Favorite EQ Hacks #5-6

 

EQ Master Class

 

Lesson Info

Favorite EQ Hacks #5-6

Ok, I've got two more for you this this next one's related to the high pass filter I think high pasfield there is huge it's going to clean up your low end and you're going tohave you're gonna realize all this is a real simple way to get more clarity my low in but here's the but there's another problem area that I find and we were talking about this before the segment is sort of that you see some of my queue moves I've cut out like a lot in this four hundred to five hundred range you see it there you see it here but that yellow curve I'm cutting out um you don't see it here but you see it a couple more places I find myself over time not liking the way four hundred to five hundred hertz sounds on almost everything I don't want to give you rules of fumbling you should always do this but let me show you let's look, get rid of these high past filters there's something like if you listen to let's, listen to this kick drum. Nothing to me seems to sound good at four hundred five hundred hertz ...

um he won't be in let's listen to this cake drum I'll show you what this range sounds like and then I want to get rid of a lot of it so let's say all right, that sounds nasty right that's a kick drum let's apply that same thing tio um my lead vocal let's get me cue here and stay six and stones are tearing means tio until you started breaking me though to my bowl that's the same for busy arranging my vocal does not sound pretty let's put it on the cues the guitar was dragged us over but like real boxy frequencies apollo we drum overheads these are a huge culprit single listen drum overheads we'll grab a q one band four hundred I used to get our anything after that extreme booth sounds better. That sounds nasty. You start to see four hundred five hundred hertz sounds nasty on almost every instrument. So what I find myself doing walla me queuing if you've got a multibillion five bandy q and a carving off the low income students and complimentary carving I also end up cutting out. I listened to it first I go and I grab or brown I know that such a problem area from experience I go to four hundred five hundred and it is make sure sounds gross and nine times out of ten sounds gross and then I take it out by three d b and it gets rid of what I call the muddy mix problem because the money mixed solution a lot of people say you and I have a muddy sounding mix it's a lot of times this frequency range let's take four hundred hertz let's take minus three d be brian um we'll put it on every single track okay let's do the exact same thing we did with the high pass the literally I'm gonna do this on every single track so four hundred minus three I can copy and paste copy this guy right to the snare to my tom's to my fat track to my tamarin track which is what that's going to do anything to it but let's just do extreme example and put it on everything oregon my vocal and double locals let's listen to this chorus and I've taken basically out three d b four hundred hertz on all those tracks okay and so I'm going to press play and then I'm gonna bypass its unsold this a bypass all those four hundred hertz cuts and see what happens you hear that like all men massive truth it sounds like a boost it sounds like the top end we boosted the top in all we did was cut out four hundred hertz on a bunch of tracks this is a great example of how e q is a revealing tool rather than changing tool the bat brightness was already in my tracks and the moment I got rid of that nasty four hundred hertz for fifty five hundred whatever that was covering it up all along the moment I got rid of that dude, that mix that's the only two in the mix right now you know I don't I have all my really cute bypass that's the on ly acumen, but I've done it already sounds chris, it sounds like I can his sneer cutting through kick drums a little tighter guitar sound brighter but in a musical way, then sound harsh haven't boosted a single thing. I'm telling you this money, mick solution like once I've kind of figured this out, I am I am ruthless on that frequency range and it might change. I do it on a track by track basis so some tracks arm or around three eighty some arm or around five hundred that's why you want to do it on individual track? But even if I just blindly four hundred and this three d b out, I mean, I'm taking and I'm also freeing of head room. I'm revealing the best part of the track and now my mix got a little quieter because I cut out a lot of volume, right huge move right there, you see how simple that is easy that is to get clarity in your mix is if you're not doing this, you probably have a thicker, superior muddier mix than you need that sometimes that frequency range can addle we called warmth and it can sound cool so I don't I know someone's going to just blast me on say, well, you can't just cut four hundred everything well, you can do whatever you want to do, but I would say more often than not it's a problematic frequency, so air on the side of carbon, some of that out and all of a sudden you're going to hear your tracks potential comforting that man, this is sounding really good, and I have really done much else other than cut out this nastiness I always for awhile. I always thought the that warmth area you're mentioning was between one, eighty two or money, everyone eighty two to fifty, so I would often cut that region