Equalizers are the most important audio tools right after faders and pan knobs.
This episode is here to help you understand how they really work and how to get the most out of your EQ plugins or hardware.
You'll discover when to use the different filter types, how to use surgical EQ moves to solve problems or how to polish your recordings using broad, colorful strokes.
Understanding EQs is a crucial skill you need to have, whether you're recording, mixing or mastering. They can even serve as an analyzing and practice tool to help you develop your hearing and your general audio production skills.
How? Listen now and find out!
This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.
TSRB Podcast 067 - EQ Deep Dive - Learn To Use Equalizers With Confidence
[00:00:00] Benedikt: [00:00:00] You could always like cut things you don't like, but I just enjoy boosting and adding stuff. And like, I boost my way out of every part
Malcom: [00:00:10] pictured like super Mario jumping. Yeah.
Benedikt: [00:00:16] This is the self recording band podcast. The show where we help you make exciting records on your own, wherever you are, DIY stuff.
Hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host then at a time. And I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm. Oh, and flood. How are you? Markham? I'm great,
Malcom: [00:00:37] man. I am doing very well. How are
Benedikt: [00:00:39] you? I'm doing great as well. Thank you so much. It's not Monday. We just had that whole conversation because it's the second attempt to record this because you messed up the first one, um, today.
Like, yeah. It's not Monday, not our usual podcast recording time. So things are a little different. But I'm feeling much better today than I felt on Monday. So that's why we [00:01:00] rescheduled. How was your week
Malcom: [00:01:01] so far? It's been good. I had some exciting news that we talked about before this, so not quite ready to put into public domain yet.
Um, so I'll, I'll reframe for now, but once something cool happens from that opportunity, I'll be sure to share it with the community and, uh, yeah. Posted button on Facebook and brag. Yes,
Benedikt: [00:01:21] absolutely do that. Like some exciting news and I can't wait for you to share it. Um, before we dive into today's episode, I want to let you know, uh, listeners that I have a free PDF guide for you.
It's called the ultimate 10 step guide to successful DIY recording. It's a, like a little mini ebook sort of thing. It's a PDF guide you can download completely for free. It walks you through the steps from all the way from, um, demoing, writing, arranging pre-production through recording, mixing mastering the whole process.
Gives you, the steps tells you what you can and should do or should or can do yourselves and what you might consider, [00:02:00] um, where you might consider outsourcing and like the gear you need and all that. And you can find that if you go to the self recording band.com/ten step guide, so it's free, just download it.
And when you do that, you're gonna join my email list, which is, and I never mentioned that pretty valuable in and of itself because I email out cool things there and I don't spam you. I don't send anything, um, annoying, at least I hope so, but I'm trying to, up to send only like valuable. Advice blog articles.
Um, some stuff that I only do for my email list, people exclusively. So it's really, I think you you'd like, uh, being on that list. So, and if not, you can unsubscribe any time, but just download that, join the email list, join the community. Um, and I can't wait to see it
Malcom: [00:02:49] there. Definitely, definitely. I want to bring up one quick thing before we go on, because we talked about this briefly, but I feel like if I put it in the podcast, we'll actually do it.
We need to do, uh, [00:03:00] as another, like you did, uh, but like a video meetup with the Facebook community. Um, and I want to be a part of
Benedikt: [00:03:06] this one. Oh yeah. We shouldn't do that. That was so much fun. And people seem to really like that as well. And I'm sure if we would like. Announced that, that we would have like, uh, a lot of people attending it because it was, it was super cool.
We, people sent in songs and I loaded them into my door. And then we do it. We did live, um, mixed critiques, or like we talked about arrangement and writing engineering, whatever problems people were having. And it's, it was not only me, but the whole, like everyone in the call, like chimed in and we just exchanged ideas and suggestions for the mixes and songs.
And it was just a real fun hangout. And, uh, yeah, we should definitely do that again. Totally, definitely. Great. Got to post in the community. Um, so next thing, if you're not in the community and you don't want to miss things like that, you should go to the self recording back.com/community, or just search for it on Facebook, because that's [00:04:00] going to be the place where we announced meetings like that.
Definitely. So, yeah. Um, I dunno, like I am, it's not Monday. So typically we talk about the weekend and cool things we did on the weekend. Uh, I don't know. Uh, maybe we should just jump right into
Malcom: [00:04:20] yeah, let's just get into it. Yeah.
Benedikt: [00:04:23] So Q is our topic. So it's another one of these basic concepts episodes, if you will, because we did compression, we did gates.
We did say chaining. Um, we did like software setup and yeah. A bunch of those, those episodes and people actually liked them, which is cool because I was afraid that it's like boring topics or boring, basic things that people don't really want to learn about. But the opposite is true. They really liked it.
So I hope you're gonna enjoy this one too. This time. We're going to do an eco deep dive. We're going to talk about what, I mean, you probably know what an equalizer is, but we're going to explain. [00:05:00] Different ways to use it. So features it has, um, potential pitfalls and like issues you can run into. Um, when, while using EQs, we're going to demystify some things.
We're going to talk about some myths and like facts, or like we talk about whether they are facts or not. And, uh, we've gone to give you some practical examples along the way, I guess, as always. Exactly.
Malcom: [00:05:24] Yeah. We, I think we take for, we just make assumptions that, uh, all of these things are known by our listeners and it's because we've known some of these things for so long and just been using them for what feels like a lifetime.
So it was really easy for us to just be talking about something and assume it makes sense to the listener. So doing these, I think is like reminding us. Oh yeah. There's all these little details involved with each. Process. Um, and, and hopefully it kind of unlocks some of the functions of the plugins. We talk about all the time and, and, uh, helps you the listener understand more of what we, what we mean when we give [00:06:00] examples and other episodes as well.
Benedikt: [00:06:02] sure. Um, yeah, that's, that's the thing. You never know what really might be interesting to people because we are in a yeah. In a slightly different position than many, many, um, listeners, I assume. And I don't mean that we are, we don't mean that we know more necessarily, but it's like a mixers perspective or mastering engineer's perspective is different from recording engineers and that is different from that of a musician.
And some of your listeners might be all of that. Some of you might do just something, some of you are just starting out. Others are very advanced and it's, it's kinda hard for us to, to know really. And, um, so yeah, I think these basic concepts episodes make a lot of sense. And even if you are experienced.
You can still get something out of them because we both learn every time we do those. That's the interesting part. Like we do these quote unquote basic episodes, but every single time we do them, I learned something from Yuma com and it's so, yeah, yeah,
Malcom: [00:06:56] yeah. It's great. Uh, like I said before, we started recording this, [00:07:00] I've spent the morning researching linear Faizi queue and trying to remind myself of what it actually is in a technical sense.
I'm still confused, but I did learn something,
Benedikt: [00:07:12] but that's a good thing to know that sometimes it just, sometimes it's enough to know how to use something and uh, when to not use it or like, uh, yeah. And you don't necessarily need to know how it works under the hood. It's not necessary for a lot of things actually.
And even we would do it for a living every single day. We don't know every single piece of gear inside and out. We don't have to know that. Yeah. All we need to know is what it does too. The music when to use it, why we use it and all that matters is what comes out of the speakers at the end of the day.
Malcom: [00:07:49] definitely. I think I went maybe three years in this field without reading a user manual on anything. I wouldn't recommend that though. I wouldn't either. I wouldn't either. Now I, I always [00:08:00] check out the manual when I get something new and, uh, it's such a, like it accelerates the learning curve so much.
