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EQ To What Patch or Sound?


larico

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Hey guys, I just replaced my keyboard mixer with a new one. I had the old one (Mackie DFX-6) for years, but knew all along that it was not the best at faithfully reproducing the sounds coming from my keyboards. So I was able to recently purchase a new mixer (Allen & Heath ZED-12FX) and the difference is amazing. Same keyboards, same speakers, but completely different sound quality, much better electronics in the A&H (duh!).

 

My question is: When setting up a new component in your rig, is there a particular sound, patch, type of instrument you use as your "golden egg" or absolute reference point? I know this is a loaded question, with lots of possible roads to take, but I thought is was worth exploring.

 

I've been twisting knobs on the new mixer for a couple of hours and using acoustic piano patches as my main sounds for trying to dial it in. But I find this exercise to be like that of setting up a new color TV. You get the color perfect on one channel, only to be dissappointed when you switch to another channel. In the end, you have to find a compromise that is acceptable on all channels.

 

I can get remarkably good sounding piano (compared to my old mixer), but then, that EQ setting is not neccessarily the best one for organ or horn or strings or synth sounds. I was thinking that if I could get the acoustic piano sounding "right", all the other instruments should sort of fall in place.

 

So, I'm curious, is there in your opinion, one particular sound that you think should be used to set up a keyboard sound system? I can do some patch tweeking once that is established to get the other instruments to sound good. But the mixer has to be set up to something!

 

Richard

Korg Triton Extreme, Roland VR-760, Roland D-50, A&H ZED 12-FX, QSC K12s
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I would most likely set it up using a sequence with a variety of sounds and eq the overall mix. Then go back and re-eq individual patches in tge keyboard as needed.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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My dimestore opinion is it depends on the range of sounds you use in your set list - because I'm 95% acoustic piano (with rhodes and B-3 making up the other 5%), my answer is obvious, but I'm guessing my solutions is pretty inappropriate for someone like Dan in an 80's cover band. If you find a "compromise" EQ setting that gets 80% to 90% of your patch selection in the sweet spot, then you can tweak the individual EQ, filter settings, etc. for those 10% - 20% of patches that still need some TLC. But I'm guessing that intuitively, you already knew that.
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There a so many damn places you can make adjustments, it's almost scary.

 

The speakers have cutoff and boost filters and such. The mixer has 3 band eq per channel with sweepable mids. The keyboards have master eq's and then you can also eq individual patches.

 

I've just started doing what you mentioned - using a variety of sounds and making smaller and smaller adjustments as I go. At some point I guess you can drive yourself nuts trying to make everything sound perfect.

Korg Triton Extreme, Roland VR-760, Roland D-50, A&H ZED 12-FX, QSC K12s
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No. I don't use eq on my keys to start with (I get the sound where I want in the program itself). My gear was selected for specific purposes, even when there is overlap. I wouldn't eq my Xk1 (Hammond sounds) to sound like my S90es (pianos/eps); and when using strings on my S90es, I wouldn't eq them to sound like strings in my Fantom; and I have way too much going on with my Receptor to be equing that.

 

For me, my sounds change song to song: while I have "go to" sounds, I try to individualize things for songs that stay in the set.

 

Even when doing recording or live mixing, its my belief that the eq on the board's channels aren't to shape your sound, they're to "place" it, and unless you're in the mix position, you don't know where that "place" is because you don't hear it in context. If a piano is too boomy, the sound should be fixed at the keyboard, not by pulling bass out with the channel eq. However, if the band's tone is generally good, the guy out front can notch the piano's bass a wee bit to make room for the bass, where he rounded off a little top end to make room for the kick drum.

 

Meanwhile, the engineer won't do anything to the guitar, because the guitar is so loud onstage, that he has him completely pulled out of the mix.

 

:laugh:

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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I don't use eq on my keys to start with (I get the sound where I want in the program itself).

 

This.^^^^^^^^^^^

 

This came up in another recent thread. Definitely the signal to FOH should not be EQ'd outside the keyboard - individual patches should be set up to sound "right" in a best-case scenario. However, that doesn't rule out eq to compensate for your monitor in a given acoustic environment. But for that, you can play a CD through it and set the eq... thus my thinking on running a sequence or something.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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IMO, EQ is definitely not a tone shaping tool. It's in the name: equalization; to add and/or cut frequencies in order to get a flatter frequency response.