on too many things, but in some tracks that can mean some tracks that is the problem areas way down there like I can you can have, you can have ah, tom, that sometimes sounds really weird over there, and, yes, you want to cut out that on the tom, but a lot of times that range is really cool like that might be where the fatness of the snare drum this like you think because they're cracks, but you want to snare the sound fat or sometimes a slight little bump around two hundred is really sweet, but I find that it's hard for me to find instrument where four hundred sounds good you know that makes sense these air hacks into like simple things that more often than not help you and I need things like that because of my life is busy I don't have time to mess this stuff so if I can as a rule of thumb know that if I think my mixes a little muddy let's just apply some cut of four hundred five hundred a lot of tracks even ssl you can see what happened to you in the ssl channel strip which I'm a big user of um was down here if you look at its starting point for its low mid frequency this blue one down here point five killer it's it's five hundred hurts so it's default setting is that five hundred I find myself cutting I don't have to mess with that if you just cut out five hundred a lot of tracks and sometimes I need to turn it down to four hundred it's almost like the ss l a set up to know that that's a problem area because rarely do I want to boost their it never sounds good but it's already set for five hundred night cut a lot of times in the ssl the exact same thing we just did with this one band e q any questions on on that um just a question you made all these the high past filter in the four hundred teo teo bank I mean, like in my real mix of this yeah, yeah, so like I did this to show you visually like if I just visually bypass all of these accuse that's the only change are making where's on these accused of other frequencies but you could just see usually three yellow like I've cut out three hundred there have cut out nothing there. I've cut out for thirty seven on the overheads so yeah, I'm and I'm doing it all in one week because I might do a high pass filter I might do a little boost, but I'll also do this four hundred to five hundred it's cut all in the same week you do you think it makes a difference? If you do it separately then you could stack these and it's really the same kind of concept I'm sure it does something different because it's filtered after its filth or something else but I think it's the exact same thing if you only need t do one thing to attract and all you need is a one band it'll save you some processing power although these native plug ins that come with your dog won't take up much power but usually went down and throw in a nick you so I can do whatever I need to do on one plug in it's okay to use one e q for first recording something and then another one later, further down on the on the channel strip tio to fix that up more one for recording, like, well, there's like there's, a manufacturer called brain works. They have a free plug in called a clean sweep and it's just a low pass and a high pass filter very gentle, gentle though invaders recommended you put it on every on, every channel, just to kind of tighten up the entire thing. And I was doing that. But then on top of it at the afterwards, after a compression or other other effects, then I would add another e q just to fix up like everything else after that. It's totally fine that's like the same thing. I mean, that this week he was like having all that wrapped into one, I've got two filters, and then my cue, you know, like the ssl, if you grab that that gives you a choice, and a lot of channel strips will do this, I'm just unnecessary because it's one of familiar with like this has two filters on high pass in a low past, and you can split it so that this is in a different syriza from the queue so it can come before the war after the rest of the, um, visually, I don't know exactly the way that pro tools one does, but visually I think of it as I just do it in order I filter and then I'ii q but it's all in one plug ins if I bypassed that one e q plug and all my changes happen but it there's no right or wrong adding and filter first and then adding some processing and then your e q that's fine too. Again, like some people like to compress before the queue so they might want to filter out stuff, then compressed. Thank you, that's. Totally fine. Okay. And leslie, before I forget, because like the the genre I working its tons of effects were just crazy effects and phasers and all sorts of stuff. But where would you place all of that? Like after? Would you place all that before this e q and compression or where? Or so it depends? Like I think in terms of guitars, you know, if I have a guitarist who has a bunch of foot pedal stop petals on box and he's like a phaser and delay and river but it's part of the sound I'll say record with that so already has effects on it, and then I will seek you that to fit in the mix, okay, if it's part of the sound aniki will come after that, okay, that make sense to question them ah few clarifying questions here we have five people vote on this question really quickly, but this one to clarify here couldn't you just cut four hundred hertz on the mix bus? Yes, the only problem with doing that is that it's a generic you're assuming of four hundred hertz is the