It's such a good thing to do.
Benedikt: [00:08:08] Totally. There are also hidden features in plugins that you never know until you read the manual. Like when I discovered they, a friend of mine, uh, I called his amazing engineer mixer producer from Germany. He posted a, in his Instagram stories. I think he posted that there's a shortcut, like a hockey where you can, I don't, I don't even remember what it was, but, uh, or how you do it, but you just push some button on your keyboard and then you click on the controls of any, um, sound toys, plugin.
And then the actual values become visible, which I usually didn't have those plugins. And I didn't know that I I've never heard of that. And I was always wondering like, what is this filter actually set to? I, I only, I can only guess, you know, but you can actually make it visible by clicking a button. And they had, I re read the manual.
I would have known yes. [00:09:00] So EEQ well, where did we start this first off?
Malcom: [00:09:06] Yeah, everybody probably does know what a NICU is, but we should briefly explain what a NICU is, I guess. Um, and an IQ in layman terms is just a way of manipulating the frequency of some source audio. Um, so you can select certain frequency ranges and manipulate them to be more or less loud.
Essentially. We can change the gain of those frequencies. Um, and. Of course in practical uses, that's normally say making a snare drum brighter, or adding more bass to a kick drum, you know, or removing some boxy frequency in a guitar, you know, it could be anything, but we are using a cue to change the tonal character of what we're
Benedikt: [00:09:55] hearing.
Yes. All probably used one, by the way, [00:10:00] because the basic, the most basic example of, of a DQ would be what you have in your car, for example, or on your home stereo or whatever. There might be some, the knobs are somewhere in the menu that might, you can probably adjust base mid and treble or just base in treble or something like that.
That's a very basic IQ and you all know what that does. So that's exactly
Malcom: [00:10:21] probably the most common processing. You're you, you're going to find your, even your phone hat set for like what you listen to music on Spotify, Scott, the little equalizer system built into it. I think, um, it's, it's all over the place.
Also one of the most important and powerful tools available to us as engineers and mixers and mastering engineers, just even musicians, you know, you got an amp, your IQ in it all the time. Right. You're messing with that of the dials out in front of your app
Benedikt: [00:10:49] constantly, unless you have a Marshall, it just says mid base treble, but it doesn't do anything.
Malcom: [00:10:57] you just set it to six, six, six. That's the magic spot.
[00:11:00] Benedikt: [00:11:02] So yeah. You'll yeah, exactly. You have an app. Do you have any queue? So, yeah. Um, I also think that, um, You might think that the same as with compressors and anything else is mostly a mixing tool, but it's not because as, as Malcolm said, if you have it on your amp and you probably also maybe also have a filter on your interface input, which is it's some sort of cue, like every single band and we get into with that is actually is a filter in a way.
And you have probably a low cut or a high pass filters it's called sometimes on your interface. Um, maybe you have some, I dunno, guitar pedals. Maybe you have even having a hardware queue or a channel on your mixing desk that you can use. And you're wondering whether you should use it and how you should use it.
And so, and I'm always like a lot of people recommend to not process just stuff on the way in, but we've talked about that on the podcast a couple of times that we think if you like your tone and if you [00:12:00] like what you're doing to it, and if you like the processing, you're applying. Why not just record it.
Why not just be bold? You can there's risk to it, of course, but you can definitely, um, EEQ stuff on the way in. You can definitely make something brighter if you absolutely think it needs to be brighter, or you can definitely remove some rumble or boxiness or whatever. So, um, you can absolutely be a recording tool, especially these days where you can record through plugins or through a digital desk.
You don't need to have like wrecks of, of expensive outdoor gear anymore. So, um, yeah, people will use it anyways. So with, to explain you how to do it properly or what to watch out for it, at least. Yeah. One
Malcom: [00:12:41] more example of EKU that you may have not even known you were already using is the tone knob on plenty of pedals, like Ivan as a tube screamer or something, it's just like a gain volume.
And then there was a tone of, and that's just gonna make things darker or brighter, and that is EEQ as well in use. Um, so you've, you've been [00:13:00] definitely using it if you're a guitarist everyday.
Benedikt: [00:13:03] True. True. Absolutely. Yeah. So yeah, let's just jump in, like, let's start, I mentioned the word bands. So what that is is you just described, you described it in the beginning, Malcolm, you basically, with any ACU you pick a frequency or you have a set frequency that you can't choose.
Um, either way you have a frequency and you can then boost or cut around that frequency. So the first parameter is the frequency itself. The second is the, the amount of gain you add or reduce. And the third would be like, how many of the frequencies next to it, you're going to affect as well. Like in layman's terms, like I'm trying to make this really simple out.
Um, so th the bandwidth, if you will, so you have a central frequency where the most game change is going to be applied and then next to it, lower and higher in the frequency spectrum, you're going to affect some other frequencies too. And [00:14:00] on some excuse, you have the control to, um, you, you can control how broad this, this tweak will be like, how many frequencies are going to be affected by this.
This is going to be very narrow and only affect the central frequency and a little bit next to it. Or is it going to affect all of the MITs or all of the highs or all of the base? So these are the three main controls, and then. Before you get to use those. And that's where we should start. I guess you should, you can pick which type of filter you want to apply in the first place.
If you can pick that they are accused that give you full flexibility. And there are others that are just set to some sort of some type of filter. And we should start with the different filter types. There are, because that will be necessary for us to explain how to use them properly and what the controls actually do.
Malcom: [00:14:48] Definitely. I highly encourage you to pull up any Q a. And look into these and try and spot what we're talking about. Um, if you can do it well where you're listening to this [00:15:00] podcast. Perfect. Um, but let's start with, I think the most common in the digital realm is the bell. So I want to start there. Um, so a bell curve is, uh, it looks like a bell.
This is gonna be the hardest thing to explain ever. I'm realizing as we do this, but, um, do you choose your frequency? Let's just say one K. And then if you were to boost the gain, you'd see this kind of bell-shaped curve appear on your IQ curve. Um, that is boosting at that point, but the, you can manipulate that bell to be narrower or wider, right?
So the, if you make a wider, the bell is going to get broader and, and then start, uh, Effecting more frequencies where if you made it narrower, it's going to turn more into a spike. Eventually if you go really narrow. Um, and if you're watching the video version of this, if we actually posted online, you'll see my hands doing it.
[00:16:00] Uh, yeah. So, but that is a bell essentially. Um, so it's kind of used for selecting individual ranges, um, as broad or as narrow as you'd like.
Benedikt: [00:16:08] Yeah, totally. And you were, you're talking about EQs where we can actually see that. So the same is true. If you use, like, for example, the popular, one of the popular Pultec emulations or any, or an SSL channel strip or something like that, like where you don't have the graphic like that, the visualization of the Q curve.
Um, it's the same thing, except for the high and low, probably depending on the plugin and except for the filters, but typically the mid range bands, um, are bell filters. So you choose the frequency and then you boost or cut and it's ha it's going to have to spell. Um, shape, and then you might have a third control for the width, as you said.
Now you said one K, I just want to clarify what you mean. What Malcolm means here is a, a thousand Hertz or one kilohertz. So the frequency spectrum that we can hear as humans. And I'm just saying that, because again, it's, we assume that, you know, [00:17:00] all this stuff, but maybe you don't. So humans can hear from around like 20 Hertz to 20 kilohertz and the older we get the lower, these upper frequency becomes.
