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Matthew Murray
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11th January 2006
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What's your favourite tracking EQ?

I'm a bit new to the outboard arena ... my education with regards to EQs is limited. Without poking too much fun at me -- (limited amounts of fun-poking permitted) -- if you could only have one outboard EQ for tracking, what would you choose? Budget is someplace between $1000 and $2500 .. though I'd like to keep it down if I can get "great" for less. Thinking I should get a stereo EQ (or two channels). Application would be primarily for sweetening vocals, though perhaps for other instruments as well (typically recorded instruments run the gamut from drums to bass to guitars to keys and synths).

Some EQ's I've had in mind, but have no idea still:

• Empirical Labs Lil' Freak (I suppose I'd need two of them for stereo applications)
Great River EQ-2NV

Please try not to make the now common suggestion of trying them out for myself... I'm unable to try these higher-end EQ's at my local stores, where the words Behringer and Samson are king. I will eventually "try one of them out". Just trying to educate myself before I drop the money in the first place...

Thanks kindly everyone!
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Just to add to that -- I have a third option now that I'd love some yea's or nea's on. Since I was getting a Portico 5012 anyways, I just realized I could get two Portico 5032's with the EQ's in the chain. I imagine that these are going to be somewhat like 1073's, only improved (at least in Mr. Rupert Neve's mind, which is a mind I'm happy to trust).

Anybody think that's a stupid idea? :-)
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My favorite tracking EQ is no EQ.




[I just wanted to be the first. But maybe I should have said, my favorite "EQ" is picking the right mic for the job.]
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11th January 2006
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When needed a pair of well maintained Pultec EQ's are sweet.

You can use them to enhance anything.
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For tracking vocals and electric/acoustic guitar, I'm a big proponent of the API 550A.
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Being a bit of a newbie myself, I find that the API 560 is a great way to see what specific frequencies do when boosted or cut. Also have the 550A, and it's great. And as a newbie, I'm seeing the value of leaving eq decisions for the mix.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
When needed a pair of well maintained Pultec EQ's are sweet.

You can use them to enhance anything.

gotta agree there...pultecs sound good on pretty much anything
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12th January 2006
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daking, api.

bias and eq on the studer also come in handy.


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12th January 2006
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I'll agree with blue1. Mic selection and placement for tracking. 1 inch in a different direction and wall-la -- a whole new sound. Especially for vocals, as you said that's what you are after. If you have not experimented with this it can be a lot cheaper and easier than chasing equalizers... Plus, if your vocals aren't suiting you and you have $2500... there are a lot of good mics for that price that might not need the EQ.

Steve
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That's what I would do, spend the cash on more mics. Better to have the right selection of mics than chasing down the eq to nudge the wrong ones.
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API 550A for vocals
API 560 for drums
Great River EQNV for the bass
Fearn VT-4 for the magic
Crane Song Ibis to add air (top end)
Millenia NSEQ general shaping
GML 8200 for the surgical fixing when i know what I'm doing.
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Thanks so much for all of your replies. You know, I'm taking the "don't EQ when tracking" thing to heart. My goal was initially to get some hardware EQ on everything, as I'm mixing ITB. But really, I should just focus on getting some stellar EQ plugins (does such a thing exist for Logic Pro in AU format?) and focus on getting good mics and pres to begin with. God, after all, I'm going to be using a Gefell UM900 as my primary vocal mic. Something tells me I'm not going to be EQ'ing much.

Thanks for all of your responses. If anybody has some recommendations on software EQ's that might come close to the real thing, do fill me in. I'm already getting UAD-1's Pultec Pro, which I hear is pretty decent.

Thanks again all.
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The ones I seem to lean on the most for tracking,
after twiddling w/Mic placement/ source:
API 550/560
Neve 10 series
Pultec
Fearn
sometimes the TG channel
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You really need to try them out ... no one eq does it all. Nice Pultecs or the Fearn would do well, but they're not cheap. The TMEQ is nice for a lot of things, but it's out of budget too. Haven't heard the Portico eq but didnt love the pre.

The EQ2NV would be very useful. The LilFreQ has more power, and is very clean.

Fletcher at Mercenary does demos. You pay extra, but if you have no other options, there you go.
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The Chameleon Labs EQ is nice during tracking.

I also use a dbx242 for a fair amount of stuff.

The Speck EQ is very good all purpose too.

War
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API's.... Also, Neve 10xx modules... The Aurora Audio GTQ2mkIII EQ is the most slept on tracking EQ...
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LTD-1 EQ
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I was gonna go with the "the best EQ is mic placement" bit, but I see I've been beaten to that one.

The UAD is a great package and the Cambridge EQ is very useful. Also, the 140 reverb is really good, especially for vocals.
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the eq on the earlybird 2 is great its the best tracking eq ever beats the api and great river by a mile
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I was getting cool results from a pair of VT-737's


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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry zip
the eq on the earlybird 2 is great its the best tracking eq ever beats the api and great river by a mile
Love this from Thermionic's web site...... hand drawn EQ curves.

