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Author Topic: EQ recording basics, pro/cons  (Read 3690 times)

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Offline willndmb

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EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« on: October 15, 2014, 08:49:33 AM »
So I never really mess with my recordings besides for the main reason of...I feel what I record is what it sounded like
But talking/reading more on the subject has me thinking, why not have two versions - as recorded and eq

Can anyone tell me where to start and what the pros/cons are?
I use audacity if it matters
I am sure less is more but maybe not

Tia
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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2014, 09:00:25 AM »
I do whatever it takes to make the recording sound the best to ME. I don't care what other people think. I record for myself, but share most of what I record. Hopefully everyone is happy, but if they aren't that's their problem.

That being said, I keep a copy of the original in case I change my mind. I'm also willing to share any original masters in case someone else wants to have a crack at it.

One thing I've learned is to give the final product a rest before sharing. I find that the whole post processing thing makes my ears tired. Frequently when I go back and listen to the final product that I still need to make some more adjustments. More often than not, I have the highs a little bit too high. When I come back with rested ears I can get it dialed in a little better.
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Offline hoserama

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2014, 10:25:23 AM »
Storage space is cheap, so *always* keep a copy of your masters. Keep a copy of your session file too, so if you decide to revisit it, then you're not starting from scratch.

If you work on it frequently, you'll get better at it. Inevitably, you'll listen to something you thought sounded good when you first started and go "Damn I can do so much better now."
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Offline Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 10:25:51 AM »
As a starting point, I sometimes will look at a frequency analyzer to see if there are any overly weak or strong areas in the spectrum. I monitor through iZotope Ozone's equalizer, because it has the "6 db guide" line you can overlay as a rough target.

With my gear and in clubs, where I usually record, there is normally a "hole" somewhere in the midrange. I find myself often making a small, wide boost in that area, generally something like 1 or 2 db (I don't actually use the Ozone EQ for the adjustment but you can use whatever you like).

I may make other adjustments as needed, but many times one gentle correction makes a large improvement in my recordings.
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Offline Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 10:32:24 AM »
One thing I've learned is to give the final product a rest before sharing. I find that the whole post processing thing makes my ears tired. Frequently when I go back and listen to the final product that I still need to make some more adjustments. More often than not, I have the highs a little bit too high. When I come back with rested ears I can get it dialed in a little better.

Strongly agreed. I would add that lots of "micro-breaks" while you're working help, as well as occasionally listening to snippets from recordings you know and like to help "reset" your ear.
Neumann KM-184> Tascam DR-680

Offline buckster

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2014, 12:16:39 PM »
I've worked primarily with SBD recordings and I've absolutely needed some mastering processing to bring the dry SBD's to life in an attempt to closely approximate what it actually sounded like live.  I've recently assembled a budget recording rig (SP-C4's > DR-60D) and have been capturing the AUD recording to do a matrix mix with the SBD.  I find my AUD recording likewise needs processing for it to sound like it did when I was there.  I agree the less is more is the right way to approach mastering.  However, no one is standing over my shoulder while mastering; so I too process as necessary for it to sound good to me.  Even after I upload to LMA, I listen again to the finished shows a day or two later for anything I may need to tweak or work on for the next show and next round of mastering.  That break really helps me listen with fresh ears.

Offline Jhurlbs81

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2014, 12:46:26 PM »
When I EQ I will always grab a piece from the middle to the end of the show and set my EQ using those pieces.  If you EQ using the very beginning of the show you don't really give the FOH a crack at getting it right.  I have EQ'd shows in the past where I put the recording on from the beginning, and decide my EQ levels in the first song.  Then towards the end of the set it sounds fatiguing.

I always start with removing frequencies instead of adding them.  For me and the type of music I often record I find nasty resonant frequencies around 100-200Hz.  Sometimes, just a 5db reduction in one nasty frequency cleans it up dramatically.

Always keep your masters untouched..

Jesse

Offline yates7592

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2014, 02:46:09 PM »
^ This.
When I EQ I always make a series of narrow (high Q) cuts across the frequency spectrum. There are usually multiple offenders in the 150-300hz range and also in the say 2500-4000 bracket.