So most of us, uh, probably don't hear to up to 20 kilohertz anymore, but, um, that's roughly the range and that's also what you see on most frequency analyzers. And one killer Hertz is just one frequency. Uh, that is a mid-range frequency. And that you just chose as an example, if you're not familiar with all of this, you should pull up something like the stocky cue in your doll or the fat filter here, or any like digitally queue with a visualization and visual representation of what's happening and just learn.
What, like learn about frequencies, learn where to like learn some typical numbers. Like, just so you know what we're talking about. So if you say one K you know where that is, like what that actually means. And if you say like a hundred Hertz is like base, if you say 12 kilohertz, Hertz, we mean high end, [00:18:00] you know?
So yeah. You might hear a bunch of those numbers in this episode. And if you don't know what that is, just pull up an IQ like that and look it up.
Malcom: [00:18:10] Yeah. Now why, why is that useful to be able to select one? Um, you just got to imagine you're listening to something and. Maybe there's like a really harsh sibilance on all of the vocals.
So you go find that frequency range with your bell and then you duck it out just there. You know, you don't want to change everything about the high end. You just want to change that one part where the siblings is jumping out kind of thing. Um, and that's just vocals as an example, but there could be all sorts of stuff.
Uh, a common one could be the snare drum has like a, like a note that is just standing up way too much or something. So you go find that spot in the frequency range, use a bell, cut it out. Um, and hopefully it
Benedikt: [00:18:50] problem solved. Absolutely. And same goes for boosting. Like if you want the snare drum to have more body sound fuller fatter, you can.
Look for [00:19:00] like, you can search the, the frequency that gives you the most, like yeah, that sounds the most powerful, uh, and gives you the most buddy it's it's usually around roughly 200 Hertz can be below, can be a little above that. And you, you pick that frequency and you boost a couple of DBS and all of a sudden your snare drum will sound beefier.
And so, yeah, totally. So, yeah, that's the, the first and probably the most complex sort of filter already. Everything else is like usually, um, it's going to be a little simpler. Um, but the bells give you maximum flexibility. Then there is a very, while we're, while we're talking about the bail, there is a very narrow version of it.
It's just a bell, but, um, when you hear people talk about notching out frequencies or a notch filter, it's a very, very, very narrow bell. That just lets you get rid of, let's say that we are snared run resonance or a siblings and the vocal or anything like that, or resonances in guitars. Like the whistling frequencies you get from, from guitar [00:20:00] cabs a lot, you just find them, make the cue like the bandwidth very, very narrow and like cut it out.
And hopefully you're not going to affect the rest of the signal. You'll just clean it up and get rid of those nasty resonances. So if you hear someone talk about a notch filter, that's that it's a very narrow bell. Um, that's used to get rid of annoying stuff. Exactly.
Malcom: [00:20:21] Exactly. So let's talk about shelfs, I guess.
Yes. I'm pretty easy to imagine what a shelf is because you choose the frequency with the shelf and that's where it begins essentially or kind of where it begins, I would say. Um, but this do a low shelf as an example, and say, you said at 200 Hertz, um, And, and so that's going to be on the base side of things and you boost that it boosts at that frequency and then everything below it also gets boosted.
So it's like, you're just taking that whole chunk of the frequency spectrum and moving it up or down. Um, rather than just a [00:21:00] specific frequency range, it's like, it's a broader stroke. Um, that said it does have a curve on the other side of it, like where you set the frequency it'll curve back down. Um, and you can mess with that.
So how steep the shelf is, um, that's kind of hard to picture again, really encourage you to play around with that visually in a, some kind of IQ that lets you see the, the, the shelf and notch curve.
Benedikt: [00:21:24] Yes. Yeah. Basically every stock IQ lets you do that. If you want to buy something or if you maybe already have it, we both, I think highly recommend the fab filter pro Q3 because that does it all.
Like you have all the types in there. You can do all sorts of experimenting. It has the analyzer. So it's really. It's like the huge to end all the cube plugins, basically. Like you don't need another ACU if you have that one, if you're honest. So, um, it's awesome. Yeah. Yeah. It's like, you'd basically explained it already.
What a shelf is the thing, the thing in your car that we've mentioned is probably a shelf. Typically it's like the low shelf, like the base [00:22:00] knob and your car is typically like a shelf at maybe a hundred or so a hundred Hertz, um, somewhere around there probably. And then you have a high shelf as well, which is going to be probably like eight K 10 K, something like that.
I, I, I would assume. Um,
Malcom: [00:22:18] and there's probably a mid, which would be a bell that takes up the space in between those two shelves. So essentially there's trying to give you three knobs that cover the entire frequency range.
Benedikt: [00:22:28] And the bell probably has either a fixed bandwidth or it has like a bandwidth that changes with the amount of gain you add or reduce that could also be because some are set to that.
The more you boost or cut the narrower, it gets. So, if you do a subtle mid boost, it's very broad between the two shelters has shelves. And if you boost a lot, it's going to focus more on the actual central frequency. I don't know about our is enough to, to tell you whether that is one of those or not, but, um, it's likely a fixed bandwidth, I guess, and to show, [00:23:00] right?
Exactly. So, yeah, that's the shelf, a certain frequency and everything above it. Then a tilt IQ, um, uh, tilty Q is the, uh, various very simple, basic, um, filter that you can make the whole signal brighter or darker. And it simultaneously turns up the highs and turns down the lows or vice versa. So if you imagine a flat frequency response as a horizontal line, if you use a tilt cue, you just tilt that line to one of the two directions.
And that's what happens with your signal. It's going to get darker or brighter, but the. Relation like the harmonic content in relation to the, um, the harmonics in relation to the, the, uh, root notes and stuff like that. Like the fundamentals stays somewhat like stays the same. You're not going to change the harmonic content as much with the tilt filter.
That's the beauty of it. So if you don't want to mess with that too much, if you don't want [00:24:00] to change the characteristic of the sound, just want to make it brighter or darker. A tilt filter is the most transparent way to do that.
Malcom: [00:24:07] Yeah, it is really cool. I think they're vastly underused. Yeah. Um, have you ever had the opportunity to use a hardware one?
Benedikt: [00:24:15] Um, no, I actually, I, I, no, I actually didn't don't but
Malcom: [00:24:21] they're not that common. Um, you don't really see many of them, but, uh, there's a company called buzz audio that, that made one and I got to use that and it's awesome. It's just like plug something into it. I wish it was a little bit brighter. You can just turn it and you're
Benedikt: [00:24:37] done.
I haven't, I didn't use it, but I know that tone Lux may an awesome one. Um, I know a couple of people who swear by the tone Lux module modules and their tilt filter. I think there's actually even a plug-in version of that, but it's good to, yeah. And then, uh, similar to a tilt. What I have used are, uh, we're not going to get into this.
It's more complex, but there are, baxandall [00:25:00] accused like backs filters. It's a certain type of curve. It's like a shelf with a very flat, um, um, yeah. Curve. Uh, and if you use a Baxi cue, if you have two executes, like one for the lows and one for the highest, and you turn one down and the other one up, you basically get up, tilt, filter in a way.
So that, that's what I have used and it's awesome as well. So very clean, very transparent. Um, yeah, so definitely. That's tilt. All right.
