Become a Site Supporter and Never see Ads again!

Author Topic: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?  (Read 5800 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Sloan Simpson

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 3421
  • Gender: Male
    • Southern Shelter
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2014, 12:24:38 PM »
A side note to say that I'm excited we're discussing this. I like that processing is becoming less taboo here, because taperssection is one of the only places to learn about audience recording in particular.
Neumann KM-184> Tascam DR-680

Offline macdaddy

  • Trade Count: (10)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 7662
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2014, 01:06:25 PM »
A side note to say that I'm excited we're discussing this. I like that processing is becoming less taboo here, because taperssection is one of the only places to learn about audience recording in particular.

+1

Not much else to add, as I agree with the bull bulk (F'g auto correct) that has been discussed.

In my experience, I have found is to try different tools, as certain eq's do certain things really well, and no eq does all things equally well...
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 10:22:12 AM by macdaddy »
-macdaddy ++

akg c422 > s42 > lunatec v2 > ad2k+ > roland r-44

Online aaronji

  • Site Supporter
  • Trade Count: (6)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *
  • Posts: 2283
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2014, 07:41:18 PM »
This. I don't intend to be snarky or demeaning about it when I say that I see the reason most people choose gear is because they like how it sounds (not how faithful it is), but they don't want to EQ because they don't have the necessary skillset or knowledge to do it well instead of trying to be faithful.

I "chose" not to EQ for a long time for this reason.  I knew I didn't know what I was doing and stuck to a Hippocratic first-do-no-harm approach.  A few experiences where others greatly improved my recordings with pretty minimal EQ convinced me I needed to learn how to do it myself.  I am definitely still no master, but I have been able to improve my recordings substantially through a pretty painless process.

Now learn how frequencies sound. I used to take a low Q value (that gradually grew the higher up I went) and amp something by 10DB and do a gentle sweep so I could hear what 400hz sounds like, what 1k, 2k, 2.6k, etc. Learn these.

This is what I worked on first.  I know it sounds kind of stupid, but I downloaded a cheap app that, at the basic level, played a tone and gave you four choices of frequency.  A few minutes a day, for a week or two, and I vastly improved my ability to identify frequencies.  In the more advanced level, the app would select random snippets of music, play the un-EQ'ed clip, and then play the same clip with EQ applied at some frequency.  Again, with four choices.  The cool thing here is that you could tell the app which folders to choose the clips from, so you could do it with your own recordings.  At the same time...

Play around with simple graphic EQs. I think simple graphic EQs are better for this self-education than more complicated parametric EQs. Regularly bypass the EQ to remind your brain what that sounds like.

...I started playing around with the 10- and 20-band graphic equalizers.  Just sliding the various sliders individually, you can quickly get a sense of what content you are likely to find in the different frequency bands.  I am still using these for most EQ, because I am still a novice, but also because it's quick and easy, and because I discovered that:

Mild EQ is great! Nobody is suggesting radical moves. Perhaps it's my gear but it's exceedingly rare that I make a recording that isn't improvable by a gentle EQ move or two.

I almost never add/subtract more than a couple dB (assuming there is no specific flaw in the recording that I am trying to address).  Less is definitely more.  In the same vein, I have often found that a dB bump in one spot and dB decrease in another achieves the goal I am aiming for better than a bigger change in a single band.  For example, I have recorded a lot of piano/bass/drum trios where the piano is a bit "submerged".  A little EQ up in the mid/low-high bands coupled with a little EQ down in the lower frequencies seems to bring out the piano better than a larger change in either the highs or lows alone.

Anyway, I don't think I really added anything to the conversation (as evidenced by my liberal use of quotes), but I tried to summarize how easy it is to improve your skill-set (as page put it).  I am definitely still a beginner, but my skills are improving and I am now working on other mastering tools with a little more confidence.  In the end, it's so subjective.  I shoot for what sounds good to me on my playback.  Anyone else can always tweak it to their own preferences...

Offline Gutbucket

  • record > listen > revise technique
  • Trade Count: (13)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 11796
  • Gender: Male
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2014, 11:00:19 PM »
Sometime more radical EQ is necessary and entirely appropriate.  Though I don't go into it expecting great things, I've been surprised at how quite radical EQ has let me rescue a few recordings I initially figured were completely hopeless, or get surprisingly good results out of rather mediocre starting points.