Offline Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2014, 03:11:28 PM »
I do the small-wide-boost as general tone shaping first* and then follow with narrow cuts for more specific correction*.

* if needed
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Offline buckster

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2014, 05:24:19 PM »
When I EQ I will always grab a piece from the middle to the end of the show and set my EQ using those pieces.  If you EQ using the very beginning of the show you don't really give the FOH a crack at getting it right.  I have EQ'd shows in the past where I put the recording on from the beginning, and decide my EQ levels in the first song.  Then towards the end of the set it sounds fatiguing.

I always start with removing frequencies instead of adding them.  For me and the type of music I often record I find nasty resonant frequencies around 100-200Hz.  Sometimes, just a 5db reduction in one nasty frequency cleans it up dramatically.

Always keep your masters untouched..

Jesse
EXCELLENT takeaway advice on all three points! 

I use a highpass resonant filter rolling off sharply anything below 30Hz and I have those same "nasty resonant  frequencies around 100-200Hz".  Right now my reduction has been -2.7db.   I've been gun shy about reducing it further, however maybe I'm being too conservative.   

Offline achalsey

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2014, 09:39:33 AM »
I would say start with a graphic eq that you can work with in real time and just practice.  You can get a grasp pretty quickly of how certain frequencies sound and how best to adjust different sounds.

I haven't tried any other programs but have found reaper's eq plugin to be pretty effective and user friendly.

Definitely agree with Jesse and others on the low end issues.  I'll often cut an narrow band around 100 Hz where there is some problematic bass resonance.  I'll take a narrow band and pull the point up like 10-15 dbs and slowly drag it around the area until the issue is really clearly noticeable and cut it at that point.

Offline page

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2014, 10:08:06 AM »
Lots of solid advice so far. Lee and I have posted about this in the past and some of that is worth reading (and I sadly don't have the time to track down the posts right now, maybe later).

One thing nobody has mentioned is the value in having an editor that can pass audio through it in real time to monitor (something Audacity won't do last I checked).
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Offline Scooter123

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2014, 09:32:11 AM »
Can someone recommend a book or two on mixing that might be of benefit for the novice handling multi-channel soundboards? 
Regards,

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Offline StarkRavingCalm

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2014, 11:38:34 AM »
As a starting point, I sometimes will look at a frequency analyzer to see if there are any overly weak or strong areas in the spectrum.

Dont mean to hijack the thread but this question may also be relavant to the OP.
I have Spek installed but have no idea how to read the output.
What would the output attached show?



Offline Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2014, 01:20:08 PM »
As a starting point, I sometimes will look at a frequency analyzer to see if there are any overly weak or strong areas in the spectrum.

Dont mean to hijack the thread but this question may also be relavant to the OP.
I have Spek installed but have no idea how to read the output.
What would the output attached show?

Here's an example of what I'm looking at in Ozone's EQ:

The grey line is a guide. If an area is well below or above that line, I might try an adjustment there to see if it improves it. It helps train your ear/brain to identify frequency ranges, and eventually you get better at knowing what should be adjusted by ear, without having to refer to the graph.

I'm not sure how to interpret the type of graph you've posted, maybe someone else can chime in on that.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 02:26:35 PM by Sloan Simpson »
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Offline Ultfris101

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2014, 03:36:44 PM »
Lots of solid advice so far. Lee and I have posted about this in the past and some of that is worth reading (and I sadly don't have the time to track down the posts right now, maybe later).

One thing nobody has mentioned is the value in having an editor that can pass audio through it in real time to monitor (something Audacity won't do last I checked).

I started this thread a while back and got some good discussion going. Lee and Page among others chimed in with some good advice on getting started. I've taken to using both speakers (still just computer desktop speakers right now) and headphones to evaluate EQ and imaging. I've spent some time listening to commercial recordings to get references on how things sound. I hadn't done that much and it helped get some perspective.

