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Author Topic: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample  (Read 396 times)

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Offline heathen

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Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« on: November 06, 2017, 11:20:05 PM »
These samples are pretty small file sizes...

Without EQ: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HBWAAdQaPoStOo_V0b-ZZPRcu8kvQ7IN
With EQ: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1pII-REF78Ftmo3_GddmDMrB8aIm305ok

I think the EQ'd sample sounds better, but I'm curious how other ears feel about it.  Did I EQ too much?  Did I EQ incorrectly?  I know a lot of this is subjective, but I think some other perspectives can at least be helpful for trying something I haven't thought of, or hearing something from a different "angle."

Also, I should mention that the sound system in this place is pretty bad, and the mix was nothing to write home about either.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2017, 12:06:11 PM »
I'd do more, personally.

Disclaimer- The curve below was arrived at via a quick-and-dirty dial in using AT in-ears right out of the computer, playing your non-EQ'd sample through VLC and using the built-in VLC graphic EQ.  It's probably partly compensating for whatever native response those AT in ears have, and I wouldn't trust the bottom-end EQ especially without listening and confirming on full-range speakers.

The midrange bump centered around 3kHz combined with the "room mud" cut centered the mid 100Hz range is the general thing here.  The very low end boost compensates for the mud cut on the phones, but may not translate correctly elsewhere.  It's then finding a smooth transition between those main centers, and small adjustments there have significant effect.

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Offline heathen

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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2017, 12:32:25 PM »
Thanks Gut, I'll try to replicate those settings and give it a listen.  I think my EQ was in the same ballpark as yours, because I boosted the high end, boosted the middle around 2k/3k, and boosted the very low end.  What I didn't do was the cut around 100.  I'm curious to give your approach a listen!
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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 10:31:10 PM »
The different between the two samples is pretty subtle.  Maybe it's because I've recorded at the Hi Dive so many times but I think it sounds good non EQ.  I think that room sounds generally pretty great.  Especially for metal.
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Offline heathen

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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 10:59:23 PM »
The different between the two samples is pretty subtle.  Maybe it's because I've recorded at the Hi Dive so many times but I think it sounds good non EQ.  I think that room sounds generally pretty great.  Especially for metal.

Thanks for the perspective.  Looking forward to seeing you at another show!
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 09:43:59 AM »
Heath- I was searching for EQ ideas relating to excessive kick drum and found a few links, one was gearslutz. The main takeaway I had was that a kick drum hit is about 100Hz with a harmonic frequency between 2.5-3 Khz. So, with that show I cut both those frequencies about 3-4 dB more than any other cut I made. Seemed to work for that recording by tightening up the drums and removing the annoying rumble.

Edit to comment on Gut's comment: Yes, this would be best done using a Parametric. I ONLY did this because the kick drum hits were so loud they affected the enjoyment of the recording. I DO NOT RECOMMEND this for general processing, I only made the comment because Heath mentioned Gut's 100 HZ cut and thought the info about resonant/natural drum frequencies. Can't find the link via very quick search, and to emphasize these people are discussing studio mixing during which they can completely control each channel etc. That said- what I mention DID work for the specific recording I was dealing with. (Something about theory vs practice!!)
Edit 2- links- these are studio mix discussions: http://www.moultonlabs.com/more/principles_of_multitrack_mixing_the_kick_drum_bass_relationship/P1/
http://www.audio-issues.com/music-mixing/drum-eq-guide/
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 11:24:01 AM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 10:45:20 AM »
Trying to target a specific instrument sound with EQ to reduce or emphasize it in a stereo recording is a lot more difficult than general modification of the entire sound of a recording as a whole.  Something better done with a parametric EQ than a graphic EQ, where one has fine control over filter Q (how broad or peaky each filter is) as well as precise control over the filter center frequency.  That kind of think is more difficult to do transparently without audible repercussions or negative impact on the other instrumentation.  To my way of thinking, its a completely different type of EQing than general frequency shaping of the "whole sound" of the stereo recording.