Malcom: [00:25:27] Yeah. Then we've got our, our filters, um, our, our high pass filter and our low pass filter. I think we can kind of talk about them at the same time. Yeah. So a low pass filter does exactly that it lets low information past it.
So if you engage that, um, it's going to start cutting off high-end now unlike shelves and bells, um, which just add or reduce gain of the frequency you set it at. These are actually aiming to filter those frequencies directly [00:26:00] out. Um, and depending on how steep you make the filter, it will cut more or less.
And, uh, this can be really useful. So, uh, the other one, the high pass filter, you could use that all the time. I'm using one right now on my voice, because there's not that much. Based information needed to make a podcast. So I don't want all this extra rumble and stuff like that. So I've just engaged a high pass filter that is cutting out, uh, everything under 70 Hertz, essentially.
It's uh, I looked it up before we did this actually, cause I was curious, it's a 12 DB proactive, uh, high pass filter. So it's pretty gentle in reality. Um, and, but it is cutting out some unnecessary sub information that wouldn't help you understand what I'm saying with my voice. Um, so these filters can just remove unnecessary information.
Benedikt: [00:26:55] Yeah, exactly. And it's interesting what you just sat there. It's a good piece of [00:27:00] information as well. The 12th to be proactive. Um, an octave, when we talk about frequencies is every time you double a frequency, um, you, you are an octave above and if you divide it by two, you're an octave below. So, um, If you say, if you have a filter that does 12 DB per octave, like how steep it is, that means if you say you have footwear at a hundred Hertz with like 12 to be proactive, that means at 50 Hertz, you're going to be 12 to be quieter than at a hundred Hertz.
Right. That's what it does. And if it's like, you can go up too, like with digitally queue, you can go up to, I don't know, 70 something or 90 or whatever, DBS proactive. So it's almost like a, I think fat filter even has this brick wall filter thing where it just looks like, like it
Malcom: [00:27:48] goes back really steep.
Benedikt: [00:27:49] And it's just gone. Yeah. So the, but the, the more Chantal is the more, the less you're gonna, um, the less you're going to damage the signal because the [00:28:00] steeper it is you're gonna get a resonance around the frequency where the filter sets in. And you're going to get more distortion face problems. So the less you can get away with the better, sometimes you need to go steeper, but, um, yeah, very gentle filter love to do and not cause any damage.
Malcom: [00:28:17] And it's worth knowing though that the, the gentler ones, uh, again, if we're picturing like the curve of these shelves and bells and filters, the, a softer one extends further. So, uh, if you have that a hundred Hertz again with a soft one, you're probably effecting a little bit past that. Um, but not very much, whereas deeper one kind of just happens more dramatically at your cutoff.
Benedikt: [00:28:44] Yes. A very good example is the one on this SM seven B that I'm talking into right now, there's a filter switch on the back. It's a very gentle filter and it goes up to almost like 400 Hertz or so, because it's like very, um, Chantal and you can definitely hear that it makes everything [00:29:00] sound, it gets rid of the rumble, but it also makes everything sound a little thinner.
So, right. You gotta be aware of that. Yeah. That might
Malcom: [00:29:06] be too far. Yeah.
Benedikt: [00:29:07] Sure. So, yeah. Um, cool filters. Um, you get rid of unnecessary top end and, um, low end. That's basically what it does and you can adjust how steep you want it to be. You can also get creative with it. Sometimes I like to add a very, uh, like a low cut or high pass, whatever you want to call it.
Like I get rid of the lows, the rumble, but then I'll add a resonance on purpose to get a little, get a little extra low end at the same time. So with Toms, for example, this can be cool. You can filter out everything below, I don't know, 60 or so that you don't really need like the sub lows, but you can add a little.
Peek at the F at the frequency that you chose for the filter, and that will make the Tom sound fuller, but you actually have less low wind energy and more headroom. So yeah, it's more focused. We're focused also.
Malcom: [00:29:57] Yeah. You've, you've gotten rid of all the [00:30:00] relevant stuff. And you're now focusing on like the fundamental or of that drum, for example, something like that.
You can really just kind of draw attention to a certain frequency. That sounds good on that instrument. Yes, totally big fan of that. Also creatively, you probably have heard filters all the time, especially in modern, like EDM music and stuff. Like I know it sounds like things go underground for a filter and it starts creeping back in that is all done with filters.
Um, they're really prevalent in that type of music, the radio effect that comes in on a songs breakdown or whatever, that's just carving out with filters, probably taking away all the lows and highs and making this little narrow mid-range thing.
Benedikt: [00:30:36] Totally like also in a phone filters are used because like phone speakers cannot reproduce like lows and highs and to reduce also to reduce like bandwidth and, um, bandwidth needed to transmit like audio from one end to another.
They they're using filters that I think 303 kilohertz or something like that. So when you talk to the phone, uh, over the phone to someone, your voices are getting [00:31:00] filtered, um, yeah. Filters are being used for all sorts of things. So, um, then when we talk about filters or like all of those are filters by the way, but when we talk about low cut and high cut filters or high pass and low pass filters, we have to talk about phase because those, whenever you add one of those, unless it's a linear face filter and we get into those now, um, you're going to change the phase and the relationship to other, um, yeah.
Signals or sources of channels that might. Um, belong to whatever you're changing. So for example, with the drum kit, if you are putting a high pass filter on a snare drum, because there is some rumble, uh, it might be that you're like, what could happen is that your snare drum that was perfectly in phase with the overheads before is now out of phase with the overheads after you've used that filter because every cue move is changing the face.
That's actually what que does. And we don't need to get too technical here and explain that, but actually you're [00:32:00] changing the phase and that's, what's causing the difference in sound. So it's just part of it. And, um, a filter is a very local or Haggard filter is a very drastic move in that regard. And you could totally flip something out of face just by using it.
Malcom: [00:32:14] Yeah. We were talking about this before we started that episode. I think it's, it's always surprising how much it can change something. So, uh, Always check your face when you make some EEQ curves. It's, it's very good practice. Just to constantly be checking that you haven't destroyed your face relationship.
Um, that's only really an issue on a multi-source yes. Uh, situation. So like a drum kit, you know, uh, if it's a single, it's not a multi-source setup and you've got, you know, a single guitar that isn't recorded with anything that's not bleeding into any other instruments, it doesn't matter what you do to it.
Cause that phase relationship isn't going to correspond to anything else. Um, so it's yeah, you don't always have to be thinking about it, but you should be
Benedikt: [00:32:57] aware of it. And there [00:33:00] is probably, or hopefully on your Hugh plugin, there is a polarity switch, like a button that you can hit after applying a filter or any human and just check whether or not it's um, uh, the, the facial relationship has changed or the sound has changed by that.
So with the fat filter cue that we mentioned, it's a little hidden in that. It took me a while to find that actually it's under the, um, Lower right corner. I think there, uh, it's hidden there and there's a button where you can just switch the polarity on the queue and check whether or not you've changed it or cost damage.
If you are using an analog simulation or some IQ without that face button, you might want to insert another plugin, the simple game plugin with the face button or something after the cue, or just use the, the channel face button, if you have one, but just make sure that after address to get queue, move you just check the phase.
Malcom: [00:33:53] Yep. Very good practice. Um, yeah, that's my only complaint with fab filter pro queue is how hard it is to get to that [00:34:00] phase button.
