All Those Knobs!
What what we do here, and what other engineers are doing is not mystical. It's not magical. Anybody can do this, you just have to put in the reps. You just have to to get lots of experience, finish projects, do a mix and move on to the next mix. So there's, no, you know, one, two, three punch to make it happen, but you don't have to have golden ears or anything special, so I would encourage you to keep crushing this education like you're doing, and then I'll go fly it and then come back and learn and go apply it. You guys were asking great questions, I can tell you're you zeroed in had a lot of fun doing this, such one of them, thank you all for being a part of what we're doing here, making this class even more fun and directing my content, especially in this segment, what I want to do, it's called all these knobs, I wantto simplify what these knobs are make it really clear, so when we look at a q, we can I feel very at home, whether it's this e q here in pro tools, whether it's, your ...
stock, e q and logic, or sonar q base or studio one, or whatever program you work in, or whether you go mix a live show and you're staring at a a live consul whether it's a big analog console or a new digital console and you actually can say hello I know what this is, what q is what band with I understand you can become familiar with that set up and feel right at home I mean, everything looks different, but once you get past the aesthetic you realized these air these tools are the same and if I understand the terminology can work anywhere that's what I want you to do is be able to work on any platform I mean um it's not about the way it looks it's about knowing the tool and then feeling confident with it. So we're going to go through all these knobs and all these these these labels and bang him out as you have questions keepem coming whether it's about this or anything we've covered so far I really want you all to be able to direct their conversation. Andi, stop me at any point if something doesn't make sense but let's let's break this week you down and go back to our our concept earlier in the day all of it is is a smart volume knob I can remember all it's doing is turning up or down volume. The only difference is that it's turning up or down a specific frequency it's it's nothing other than that's all these knobs and in these labels just control how we turn it up or down it's very very simple and in this queue in particular this is called the seven of the three seven band it's they're saying they're seven points that we can grab any q at once if we wanted to okay so let's uh let's grab a blank one here just so we don't mess up my mix here I literally have these five color coded ones down here represented by these five little dots up here and a lot of the accused are going to look like something similar to this when I grabbed this orange one and boost it you could see down here that this knob is controlling that same little dot okay so it's just a graphical representation of these knobs so these air five of the band's because I could technically if I wanted to I could do an adjustment on all five all in one plug in okay but there's two more bands on this one and they're these filters okay so I can filter out low end or I can filter out high end that's how they get the seven bands there's five points and two bands on this plugging in particular years might be a four ban it might be three band there's different ones and we'll show you those in a minute but for what we're working on today just you're familiar all of these bands are all the same thing for the most part there's just multiples of them. If you can understand one band, you can understand all of them just like if you have a mixing console. When I used to look at a mixing console, I would be so overwhelmed because it's this massive piece of equipment with hundreds of knobs on it and it seems overwhelming and then when you start to realize that there's these channel strips and once you understand ok there's the game for the pre amp and then an e q and then a compressor and then fader and then thirty of those or seventy two of those and that's, all the console is if you can understand one of the strips that you understand the whole console, it makes the consul way less overwhelming and you realize it's not that big of a deal the same thing with an e. Q if you can understand all the the knobs on one band um, then this happens to just be five or six or seven of those in one plug in that makes sense. Let's, take a look at one of them. So we'll start with this one of the middle because it's in the middle of yellow and you're going to see three main three may not be the most important when you think of is probably gain okay, so because again it was just the volume knob it boosts gain it turns down game so I can turn up a frequency or turned down a frequency very very simple so when I'm saying I boosted by three d be reason the same terminology that we'd use on a volume fader it's literally a volume knob that makes sense hopefully do all the next one would be frequency and this is why I think he was smarter than a volume not because it's a gain control tied to a specific frequency okay, so by default in this plug and it set two thousand hertz or one killer hurt one k one k for short so I have maybe a boosted turned up this track by sixty b at one k but then I can also move this frequency around and say, well I want to turn up sixty b of five hundred hertz so then I'm boosting a different frequency right? I think this makes sense you get to control what part of the frequency spectrum you are boosting or cutting up or down more or less and how much of what? So when you're queuing you're saying let's, turn up something or let's turn down something there's always something that you're turning up or down yet that's the frequency so you know we're going to discover as you move on I mean the one that gets confusing is q ok so um I don't know who makes up these neighbors these names of these labels and I'm sure there is a logical reason for while it's while it's called q and if you're the chat room and you know what it is feel free to tell me, but I don't remember from what I learned in college and I could reference my textbooks, but I don't really care to do that, but all q does is control how wider narrow this booster cut is this would be a very wide boost, as you can see when I boost this is eight hundred fifty five hertz I'm not just boosting one single frequency on boosting frequencies or around that