A 100Hz cut does primarily effect the kick sound which dominates that frequency range, but of course is also modifying the overall resonant energy from the room sound as well.  The two things can't really be teased-apart and dealt with separately in the stereo recording.  Since there is a lot of excess energy there and just above that range in this recording a reduction there reduces the room mud and rumble as much as it specifically targets the kick fundamental. 

That 2.5-3kHz range is the "click" or "snap" generated by the beater hitting the drum skin, sort of a separate simultaneous thing from the harmonics of the fundamental low-frequency drum "thump" and head resonance.   You'll sometimes see a close-mic placed on the beater side (drummers side) of the drum to specifically capture that midrange component "click", in addition to the typical kick-drum mic placed at the front side or inside the drum.

The difficulty in trying to target and reduce the kick click component is that same upper-midrange region is very important with respect to "clarity" and in broad terms that range is generally deficient here.  It's an especially important range for vocal clarity.  If you really want to try and cut something there, you probably need to make both a broad curve (lower Q) boost of that region as well as a higher Q cut specifically targeting the frequency of interest, unless that entire region is already too hot.  If you just make the high Q cut, without compensating with a more broad boost around it, you'll further reduce the mid range clarity which is already rather attenuated in this recording.

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Offline heathen

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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2017, 11:15:22 AM »
What I'm using is a parametric EQ (I think...it's the TDR Nova plugin).  I played with this some more last night and tried to replicate Gut's settings.  I also listened to some samples on my main stereo (when I'm "mastering" recordings I'm listening on headphones at my computer).  Listening on the "big" stereo, I found my previous EQ attempt way too bright.  I do like the boost around 3k, and sort of went back to the drawing board.  I'm going to listen to my latest attempt tonight after I've been away from it for a little while.

I tried to do some really sharp (using the Q setting) cuts around 100-200, trying different specific frequencies, but if I'm honest I'm just not sure I could hear the difference.  Maybe my hearing is crap from too many shows without ear protection.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 02:41:08 PM »
It's much easier to hear a minor boost or cut using a low Q filter since it affects a broad range of frequencies.  A high Q filter is less overtly audible because it affects a more narrow frequency range. 

For general tonal shaping (making tonal changes intended to be audible) keep the Q rather low, and refer back and forth between whatever you are working on and an especially good sounding reference recording of the same genera.  That will keep your ears honest, otherwise its easy to get led astray, or settle for something which is better than the original, but could be made significantly better still.  A commercial recording or live release often makes for a superior reference than a recording of your own which you like the sound of.  You may not get there entirely, but having that sound as reference makes a big difference.  It may seem like one's memory of what it sounded like or some ephemeral idea of what it should sound like is enough to judge what is right, but its really easy to deceive one's self that way.  Just use the reference recording as a tonal reference and ignore differences in level, loudness, dynamics and reverberant balance.

If targeting a specific problematic resonance, first find the center frequency of the sound in question with a high-Q filter set to an rather extreme boost, sweeping up and down until you home in on the specific frequency.  This will sound terrible and is intended to.  You're intentionally emphasizing the terribleness to precisely tune the filter to the middle of the effected frequency range.  Once found, change the boost to a cut, attenuating instead of amplifying the offending sound, then play with the filter Q to find the most optimal width of the filter.  By carefully adjusting the Q of the filter you can make the filter just wide enough to target most of the offending resonance without affecting too much of the frequency range to either side.  You'll want to go back and forth between adjusting the Q setting and attenuation depth or level of the filter to find the most optimal setting because Q and level are so closely tied together in a psychoacoustic sense.  The narrower the filter, the more you can cut without audibility and vice-versa. 

Finding the best setting for that kind of problem reduction where the intention is not to hear what it is doing in the end result requires as much listening art as making good sounding broad tonal changes which are very much intended to be heard.

And doing that comparison check thing between your great sounding reference and what you are working on through more than one listening system (main stereo, car, headphones, etc) is also extremely useful for making sure you are doing more good than harm.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 02:43:59 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline heathen

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Re: Fumbling through EQing...could use input on a sample
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2017, 09:21:50 PM »
Great insights as always...thanks!
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