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=169072.0

Definitely try a DAW other than Audacity. I like Audacity for simple edits and matrixing audience and sbd recordings but I definitely need the real time adjustments I get in Samplitude and do my EQ'ing there.
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Offline Chuck

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2014, 04:29:50 PM »
As a starting point, I sometimes will look at a frequency analyzer to see if there are any overly weak or strong areas in the spectrum.

Dont mean to hijack the thread but this question may also be relavant to the OP.
I have Spek installed but have no idea how to read the output.
What would the output attached show?

Here's an example of what I'm looking at in Ozone's EQ:

The grey line is a guide. If an area is well below or above that line, I might try an adjustment there to see if it improves it. It helps train your ear/brain to identify frequency ranges, and eventually you get better at knowing what should be adjusted by ear, without having to refer to the graph.

I'm not sure how to interpret the type of graph you've posted, maybe someone else can chime in on that.

Sloan, how do you like that Ozone EQ? It looks nice. I'm using Waves Paragraphic EQ now and like it a lot, but I might be up for trying the Ozone. I use their noise reduction at work and it is very good.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

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Offline Sloan Simpson

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2014, 04:36:33 PM »
As a starting point, I sometimes will look at a frequency analyzer to see if there are any overly weak or strong areas in the spectrum.

Dont mean to hijack the thread but this question may also be relavant to the OP.
I have Spek installed but have no idea how to read the output.
What would the output attached show?

Here's an example of what I'm looking at in Ozone's EQ:

The grey line is a guide. If an area is well below or above that line, I might try an adjustment there to see if it improves it. It helps train your ear/brain to identify frequency ranges, and eventually you get better at knowing what should be adjusted by ear, without having to refer to the graph.

I'm not sure how to interpret the type of graph you've posted, maybe someone else can chime in on that.

Sloan, how do you like that Ozone EQ? It looks nice. I'm using Waves Paragraphic EQ now and like it a lot, but I might be up for trying the Ozone. I use their noise reduction at work and it is very good.

I actually rarely use it for EQing. I mostly use it on a monitor channel in Reaper to see the graph. I've been using the Waves Scheps 73 for general tone-shaping EQ, and only use the Ozone when I need to notch something offensive, which isn't very often.
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Offline hi and lo

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2014, 05:21:32 PM »
Ozone is amazing. It's the single best equipment upgrade you can make, imo.

Offline Chuck

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2014, 06:45:56 PM »
Ozone is amazing. It's the single best equipment upgrade you can make, imo.

Have you used their EQ?
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: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
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Offline bombdiggity

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Re: EQ recording basics, pro/cons
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2014, 12:42:49 PM »
As a starting point, I sometimes will look at a frequency analyzer to see if there are any overly weak or strong areas in the spectrum.

Dont mean to hijack the thread but this question may also be relavant to the OP.
I have Spek installed but have no idea how to read the output.
What would the output attached show?

Spectrals can be very useful on a number of levels but in terms of eq would not necessarily be my go-to view unless I'm looking for a noise that doesn't belong. 

The spectral provides a view of the relative intensity of the sound across the range of frequencies.  It's often a red at the bottom lowest and moves progressively to a lighter color and black where there's nothing. 

It's real good for seeing how high the signal reaches.  Cheaper mics or doctored recordings usually stop at 20K or below but the Schoeps will show information all the way up as high as the scale goes (though for mastering engineers typically set an upper limit above audible range like 22K or so and remove anything above that). 

It also shows quality of the signal (when you zoom in a very smooth. blurred continuity is what you want to see, not the brick squares you'd see from MP3 compression).   

The one you posted looks fairly normal and does not really show anything I'd necessarily be concerned by. 

Sometimes if there is some sort of fault (buzz or hum) you may see a solid band straight across at a certain frequency or a red band somewhere way up where you wouldn't normally see it or alternatively there might be gaps where there are weak areas or something missing.  It can show you where to look to notch something out with a filter (though a frequency plot will often show that if you zoom enough on something obnoxious). 

I think the frequency plot (like the Ozone pic below yours) is a lot more useful for eqing a fairly normal source. 
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