problem for every track and like in real life it's not in real life like I said sometimes it's three fifty sometimes it's five hundred and so I like to have the specific e of knowing specificity where you say that word of on this guitar, the problem area it's usually arranged I'm giving that range but it's somewhere down there and one guitar might be different in another, so I don't want to blindly just throw it on the next bus because I could probably get a better result if I was more track by track like it even the four hundred sounds bad three fifty sounds really bad on this tracks that actually I'm going to cut and that across the tracks will give a big impact but you could tell me four hundred across all of these or if I used one on the master fader you can tell how much of a difference that made already it's kind of to prove the point cut we did one twenty, one hundred hertz you did on most of the tracks can you just route those all too like one auxiliary channel in just place it there so you don't have like so many accuse the same thing there yes, you could but again I won't high past one hundred hertz on every single track just on those five or ten or however many you we chose the right but I did that on every track but the kick in the snare yeah, so but I would probably have like the cruz guitar filtered higher than the electric guitars my vocal maybe not as high as acoustic guitar so I don't get that flexibility if I just slap it on one bus and run everything through it but technically yes if you're okay with a hundred hertz for everything just use one plug in instead of the lunch. All right? We got another one here uh see is cutting four hundred to five hundred hertz good because of the buildup on these frequencies that happened when you close mike stuff. Yeah, so a great great observation is when you're making something close to the source. So if it's a acoustic guitar you shove a microphone in front of it or if it's near john michel the microphone in front of it or like a lot of us in our home studios, they don't sound good or you're you know you're like my palm city that your kids are screaming down the hallway then you if you have a microphone too far away from your voice is going to hear you and your screaming kids so it's closer in your face it'll here mostly just you and less of a screaming kid. We find ourselves close making a lot of home studio because it's a helpful thing, but most of our microphones are a cardio a pattern, which means it picks up just in front of it and there's a thing called the proximity affect the closer a cardio and microphone pattern gets to the source the big, bigger the base build up. It just does. I don't know why science and that buildup on track after track after track sometimes adds to this problem and that could be low, low self like a high pass filter would fix it. It could be low mid stuff like four hundred or three hundred cut it out so yeah sometimes that's the problem all right, good. Any other questions from you guys right now? What I want to show you the last half, which is probably one of the most important things if featuring in mono is the number one thing you could start today, this last one is the number two thing in doing together and I'm a show to you and then we'll have plenty time for any of your questions, which would be awesome we talked about this a little bit in the last segment, but here's, the problem of home studio mixing are really mixing anywhere. It's not really just home studios, is it does not matter in the end, if I can get a song to sound good in my room, it does not matter because no one's going to listen to the song in my room, but me or my my wife and then we'll think it sounds good together, but the real world, the song as we know and you discover this problem where it sounds great in a room you take, you bounce it down to an mp three or you take it to a seat in your car and you press play and you sit back and the car test it sounds horrible. What went wrong? How could it sound good in my room? Not sound good in the car or on my ear buds or whatever and it's such a deflating, frustrating process on what you're realizing is all along in your room, what you were hearing wasn't very accurate. Okay? You're being fooled by the acoustics in your room. You're being fooled by your speakers because no speakers really, truly flat, every speaker has some e q curve, and what you want to know is how can I avoid this pain? How can I avoid this problem? How can I trust what I'm hearing so that I can be confident making q or compression decision to whatever it is and know that what I do here will translate into the rest of the world and there's a simple secret that for the longest time again like with the yamano I refused to do and and once I started doing this, it changed everything for me and that is using a reference track reference tracks are the best hack you could do to not only get a great mix but to ensure that your mix well stand up next to the pro mixes that it's going to really live next to right and what do I mean by reference track? Let me show you if you've never done this, let me just show you what we're doing what we're trying to do is instead of trying to make your room sound perfect, which anything helps me acoustic treatment helps tuning your speakers in placing in the right place helps, but you will never get a perfect room. So forget about trying to get a perfect room