Yet generally, 'less' and 'smoother' are very good guidelines to good sounding EQ adjustment.  Say I run through a graphic EQ in Foobar a few times listening to something, and carefully adjust things while sort of listening for best results in specific ranges, getting things as good as smooth sounding and unfatiguing as possible.  I'll then look at the curve of slider positions and play around with smoothing out the sharper corners in the corrections I arrived at earlier, while listening a bit more with the whole in mind in addition to that specific region.  More often than not, I can improve the overall sound slightly by making a few minor smoothing adjustments.  Even if it comes at the expense of what was the perfect correction while concentrating primarily on that particular frequency range alone, that process of finding the optimal compromise makes for a better overall result.  It can be difficult to switch mindsets and objectively hear the whole instead of the corrected flaws. 

As the adjustments become more subtle, the twin challenges become maintaining mentally objective listening and avoiding making adjustments which are nothing more than corrections specific to your particular monitoring system.   

This. I don't intend to be snarky or demeaning about it when I say that I see the reason most people choose gear is because they like how it sounds (not how faithful it is), but they don't want to EQ because they don't have the necessary skillset or knowledge to do it well instead of trying to be faithful.

I "chose" not to EQ for a long time for this reason.  I knew I didn't know what I was doing and stuck to a Hippocratic first-do-no-harm approach.
 
This is one of the best good reasons.  I think when deciding to EQ a recording for general release, there is something of a responsibility for objectivity involved, which doesn't apply when just EQing to suit your own playback environment and personal enjoyment.  The aim should be good sound in general, which works on as many different systems as possible.  The danger is making it sound great on you own monitoring system, but not realizing some of the changes you are making are corrections to your monitoring system, which don't apply elsewhere.

Another good one, far less important to the majority listeners, but important around here, is providing useful points of comparison for tapers.  Once EQ'd, a recording sounds much better, but that limits its usefulness for microphone comps.  Though if well done it does provide an example of what the gear is capable of.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
made easy- >>Improved PAS table<< | made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

stevetoney

  • Guest
  • Trade Count: (0)
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2014, 09:34:07 AM »
Two comments. 

I've always trusted my ears more than anything else because I know what I like.  For this reason, I've always EQ'ed almost everything I record because I almost always find something lacking.  I master using the same set of ATH-M50 phones I've used for eons.  I don't necessarily use any guidelines about less is more or anything like that because I know what I like and it's possible that I may need alot of EQ.  Hell I've added as much as 15 db of high end onto some recordings that were dull and totally lacked presence and the result was spectacular.  I can do this because I record with high end gear and the detail is there.  With low end gear, that detail may not be there.  Analytics are great, but absolultely they're no better than what I find that I like when I listen....ever.  That's not to say that someone else wouldn't EQ different than me, but how can I concern myself with that when I only have one perspective I can satisfy?  I've always felt this way even back to the days when people tried to tell me that the original tapes that I made when I recorded onto HiMD mini-disc back in the day sucked simply because they were made in a lossy format, which I still completely reject.  Nevermind they might sound fantastic.

Second comment is that even though I trust what I like above all else, it usually takes me more than one time to get it right.  I find that what sounds perfect last night might sound a bit off this morning.  So, don't settle on a final conclusion after one listening session.

Footnote to the above is that some people say that I shouldn't EQ because I'm changing what the musician laid down.  To me that's just not a logical perspective because, as gutbucket's comment suggests, the musician has no control over what my gear sounds like or what the FOH guy dials in, etc.  So what makes the FOH guys settings any better than I can do myself, especially when the FOH sound may be different than the sound of my gear or my specific location at the venue? 

This is a GREAT discussion topic.

« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 09:45:58 AM by tonedeaf »

Offline Chuck

  • Trade Count: (41)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 10459
  • Gender: Male
  • time between the notes...
    • My recordings on the LMA
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2014, 09:59:30 AM »
I was a never EQ my recordings guy for many years. Now, I use it gently for some recordings. As pointed out above by tonedeaf, don't commit right away to any changes you have make without stepping away for a while. Your ears do get fatigued and perceptions change after getting away from it for a while.  For example, I don't stay up late after a show and try to EQ it. I find that I don't make good choices doing it that way. One thing I find very useful is to warm up by listening to well mixed and mastered music for a bit before you dive in and start EQing your own stuff. There have been plenty of threads here with great recommendations on finding high quality reference music to listen to.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: (2) Microtech Gefell M300, (2) AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, (2) CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and sub-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), (2) Audix M1290-o, (2) Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, (2) Naiant MSH-1O, (2) Naiant AKG Active cables, (2) Church CA-11 (cardioid), (2) CAD C9, (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod), Denon DTR-80p

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

Offline page

  • Trade Count: (25)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8392
  • Gender: Male
  • #TeamRetired
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2014, 11:20:26 AM »
Mild EQ is great! Nobody is suggesting radical moves. Perhaps it's my gear but it's exceedingly rare that I make a recording that isn't improvable by a gentle EQ move or two.