center point and this q is saying boost mohr of the frequencies and neighborhood or if I have a tighter, narrow work, you saying boost pretty much just that what you've selected eight hundred fifty five that makes sense. So the numbers of q it's kind of backwards like a lower number is a wider q a higher q is a narrower bandwidth I don't ever pay attention to the numbers on q. I don't have a rule of thumb for issues one for q or two or point five um, I just I kind of look at the curve and use my ear, so I I don't really again care what the numbers are as much as what does it sound like in terms of specific numbers I'll give you some recommendations though if you because you want I wonder you know if there's a default let's say we're a default by default this e q setting the q two one and that gives you that kind of curve kind of ah in the middle curve here's here's what I suggest if you are doing any boosts I like a nice median cue like that I think it's it's natural so I want to boost mostly in this case around one k but it's going to lose a little bit around the frequencies that are surrounding it and I think that's nice and natural if I'm cutting something I usually find myself doing a tighter q not super super tight like that unless there's like a weird ringing a snare drum and really trying to zero in on justice one little frequency but nine times out of ten when I cut it a little tighter than when I boost um and I don't really know why I think musically it sounds good to me I think a natural wide boost is more gentle and a tighter cut allows me to just cut out just what I need to cut out and when I'm boosting I don't want to boost real specific things I want to be more musical and boosting cause I think boosting gets weird cutting I think I could be a little more surgical that's just what I find myself doing um by default so you will see my curves um, rights a little bit tighter cut their, um kick drum pretty gentle boost a boost to fifty five hertz or the kick drum but it's it's that default cute. That one um pretty pretty a little tighter on the cut here. A little looser on the boost there if we go to like my, uh bass guitar tighter cut, more gentle boost I don't mess with q that much other than I typically go tighter when I cut and more wide when I boost that makes sense again, I don't know why it's called q is what it is open in about all the reasons why it's called q but seems like the consensus is that it comes from statistics and it's in a bell curve in a statistical survey of results, the cues, how wide the bell curve is, you know, we've got the smart guys other about everything was about to say that probably even more time in yeah, there you go, there's always some reason for it, but all that matters is for us is we had this really smart volume nah, that can turn up or down a specific frequency, which is a pretty powerful concept and we can turn up or down a specific frequency in a tight shape or pretty loose gentle shapes you have even more control over the booster cut that's all a q is getting a little more fine tuning you could leave the cue at a default and never mess with it and he probably fine but it's just another layer of control which is cool, right? So don't don't freak out about you and don't don't email me questions saying grand what q should I use on the bass guitar? Just I'm not going to respond to that question because it doesn't matter s o I don't want you to worry about it that much just want you to know that it's there and you might find tune a little bit and if anything, I go tighter when I cut looser when I boost ish but I'm not the authority on cue, ok, so if we look at this one yellow frequency here, like in essence that's, if we understand that when we understand all five of these bands right there, just the exact same thing just you khun, have the power to control five frequencies at once. Let's, go back to new york, you hear, um and let's default this out, you'll notice on like the ends on band one and five, so the red one and the blue one you get something up here that the other bands don't have okay, these are sort of cute types and they have to we have what I would say by default is a notch or bell curve this is the way we've been looking at the other one you boost it up and it's a nice little bill cut it out it's a little not you know that's the typical shape your boosting or cutting a certain frequency and then a few around it. But then on the ends you'll get this other little diagram that's a call the shelf and if I boost the shelf we'll get how different that looks than that the bell curve there's the bell curve boost at one hundred hertz both thirty three point eight d b boost at one hundred hertz but this isabel that's a shelf ok, what do you think the shelf is doing that the bells not doing geology say boosting everything below that point yeah, exactly. You can see it visually, right if if the not for the bell is just boosting mostly one hundred and sloping down the shelf is starting the boost in one hundred but everything below one hundred gets the same boost. The same would be true. Five did a cut on his shelf cut, you know it starts the cut at one hundred and then applies that same amount of volume cut at everything below one hundred very, very different you see the same thing of the top but do a shelf boost a six k it's boosting six k and then seven k and a k nine all the way up to twenty whatever you know dogs can hear um where's the bell of the not just just focuses on that one frequency, so they're doing two very different things and I think shelves, I mean they're called the shelf because it looks like a shelf they're very helpful for a couple things like some examples of why I might use a shelf would be on a lead vocal I will go to here's my vocal track there's a shelf on my lead vocal I basically told the cue to police start brightening up this vocal at seven point five k, which I just randomly grabbed it sounded good just by two and a half tb but instead of just zeroing in on that frequency is if that's the only frequency want to boost I like a shelf because it starts to brighten up my voice at seven and a half and everything above it is kind of turning up all the air all the stuff he start toe feel and not here and it's like it's like I'm lifting open the top and a little bit in a real gentle musical way I do it also on drums either on the drum group or sometimes on overhead track I have a little bit of a shelf boost here because that's the symbols, the symbols or not just that I've got the