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IUnknown
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11th June 2014
Old 11th June 2014
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Surgical Analog EQ

Hi,

i have an Elysia XFilter, and will get the Elysia MuseEq somewhen in the next weeks. I (will) use the XFilter and the MusEq for overall balancing mostly.

Because they miss some really narrow Q i am looking for a analog EQ to use mainly for cutting and notching.

Currently while mastering i do all the lp/hp cutting with the Ozone 5 brickwall EQ, and notching with the bells.

It would be great if you can recommend me some analog EQs that can do similar things as the Ozone EQ, and that would complement the Elysia stuff as well

Thank you,

Alex
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11th June 2014
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The MEA-2 and GML 9500 can both get really tight. I think I've only used the tightest Q setting on the MEA-2 a handful of times, though.

When you start getting down that tight you really need more control over the frequency than the switched options given on most mastering EQs. This is where digital shines.
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11th June 2014
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I do quite a bit of surgical work with the Buzz REQ 2.2 but for really narrow notch filtering, you're better off staying ITB.
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A bit old school...

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11th June 2014
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I had the pleasure of playing with a Masalec MAE 2 aswell recently, and it is really exceptionally good for that sort of EQing
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the porter net-eq is great for surgical eqing.
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If you like to be able to recall i can recommend the neve 8803 eq. Connected via usb let's you recall exact settings and still have unstepped control, which is a must for notching. Hp/Lp, 2 Mid-Bands with variable Q and Lo-Band / Hi Band with a switch for narrower Q and also switchable between bell / shelf.
I wonder why almost nobody uses this eq. It's not the colourful Neve sound, but still a little 'nice'. Though i like my xfilter more for stereosources, it's so much more intuitive with only one set of controls. But the Recall software of the Neve let's you copy channel 1-settings to channel 2, so stereomatching is easy. Featurewise i love this eq.

Anyway, as somebody else already said, the most narrow notches can be made with software eqs. I wonder if notching benefits from an analog eq, as i never thought it sounds bad with plugins (compared to boosting).
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I do not mind using digital EQ for narrow cuts. I've been beta testing the new SlickEQ GE and it does that (and other stuff) very well, for example.

On the analogue side I never had any issue with my Maselec MEA-2, never once I thought I needed a narrower band than what it offers.
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Lil Freq! Amazing surgical EQ and the best de-esser out there.
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Hi

I also dont mind cutting in the box. I use DMG Equlibrium for that. For me the best tool for cutting
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buzz req and/or ITB.
the porter also seems to be capable of doing sharp cuts.
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Originally Posted by Perla Audio View Post
Hi

I also dont mind cutting in the box. I use DMG Equlibrium for that. For me the best tool for cutting
voxengo gliss is great für notching, many bands, dynamic modes, scalable gui with good analyzer, m/s mode and so on...
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IUnknown
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Thanks guys! That is really alot of feedback!

The GML 9500 seems abit too cost intensive for the task, especially if i keep in mind that i could get the Elysia Alpha for that price ...

The MAE-2 looks very interesting and as far as i can remember i never read anything negative about it.

I'll put it on my investigation/observation list!

I'm not really unhappy with the digital EQs, i'm just thinking about building up a complete (more or less) high-end analog mastering chain. Not today, but step by step.
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But since we are just at that topic:

The real issue that i encounter with the Ozone 5 EQ is relates to the brickwall EQ type.
On the master i use it to lowcut 25 Hz and highcut 16kHz. The brickwall eq is not much resonant and i guess a 96db/oct.
I expect to get a lower output than the input volume, but the opposite is the case, means the output is louder than the input by .5 - 1.5 db. I find that strange, since my understanding is to cut the subs to achieve more db of headeoom, and not less
I guess that comes from the little but still existing resonance of the lowcut filzer band.
Is that correct?

How are you working on that areas? Am i too paranoid about the subs? Are you using more flat eq curves?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IUnknown View Post
But since we are just at that topic:

The real issue that i encounter with the Ozone 5 EQ is relates to the brickwall EQ type.
On the master i use it to lowcut 25 Hz and highcut 16kHz. The brickwall eq is not much resonant and i guess a 96db/oct.
I expect to get a lower output than the input volume, but the opposite is the case, means the output is louder than the input by .5 - 1.5 db. I find that strange, since my understanding is to cut the subs to achieve more db of headeoom, and not less
I guess that comes from the little but still existing resonance of the lowcut filzer band.
Is that correct?
No, it's not. What you're experiencing is the typical side-effect of phase distortion: It increases the max peak! Most filters not only change the frequency magnitude, they also delay certain frequencies in time, which in turn can stack up with regard to max peak.

btw, I think that 96dB/oct is unreasonably steep for most music tasks. No analogue EQ does this, for good reasons.
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Klark Teknik DN 410
can cut at 1/12 /oct

but it might need a few upgrade to be used on a mastering context tho'
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For surgical EQ I'd stay in the digital domain and keep my money for analog colour boxes.