I almost never add/subtract more than a couple dB (assuming there is no specific flaw in the recording that I am trying to address).  Less is definitely more.  In the same vein, I have often found that a dB bump in one spot and dB decrease in another achieves the goal I am aiming for better than a bigger change in a single band.

This is a similar theory to mixing in mono; there is one balanced position for each fader, much like a child's mobile that spins around. Anything else and it's unbalanced and falls over. When you adjust one, you may need to adjust another. There are some cheap tricks to employee for each instrument or environment (e.g. the 450hz area is notorious for goop that I want to carve away at)


I was a never EQ my recordings guy for many years. Now, I use it gently for some recordings. As pointed out above by tonedeaf, don't commit right away to any changes you have make without stepping away for a while. Your ears do get fatigued and perceptions change after getting away from it for a while.  For example, I don't stay up late after a show and try to EQ it. I find that I don't make good choices doing it that way. One thing I find very useful is to warm up by listening to well mixed and mastered music for a bit before you dive in and start EQing your own stuff. There have been plenty of threads here with great recommendations on finding high quality reference music to listen to.

Solid stuff, definitely agree. I got in the habit of burning 15 minutes every hour as unproductive on a long Saturday mix session. 10 of it would be to get up and listen to silence, and another 5 would be to play a track off of an album I think sounds like what I want a piece to sound like (and then go back to mixing for about 40 minutes or so).
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

Offline Sloan Simpson

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 3421
  • Gender: Male
    • Southern Shelter
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 11:24:32 AM »
Yes, I've found listening breaks to be very important.

 Another tip a friend gave me is to occasionally change your monitoring volume. When you've been working on something (and particularly if you're getting frustrated), turn your monitors down and judge the balance at that lower volume. When you decide it sounds good, turn it back up and listen that way again.
Neumann KM-184> Tascam DR-680

Offline macdaddy

  • Trade Count: (10)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 7662
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2014, 12:07:59 PM »
Yes, I've found listening breaks to be very important.



+1

And this is why I never understood the race to be first on bt.etree or the lma...
-macdaddy ++

akg c422 > s42 > lunatec v2 > ad2k+ > roland r-44

Offline Gutbucket

  • record > listen > revise technique
  • Trade Count: (13)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 11796
  • Gender: Male
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2014, 12:29:46 PM »
Good points on listening breaks, being warry of mixing while tired or after a show when your ears are fatigued from loudness, and also on the strong influence of listening level.  Dynamics and average level play a very large roll in frequency perception.

And good points earlier from Steve, which reinforces a few things I was trying to getting at.  The ear is the final judge.  Assuming you are listening objectively, not correcting for flaws in the monitoring system (repeating those things because they are critically important and difficult to isolate from EQing the music), and relatively sure your corrections will translate well for others, use as much EQ as necessary to get things sounding right.  It is 'sounding right', not the ways of getting there which is the goal. 

Guidelines such are 'less is more' aren't goals in themselves, just helpful guides in the search for the elusive best version of 'sounds right'.  As users get better at using EQ, vering outside of those guides when necessary becomes less potentially problematic.  Yet even then I think it is still a good self-check to go back once you get things sounding right and try dialing the amount of correction back a bit, or play around with smoothing the curve a bit more.

Getting philosophical again, in regards to visual displays- a measurement always reflects the particulars of the detector and how it is set.  No detector tells the entire story.  They are both useful and limiting because of their specific-ness, focusing on some aspect to the exclusion of others.  We need to understand both what it is measuring and how it is doing the measuring to choose the appropriate detector and it's most appropriate settings, and to interpret the output of any detector in a useful way.  Understanding the workings and limitations of the detector is critical to correctly interpreting the data it provides in order to make it's insight useful.

And all that applies to the ultimate and most important detector as well- the ear/brain of the listener.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
made easy- >>Improved PAS table<< | made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

stevetoney

  • Guest
  • Trade Count: (0)
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2014, 12:56:15 PM »
Yes, I've found listening breaks to be very important.



+1

And this is why I never understood the race to be first on bt.etree or the lma...

Agreed, though I kinda understand 'the race' because all tapers know that downloaders are idiots  ;)  The guy that posts first gets the most downloads and I'm sure all of us enjoy, at some level or another, having our recordings downloaded alot.

I don't usually enter 'the race' because, as you point out, I'd rather make sure my recordings are to my liking before posting.