Benedikt: [00:34:02] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I agree. And I, I really use it for that reason. Actually. I mostly use another method of like flipping the
Malcom: [00:34:11] Right. Um, now. Should we talk about linear phase right now, then?
Um, yes. While we're on this topic. All right. So yeah, that is a, what is that called? There's just, just like a pro Q it's called low latency mode, but it's, uh, it's not low latency mode. What does that phase called?
Benedikt: [00:34:30] It's a, there's a, um, there's three modes or three things. Um, or like two basic things. Like the one is dynamic phase and the other is linear phase dynamic phases.
The phase changes with the amount of processing you apply. The filter is the more you cut or boost that just changes that's dynamic phase or that's also, or fat filter in some plugins. They call it dynamic phase. I think with the multibrand plugins, they call it dynamic phase. And with, uh, uh, the pro Q they call it [00:35:00] natural phase, I think.
And what that does is it's just the natural phase changes that happen when you accuse something and it's the closest to what most hardware accused do as well. Right. Um, and then there is the low latency mode, which is the default setting, I think, unless you've changed that. And the low latency mode doesn't cause latency and uses less CPU, but gives you more face distortion, more, um, artifacts.
And, uh, you could potentially damage your signal more using that the differences are very subtle, but if you're after the most natural musical sounding, um, thing, and what's closest to hardware, you, you have to choose the natural phase mode. If you want low latency and the least amount of processing power required, you need to choose the zero latency or a low-latency, whatever it's called.
And if you want linear phase, do you have to choose the linear phase mode and that. Comes with three different modes in and of itself. I think you have like, [00:36:00] um, what is it called?
Malcom: [00:36:02] Actually, they call it like low, medium, and high and extra high quality. Um, and not all in your phases have those different quality buttons.
Um, but linear phase does the phase, my understanding of how linear Facebook's anyways is that it does the change, um, like it normally would, but then it tries to time compensate and move it back into. So that phase change hasn't the phase relationship hasn't changed. There's it removes that delay and pushes it back in time to keep that phase relationship.
So in theory, you now are not messing with the phase as you make acute changes, but this has a cost called pre ringing, um, which essentially causes the transient to start being audible right before it should be. Um, and it, yeah, it's called pre ringing. Depending on what you're doing. It's not very noticeable, but it definitely can be noticeable.
Um, yeah, [00:37:00] it's, it's kind of hard to explain because linear phase at first glance just sounds like, oh, it fixes the problem. It must be better. But in most cases it's probably not. Um, it's, it's very CPU intensive as well. Um, so computers don't really like it and it can cause a lot of latency and stuff like that, but in some cases it sounds better.
Um, good case could be filtering perhaps, you know, we're filtering, it seems to affect the phase very much. That might be a situation to use that. Um, mastering guys tend to lean towards it, but not always. It's, it's kind of like, you just got to try it and see what sounds
Benedikt: [00:37:40] better. Yeah. Yeah, I agree. And I like the face shift that happens with standard, um, settings or standard accuse is just part of the sound and usually not bad.
So you only use, um, the linear phase typically to solve a problem, or if you want to be as transparent as you can be. Um, that, [00:38:00] so I personally only use it whenever I cue two things that belong together and the IQ, one of them. So for example, if I have a narrow top bottom, and I want the phase relationship to stay exactly what it is and I, but I need to filter something out on one of them, I'm going to try a linear face queue and see if that works.
The thing is the steeper, the filter is, or the narrow or the bell filter is like the steeper, the low cut or high cut and the narrow or the bell. Or the steeper, the shelf, whatever, the more audible, the more obvious this pre ringing becomes. So with very gentle filters, and if you don't do too much boosting or cutting, it's not going to be a problem, but the steeper it gets and the more you cut or boosts, the more it becomes audible.
So if you want to have a very, very steep, low cut filter, honestly, I'd run. For example, you might get audible pre ringing and it's going to be red problem. The easiest way to learn what the prereading sounds like is just grab I think, um, yeah, I would just choose a bass drum, like a bass drum sample, or [00:39:00] a kick drum track that you have and put a low cut filter on it, make it as steep as possible and choose the highest possible setting on the linear phase.
Um, setting. If you have
Malcom: [00:39:10] the lowest setting, the, the, the pre wringing gets better with the higher quality ones. Cause the CPU starts making that transient more
Benedikt: [00:39:17] accurate. I thought that the fed filter that the maximum would be the what's the worst. I think it was the most
Malcom: [00:39:25] closer. I thought
Benedikt: [00:39:26] maybe I'm wrong on that?
Oh, I might be okay. But again, just choose the linear phase mode. You will be, you will hear it and make the filter as steep as possible on a low on something that has a lot of low frequency content, because then it's the most obvious. And you're going to hear, uh, it's pretty obvious. You're going to hear like, uh, before the actual bass drum comes, like, as if like you almost as if you had reversed the kick drum or something, you hear the sustain before the transplant.
And then again, it's like, it's, it's really weird. And, um, yeah, that, that's the simplest way to, to find that out and you can train your gears to become more [00:40:00] sensitive to that whenever that happens. And it can really mess with your timing. That's the, the. Yeah. That's the part that we need to watch out for, like, if you do that on, on drums for, especially, it might be sub subtle, but it can change the way the song feels.
It can make a song feel rushed a little bit, because everything is a little early, early now and like, yeah. Yeah. So
Malcom: [00:40:20] yeah, we perceive timing entirely off transient information. So if you're adding another transient right before the important transient, the whole groove is screwed.
Benedikt: [00:40:31] Agreed. Yeah. So that's in your face.
Yeah. Um, but sometimes it's the, the thing to use and the way to go. But I would say in most cases, not, especially if you're recording and talking mostly to recording people here, uh, you're not going to find many cases where you need a linear Facey queue. It's mostly mixing and mastering
Malcom: [00:40:49] thing. Yeah. The only reason we're really mentioned it is because you might see the button on Rikyu and wonder what, what is there for, um, or there's even some EQs that are only linear [00:41:00] phase.
And now you could be aware of what you're opening. Yeah.
Benedikt: [00:41:04] Yeah, totally. Okay. So linear phase, um, I think that's all we need to say about that. Yeah. Um, one thing you need to do, absolutely do. No matter the filter you're using or no matter the, the ACU move you're making, you need to make sure that if you're comparing whether you made something better or not, that you do it at equal Waleed, because if you boost the low end on the kick drum, it's probably going to sound better.
And if you boost, um, or if you cut out the mid range and a guitar, it might sound thinner and you never really know if you've made it. If you actually made it better. And until you match the perceived volume. And then compare and some accuse have that built into the plugins with the knob where you can just adjust for whatever gain changes you made, or you just have to use another plugin after that, a simple game plugging again and adjusted there.
Yeah, that's basically all I have to say about that. Just [00:42:00] if you made it louder with IQ, turn it down a little, if you made it quiet or turn it up a little and then compare it.
Malcom: [00:42:06] Yep. Now worth mentioning, there are some plugins that offer that as a feature it's called auto gain, I think. Um, and that is meant to match it automatically, but be aware that it doesn't always work.
Um, it seems to vary from different plugins. Some do it better than others. And still, like, I think the, the faculty one's pretty good usually, but sometimes like, depending on what you've done, it doesn't seem to really line up to me. Um, so. It just be ready to also manually grab that, uh, input her up, but which we should mention, there is an input and output control on your IQ that can help you set that gain
Benedikt: [00:42:46] match.