boost of four k but the symbols or not just that four k there also at eight k and fifteen k there's different high frequencies and I'm just saying just turn it all up everything above this just a little bit and I visualize it as opening up you know? So um if you have we could do a little of extreme here so you know the difference but if I'm listening to my drums well, you know you could hear in the vocal pretty well we did this I think of the first second of the day let's listen to my lead vocals you can hear but this is doing let's get to you course stay sensed oo take it away stay six and stones little more muffled only press play and we'll switch back and forth to listen to the brightness of the vocal okay, so no e q and we'll turn it on and really we're listening to the shelf theron sticks and stones on tearing means soon until you start breaking me down to my bones you hear that that's subtle, you know it's like the vocal sounded fine, but I mean I know from experience and maybe comparing to other mixes that the vocals that I like in a modern mix have a little more breath thing it's a little more brightness and so this this little shelf is a real gentle musical way too I don't know one specific frequency I want a feature, so I want to feature a little bit of all of the top in and it makes the vocal sound little breath your little brighter that might be the absolute worst e q curved, though for the vocal if it's, a very bright, breathy vocalist, could be female, local or could be a really high tenor of the guys just it's already breathy and bright or the microphone you used is already bright a lot of microphones that are we're using in the home studio because they're pretty affordable it's pretty common for them tio already in the microphone capsule create like a little bit of ah hi boost so it has its own e q curve and it makes things sound bright and breathy, so a lot of times I'm tracking with a certain microphone it makes the vocal sound sound like this without need a v q so I wouldn't add another shelf cause I'm just boosting on already breathy, bright vocal right so shelter just a really cool way to open up the top in or take it away same is true as well questions that came in here three votes on this one and the viewer wants to know when you're mixing an album or an ap do you copy the compressor and the settings from song to song you just use it as a starting point are you always starting from scratch a great question um so the question if you're following it is let's say I've got five songs on the p and I mixed the first one and then I go to the second song and I know that the drums were recorded in the same day for all five songs they're probably very similar sounding a lot of times with drums since they take so long to get it right I will copy the settings from the first session and import into the new song e q and compression and that'll get my drums and ninety five percent of the way there are rarely have to mess them because they're pretty close so I do a combination of yes I do that for drums a lot of time no I don't do that for almost anything else on lee because um other than the drum tracks even if the arrangements or similar instruments likely used electric guitars and everything they had the same singer I still like to drums take forever and they're so hard if I could get that sound right all copy it but everything else I want to still methodically go through and on ly apply what cure compression I need to because I the song might just have been recorded in a way where those parts are the notes they're playing don't need any because it's a different frequency so I will do both yes for drums sometimes no for most everything else maybe yes for my master fader if I had a bus compressor, I might start with that setting, but I probably still have to adjust the bus compressor because it's not his louder it is louder than the other song okay, another one here that just came in what exactly do you do first? Are you always doing the cue or rebirth? Which one would you be doing first? Okay, I would do e q you ever cia because I'm a I'll be honest, I really kind of hate river I don't really like it it partly because I'm not really good at it and I've never really every once in a while I used in the mix and it sounds great, but most the time I only makes my mixes worse and so I don't like to feel like I'm not good at what I'm doing specialty stuff that I'm not good at I think that's great advice, but I kind of avoid river when I can, but even if you do use river because nothing wrong with the river, you would want to do it later on lee because it's in effect that adds it adds frequencies and sometimes I like to get the mix acute and compressed right? So it sounds fine that if I want to put their mix in a space and it needs a little bit more ambience then I'll bring in the the reverb and that's kind of goes back to what we talked about earlier segment of you bring in something and the river might start adding frequencies that start to cover up all that hard work you did on the mix and all of a sudden now the mix is a little bit muddier and you have to remember it's not I'm not gonna go back and re cue the mix or the guitars, the vocals they sounded fine before the river I'm going to leave them alone it's the river that's the problem and we had a question from the chat room earlier about well, I you know compressor each you this was yesterday compressor e q on effects chain like a river but yes, I would be a good example you bring in a river but it gives you a cool sense of space. But now it's adding some swirling, some low frequencies around so I'll just keep the river but now e q after the reverb and cut out the frequencies that are just only hurting the knicks so I can cab the ambiance but not ruin my mix. All right, great. That makes sense. Let's, get into one more here from you may be getting into this, but we have ah, user who's coming and drawing us from brazil. Who wants to know? Can you explain to us the practical difference between the different types of, for instance, graphic parametric et cetera. Okay, so, yeah, um, of graphic you would technically be like when you think of, like, a live show, you've got those accused with all the little lines on him and you can, like literally, like, thirty two little fate many favors, and so they can kind of create like that even that smiley effect you khun, slide him up or down graphic. You can literally pull all those things down and have a lot of adjustment there, and I think they're more useful