The ones I don't understand are the downloaders that automatically go for the most downloaded show as 'THE' source to grab.  OK, on etree I kinda understand because you don't really want to grab 10 copies just to figure out which might sound best, plus the most downloaded version usually has more seeders so a much better download speed.  But the dumbasses can listen direclty on LMA and they'll STILL download a version that sounds like ass from LMA just because it's downloaded most even if there's a much better sounding version that has fewer downloads only because they say took a few days to post it up. 
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 01:01:30 PM by tonedeaf »

Offline bombdiggity

  • Trade Count: (11)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2209
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2014, 01:43:11 PM »

I have several top shelf mics now and they yield a faithful representation of what the venue and board master yielded. I am also experimenting with some less expensive (not "cheap") mics and they have a less flat frequency plot to the point that in a couple frequency ranges even my novice ear can spot it but a little bit of EQ seems to have "fixed" it. And by fixed I mean made it sound a bit more like it did for the audience and also what I hear when I compare to the DPA omnis that were sharing a stand. That's my real reference point since I don't trust my memory.


Not to be snarky but I'd not use DPA's as my reference point...  They have a pronounced low-end flavor that IMO emphasizes the reverberant characteristics of the settings in which they're employed.  I don't view them as a neutral sounding mic. 

As any A/B test indicates you can stick 2 or 4 or 10 different mics on the same stand and every one will come away with a different sounding recording.  Which one is definitively how the room sounded?  Well maybe all of them or maybe none of them...   That may get back to the point about we favor the mics we use because we like them. 

I'm reminded of a little experiment I ran Thursday where in a truly terrible sounding room (totally reverberant to the point the musicians were freaked) I ran my SP's and MK4V's (stage lip as there is absolutely no other place to even consider in that setting).  Normally I don't even bother with bringing the 4V's there because the room is that whacked, but I have the run of the house and it was too promising and unique a show not to use whatever I have.  There was of course a big difference between the two but what surprised me was the 4V's actually made a great recording (that I wouldn't eq or touch in any way).  So in this case (with both actually) the recording sounded far better than the sound in the room.  No one there (including me about 4 feet back of them) heard anything like what the mics got.  The SP's actually pretty well nailed the sound one would want, but the V's were like another realm. 

So in the case of a bad room why settle for what the room sounded like? 

Of course I do see your point and would agree there probably are definitive adjustments (from/to each different pair of mics) that could be used to adjust the pickup of lesser sets of mics one needs to use to sound more like the better ones one would like to be able to use.  However I think there are tonal qualities in mics that probably can't be altered.  For me the thing about mics is not so much the frequencies recorded as it is the tone itself, where differences can be quite subtle (or not at all subtle) despite little to no apparent difference in the specs.  A lot of high end mics don't have the tone I'd want for the kind of money they cost. 

« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 01:54:00 PM by bombdiggity »
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline macdaddy

  • Trade Count: (10)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 7662
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2014, 01:45:26 PM »
Another thing I do is try to listen on different systems...

I have a soundcloud account I use to post my stuff to listen on the car stereo, and a few other pieces, and only when it sounds right there do I know I am finished...
-macdaddy ++

akg c422 > s42 > lunatec v2 > ad2k+ > roland r-44

Offline bombdiggity

  • Trade Count: (11)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2209
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2014, 01:50:25 PM »
And I too used to be in the no EQ camp.  I still don't unless I really think something needs it (for personal listening I'd leave it alone and just eq the playback or turn the tone controls a bit), but as noted some things do benefit substantially from adjustment and can pretty definitively be identified as needing it. 

I'd prefer that those uploaders who don't really know what they're doing or don't have solid ears not EQ but others I've gotten used to and I don't think twice when I see they said they eq'd something they recorded. 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

stevetoney

  • Guest
  • Trade Count: (0)
Re: Learning to EQ with purpose - response curves help?
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2014, 03:05:52 PM »
I'd prefer that those uploaders who don't really know what they're doing or don't have solid ears not EQ but others I've gotten used to and I don't think twice when I see they said they eq'd something they recorded.

I mean, I guess I understand, but how do you know that when the guy with lousy ears EQed, he didn't make it sound exactly like he wanted it to sound?  Along those same lines, for reasons mentioned above, I've never mentioned in my notes whether or not I EQed my source.  It's not because I don't care if anyone knows...but because  to my way of thinking, it's almost totally irrelevant.  If the FOH guy had too much bass on the mix for my taste and I had to EQ bass out to make it sound like I wanted it to sound, I don't really see why my personal taste in EQ would matter to someone else.  The only exception would be to evaluate the native sound of the gear I used, but we've discussed how even that sound is going to be subjective to the room, location, source, FOH, etc.

 

RSS | Mobile
Page created in 0.28 seconds with 37 queries.
© 2002-2018 Taperssection.com
Powered by SMF
Website Design by Foxtrot Media, Inc., a Baltimore Website Company