instead. Think about what does a good a good song, but I know there's a good mix what does that sound like in my bathroom? Right wouldn't tell us something if we knew what a really good, professional sounding mix sounds like in my room wouldn't that give us some clues? And so what? What I like to do is find if I'm mixing a song, I like to find a song in a similar genre or a similar arrangement or similar instrumentation from a similar era that is a professional mix that somebody else did that I think sounds great or the world deems is this is quality at least it's been signed off by a band and a producer on the label on a master engineering it's out there in the real world at least sonically it's good and I like to bring it into my session and listen to it in my bed, my doll out of my speakers in my room and hear what is that professional mix sound like? Because let's say your room is too bright? Well, then a professional mix will sound too bright, right? They don't probably still sound good because it was a good mix, but what we need is a point of reference. What we need is something to tell us is our mix even in the ballpark of a good mix because if I mix in isolation and then I played in itunes playlist next to other tracks of the low, my mixed sounds way different you don't want to have that painful experience that when you're at the end of your mix you might as well have that painful experience now while you're starting your mix to then help give you a reference point for you're going so let me show you what I like to do like I've already let's say I've already done this mix like I remix this song for you guys before we came here and I just used the stocky cuban compressor I don't have any other effects and let's say I'm feeling good about it. To be honest, I did this referencing throughout the mixing process but I'll show you what we're doing here so if you like it sounded good but let's bring in a reference track so I know what's going on I'm going to bring in a reference track from a band that I like that I think he's got a cool rock feel the bands called the beautiful refrain and song is called tiger face and has an exclamation point in the name of the song I love that I've never seen a song with exclamation point the name but you know I just think that's cool what I have is literally their mp three or their wave whatever it is off the record and you can see it's a stereo track I brought it into pro tools as an audio track that's how I like to work so literally it's right here by itself um and what I have done here in pro tools and it depends on how your dog works this track, this labeled mix bus is like my master fader and I have my mixed bus compression on it and any other effects I might have but that's being routed to track called stereo out, which has no effects on it. And I do this for the sole purpose of this, of referencing so that I can bring in a professional mix and route it to my output, my speakers. But make sure it's not going through my mixed bus compression or any of my you know, I want to hear the mix raw finished through my speakers and then my mix through the plus gins through the speakers and be able to a b then go back and forth. So the other thing you're going to notice before I press plays. I've turned the volume of this track down. Why do you think turned it down? Because it's mastered in his way louder! I'm comparing my mix which is not mastered and not way loud to a finish completed master track, so to bring it in at normal volume and have the fader up here not cool because that's not fair it's going to be way louder away, cool are sounding the moment, so I got to bring it down. You know? And you have to just do I do this manually. I bring it down till they want to switch back and forth. They sound about the same volume. So let's say it's about I brought it down by minus eleven because look how squash that looks right. If you zoom in, you can sort of see the peaks a little bit. This thing has been squashed. Okay, so take a listen, here's this track love that song so ok, I'm like ok, that's what a pro mix sounds like. And here in on these speakers on wherever you're listening at home that's what? That sounds like I've got it so let's on solo it and muted and listen to my mix. Maybe switch over. You kind of compare the two and then you try to ask yourself what do you hear this difference of what do you what do you guys hear this different between these two tracks, your track is much more base having kind of bhumi. My track sounds base have urine boom, hear, hear anything else, it's? All more quisp here in the the tiger face tiger face track sounds crispy. Absolutely anything else. They don't need to listen longer because of the two big ones absolutely, I hear, wow. When I thought was like really sweet fat base which may not be bad I'm not saying I have to completely match this track but I do notice that track seems to have less based on mine and it seems to be crispier like little more top in a little brighter riel polished and the nice modern crisp sound now hopefully when you reference that you get to pick the reference so pick something that you respect you think I do think this sounds good I've listened to it sonically in my car on my headphones and it always seems to hold up and I like it. Um bring that in and then compare your mix to that because then you go well when I referenced this what happens? I go I actually like my makes