it pertains to restoring analog recordings.  I did it for years but mostly know buzzes, hums and hisses.  It is really understanding frequency bands, what instruments fall into which, and how to EQ it all that I struggle with.  I am getting better quickly and am a lot less frustrated than I was when I made the OP. 

I am both a visual and aural learner.  I like to see graphs AND use my ears but my ears are not the greatest and could use some training. 

Also, while I agree that every show is different, or sets from a show in the case of my recording from Saturday, there are some things I agree with posted here and some that I do not.

~95% of the time I am an open taper.  I know that location plays a huge part in making a better sounding recording.  BUT you don't always get your mics into the mouth of the beast and you gotta take what you can get.  That is often the case with larger, concerts in reserved seating where you are not supposed to be recording at all in the first place.  Even if you know the sweet spot at that venue from a previous concert it can EASILY change to the next.  You might be close, but, well I digress.

There are patterns to follow.  I know when bass sounds thin.  I know when highs sound too bright/airy or too dark.  Does it vary?  Sure, but don't say there aren't hard set rules.  I found this Carnegie Chart PDF on iZotope's EQ Learning page the other night.  I printed it up and set in front of my DAW for reference.  https://pae.izotope.com/doc/frequency-chart.pdf  Those kind of look like rules to me.  At least soft-boiled ones.   :coolguy:

I'm a geek about really good software.  It is worth the price to me.  I fell in love with the iZotope products and think there is a special place in heaven for the engineers that write those crazy RX algorithms.  I got that same tingle when I loaded up the Pro-Q plugin for the first time.  Thank you for turning me on to that tool Sloan. 

I appreciate everyone's input.  Keep it coming!

Mics: Schoeps MK5 G MP, Schoeps CCM 4 Lg MP, Schoeps MK8 MP, nBob cables > PFA, KCY 250/5 > PFA
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Online beatkilla

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2017, 09:33:07 AM »

Offline ilduclo

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2017, 10:17:16 AM »
Interesting discussion! I recently recorded a couple of metal sets where the sound guy just didn't have it right...I generally feel it's a GIGO situation, but if there is anyone here who would volunteer to listen to a short portion of it and make suggestions as to what I could possibly do to improve it, I'd be really appreciative.

Offline nak700s

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2017, 01:14:40 PM »
You're not going to be happy with my recommendation, but ya kinda asked... Personally, I live by the rule, "get it right the first time".  I adapted that rule when getting into photography at a young age, and realizing how costly it was to crop and print photos.  In other words, with regards to photos, I "crop on the fly"...I use the zoom and don't have to crop in post.  Well, I do the same thing, to the extent that I can, with my recordings.  I tape from where it will sound best, and do not EQ anything.  All I need to do, most of the time, is bring up my levels.  I have my own ideas about EQing recordings that most do not share (to each their own, and all that).  I believe that if the band (soundperson) does their job correctly, then the sound I recorded is the way it was meant to sound.  If the issue is with the equipment, and EQing is necessary because of that...(do I really have to say this?) it may be time for some different equipment.  Anyway, please don't get crazy with me, it's just the way I do things.
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Online Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2017, 01:14:51 PM »
Interesting discussion! I recently recorded a couple of metal sets where the sound guy just didn't have it right...I generally feel it's a GIGO situation, but if there is anyone here who would volunteer to listen to a short portion of it and make suggestions as to what I could possibly do to improve it, I'd be really appreciative.
I'd be glad to
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Online Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2017, 01:17:14 PM »
You're not going to be happy with my recommendation, but ya kinda asked... Personally, I live by the rule, "get it right the first time".  I adapted that rule when getting into photography at a young age, and realizing how costly it was to crop and print photos.  In other words, with regards to photos, I "crop on the fly"...I use the zoom and don't have to crop in post.  Well, I do the same thing, to the extent that I can, with my recordings.  I tape from where it will sound best, and do not EQ anything.  All I need to do, most of the time, is bring up my levels.  I have my own ideas about EQing recordings that most do not share (to each their own, and all that).  I believe that if the band (soundperson) does their job correctly, then the sound I recorded is the way it was meant to sound.  If the issue is with the equipment, and EQing is necessary because of that...(do I really have to say this?) it may be time for some different equipment.  Anyway, please don't get crazy with me, it's just the way I do things.

The beauty of a hobby is everyone can do it their own way. That being said, I'm glad this attitude doesn't seem so pervasive anymore. If I could start over I would have learned how to EQ years before I did.
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Offline nak700s

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2017, 02:15:11 PM »

The beauty of a hobby is everyone can do it their own way. That being said, I'm glad this attitude doesn't seem so pervasive anymore. If I could start over I would have learned how to EQ years before I did.


