parametric eq questions

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Disenchantedv
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2008/08/09 00:47:18 (permalink)

parametric eq questions

i completely understand how this works. however, i was wondering if it's best to only boost and cut a max of 3db at a time. i know it's completely arbitary based upon the frequencies, but i was just wondering if a 3db cut/boost was considered to be too much. i usually cut around 2/3 because 1 seems ineffective.
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    mgh
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    RE: parametric eq questions 2008/08/09 03:27:39 (permalink)
    no rights or wrongs, if it sounds godd it works, but...yeah, i remember reading somewhere that every time you boost you should cut somewhere as well, or look at cutting first...trust your ears dude!

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    Disenchantedv
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    RE: parametric eq questions 2008/08/09 05:11:57 (permalink)
    yeah, i read that too. i also read that you should never boost/cut in the same area twice. boosting in the same area causes the entire track to go up and excessive cutting causes the track to sound wrong on some systems. i usually like to create eq curves and to spread the different sounds and instruments across the entire spectrum... it can be a hassle trying to bring vocals through the mix when you have got a lot of guitar overdubs, though.
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    kayehl
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    RE: parametric eq questions 2008/08/09 08:35:51 (permalink)
    I think its a good general rule to try to avoid excessive EQ unless your going for a certain effect. When the basic tracks are recorded well there often isnt a need for massive amounts of EQing. Values much above 3 db or so can start to get pretty obvious. Also tight band width EQ can be more noticeable than wide bandwidth EQ. I try to have a specific purpose for each EQ I use. I start with HPF for removing low rumble and noise, and clearing other instruments out of the bass and kik range, then LPF for removing annnoying high frequencies, such as synth or guitar overtones, then if a track doesn't have enough presence, i might try cutting excessive peaks and boosting absent frequencies, while watching a spectrum meter, then if certain tracks don't have separation, i will try complimentary EQ, where you cut one track and boost another at the same frequency, then often I will do some cutting to remove annoying frequencies and boosting to add more pleasant frequencies. Watching a spectrum while you apply EQ can be very helpful, when you are seeing what frequency ranges instruments actually inhabit, it can make the EQ decisions easier. Also arranging the instrumental parts so they fall into certain frequency ranges can be more effective than trying to EQ the tracks later.

    I am not an expert
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    uncleswede
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    RE: parametric eq questions 2008/08/09 10:11:36 (permalink)
    I also think that EQ on tracking should be minimal, unless, as K says, you want a specific EQ effect.
    However, when it comes to mixing/mastering and trying to give different tracks/instruments their own 'slot' in the frequency spectrum, I can find myself making some extreme EQ cuts (e.g. -12db!) usually at the lower and upper ends of the spectrum. But I RARELY boost.... For example, if I've got 5-6 backing vocal tracks, I route those to a specific bus, then on the bus EQ I may roll off the bass below 200Hz almost completely. This (IMHO) helps to reduce the bass muddiness that can occur with ganged (predominantly male) voices. I also cut 3db around 800Hz but with a high Q (i.e. narrow) because this is where my (male) lead vocal is going to predominate and I want the lead vocal to have the lion's share of that frequency slot and not the backing vocals. In fact, I often make the same 3db cut at 800Hz on other backing tracks too, just to get the lead vocal to sit right. Check out Papa2004's thread on mixing/mastering for more hints

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    Disenchantedv
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    RE: parametric eq questions 2008/09/09 00:24:06 (permalink)
    Alright, thank you for the replies. There are still two things that I do not get, however. First of all, if I pan two guitars hard left and right and put the same eq settings on them is that okay? Somewhere I read that you shouldn't cut/boost in the same place more than once, but since they are both panned hard right and left is it alright to use the same exact eq settings? Second, I am wondering if there is any limit to avoid when cutting. So far I have tried not to cut more the -3db at a time, but it doesn't seem to be doing the trick, and also is it okay to use a wide q when cutting? If the range you are cutting out needs to be wider, then shouldn't you use a wider q so it can get out of the way (as in the middle range where there is so much going on at once)?

    I am starting to see that cutting is the way to go over boosting. But, what I gather is to find the essential range for one instrument and THEN to cut away that range on another so the other one shines through. Is that the correct way to go about using things? The only thing I don't get is how much to use... as in my cuts... can I cut away as much of the instrument as I want, or will it end up sounding awkward? And also, cutting in the same area twice when the same instruments are panned hard left/right.

    Thanks again for the helpful replies.
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    uncleswede
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    RE: parametric eq questions 2008/09/09 08:02:39 (permalink)
    Well, I'm no expert by any stretch, but my view is that you EQ 'by ear', not 'by numbers'. And, yes, cutting is generally a better approach than boosting (unless your ears tell you differently!). As for cutting two panned tracks in the same freq range, again, use your ears - does it sound good to you?

    For a given track in final mixes you need to listen how in sounds IN THE MIX, not solo'd - e.g. you might roll off a lot of bass on an acoustic gtr track such that it sounds thin and weedy when solo'd, but IN THE MIX, if it sounds bright and has clarity then you're good to go...

    I'm not sure if this is entirely on topic but there are basically four ways of getting track separation/clarity in a mix...
    • Pan - place your tracks across the stereo soundscape
    • Volume - different tracks can have different relative volumes (this can be dynamic, of course. Use gain envelopes or mixer automation to raise/lower track volumes for the fills/licks that you want to bring out)
    • Frequency slotting - as discussed above; try and give key tracks prominence in the frequency soundscape according to their active frequency range by using parametric EQ cuts on less prominent tracks
    • Arrangement - arrange your song/work so that there's not more than 2 or 3 prominent instruments/vocals actually playing at the same time - i,.e. try not to have everything playing/sounding at once!
    post edited by uncleswede - 2008/09/09 19:34:55

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