Thermionic ROCK!
Attached Thumbnails
What's your favourite tracking EQ?-picture-1.png  
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will try to be of some help.

a) when i 1st got my pultecs i was a little trigger happy. pultecs do kick ass on everything, but no EQ is still best for tracking IMHO, unless you're absolutely sure that's what you'll want come mix time. you can always add EQ later.

b) my favorite software EQ hands down (only one i've heard that doesn't SUCK on high freqs.) is hydratone. haven't heard URS. people say they sound good too.

if you do a search on these you'll find much discussion.
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I track everything bone ass flat.

If I really want to tweak on the front end, I usually just use the E.Q. on the desk pre.

Not very elite, but...
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what's "eq"? isn't that like a magazine for like asshole guys?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
When needed a pair of well maintained Pultec EQ's are sweet.

You can use them to enhance anything.
But would you track (commit to them) or add them during mixing?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great
But would you track (commit to them) or add them during mixing?
I do both.

Depends on the tracks.

I have no fear when it comes to commiting EQ in the recording process.

If i hear it a certain way and that requires EQ than EQ it is.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
I have no fear when it comes to commiting EQ in the recording process.

If i hear it a certain way and that requires EQ than EQ it is.


there it is... to hell with fear.

something to bear in mind in this discussion is that the typical home recordist is working in a less-than-ideal acoustic environment. i've tracked acoustics in rooms with a 9db hump at 120hz. in that context, moving the mic around gives me a 7.5db hump at 120hz. mic placement my arse.

in that kind of situation, there are three appropriate choices:

1) record somewhere else

2) treat the room

3) use an eq to cut 120hz.

since most people get into home recording in order to avoid #1 (i'll not get into the wisdom of that), i vote for #2 and #3 combined. get the room sounding as good as you can, then use eq to bring it home.

pragmatic purism at its best.

also, to the original poster, i strongly recommend getting a good analog eq for your front end. you will be able to shape your tone and add magic in a way you simply cannot do with plug-ins, and if you're going to use eq on the signal anyway, the closer you get it with hardware the less dsp you'll need to apply at mix, which means better sounding music and an easier time creating it.

so, again, i recommend daking or api, because they sound amazing and it's damn near impossible to make things sound bad with them.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great
But would you track (commit to them) or add them during mixing?
This is part of what's fukked up with the way shit's done these days... I know I'm old, and worse, old fashioned but I try to record everything like it's product... I try to record everything so you can bring all the faders up in a straight line, follow the pans on the track sheet and you're 80-90% done... from there you can go onto doing "creative" things with the mix/presentation instead of spending all your time getting the sounds to fit together, or doing corrective surgery, and generally making decisions that should be made in small doses as the song is being recorded as opposed to 100 fairly critical decisions in one sitting..

I still do a paper track sheet as well as label the tracks on my lovely digital recording device... this lets me write in shit like what mics, eq's, compressors I used for the signal path as well as any mix notes like pans, FX, flip phase, etc. so even when I'm not mixing the stuff I recorded the "balance engineer" has an idea of what processes were employed.

I'm sure my method is totally fukked up and stupid... but for me it makes things easier.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Murray
Just to add to that -- I have a third option now that I'd love some yea's or nea's on. Since I was getting a Portico 5012 anyways, I just realized I could get two Portico 5032's with the EQ's in the chain. I imagine that these are going to be somewhat like 1073's, only improved (at least in Mr. Rupert Neve's mind, which is a mind I'm happy to trust).

Anybody think that's a stupid idea? :-)
I just spent a month with Ser No 1 of the 5032 (the Rupert Neve folks are just a spit away from my studio) and while it's a fantastic-sounding EQ I wish it had more than one sweepable band. RND tells be they do plan to offer an EQ-only Portico unit, and that, my friend, will be sweet. They were very thoughtful about the shelving curves and center frequencies and it was very useful and musical in most applications I tested it in. But as one's only EQ, it might not be as flexible as a multiband EQ.
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13th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
I still do a paper track sheet as well as label the tracks on my lovely digital recording device... this lets me write in shit like what mics, eq's, compressors I used for the signal path as well as any mix notes like pans, FX, flip phase, etc. so even when I'm not mixing the stuff I recorded the "balance engineer" has an idea of what processes were employed.

I'm sure my method is totally fukked up and stupid... but for me it makes things easier.
i for one don't think it's stupid at all. i do the same thing, but no need for paper as i write the notes right on the appropriate channel in PT. what pre, mic, EQ if any, etc. were used.

i'm playing with Qclone for pultecs and such when i'm not 100% sure i want to commit - can always take it off later. so far i like it. when i'm sure though, i definitely print - but my favorite eq for tracking is still mic selection and placement. i thought that was old fashioned, but i've been old fashioned since the 60s so WTF.

george martin and company used to print whole orchestras with EQ and whatever, bouncing away til the cows came home. i don't consider myself close to that league. if i did, i'd probably be less 'scared' to commit early on, so i do what i can. anyway that's my story and i'm sticking to it.
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