 

EQ should always be the last processing applied to a signal before amplification.

 

If you're eq'ing your boards to get the tone you want, there's probably a problem with either the source sound or your amplification/speaker combo.

 

Personally, I always send my boards mixed flat to FOH and let the soundman take care of EQ'ing for his sound system. When I do small clubs and do my own sound, I also send my boards flat and I'll EQ the strip based on what comes out of the PA.

 

Every sound system is different and every room resonates certain frequencies while absorbing others. Some rooms are extra boomy and therefore I need to cut the bass and the low-mids. Some rooms are really dark sounding and need a boost in the upper-mids for clarity. Some sound systems are really honky and need a real tweak in the 800hz area.

 

Use your ears. The goal is to get it to sound even and balanced.

Ian Benhamou

Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals

 

[url:https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTheMusicalBox/]The Musical Box[/url]

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Yeah I almost always set channel strip EQ flat too, and then compensate for room anomalies with a graphic for the whole system. But I'm doing my own sound on practically every gig these days.

 

To OP larico: The goal for most of us is to get tonal consistency from sound to sound at the keyboard, not afterwards. It's very easy to do these days.

 

For live use, factory brass and strings are often set too bright - for example. If I go into your patch filter settings I can tame them down there. It's much easier than trying to adjust things at the mixer to compensate.

 

At the same time I will set levels so they are consistent, and tame the effects (mostly by turning them off). If I do my job well the end result should be a nice even flowing sound from patch to patch.

 

 

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The one thing I feel is really important when you have a new set up is Do Not EQ For A While. Give your ears a chance to acclimate to the differences. Otherwise you may find yourself trying to EQ toward the sound of the old set up, because that's what you're used to hearing. Wait until you can tell the strengths and weaknesses of the new rig, then work toward boosting the weaknesses while preserving the strengths.

 

Your rig should sound good with a mimimum of EQ. The only EQ I have on my rig is the Bass, Mid, Treble controls on the Mackie 1202VLZ.

 

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Okay, all of the below excludes the larger gigs with FOH - in which case I'm just running the outs from my UltraLite into my Radial duplex and letting the FOH engineer have at it.

 

But for the self-amplified gigs which are common for me, there is the sound I know my rig is capable of (e.g., running through my studio monitors), and then there is the sound my gig rig produces. So I try to tweak patches to get as 'true' as I can.

 

Then I take the rig out to the gig - sometimes a horrible sounding room with way too much standing bass, slap echo, low ceiling or other type challenge - and try during sound check to adjust as best I can to get a reasonable approximation.

 

Is this close to how the rest of you approach the beast?

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Then I take the rig out to the gig - sometimes a horrible sounding room with way too much standing bass, slap echo, low ceiling or other type challenge - and try during sound check to adjust as best I can to get a reasonable approximation.

 

Is this close to how the rest of you approach the beast?

 

And this is exactly why one needs a low-noise EQ unit instead of simply relying on the EQ that's built into your mixer.

 

PA-type loudspeakers have gotten so much better-sounding with the advent of powered speakers. In fact, they really don't need as much EQ as their passive counterparts. In a minimalistic way, it would be nice to bypass any unnecessary electronics since they add noise, distortion, and phase problems; particularly EQ units.

 

On the other hand, this is a performance situation and you don't know how the room is going to act up. Once it fills with people, it will sound completely different than when it was empty. So what to do?

 

Use your ears and listen. If you can get by without an external EQ, then by all means go ahead. But if there is a chance that you'll be faced with those nasty aspects that Tim listed - way too much standing bass, slap echo, low ceiling or other type challenge - consider an outobard EQ.

 

Oh - one more thing, and you already know this, I'm certain: EQ works to increase certain frequencies, but it can also tame those standing bass frequencies or overly-harsh tones coming from the horn in your cab. It's this versatility that makes the best argument for having a quality EQ in your rack.

 

And remember - a little goes a long way.

 

Tom

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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