better than the reference uh and that's okay, but it may be that but you know you like the reference because you heard it outside of this environment so you have to remind yourself that reference is probably close to write because it's it's professional it's been signed off. So if it sounds a little too bright in my room maybe it's not the references the problem maybe it's my room just gives me a real bright sound so it tells you what your rooms giving you and then what I like to do is is true I'd make sure that my mix isn't radically far away from this reference, so I don't think my mixes completely off from this mix, but I do like things about this mixed, better like mine nixon's okay, that's cool sounds pretty awesome his vocals really, really brighten up front now what you do with this information varies there's a couple things you can do if you are smart and you reference at the beginning of the mixing process, then you've got your whole work ahead of you, which is great because then you could say, ok, that's where the drums were living that's what a kick drum sounds like that's what bass guitars living and you can start to move your favors and try to match it there, and it informs you along the way, let's say, I didn't reference at all until the end this is still better than nothing. We can still help ourselves out here. I spent like three hours mixed this song brought in this reference and said, whoa, my song has way more low, low in and this song and the vocals aren't nearly as bright and crispy is that song? I kind of want to get a little closer I know this sounds like cheating, but here's what I'll do all the time that I would slap in e q on my mix bus I'm like, I don't really want to mess with my balance already got it going toe let's grab any cue and let's see if we can just do some subtle bliss pretend like I'm mastering remember how the very first thing we did today? We looked at q on mastering how little like a d b and a half booster cut transformed a mix of a lot. Think of yourself as a master engineer first, second say ok, this sounds like there's less base first this so maybe there's something in the low, low mid that I could still carve out a little bit more I don't exactly what it is, so let me go find it on now I'm on my mix I'm gonna boost around and listen for what may be sounds little to boom may maybe it's this one fifty range? I don't know again I'm just kind of guessing s o I might, I might say that sounds a little like it sounds sweet and really thick and soupy, but I know where recorded really thick, soupy drums that day. I know we recorded a lot of thick guitars, so I was probably over killing it on recording day, I might make a little tighter cue here and cut this out by d b and a half. Okay and then the other area that we heard that we liked about or maybe didn't like but I kind of liked about the reference was how bright and crisp it was um let me go see if I can find something up top that I could bring that out a little bit without sun maybe five point seven I don't know let's bring that down by like a dp and a half okay yeah you had said to make adjustments in increments of three d b yes, but here you're yeah okay, great question why do you think I'm doing smaller increments on the next bus? Your forgot the work yeah you're affected everything that home affecting everything a one d b boost on the mix bus is really twenty five dp boost because it's one d b boost on every single track it's one way to think about it so three d v boost on the master fader would make a huge drastic change and it's a little too much on the mix bust you got to be real subtle because it's affecting its out this multiplication effect it's affecting everything so I don't want to be real gentle that's why when mastering if you're mastering something you need real d b d being a half move even half dbt adjustment and you can make a huge difference and mastering when you think it will herself going above one and a half you go back into the mix and try to fix it within the individual tracks you could do that if it seems like this this process we're about to do it's not quite cutting it you could just go back to the individual tracks or just if you like that frequency range but you find yourself boosting it too much just I know that you're going a little crazy and just trust that it's the right frequency you just need to dial it down and live with it being a little more subtle because let's, listen to what we've done here this is just a dp and a half cut and even half boost but let's bypass the cd and see, you know the difference it's a little tight or a little cleaner sometimes even like adding a shelf up top of like a cane above like a d b because when I compare my mixes to a pro mix, I find that they're still brighter than mine even I'm trying to like not boost too much, but at the very end I'm like all right, well let me give it a little bit extra lift on on a cue here so let's take a listen we hear that that's a massive nice means a sub subtle but a big noticeable difference so batty hugh might make it closer now weaken reference tracking so here's my reference the little closer it's not going to sound exactly like that track there's no way it can sound like that truck because it was a different band on a different day in a different studio with different gear different mike's mixed by different people we're not trying to match it when I'm trying to