Totally. And that's the same for any plugin, basically, whenever you want to compare anything, you did try to do it at equal volume. It gets tricky with like recording, because if you have a hardware or a pedal or an amp or whatever, you can't do that. [00:43:00] So not as easily. Yeah. That's the tricky part about like guitar tones, for example, you might.
Yeah, we all think it's just better when we like crank the mid range and a guitar because it just gets louder, for example. So yeah, it's not hard to do there, but if you're using plugins, it's pretty easy to do and you should, whenever you can, you should do that because you also, for those cases where you can't do it, you're going to be more careful because you know those about those effects.
And, uh, if you just train yourself to do that and to listen for that, you, you're not as likely to cool yourself in other situations, I think. Yeah, exactly.
Malcom: [00:43:40] It's definitely really worth paying attention
Benedikt: [00:43:41] to that. Good. Then we talked about those resonances in notching out nasty stuff. How do you go about that?
Malcom: [00:43:48] Yeah. So this is, uh, most of this conversation has been technical. Like these are what these things do, but actually talking about how to use any cue. Um, and a really common [00:44:00] technique is just setting a bell curve, for example. And then you're just going to boost it up louder than you would think probably, and then sweep left and right until you find the offending frequency.
Now I really encourage training your ear for this. Um, so you'll start kind of getting familiar with what number corresponds with what sound and hopefully over time, you're just going to be able to hear something and be like, oh, there's too much, 500 in that sneer or something like that. And then you just go there, boosted up.
Yep. I was right. That's exactly what I was hearing. And then you now, okay. We got to talk about the cutting and boosting thing at the same time. Um, so yeah, normally you're sweeping and you're finding things and there is a myth. I think we both agree that it's a myth that you should always cut and never boost.
Um, and in reality, the exact same damn thing. Um, but there's a reason people recommend that and it's because you're not adding gain and tricking your ear with, [00:45:00] by when you cut. Right. Um, and so I actually normally do follow that advice. I normally try and cut first. Um, and just find something I don't like, and then cut it now.
Why is that even a conversation? It's because if you listen to something and you think it sounds too basic, so you add top end, now it's going to sound more balanced hopefully, but if you had just removed low end, it might sound brighter. It does the same thing, right? Um, to an extent. Yeah. So there, the sweeping thing generally works best by boosting finding the frequency that you want to get rid of and then removing it.
But technically you could do the opposite and it would be just fine. Again, volume matching is important. Both ways here, when you're cutting, you're making something quiet or when you're boosting, you're making it louder. So either way you have to volume match and then bypass to make sure you
Benedikt: [00:45:54] like what you've done.
But I would, um, I would say that when you notch out of a [00:46:00] resonance frequency, There's not really a way to do that with staying because it's like super narrow. So you need to like cut it out and you need to boost first to find it and then just cut it out. Usually I'm like, I am sort of the opposite of what you just described.
I know that it, you could always like cut things you don't like, but I just enjoy boosting and adding stuff. And like, I boost my way out of every problem. Like I just, that's just how I, how I mixed. I just liked that. I just
Malcom: [00:46:33] pictured like super Mario jumping on top of like, yeah.
Benedikt: [00:46:36] Like, I don't know. I don't know.
It's just, of course there are things like, what I hear is a boxy frequency. I just want to get rid of, I just cut it out, but usually it feels it's more fun to, for me to add low end or to add top end or add mid range, then doing the opposite, but it's technique the exact same thing. And, and the, the, my approach is riskier.
It's just more fun. I just like. [00:47:00] I just in my head adding to whatever, is there, uh, it's just more fun than removing anything that is there. And I don't know, it's just a, it's a, it's a totally a mindset thing, but,
Malcom: [00:47:10] well, I would actually agree with you in that when I look at my curves in the end, there's more being boosted than there is being cut.
But my first step is generally a cut.
Benedikt: [00:47:19] Same. I use two different accuse for that too. Most of the time, I, I tend to use a very clean surgical one, like the fat filter to get rid of everything I don't like. And then I use more broad strokes and like colorful tools to boost whatever I want to boost. So I, most of the time use two instances for those things as well, so, right.
Malcom: [00:47:37] And there's a good reason for that technique, which, I mean, we can just jump into it. We're kind of jumping all over the place. Um, but, uh, you, you wrote on our outline here, Benny, that all digital digital EQs are the same, unless they emulate distortion slash analog circuits. And that is like the perfect reason to do what you do.
[00:48:00] So you use this digitally cue, which again, they all are the same thing. Um, and you do your cut and then you pull up, uh, analog modeled IQ to do your boosts. Now those might respond differently as they're boosted, right? Cause they should be replicating signal, hitting certain things harder, um, which would actually probably add some harmonic distortion and change how it sounds.
So in theory, by boosting with that tool, it could sound better than boosting with a clean
Benedikt: [00:48:30] tool. Yeah. Yeah. It's important to know though that not all accused that looked like an analog IQ are actually emulations of analog accused with all the goodness that comes from that. Some of them only simulate the curves and can easily be matched with any digitally cue.
And even those who emulate the analog ones, some of those are so subtle and so clean because there are really clean mastering accused, for example, that. Really have any color and they are almost exactly do the same [00:49:00] as well as any fab filter or anything else. So always be careful when you see like marketing copy or whenever someone recommends a fancy cute plug-ins to you.
Um, it's rarely that different, like what's different about it is, and I'm not saying you shouldn't buy it because those can be awesome for another reason, because what's different about it Mo more than anything is that the curves are shaped in a certain way. And you could in theory, do all of that with a faculty queue, but it's just more complicated to do that.
And some of those accused just have very musical, certain frequency curves that are just there. And you just turn a knob and sounds that way, and you would have to use like two or three bands of filter and just figure it out. Uh, which you would probably never do. So it all can be matched and it's the same, except for the distortion.
But semi cues just have very musical sounding curves that just work, but don't think that they sound better in general for whatever magical reason. It's not the case. The only thing that [00:50:00] sounds different is the distortion. If they emulate it and the way the curves are shaped. Right. But the algorithm below it, the actually cuing is exactly the same with every digitally cue.
There's one code, basically. That's an, every single acute plugin. So yeah. Um,
Malcom: [00:50:15] worth mentioning that, that distortion we're talking about, isn't always what you want either, right? You, that could be totally undesirable. Um, if it's already been saturated nicely on the way in, for example, and you don't want to overcook it then yeah.
Don't you don't have more, you just use the clean NICU, get the job done. Um, I, I tend to not use, um, I almost only use fat filter, uh, broke you and I'll, I'll try and add harmonic stuff with, uh, like just harmonic plugins instead kind of thing. Um, it's just like a different process for me kind of thing. So there's so many ways of cutting the same
Benedikt: [00:50:49] pie.
Yeah, totally, totally. So, yeah. Um, you've already covered those two. Like there's this myth of always cutting, um, not true and [00:51:00] this can boost and it's exactly the same. Depends on what you're going for and probably the way you think about it as well. And what's more fun to you and then, um, yeah, with the digital accuse, everything's the same now back to sweeping, um, you want to have one more thing?
Malcom: [00:51:14] Uh, one thing that I think I would decide if I use a EU or not, which I think our listeners should consider is if you can't disable like bypass individual bands, one at a time. Um, I th I think that is so crucial. So for example, you make that bell, this go with the, like the whistles in a guitar, distorted guitar.
