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Author Topic: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)  (Read 4709 times)

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Offline StarkRavingCalm

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EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« on: September 02, 2015, 12:31:32 PM »
Recorded a show recently at an outdoor amphitheater, used stealth omins and was a good distance back.
Want to use EQ (specifically ReaEQ in Reaper) to clean up these traits:

1 - That "open" sound you would get with omnis combined with the distance.
      Would like it to sound "closer" if possible

2 - Occasionally, when the band gets chugging along, the sound gets a little muddy.
      What is weird is that is sounds a little cleaner in the car than it does on my monitor speakers (which are fairly flat).
      Would like it to sound "clearer", "less-muddy"

My question is:

For each of these, what ranges should I target?
There are bunch of pre-defined bands in ReaEQ, which would work best?
(Including a mud-free I just noticed)



Thanks

Offline achalsey

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 07:46:56 PM »
I use reaper for eq as well.  I don't really know what I'm doing, but will say don't use preset settings.

Probably not the answer you're looking for, but just experiment.  Reaper's eq is real time so it's really nice to play with and see how raising or lowering certain frequencies effects the sound.

From my very uneducated experience I usually play with very low frequencies for muddiness.  Around 100 hz.  Usually use a narrow band.  Maybe half an octave and move it up and down the spectrum to see where that really resonant spot is and lower it slightly there.

All this said, I have zero experience with stealth and very minimal with omnis.

Offline goodcooker

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 09:08:05 AM »

I use fairly simple EQ for outdoor omni recordings that suffer from what you describe here.

I roll off the low end starting at about 100 hz. Sometimes less sometimes more. I use a 6db per octave slope so its not too steep and takes all the meat out of the subwoofer freqs.

I also usually add a wide boost to the upper midrange/treble frequencies usually starting at around 1k - 1.5kHz and ending around 3.5k. Gives it some "reach" and sounds more present and less distant.

All this of course depends on the program material. I find rock music, for instance, needs more cleaning up than bluegrass.
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Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2015, 10:31:30 AM »
The 250 range may handle both of those issues quite well. Indoors, rooms seem to kick back a lot in the 250 range so bringing it down a bit can make things sound a bit "closer". Be careful with it though, ducking out too much of the lower MUDs will make for a very thin sounding recording very quickly
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stevetoney

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2015, 09:05:10 AM »

I also usually add a wide boost to the upper midrange/treble frequencies usually starting at around 1k - 1.5kHz and ending around 3.5k. Gives it some "reach" and sounds more present and less distant.


^ This.  Note though that this will only help.  Don't expect a miracle.  (Incidentally, I find that this boost improves a majority of my recordings, not just those sounding distant.)
 
For the muddy sounds, find a muddy passage and play with it with your EQ tool active.  In Audition, I have three EQ tools; 10 band, 20 band and 30 band.  Use your 10 band tool and set all of the frequencies at 0db.  Then one-by-one decrease each slider to isolate a specific frequency range to find the offending frequency range.  Once you've found the muddy range, minimize it so that the result sounds best to your ears.  For example, you might not want to drop that frequency altogether, but just drop it 6 or 7db.  If the muddiness can't be 'listened around' you might want to drastically cut that frequency...like 15 or 20db.  Once you find the offending frequency, you might need to widen the frequency sample or narrow it.  Do that by either also minimizing neighboring frequencies or isolating more by using the 20 or 30 band EQ tools.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 09:07:36 AM by tonedeaf »

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2015, 10:05:38 AM »
Dangerous talking in generalities, but I often end up with something of a "W" shaped EQ curve, overlaid on a very general and gentle overall slope or upward tilt across the entire spectrum "/".  Of course the particulars are specific to each recording, and critical in their adjustment.

First, try adjusting a graphic EQ so that all the sliders form a flat-line with and gentle slope across the entire spectrum, adjusting the angle of the slope until you start to get things sounding better, keeping the overall line straight. 

Then fine tune from there.. boost each slider until you can identify the stuff living in that frequency range, then pull it back down to where it sounds right.  Next adjust the surrounding sliders the same way, then go back and retune the first one again, as they'll all interact with each other.  Try to make smooth curves without radical changes from each slider to slider along the line, rather than more radical jumps between sliders.

