n-Track EQ

How does it sound to you?

Toms’ thread about using his Audix D6 on snare got me thinking about another subject.

I have no compunction about using EQ. I use EQ a lot. If a track doesn’t sound the way I want it to sound, I use EQ to fix it without reservation. I always attempt to get the best sound I can with mic choice, placement, etc. and as my skill has grown I’ve needed less EQ but I still use EQ on most tracks of a project.

There seems to be a general feeling in the recording community that you should use EQ as little as possible. EQ supposedly introduces phase anomalies that hurt the quality of the sound. Recordists spend big bucks buying dozens of mics and lots of expensive preamps, all of which have a non-flat frequency response, in order to build in the optimum eq into their track without using subsequent EQ after the track is recorded.

OK, so after that lengthy background, here’s my question. When you use n-Track’s EQ do you hear it causing problems in the sound? Does it screw up the sound of the track in some way?

If using the EQ in n-Track degrades the sound I guess I just can’t hear it. I don’t hear anything but the change in frequency response that I would expect. Can you hear problems that EQ is introducing?

using the three little eq controls on a track fader is prety harmless to a track - it is when using a Parametric EQ that the phasing you mention become a problem -

more info on many types of EQ at link below

http://www.samplecraze.com/tutorial.php?xTutorialID=20

Dr J

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using the three little eq controls on a track fader is prety harmless to a track - it is when using a Parametric EQ that the phasing you mention become a problem -

I may be confused but isn’t the EQ that is part of the channel strip for each track a parametric EQ? You can adjust the frequency, bandwidth, and gain with each point. I use all the features of the integrated n-Track EQ which is one of the reasons I find it so powerful. I’ll sweep the frequency spectrum to locate a problem area, then I’ll tweak the bandwidth and the gain. Usually it’s a reduction - I cut way more often than I boost. Depending on the track I also may use the high pass or low pass settings and adjust their parameters as well.

the three controls on the Ns track fader work like tone controls on a HiFi - each one covering part of the frequency band - so adjusting the bass control (should) have no effect on the other two bands -

it you are using the big EQ where you can move the 3 bands across each other that is what i would describe as a quasi parametric eq - the parametric EQ on my outboard mixer allows me to alter the width of each of 4 bands -

if you take the centre dot on Ns big eq you can alter the height of the curve but not the width of the curve - its when you narrow the width of the curve to form a very sharp needle shape and scan that across the other frequency bands that you get the phasing you mention - looking again at Ns EQ it looks like the shape of the curves are such as to minimise most of the adverse effects can be introduced by altering the width of the curves -

Dr J

I don’t actually use the n-Track EQ for serious EQing - I have spinaudio’s 10 band parametric - and a 4 band version they gave away in Computer Music magazine - and I actually think it sounds just a bit clearer. But I use the n-Track one a fair amount, actually, when I just want to roll off the low end.

It’s an odd thing, but one can really hear differences in EQ plug ins. The best sounding one I have is actually one not made anymore, by A0 Digital Audio. Horrid GUI. Great sound.

edit: Hey, you can get it free here - and I paid 80 bucks or something for it way way back!
http://www.a0audio.com/

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if you take the centre dot on Ns big eq you can alter the height of the curve but not the width of the curve

Errrm actually, when you click on the icon to the left of the EQ knobs, you get a popup of a fully parametric/graphic EQ. You can change the both the frequencey center and bandwidth (“Q”) of the middle band, as well as any band designated as “band boost/cut” type as opposed to “shelf,” or “pass” types.

The position of the knobs on the channel strip(s) reflects only the absolute boost or cut level for bands 1,2 and 3, regardless of where you set the frequency. You can add aditional bands to the EQ, but they aren’t reflected by the knobs.

found it, well done CD - , the first knob of the three only works when ‘band boost cut’ is selected in dropdown list - then you can alter the shape of the curve - also got it to work on the other parametric eq the (one in effects) by playing with the tiny little rotary controls at the bottom of the GUI -

i stopped using Ns parametric EQs long ago due to abnormal CPU use, and i could get better control from the parametrics on my outboard mixer - but looking at the CPU use again its now much better -

the question now is, how much EQ do you add, do you add EQ on a track by track basis or only on the master stereo outs ? - this is something i cannot really comment on as all the EQ/effects/gates/compressors i use are in hardware and some cannot easily be related back to software - parametric WHINE is common to both soft and hardware -

Dr J

The rule of thumb for EQing is to prefer to subtract, rather (cut) than add (boost). You want to make space for sounds to be heard rather than forcing a sound to the front.