Everybody's probably heard those, um, you make this really narrow cut R or Q, uh, notch, as we said earlier, and you boost it and you start sweeping around trying to locate a whistle in the guitar signal and you find it, then you cut it. That's how I kind of normally do it anyways. You could do it the opposite.
You could just cut and find it, but then you can bypass it to hear that band removed. Um, and then [00:52:00] put it back in. And if you have a couple whistles you're trying to remove, you can kind of do one at a time rather than all bypassing the plug-in and doing them all at the same time. It's really nice just to be able to do it to individual ones.
Furthermore, some plugins let you even solo that band. So you can only hear what that band is selecting, which is another cool thing that it just kind of speeds up the process.
Benedikt: [00:52:21] Yep. Many people don't know that some of the stock plugins let you do that as well. If you know the key command, like the stock pro tools, IQ can solo frequency and many people will know that
Malcom: [00:52:32] didn't know what for years.
Yeah. Yeah. Another reason to read the manual. Yeah.
Benedikt: [00:52:37] Yeah, totally. So, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It's actually a big one. Like if I think about it, you could, in theory, use something like an SSL channel strip, set the bandwidth to very narrow and then notch out to different mid range frequencies, but then you would have to bypass the whole plug-in and you can't really check one of them.
And that's problematic where with the faculty, you can do what you just set Malcolm, you can bypass individual [00:53:00] tweaks and see what they actually do. Uh,
Malcom: [00:53:02] I want to hear about this alternative to sweeping yes. That
Benedikt: [00:53:06] you've got on our outline here. Yes. So sweeping as you've described is you are boosting a very narrow band and you move it around the frequency spectrum.
Um, and you try to find. Um, resonances. Ideally I have to, to, to say that before I explained that, ideally you'll hear something and then you try to find it. So it's not like when you, whenever you touch E in the queue or any knob you should do, you should know why you do it. Because if you just start randomly like searching for something without knowing what you're searching for, you're gonna, you're probably gonna find something and you're gonna take it out, but it's not necessarily like the right thing to remove.
So, um, make sure you actually hearing something that annoys you make sure you can like be in like, try to be in the ballpark already where that actually is like, is it a mid-range thing? Is it a low end thing? Is it the upper mid range is a top end [00:54:00] and then sweep around there, but try to make an, a guests first and try to train your ears to identify the problems first and then go on the hunt and then like, Sweep and find those frequencies where they actually are.
Malcom: [00:54:14] I'm really glad you said that because when I described finding whistles and guitars, if you aren't doing what Ben, you just said, and you're just trying to find them by boosting a notch, you're going to find way too many. Exactly. They'll be there and you'll be, you'll end up cutting so much stuff that doesn't need to be cut.
Um, because once you find that your brain can't stop focusing on it, so you want to identify a whistle, remember it, and then try and find it real quickly and then cut that. Um, not, not just go like you'll find tons and no more than three. Generally three is going to be, uh, an aggressive change to a distorted guitar.
For example, you don't want to over neuter
Benedikt: [00:54:54] your signal. Absolutely. And the thing is tricky thing is when you, once you've removed the [00:55:00] loudest one, the one that's. Now the loudest one will become way more apparent. And then when move that, the next one will be really annoying. And every time we remove one, another one will pop up.
So that's why you have to stop after like two or three tweaks and just leave it as it is because it never steps. And you basically building a giant comforter and totally destroy everything. So, um, yeah. Now when you're just starting out and you are not really sure how to identify those whistles, it can definitely help to just sweep around and try to find them.
Or just, what I recommend to do is what I would recommend doing is pull up the fat filter ACU or any ACU with an analyzer, and then just look at the analyzer in the upper mid range of a guitar tone, for example, and then maybe you can visibly, like, this is tricky and you can't, it can mislead you, but maybe you can visibly see a certain frequency that's sort of static and doesn't change with a courts.
That's just always there. That that could be a good starting point. [00:56:00] Just try and grab that and take it out and see if that makes things better. Um, one of the characteristics of those annoying calf frequencies, um, is that they don't change with the musical content. They are static. So if you find something that sticks out, but whenever you change to another chord, it goes away.
It's probably not a good idea to like knock it out really aggressively, but if it just stays there, no matter the court, it could be a whistle from that's actually a resident you need to get
Malcom: [00:56:27] rid of it. Right. Yeah. And also worth mentioning in there is that some EQs display real-time information of what's going on in the frequency response of the audio you're listening to, but not all do the hardware ones generally.
Don't for example. Right. Um, so another qualifying piece of information to look for in a good cue, that's going to be your kind of go-to Swiss army knife IQ, uh, is one with a good display. Yeah. I think that's
Benedikt: [00:56:52] helpful. Totally. The fat filter one even lets you stop. The analyzer display and grab one of the peaks and pull it down.
[00:57:00] So it's like, it's really
Malcom: [00:57:00] awful. Actually find them automatically
Benedikt: [00:57:02] for you. It's pretty amazing. Yeah. So now to that alternative, there is a book called mixing with your mind, and I highly recommend that if you haven't read it, I don't have you read that Malcolm. I haven't. No, I should. It's the best audio book ever.
Like really? It's both.
Malcom: [00:57:15] Okay. All right. That's why I hadn't read it because I pictured it not being an audio book because it's about mixing and I just figured, like they would have like pictures and shit I need to see or something. No,
Benedikt: [00:57:27] it's like a, it's an audio book. It's like a book about mixing and it's, it's called mixing with your mind and it's by Michael Steph ruined engineer producer from, um, Australia.
And why? I think it's the greatest audio book of all time is because. Or the only book I've ever read and I've, I've read every book I could find, but maybe there's more, but, um, there's, I'm sure there's more, but this one is really great because what he does is his approach is different to all the others.
It's not that he [00:58:00] has different facts or anything, but the way he thinks about stuff and explain stuff is so, so amazing because it's really all about what comes out of the speakers and it's. So this book is so much about how things actually are perceived and feel and how it's a very music first, um, approach.
I, I can't even describe it. You have to, you have to like read it. It's it's my blowing really. It's so logical and it's so fun to read also. Um, it's a little expensive. You got to order it from the author directly from Australia. And I think it's 78 Australian dollars, so 50 us or so, but it's worth every, every, every cent.
Now, one of the things he describes in this book when it comes to sweeping or finding annoying frequencies, is that when you do that a lot, when you boost and you do the typical approach, you boost the narrow queue, you boosted a lot and you move around, you fatigue your ears very quickly. And you also remember all sorts of weird, weird whistles and resonances that you find [00:59:00] along the way.
And you kind of forget what the actual sound sounded like. The actual signal sounded like before you started sweeping around. So you lose your point of reference and you lose your objectivity and you get used to this annoying whistling thing that you're moving around. So what he's adjust is to really train your years to identify it as good as possible.
And then, um, set. Like a frequency, you assume to be annoying or a range that you assume to be annoying and then boosts. Like, I dunno what he's he gives a number, I think, but like boosts whatever 12 to be 20 to be. I dunno of whatever you think might be the problem. And then immediately take it out, but not sweep around.
And if it, if you didn't catch it, if it's not in the ballpark, move to another spot, hit boost and then take it out again, like with one button, like not sweeping around, but just engage the, the band and immediately bypass it again. So you're not fatiguing your ears. And once you found, once you're in the right ballpark, just make it [01:00:00] narrow and narrow narrower, but instead of sweeping around just quickly engage and then turn it off again.