I'm not criticizing, only saying what I do (and don't do).  Like I said, "to each their own, and all that"... As we all know, all else aside, different equipment makes different sounding recordings.  I am only too aware that sometimes people will buy a rig or components for their rig, that they see/hear and are sold on without really knowing if it's best for their particular situation.  My opinions about that shall remain my own, as I am probably pissing off enough people as it is ;-)  Anyway, my point is, if someone finds themselves constantly adding or reducing the same things (sound altering), maybe it's time to get the right equipment for the job so that particular aspect of their recording comes out the way they like it in the first place.  "They" is bold, because it is up to that person's ears and preferences as to how they want their recording to sound.  Personally, I try to reproduce what the band is producing, and to me, EQing what they do is altering that sound.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's a personal choice and like you said, this hobby is about doing it the way you like it.  To that I say, use your ears and make it pleasing to you.  If others like it and want to listen to it, then it's a win for them too.
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Offline if_then_else

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2017, 03:05:47 PM »
Interesting discussion! I recently recorded a couple of metal sets where the sound guy just didn't have it right...I generally feel it's a GIGO situation, but if there is anyone here who would volunteer to listen to a short portion of it and make suggestions as to what I could possibly do to improve it, I'd be really appreciative.
I'd be glad to

+1
(Though I'll be multitracking a show.tonight and will have to process that one first.)

Offline down2earthlandscaper

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2017, 03:49:23 PM »
Great info here. Saved the links to my reading list. This makes me realize how very little I actually know about this.

Sometimes I'll get lucky and nail it quickly. Other times I'll work on a recording extensively only to end up with something worse than the original.
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Offline furburger

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2017, 04:23:45 PM »
It is really understanding frequency bands, what instruments fall into which

rough chart:

40-98hz - "arena mud"....lots of shaping can be done here, it's really contingent on how good the soundman is in terms of the work to be done here
160hz - the 'pluck' of most bass players is here. not the rumble that goes thru your chest, but the actual strings being struck
250-400hz - the snare drum, Pearl Jam is NOTORIOUS for boosting 250 wayyyyyy too high, which is the 'thud'. the 'snap' is closer to 400.
625-800hz - a different kind of 'mud' resides here, and it's (800hz) the beginning range of 'cookie monster vocals'.  you can almost always pull 625 down on a 'rock' show and notice an instant improvement.

1khz thru 3.9khz - your rhythm guitar (1-1.5), lead (1.5 thru 3.9) and vox (entire range) reside here. this is where you can turn down a recording that is too 'hot', or boost if there's a 'hole' on the analyzer. you can also bring out or lower the guitar if necessary.
6.3khz - lots of your cymbals and ambient sounds like to hang out around here. you can add/subtract brightness, which is different than 'hot distortion'.
10khz+ - too much, and the recording will sound 'brittle'. but if the 'tsh-tsh' of your cymbals is missing, this can be used to add some color
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Offline furburger

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2017, 04:33:44 PM »
You're not going to be happy with my recommendation, but ya kinda asked... Personally, I live by the rule, "get it right the first time".  I adapted that rule when getting into photography at a young age, and realizing how costly it was to crop and print photos.  In other words, with regards to photos, I "crop on the fly"...I use the zoom and don't have to crop in post.  Well, I do the same thing, to the extent that I can, with my recordings.  I tape from where it will sound best, and do not EQ anything.  All I need to do, most of the time, is bring up my levels.  I have my own ideas about EQing recordings that most do not share (to each their own, and all that).  I believe that if the band (soundperson) does their job correctly, then the sound I recorded is the way it was meant to sound.  If the issue is with the equipment, and EQing is necessary because of that...(do I really have to say this?) it may be time for some different equipment.  Anyway, please don't get crazy with me, it's just the way I do things.


90% of the time, when the live sound is shit, the recording comes out sounding better than what it sounded like at the show.

and EQ makes it better 99.9% of the time.

like you said, to each their own.
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Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2017, 08:16:05 AM »
There is no simple way to learn or even understand EQ. There aren’t hard-set rules. Many producers like to talk about frequency ranges/bands for things like increasing or decreasing “mud”/“air”/“crunch”/etc. Sure there are some ranges where certain sounds or aspects of them like to be, but IMO that’s the wrong way to go about EQing, entirely. In my opinion it’s best to understand how to listen, and then once you’ve isolated what needs adjustment then keep whittling away til the sound after equalization is closer (or at) what you desire. 

+1 (I'm also a studio guy, so....) I've always hated those charts with general frequency areas of certain instruments, and they teach them in a lot of the engineering programs.

Absolutely agree on the FabFilter stuff. Bought the mastering suite years ago and the ProQ and ProL are my most used plugs by far
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Offline if_then_else

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Re: EQ Help
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2017, 01:27:15 PM »
FWIW: The Fabfilter Pro plugins (incl. the Pro-Q2) are 25% off, now...

Quote
We've just started a Holiday Sale in the FabFilter user accounts. Until January 1, the Personal Upgrade Offer in your FabFilter account offers you 25% discount or more on any additional plug-ins. So whether you would like to buy a single plug-in or complete your entire FabFilter collection: this is the time!

 

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