An easy example is if you record distorted electric (rhythm) guitar and male vocals with the same mic, they basically “live” in the same sonic space. If you scoop the mids out of the guitars a little - not much, maybe 2dB with a wide Q centered at maybe 1kHz - the vocals will sound much more clear. Now you may decide to also boost the vocals in this range a little, but you always want to start with cutting.

for your own personal use (non commercial) then EQ how you want -

but for any commercial use there is such a thing called the ‘Classic Recording Curve’ (finding a visual representation of it has been like finding a Unicorn in Times Square) -

this curve says that if your finished recording fits within its bounderies the your song will playback OK on everything but a mobile phone - if you go outside of the curve then expect problems somewhere down the line -

it is very easy to rip a commercial track from a CD into N and arrive at a better sounding mix than the record company put out, but is it ? - to your ears your re-mix will sound far better more bass, etc -

in commercial terms the record companies are not interested in your ears, only the WORLDS ears, they dont care one iota how YOU think a song should sound, they want a sound that will play on practicaly anyhing anywhere in the world with no complaints -

go here

http://www.har-bal.com/screenshots.php

look at screenshot 4, its a pretty good representation of the classic recording curve - after you have got your song to fit in that curve it should be ready for commercial release, then comes the problem of RADIO -

it does not matter how cleaver you are, no matter what EQ you use to obtain your sound - there are constraints on having your works comercially released on CD and played on the RADIO -

if you are serious about recording (i hate to say it) YOU MUST comply with these constraints - better to learn about them now and how to maintain your sound within these constraints than have your and/or your clients hopes dashed when nobody responds to demo’s you produce -

Dr J

MUSIC - anybody can make it - VERY FEW SELL IT -

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MUSIC - anybody can make it - VERY FEW SELL IT -


Truer words have never been written.
Quote (DR Jackrabbit @ Jan. 21 2007,09:57)
look at screenshot 4, its a pretty good representation of the classic recording curve - after you have got your song to fit in that curve it should be ready for commercial release

Well, I tend to think that even if you fit that curve you may not be where you want to be. The big question is how you make that curve match.

Having heard mixes that more or less matches any Har-bal curve of perfection, I'm still sceptical to tweaking final mixes with your eyes. For ballpark ideas I think they're good but the ear is the better tool for fine tuning.

My 2 øre :)

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I don’t actually use the n-Track EQ for serious EQing - I have spinaudio’s 10 band parametric - and a 4 band version they gave away in Computer Music magazine - and I actually think it sounds just a bit clearer. But I use the n-Track one a fair amount, actually, when I just want to roll off the low end.

It’s an odd thing, but one can really hear differences in EQ plug ins. The best sounding one I have is actually one not made anymore, by A0 Digital Audio. Horrid GUI. Great sound.

That’s the kind of info I was looking for. I guess I’ll try a couple other plugin eq’s and see if I can hear the difference. I’ve been really happy with the n-Track eq but maybe things can be better.

Regarding the har-bal info I think you will get into a lot of trouble if you try to eq your tracks to achieve that curve. Your mix should look somewhat like the har-bal curve by default. If it looks radically different then that could lead you to investigate a problem but a much better way to check the frequency balance of your mix is to listen to it compared with a few reference CDs that you think sound good. Your ears will expose problems much better than your eyes.

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MUSIC - anybody can make it - VERY FEW SELL IT -


- How can anybody get it over their hearts to SELL music?!? ???

regards, Nils

Quote (DR Jackrabbit @ Jan. 21 2007,09:57)
go here

http://www.har-bal.com/screenshots.php

look at screenshot 4, its a pretty good representation of the classic recording curve - after you have got your song to fit in that curve it should be ready for commercial release, then comes the problem of RADIO -

Everyone should do themselves a favor and go here immediately to check out this software. It does exactly as advertised. It made me cry to finally hear my music the way I hear it in my head. Inexpensive AND incredibly easy to use. A dream come true.

From Sound on Sound
One click mastering…
“The first stage smooths the average response to minimise masking effects (so that each instrument gets the best chance of being heard) and the second deals with any dominant peaks, to reduce harshness. You can also apply these stages individually, if you prefer, using the Average and Peak buttons situated on either side of the main IntuitQ button. The end result will be identical.”
Quote (Nils K @ Jan. 22 2007,03:20)
MUSIC - anybody can make it - VERY FEW SELL IT -


- How can anybody get it over their hearts to SELL music?!? ???

regards, Nils
Well yeah, that corporate, conformist ethic does get a shunning from my shoulder.

Yet, the medium that music gets generally played on (i.e., "air) does present its limitations, and I guess you have to get with that to a point if you want airplay, I suppose. It sounds sensible, anyway.

Nonetheless, I have no care for the mass market and its implications. I mostly avoid listening to the radio. When (if) I get to the point of massive airplay, I'll get with a mastering engineer...