"Mud" often pools somewhere between 200-600Hz as mentioned by the others, so a scoop around there can help tame it (forming the left downward point of the 'W').  Bringing up the midrange in the 1-4khz range helps bring out clarity and presence, restoring necessary energy above the mud range (the center peak of the 'W'). I'll often boost below the mud range as to restore phat bass energy, once clean of the lower-mid bloat (the left-most upward arm of the 'W').  Boost the high treble "air" to suit the level of the mids (the right-most upward arm of the 'W').  Cut a bit between the mids and those highs (somewhere around 5-12kHz) to reduce excessive "glare or brightness" which probably has resulted from the mid and high boosts.  Small changes here have a radical effect on the overall sound.  Take your time and tweek carefully, aiming for dialing back to smoother overall curves.  Go back and fine-tune the peaks and curve transitions of the vaguely 'W' shaped EQ curve, over and over until it sounds best.  When you'r happy with it, "squash" the 'W' a bit and see if that's better and smoother.  Refer regularly while fine tuning to the sound of the uncorrected, not EQ'd recording, as well as a reference recording of something similar you really like the sound of - maybe one of your other live recordings with the same rig which came out great, maybe someone else's you think sounds especially good and "real".  Leave it and come back later and see if you still like it.  Re-adjust and leave it again.  Fine-tune until it sounds as good as you can make it.   Save the curve, start over and try again.  Then compare your saved curves and see how close they are to each other.  A lot can be learned about your own ear and your own over-compensations from the comparison of those curves. 

[edit] Don't compensate for any nonlinearities of your playback system by the EQ correction made to your recordings.  Get your playback system sounding balanced first, or become enough highly aware of it's specific problems that you can learn to "listen around" those things.  Listen to the recording with your adjustments on a few other systems to make sure what you are doing is globally applicable and not just locally appropriate to the particular response of your stereo in your room.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 01:46:03 PM by Gutbucket »
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stevetoney

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2015, 11:21:01 AM »
^ More good advice.  Emphasis on coming back and listening again later.  Over time, you'll get a general feel and 'ear' for your recordings and get better at using EQ tools.  Though I don't use them every time, I have unique EQ profiles saved for specific mics and/or specific venues.

Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2015, 09:20:20 AM »
Don't compensate for any nonlinearities of your playback system by the EQ correction made to your recordings.  Get your playback system sounding balanced first, or become enough highly aware of it's specific problems that you can learn to "listen around" those things.  Listen to the recording with your adjustments on a few other systems to make sure what you are doing is globally applicable and not just locally appropriate to the particular response of your stereo in your room.

IMO this is the best piece of advice there. Learning EQ is very much a do and redo process, but this is where many of the biggest mistakes are made. Most of us don't have perfect environments for listening (me included 110%).  Learning the deficiencies in your playback system will help you create more consistent choices with EQ. If I'm especially unsure about something EQ wise (specifically in the low end, which is where my system is lacking), I will usually listen in my car, where I know things are not at all flat in the low end, just to make sure I haven't done anything that I will regret.  Also both good studio headphones as well as cheap ear buds have their place in making sure nothing is too drastic in the overall spectral balance of the recording
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Offline StarkRavingCalm

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2015, 12:40:21 PM »
Thanks everyone for the tips.

I have been experimenting at this will not alot of luck.
I think I may need to separate it out instead of trying to fix both at the same time.
i.e.. fix muddiness first, then target the distance problem.

There is a preset in Reaper EQ called "bring to the back" which works great, it really sound more distant.
I wish there was a 'bring to the front" preset.

The muddiness is really a pain. In the spots I want to target, the bass sounds clipped.

Offline beatkilla

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2015, 08:27:23 PM »
Can you post a sample song of the original? Making it clearer should be no problem but changing the mic placement after the fact doesnt seem possible ,post a sample if you can.

Offline StarkRavingCalm

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2015, 11:20:22 AM »
Ok, I can start with this one:

This is an example, can post more if needed.

Offline beatkilla

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2015, 11:10:16 AM »
It sounds like you may have been using AGC,if so i would turn that off.

Offline StarkRavingCalm

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2015, 11:20:54 AM »
no, just bass roll off (120) on the DR-2D.
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Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 10:07:32 AM »
Sounds like there's a lot more going on than just needing some EQ.  I'm definitely hearing some limiting brought on by that massive kick that sounds to be fit in front of the mics.  Also I think I might be hearing a little bit of soft clipping, but can't quite tell if it's just the attack of the kick or not.  Those issues aside, I honestly don't hear it as being all that muddy, part of what you might be hearing as mud is that overbearing kick drum
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 10:10:15 AM by opsopcopolis »
Mics: Berliner CM-33, CA-14 card, CA-11 card & omni, AT-853, Sony ECM-907
Recorders: Tascam DR-60D, Tascam DR-05, Sony Hi-MD

Offline StarkRavingCalm

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Re: EQ Question (clean up "distant/open" and occassionally muddy)
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2015, 12:56:45 PM »
I would agree with that on the drums.

So, any guidelines on limiting, etc... as opposed to EQ?
Should be looking outside of Reaper for any of this?

 

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