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#3086509 02/25/21 03:48 PM
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I wrote up an article for the Waves blog about EQ myths that need to be busted - see if you agree or not, and feel free to comment.

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Re: “Better to cut” ... I think the confusion here is understanding the difference between “electrically” and “acoustically” boosting. You can electrically boost until you run out of headroom but it may make very little or no actual acoustic difference based on the acoustical environment. A good example might be if you mix in a 10’ x 10’ room and add low bass boost. You can add and add but not really hear any change. Then take that mix out and listen to it in your living room and all of a sudden you have way too much bass as the bigger room will allow it to happen acoustically. Same kind of thing can happen when eq-ing speakers in near their crossover points. You can boost and boost but nothing really happens. Cutting on the other hand always works.

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SONOFABITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just re-wrote my take on all 12 of those and then the system didn't save my post. How do you do that?

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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
SONOFABITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just re-wrote my take on all 12 of those and then the system didn't save my post. How do you do that?

On pretty much all forums, I copy what I wrote and paste it to Notepad before hitting "reply." If you had AT&T internet for many years, you would too smile

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Originally Posted by Anderton
On pretty much all forums, I copy what I wrote and paste it to Notepad before hitting "reply." If you had AT&T internet for many years, you would too smile

I often do that myself, I don't know why I didn't do it this time. Old age forgetfulness, I guess.

I have Verizon, and I don't think this was an Internet problem. In the past when it's happened, I was able to retrieve my message-in-progress by using the "back" button on my browser, but not this time. Oh, well.

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Digital data, of any kind, in any format, is never to be trusted. If the Rosetta stone had been saved to a floppy disk, we would never have been able to decode Egyptian hieroglyphics...

...especially if it connected with a serial port!

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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
SONOFABITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just re-wrote my take on all 12 of those and then the system didn't save my post. How do you do that?


That's not EQ, that's Limiting!!!!! laugh


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I suck at rules.

I don't always use EQ. Maybe adjusting the volume or the space in the sound field will do something good.

Sometimes I'll mess about with a 31 band EQ, find the stuff that sounds "wrong" and pull down all the other bands. I might use that in parallel, automated - or it might be my new sound.

Other times I will be preset surfing, to see what all those do. If a preset says "Female Broadcast" then maybe it belongs on a distorted guitar or a floor tom.

On the flip side of that, I've spent many minutes (with more to come), listening for that "great" bass tone on my Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Drive DI (V2), which I like better than any of the amp sims I've tried so far. I've come to the conclusion that there are many great bass tones in that little box and now I am more familiar with it. it just depends on the rest of the recording as to what the bass should sound like (and sometimes vice versa).
EQ is supposed to be fun!


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To me, EQ is like tailoring a suit to fit perfectly. The person underneath it doesn't change, just the presentation is a little more soigné smile

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Originally Posted by Anderton
To me, EQ is like tailoring a suit to fit perfectly. The person underneath it doesn't change, just the presentation is a little more soigné smile

Nothing wrong with that. I still have a side that wants to smash stuff and busting sounds up into shreds is a fun, safe and harmless way to get that out of my system.
And it brings sounds I'd never dreamed of, mangling audio is great fun!!!!


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I tend to always cut for EQ except for adding a little highs or lows if needed. If I'm adding then I will add, but if possible I prefer to cut. Part of that is from my live sound training I think.

I'm also a fan of sweeping at 12db peak or so with a very narrow "Q" band to find the exact frequency that I need to cut. I'm already at a point where I can hear within about a 150hz margin of where an issue is, so I already know where to look so it isn't blindly sweeping.

I also like to high-pass most sources in my mix to leave space for bass and kick drum.

Regarding inserting EQ before compression or after, what I like to do is put my regular EQ (for cleaning up and optimizing the sound) first in the chain, and if I use any effect EQs, *those* go after compression or anywhere else in the chain to taste. But I always put my "pre-processing" EQ first.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 02/26/21 06:58 AM.

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I'm not going to try to recreate my myth-by-myth comments (don't worry - technically they're all properly described) but I'll offer this comment:

There are aren't 12, or 10 or 5 myths about equalization. There's only one myth:

"There are no 'myths' about equalization, only collections of common practices that can be misapplied in a given situation if you don't understand what you're trying to fix or improve."

To this end, I offer up a article I wrote a couple of years ago about Filters and Equalizers that will help you to understand what several types of filters (the technology) and equalizers (the products) do and how their controls affect the signal that passes through them, in both good and bad ways, and things that are traded off.

Room acoustics, and attempting to fix them with equalization, is a different problem that has mostly wrong mythological solutions. You can't effectively fix reflections and the peaks and nulls that they create with an equalizer. However, you can use equalization to correct for the low frequency buildup when a speaker is too close to a wall or corner. That's why so many powered speakers have a low frequency EQ switch or control. The reason why there's a corresponding high frequency switch or control is because users who don't understand the reason why a low frequency rolloff can alleviate a problem expect there to be one. And also, because some may find the tweeters to be harsh and can work more comfortably without those annoying high frequencies. The sometimes-offered explanation for high frequency speaker equalization that it compensates for overly reflective walls - too many high frequency reflections - or overly absorbent materials - too much high frequency absorption - is about as close to an EQ myth as you'll find. Use it with care.

And unless you're mastering or cutting lacquer, don't worry about linear phase or FIR equalizers, just use what sounds best if you have a choice, but remember to listen for unwanted frequency response irregularities due to latency and its potential for comb filtering when your recording has more than one source (leakage) for the sound you're EQ-ing.

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A quick glance and I found myself generally nodding my head, so yeah, I think I'll so for now that I'd go along with those!

See how agreeable I am?

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The sweeping-parametric trick has always been a mixed bag. If you don't know if you're starting out to *fix* something, as opposed to *enhancing* something, it's a disaster. What q to use? Narrow isn't a given IMO. If you find a peak does that mean you keep the q? If you don't, what is the procedure for determining the q? How much to cut/boost?

I think resonant peak hunting is better done automatically with software. And while Famous Mixer Presets might lead one astray, at the same time I think if coordinated with their "formula" it can get people farther than they might if left to their own devices. In some respect mixing has *always* already had presets: what microphone do you use on top of a snare? *That is a preset*. Dbx compressor on kick? 1176 all buttons-in room mic? Royer on the dustcap seam of a Greenback (3 presets). Bass d.i.? Preset.

Having read and listened to interviews with ... all... of the famous engineers/producers, I can confidently say that the majority of them *have always been using presets all along*. It's just been hardware presets. The last 10% is their talent, but for a lot of these guys - they know what they want out of a piece of hardware and it's treated no differently than a preset. In reality, a lot of times interviews reveal that *a lot of these guys are not technically minded at all*: they only partially comprehend what they're doing. They've learned how to set the controls on their Favorite Devices to make a sound that meets the requirements of the recipe for their particular dish they're known for.

In that respect, I think presets are great: I think one of the best things about Waves plugins is getting to browse the settings in the presets. It's super revealing of approaches, whether there is a logic to it holistically, or just in isolation. For someone starting out I think they absolutely should start with presets, because it's no different than interning with an experienced engineer that "reveals" this information. Whether someone can comprehend the selections and integrate it is another issue, but for eq if someone sees a high pass on Famous Mixer's kick preset it might make them think "why would he do that, isn't that wrong?"

BUT....


I'm going to say again,

there eventually will be an (real)( a.i. plugin that makes eq-ing perfected for everyone, in a manner that people will not be expecting. The presets won't be "in the ball park" but will be perfectly transformative to idealized sounds.


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