on live settings. Where is this? Would be technically a parametric you, um where is I don't know why it's called that, but it is so I can I can grab the bands moving around that's only like two band or three bander of five band or this case of seven band ain't you doesn't really matter necessarily for you. So what matters is what you do you have so whatever's in your software or whatever's on your console are on the mixer you just if you see a frequency and a gain that's what you need that's how you're going to control it it doesn't really matter what it's called type as much as it matters can I control the frequencies they need to control to make the next sound way to sound alright? Excellent question here graham if you can go to one of the keys where he had a shelf on it was actually this questions about the queue so if you go kind of extreme with the cube it kind of yeah yeah that's has that kind of effect um I've used that at times for like base when it's cut down and then so there's a boost right before it cut them but I don't know if that's that adds additional addition like facing problems or any kind of noise but I don't know if it's something that's the common trick or if it's useful that's a great question so when when I do the cues extremes it'll let me on this shelf you can see actually it makes it a weird bump here and then it actually dips right below it that's what that's what harris is saying so um I never I never mess with the cuban shelves personally um and I definitely don't go extreme in either direction because I'm all about subtlety and making you not notice it um I've done it though on um I have any cue that sometimes will put on my master fader and you do this you can do a high pass filter and it has an extreme q as well that if you said it so tight it starts toe boost you right above it is well um I don't know why does that and I rarely find a use for that but it goes back to like just push it and see what it sounds like it might actually be I mean theory it's going to reduce a little bit of what's just before it and that might make what you're boosting sound more audible I don't know the answer to your question but I don't I don't know use me I never do it like that I leave it at default um you know it may be you go a little tighter if you wanted to but whatever the default q is on a shelf is usually pretty musical and that's usually what I'm going for but it doesn't mean there's not a scenario where that could be helpful we had twenty eight people vote on this one so people are very curious colin wanted to know the common practice is to boost wide and cut narrow is there any truth to that? Yeah, I mean like I said that's what I intend to do and I don't know I think boosting narrow um doesn't sound natural to me um so in general, I would say do everything relatively wide because it's it's less obvious because if you think you just boost something like we take, you know really tight q and boost this it's going to sound kind of, you know, that's an extreme boost, but nowhere in the real world of audio you know, when you hear things this one specific frequency jump out at the expense of all the others you know, on your car stereo when you booth the highs with the lows it's usually something really gentle like a shelf, I mean it's you feel more based or if you're less base feel more toppings, you feel less top in and that sounds natural musical to us it's more or less this is that doesn't really exist in the real world that I think computers and plug ins have allowed us to do something that can be helpful like on a cut though ironically like with a snare drum, I all I got said before, sometimes I find like a really weird ring and I'll do really tight notch narrow cue to notch out some because I don't mind taking away something very surgical that makes sense but boosting surgically sounds weird to me so that I think that's where a lot of that common practice comes from at least I can speak for myself that's why I have more gentle looking boosts and if I'm gonna cut cut I can be a little more narrow but it's used for how it sounds not because it's the right thing to do I want to get this one here another one that has over twenty boats and this one comes from ray she who's in australia and living in argentina so welcome thanks for joining us says hey graham do you ever automate e q so that it changes during the song for example, if the guitar was the most important instrument for most of the track but then a vocal enters which becomes the main focus but then it leaves and returns to the guitar absolutely that's the cool thing about a piece of software like this is you can have an e q curve change throughout the song, so sometimes I do this for effect, so sometimes we'll have automate like a sweep like you could all automated filters so it starts to start filtering out mohr of the low end and you kind of hear that thin out or sometimes like the questions being asked is let's say there's an acoustic guitar and let's say that's the feature instrument but in in the mix of his lots of other instruments and so the acoustic guitar doesn't need to be really fat because it could just needs to cut through but then everything drops out of the mix and you just have an acoustic guitar and vocal I might let some more low income back in on that acoustic guitar for that moment because when it's naked by itself accusing qatar myself pretty thin like listen to this accused tickets are here um only one in the song pretty bright pretty thin because look but look how much we've cut out we've done a filter and I'll show you the filters and second rolled up everything below one seventy two so listen to what it sounds like without any meet you this queue curve was set to make that acoustic work in the mix that has a thick bass guitar thick over driven guitars and it's supposed to be a texture you know we showed you how to get a punchy acoustic guitar yesterday with compression for this song acoustic guitar doesn't need to be thick but if let's say in this arrangement everything drops out and it comes back to accuse to guitar I would probably automate this e q to roll back the high pass filter down there maybe so some more body of the crew's guitar is they're so sounds little a little more natural because now there's no bass guitar for that moment of the song fighting for its space so that's a great question because we could do that in the moment the band comes back in big you could set this back up you have to be automated said back up to where it was before