If you're looking for very narrow Q I suppose it's when one frequency/note on one vocal/intrument just pops out? Why not try a dynamic EQ instead? Very useful for taming that one frequency/note without cutting too much of the rest all the time. Or maybe I'm off topic.
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I really dislike the concept of "surgical" eq, all to often people are eqing the sound of their speakers or room resonances rather than the music. It's incredibly rare for the Q on any band of eq I use to go above 1.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruairi View Post
I really dislike the concept of "surgical" eq, all to often people are eqing the sound of their speakers or room resonances rather than the music. It's incredibly rare for the Q on any band of eq I use to go above 1.
I don't know what other people are doing, but i use surgical cuts to remove potential resonances from the master. In general i use headphones for that task. I always made the experience that it sounds better afterwards, no matter on what device i double check.
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When mastering techno tracks laced with 3 or 4 sounds fighting for the same space I will use surgical EQ to shape and tighten the bass-both in the analog and digital domains. The Sontec gets as surgical as i would want an analog EQ to be
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruairi View Post
I really dislike the concept of "surgical" eq, all to often people are eqing the sound of their speakers or room resonances rather than the music. It's incredibly rare for the Q on any band of eq I use to go above 1.
To each their own, but why stand on ceremony about something like this, seems a bit anti-mastering. And not all gear and plugins are created equal when it comes to Q factor. I think the "people" you're talking about have studios that do not have proper room treatment, don't know their rooms, don't know their speakers, or perhaps don't have speakers that are good for mastering.
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To each their own, but why stand on ceremony about something like this, seems a bit anti-mastering. And not all gear and plugins are created equal when it comes to Q factor. I think the "people" you're talking about have studios that do not have proper room treatment, don't know their rooms, don't know their speakers, or perhaps don't have speakers that are good for mastering.
No ceremony, just an observation. It was Dave Collins that opened my eyes to this about 10 years ago, the myth is that we want to narrow Q as much as possible to "only remove the bad stuff". The reality is that hi Q just doesn't sound as good as low Q when making eq cuts or boosts. Broad gentle shaping works better in mastering to my ear, I believed the opposite for far too long years. The words carving and notching make me uncomfortable...

Re different Eqs I'm pretty sure I've heard/used the great majority of software and hardware mastering Eqs.

As you say to each their own, I'd encourage some younger mastering engineers to do some experiements with lower Q only and see how they feel. For electronic music there is much more flexibility as the sounds are not natural anyhow.
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13th June 2014
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Originally Posted by Ruairi View Post
The reality is that hi Q just doesn't sound as good as low Q when making eq cuts or boosts. Broad gentle shaping works better in mastering to my ear, I believed the opposite for far too long years. The words carving and notching make me uncomfortable...
Ruairi speaks the truth.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruairi View Post
No ceremony, just an observation. It was Dave Collins that opened my eyes to this about 10 years ago, the myth is that we want to narrow Q as much as possible to "only remove the bad stuff". The reality is that hi Q just doesn't sound as good as low Q when making eq cuts or boosts. Broad gentle shaping works better in mastering to my ear, I believed the opposite for far too long years. The words carving and notching make me uncomfortable...

Re different Eqs I'm pretty sure I've heard/used the great majority of software and hardware mastering Eqs.

As you say to each their own, I'd encourage some younger mastering engineers to do some experiements with lower Q only and see how they feel. For electronic music there is much more flexibility as the sounds are not natural anyhow.
For me if there is a glaring frequency issue somewhere in the mix, and I don't want the surrounding areas taking a hit, I'll often engage a dynamic eq and suss out how wide the Q needs to be. Because it's usually something that's intermittent in a vocal or guitars, I find a narrow Q usually get's me there with none to minimal collateral damage. It's so depends on the record and how the client want's the end result to sound.
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I use the NSEQ 2 for surgical EQ duties. works great for me!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engmix View Post
For me if there is a glaring frequency issue somewhere in the mix, and I don't want the surrounding areas taking a hit, I'll often engage a dynamic eq and suss out how wide the Q needs to be. Because it's usually something that's intermittent in a vocal or guitars, I find a narrow Q usually get's me there with none to minimal collateral damage. It's so depends on the record and how the client want's the end result to sound.
Absolutely, every record is different and we often get to similar end results using different combinations of techniques.

I'm highlighting the Q issue because it was something of a revelation for me that changed my work for the better. I realize that it runs counter to the common "Narrow Q, boost, sweep around, then notch" narrative that prevails, just putting it out there for some of the younger guys to think about.

What dynamic EQ are you using? I haven't found anything yet in software that does what I want.
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Absolutely, every record is different and we often get to similar end results using different combinations of techniques.

I'm highlighting the Q issue because it was something of a revelation for me that changed my work for the better. I realize that it runs counter to the common "Narrow Q, boost, sweep around, then notch" narrative that prevails, just putting it out there for some of the younger guys to think about.

What dynamic EQ are you using? I haven't found anything yet in software that does what I want.
I mostly use a plugin by Wholegrain Digital Systems. Don't let the old school looks fool you. All of the power in this thing went under the hood, and it's flexibility is uber deep. It's an outstanding mastering tool, and sometimes the eq on it wins over my hardware eq. Sometimes the Sonnox Surpressur gets opened up as well, but the dynPEQ is really the first thing I reach for.
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What dynamic EQ are you using? I haven't found anything yet in software that does what I want.
Three of the best dynamic EQs:

• HOFA IQ-EQ
MeldaProduction MAutoDynamicEq
• Voxengo GlissEQ
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Quote:
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Three of the best dynamic EQs:

• HOFA IQ-EQ
MeldaProduction MAutoDynamicEq
• Voxengo GlissEQ
Thanks guys,

Only the Hofa is available for Pro Tools and that didn't work for me at all. I sent a mail to Wholegrain to see when their plug will be available for AAX.
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Thanks guys,

Only the Hofa is available for Pro Tools and that didn't work for me at all. I sent a mail to Wholegrain to see when their plug will be available for AAX.
You can run MeldaProduction and Voxengo plug-ins in Pro Tools 11 using one of the following VST hosts:

• Blue Cat MB-7 Mixer
• Blue Cat PatchWork
DDMF Metaplugin
Nomad Factory MAGMA
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