eat you match it we're just trying to use our ears to say what does this pro mixed telling me in my room and for better or for worse can I apply that process to my mixed to get money is just a little closer and this one thing alone is going to give you a reference point to make sure that before you ever bounce this thing down you know it's close to what a pro make sounds like and once you get limiter on and make it louder like we looked at yesterday's session and you could feel real confident that this is gonna work on a lot of different systems well you were ever and sent to the to that track what will you be mixing? Yeah ideally that's what I like to do I'd like to bring in a track from the beginning I have clients do this for me I'm mixing an album when I go home I'm mixing an album for a guy and I tell him look what tracks do you like? Do you think your stuff sounds similar to where you want it to in the end well, sound like I feel good like I like my stuff and then this guy steps he'll send me mp three's airwaves of bands or specific songs that we like this sound maybe we like the way it was mixed that's helpful for me because it tells me what he likes but for me is a mixer I was bringing in from the beginning and I try to balance his stuff compared to that stuff and it's a reference point that I'll check throughout the mixing process and it helps me from getting off track like, oh, I think this sounds cool, we're getting further away from reality. We've got a few reference questions that came up we have about five minutes before we wrap up, so time is running out, but I want to get a few of these questions and we have one from jackson swab you says, could you compare your mix and the reference track not only using your ears but a frequency analyzer? Also, I love these frequency and yes, yes, you can absolutely, absolutely I just I'm not that technical, I don't want I don't care what it visually looks like. I don't want to read more information, I don't want to do more research visual, I'm just I'm too impatient for that, so I just like to close my eyes and think like a listener well, what would like my friends say when they listen to this a man this song has more bass in that song that song sounds crispier than that song I try to think like that and then make real simple moves to get a closer but yes, you could use an analyzer and some people find that very helpful you analyze a specific frequency and then you see the problem in your frequent in your track I just I don't go that way but that's just my personality and temperament okay, now here's another one do you listen to your reference track and mono as well when you're comparing it to your own mix? Both absolutely because you know most of these references these pro mixed sounds great mono because most people listen to in the money at the shopping mall everything's coming out of one speaker I mean it's a mano mix across the mall and it sounds awesome here the vocal here the kick drum here the snare drum I won't lie next to sound like that both in mono in stereo. All right then we have this question from dietrich and couple people voted on it do you usually have to find a professional reference mix as a cd sixteen bit forty four point one or does it matter if it's a higher reds mp three? I don't think it matters I don't I don't play that game so I'm fine I'll bring it mp three's the songs all the time because what we're talking about his real simple surface level stuff what is the low in sound like what is the top and sound like what is the mid range sound like where the vocals living what about that picture like I asked real simple questions and that's what I used to inform my mixed decision so I I don't worry about the quality being lost if it's a pretty poor quality mp three like sixty four kilobits per second that doesn't sound like music to me but anything above one ninety two sounds pretty much like a wave to the average listening to me included and especially this three twenty and I can't even tell the difference it sounds good all right we'll get one more question here before you unless you're done referencing the track and you're satisfied do you route everything back to the master bus away from the mix bus or do you leave it as is oh I mean I leave this as is in the way I've got it set up it is still going through this track called mix bus goes from here to here it's it's going out of my speaker's it's the same thing I leave the routing the same I don't that make sense nothing used to be changed okay I'm just wondering what it takes away from the resolution the more it goes through different buses and things like that. But it's? Not at all. Or if it does, I can't hear it. I think it's, just since it's, not really audio being passed, a real channels, it's all.

Class Description

Learn the fundamentals of equalization: when to use it, why, and exactly how it works.

In this master class you’ll learn concepts and techniques behind good EQ practices. Graham Cochrane will use stock plugins and share EQ lessons you can apply no matter which DAW you use. You’ll learn about using high-pass and low-pass filters to carve out space for each element in the mix and advanced techniques for making surgical boosts and cuts.

If you want quality mixes, you have to understand how to expertly use EQ. Tune in for EQ Master Class and Graham will show you how.

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