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EQ and premastering help

125

hello,
im looking to fix up on some of my music, at the moment im trying to brush up on my EQ work, especially the mid-low and low end. can anyone share some of their techniques/tips in getting better sounding music pre-master? what should i understand to get started with messing around with EQs?
unfortunately, my room at the moment is not ideal for mixing. i have a parallel wall situation and have some standing wavs. in the future im planning to move my desk to a different location in the same room so i can later put some panels around the walls...im also thinking about getting new monitors too.
thanks,
dice.
July 5, 2007 @06:28am
DAS

Two primary things: 1) Practice enough so that when you think of a particular frequency you have an accurate impression in your mind about where it is sonically. 2) Practice on instruments enough so you have an idea about how the above effects most of the major ones.
July 5, 2007 @11:35am
125

thanks!
what kind of practices are we talking about? just basic "mix as many things as you can" and get an ear for it, or are there frequency tests i can give myself?
another question is, whats my initial goal in EQing? Am i EQing to make it (any medium being used, like instruments, vocals, etc) sound like how i am hearing?
im thinking that i should EQ how i hear it and cut off parts that could be masking with other frequencies, but this means that i have to EQ every single instruments and vocals, etc?
July 6, 2007 @05:36am
DAS

thanks!
what kind of practices are we talking about? just basic "mix as many things as you can" and get an ear for it, or are there frequency tests i can give myself?

Sure, you should mix as much as you can and listen to how the results translate to other systems, but my advice was more about practicing with an EQ. With (even) a cheap parametric EQ you can cut and boost different frequencies -- and frequency ranges -- on different sources to hear what it sounds like. When I was learning how to engineer years ago I spent a considerable amount of time doing this. I was mostly working in live sound using graphic EQ's at the time, but the concept is the same. I got to a point pretty quickly where I could recognize specific frequencies in monitor/PA feedback, for instance. I could call them out by name when something would feed back and be right on the money every time. Then I began to learn how different aspects of different instruments and voices would be impacted by more or less of different frequency ranges. It takes time, but it was no different in my mind that practicing guitar or whatever.

another question is, whats my initial goal in EQing? Am i EQing to make it (any medium being used, like instruments, vocals, etc) sound like how i am hearing?
im thinking that i should EQ how i hear it and cut off parts that could be masking with other frequencies, but this means that i have to EQ every single instruments and vocals, etc?

This is a much more complex question to try to answer. My philosophy for how approach EQ changed a lot over the years. Some people try for an "idealized" sound for each instrument and then find ways to fit them together in a mix. Others try to EQ to accentuate the good things while also de-emphasizing the less pleasing (or important) parts of an instrument...and find ways to fit them together in a mix. While others EQ each track with the whole in mind, sometimes reducing frequency ranges specifically for the sake of getting something to work into a mix better. Of course a good engineer knows when to apply each of these methods on a case by case basis. And, of course, all of this sits in the context of trying to use EQ as little as possible...instead trying to get the right sound recorded the right way to begin with through the use of the right sounding instruments, players, room, mic, and mic positions.
July 6, 2007 @02:44pm
Joseph Hanna

And, of course, all of this sits in the context of trying to use EQ as little as possible...instead trying to get the right sound recorded the right way to begin with through the use of the right sounding instruments, players, room, mic, and mic positions.

Yes of course.
I would add cautiously however that this mind set can easily be misconstrued.
Here's what I mean. I have the good (or on some days bad) fortune to work with a lot of great engineers. When one of them pulls off a great mix I'll always seek a peak at what they've done. One of the common threads of a good mix is eq.
I don't think any of them struggle to NOT use eq. What I do see is the patience and ears to use eq in very small but effective amounts. A db here and there can be very effective. I rarely see any frequency eq'd more than 2 or 3 dB max with the exception of Hi and or Lo-pass filters.
As I said this takes patience and ears as often a dip of 1dB doesn't make an immediate or dramatic impact. That said it always amazes me what impact these very small corrections can make in an over all mix.
July 6, 2007 @03:27pm