And when you, um, and you could do the same, like with boost, with cutting, you could identify or try to identify as a frequency quickly, take it out and then compare it with the before immediately. But he basically says that instead of like sweeping around and listening to this. Strange sound for, I don't know, half a minute, just quickly engage and turn it off again.
And I, it's hard to describe and he describes way better in the book than I do. But if you try to do that, and if you try to minimize the time that you sweeping around and try to just quickly engage and then turn it off the individual bands, uh, it's really interesting how much better I can judge, whether I'm making any better or not.
It's, it's hard to explain. You just have to try it. It's like an, um, Yeah. It's, it's interesting. It, it changed a lot for me. It just made it so, so much more reliable and [01:01:00] I could touch things so much more, so much better. Uh, it's less fatiguing. Um, yeah. I don't know if I got this point across, it's like hard to describe them while I was describing it.
I realized how hard it is to extra describe it and the way he does it in the book as much better. But
Malcom: [01:01:14] yeah, it seems to me that the goal is to not take the big picture out of it. Like if you're trying to keep a guitar toe and keeping that example, you want to be thinking about how the guitar is sounding, not how that whistle is standing out.
Right. So it's like just did the guitar tone change correctly? Not where's the whistle, where's
Benedikt: [01:01:34] the whistle. Where's the whistle. Exactly. That's exactly what it is. Do a quick AB comparison and also not try to not start at zero and then slowly increase the gain, but just choose a value. Start with that and then turn it off again.
Just, just create the quickest. AB comparison you can without like moving around too much in between.
Malcom: [01:01:53] Interesting. Interesting. I'll definitely be trying
Benedikt: [01:01:55] that. Yeah. And definitely get this book. I'm going to put a link in the show notes to that as well. [01:02:00] There are a couple of cool, cool little tricks in there and, uh, like approaches that I've never thought of before and that I've never find in another book.
So, yeah. Awesome.
Malcom: [01:02:08] I will definitely check it out. I need another audio book right now, so that's awesome. Okay, cool. Um, then yeah, I mean, yeah, this has been a long technical episode, so thank you for sticking with us still. We've got two more points and they're totally irrelevant to tracking at all. Um, but let's just send them real quick.
I think you cue match is something that not many EQs have at all, but it will let you. Essentially analyze one signal and apply a curve to another signal to try and make them sound the same. It can be freaky. Um, like it can be a lifesaver. I had to dub in a base part to fix something. I dunno, I got a song and they're like, did a bad edit that I can't even remember, but essentially the part I needed did not exist.
So I just had to double it in with a completely different base, completely different setup. [01:03:00] Wasn't even there for the recession originally. And I needed that bass to sound like the other one though. So I took a NICU match off the original base, applied it to this new base and nobody could tell it sounded the same.
It was wild.
Benedikt: [01:03:14] Yeah. It is wild. Uh, eco matches. Awesome. Also for raping, um, when, whenever you'd recorded the I and you revamp it and you'll find that the ramp signal through your EMP is not the same as like plugging the guitar directly into the amp, which can happen for various reasons. You can, uh, try and.
Like you, it's a different, uh, uh, um, uh, difficult, not difficult, but a complicated sort of process to explain, but you can try to capture the cleanest possible Dai signal and then match whatever comes out of the like rerecord, whatever, whatever comes out of the, um, RamBox and then cue match that to the actual Dai.
And then you can all do all sorts of things to compensate for signal [01:04:00] losses, or, uh, to mimic another tone or like it's very powerful. It really is
Malcom: [01:04:04] definitely. Um, and then last but not least is dynamic IQ, and we have talked about multi band compression a little bit in the past. Um, this is essentially the same principles.
It detects with a threshold. Um, if a certain. Frequency is being hit at a certain volume and then it will either boost or cut that frequency as you set it, um, can be awesome. You know, so if you want the fundamental of a snare drum around 200 Hertz to pump out every time the snare drum is hit, you can set it to do that rather than just having that boost always be there.
And now the bleed of that drum is getting boosted in that frequency too. We can just make it. So it's only when the actual drum is struck. Um, you could do the opposite or there there's so many instances. It could be great for like a DSR, you know, just to cut some harsh high frequencies only when there's a loud noise.
[01:05:00] Benedikt: [01:05:00] Yeah, exactly. That's it. That's it. That's it very powerful. Procure can do that as well. The fab filter. Yes. Um, another reason to get that and it's yeah, it's not really, I can't, I can't think of a recording application. It's really mixing only, but, uh, it's very powerful. And I think as always all of these things.
Even if they don't have anything to do with recording. And even if you're not planning on like mixing your record, playing around with those experimenting with it. And just especially with a plugin, like the fat filter, watching what it does actually like visually watching what it does and learning what it does will help you record better because you get a deeper understanding of after frequency spectrum and the, like the qualities of different like frequency, ranges, what those actually sound like.
You get a better understanding of annoying things, resonances. Boxiness all those abstract terms that we use all the time. You, you actually learn what those mean, like technically, and I think, for example, if you play around with the dynamic [01:06:00] cue to get rid of harsh SS in your voice, you're gonna discover some like harshness or weird things that you haven't heard before, just by playing around with that.
Or same with like low end or mud on guitars. You might think your guitar sounds are awesome until you look at it and analyze it. And you listen to it and you play around with maybe a dynamic cue on the lower mids. And you find that taking some of that out during Palm Utes or chucks is like making things so much clearer and you maybe start questioning your guitar tone and you can benefit from experimenting with those things.
And you can learn a lot about your source tones can create better tones that don't need as much tweaking later. Um, definitely.
Malcom: [01:06:42] Yeah, messing with the NICU will make you a better recording engineer
Benedikt: [01:06:46] without a doubt. Yeah. I think it's the most powerful of all our tools, basically. Like I think with, or I'm convinced with only faders and maybe level automation, panning and DQ, you can make a pretty awesome mix.
Malcom: [01:06:59] Yeah. [01:07:00] There'd be a lot of work, but you
Benedikt: [01:07:00] could do it. Yeah. Yeah. All right. So that's it that's that was intense, man. That's like this, that wasn't an in-depth episode, but I think it's, I hope it's great. I hope you'll learn, uh, something let us know, um, as always shoot us an email post in the community. If we actually post this on YouTube, we haven't done it so far, but we're gonna think about doing that.
Uh, if we upload the video to YouTube, leave a comment, let us know. And um, maybe we can do a couple more of those, but we are starting to, yeah, we, we, I think we covered most of the basics already, but. I assume there's more we can do in that regard.
Malcom: [01:07:40] Totally, totally. We, uh, we got everything we could think of this time anyways.
Benedikt: [01:07:44] exactly. Yeah. All right. Okay. See you next week. Thank you for listening. See you next week. Bye bye.
The Book Mentioned In The Episode:
The EQ Plugin Mentioned In The Episode:
The Essential DIY-Recording Gear Guide:
TSRB Free Facebook Community:
Free Articles On All Things Recording:
Outback Recordings (Benedikt's Mixing Studio and personal website)
Outback Recordings Podcast - Benedikt's other podcast
Stone Mastering (Malcom's Mastering Company)
Your Band Sucks (at business) - Malcom's other podcast
Gimme The Beat (The Netflix Documentary Malcom is involved with)
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