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EQ in mastering? Dynamics Plugins
Old 12th November 2009
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunbreak Music View Post
No doubt. I actually "hear" what's happening for that moment as I turn the knobs, lol.
We all do, that's why it's important to be honest with yourself.

Audio Musings by Sean Olive: The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests


DC
Old 12th November 2009
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
So here's one for you chaps....

How do YOU find the right frequency? When there's something poking out in the track and you need it sorted out. It's nice picturing it in your head, setting it up and then flicking it in, and obviously greater experience gets you closer but you can't be right first time, every time. Or it may not quite work as you expect. Or something else might happen that isn't quite right. or whatever.

I ask because I've seen different engineers handle it different ways. Some sweeping boosts fast, some sweeping cuts, some switching in and then when it isn't right switching it out before choosing again. And sometimes the opposite to what they end up doing - sweeping a boost to find where to cut (lots of times) and sweeping a cut to find a boost (once).


I know, it doesn't matter, do what the song demands, horses for courses etc etc heh But I thought it would be interesting as a 'survey'.
Interesting question.

With high Q / notch cuts (usually ITB), I usually sweep a boost to fine tune the frequency before I see how much I cut.
With low Q / wide cuts (usually on analog), I usually sweep the cut (well, rather wiggle one or max. two clicks there or there) to find where it sits best. Same logic for wide boosts.

I don't think I've ever really sweeped a cut when I wanted to boost.

I sometimes disable an EQ band before setting to a different frequency to get back to the source and thus to the state that made me want to set that filter.
Old 12th November 2009
  #63
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Theres nothing wrong with learning what sounds are what frequencies from a real-time spectral anlyzer. I guess you all learned guitar by tuning by ear first??? STUPID
Old 12th November 2009
  #64
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Originally Posted by Bubbakron View Post
I guess you all learned guitar by tuning by ear first???
Yes.
Old 12th November 2009
  #65
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Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
Yes.
Yep. I memorized the first note of Stairway to Heaven as "A", and tuned the rest of the guitar to that.

Still do.
Old 12th November 2009
  #66
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I had the first chord of Baba O'Riley planted in my head.
Old 12th November 2009
  #67
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Originally Posted by Adam Dempsey View Post
Naye. Part of the point I was making was that direct communication and discussion is what got us through in the end, where "bass" in this case meant "upper bass", to fine tune the subjective aspects.
Point understood, but my point is that if there was a bit more discussion and concern for standard language there would be that much more of a chance of at least educated people knowing what they're talking about short of naming specific frequencies; obviously an idealistic pursuit, but still...
Old 12th November 2009
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon502 View Post
I want to learn more about EQ in the mastering stage. I'm practicing mastering but I find it difficult to determine where to boost and cut. Are there any 'sweeping' techniques I can use?

What I usually end up doing with my practice masters is:

1. Waves SSL Buss compressor (2:1 ratio and about 3dB gain reduction, slow attack and AUTO release)
2. Sonnox EQ (see picture)
3. Sonnox Limiter

But I never know what to do in the midrange with the EQ, I always only boost the highs to get clarity, and boost the bass if necessary. I have never cut frequencies before because I'm always afraid I'm cutting something important.


Any help/techniques about the EQ midrange would be highly appreciated!
Thanks!
one thing i do, is run the material in question through a parametric eq, turn the gain way up, make the band fairly narrow, and sweep slowly back and forth, listing with the EARS and emotions... if while sweeping i notice places in the spectrum where it starts to sound MORE ANNOYING (where i don't want ANNOYING), or less clear, less defined, hardest to understand (vocals) etc... then i make notes of those areas and will swing the gain slowly down 'till it's cutting, and find the point where some reduction is feeling better... FEEL FEEL FEEL.

also i do the same to find subtleties i want to bring out... need to really HEAR that rosin on the cello bow/strings?? parametrics ROCK.

audio-plastic-surgery
Old 12th November 2009
  #69
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I've generally stopped doing that.... It can sort of 'blind' you a bit unless you work really fast. So I might use it to fine-tune a narrow cut to an unwanted resonance, but not to sweep around the whole spectrum looking for things to 'fix'.

IMO one should know what needs fixing before you start fixing, otherwise you start 'fixing' things that don't need fixing. or something.
Old 12th November 2009
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
The purpose of the chart is to help familiarize new engineers (not you, DC!) with the ranges of the musical instruments and how they correspond with the frequency ranges, for god's sake...
Haha I remember that chart. To know what key cooresponds with which frequency to help make necessary cuts for notes that are too loud right?

At any rate to the OP. I never make boosts in the low range for an eq on the master channel . Flatten that out and give the boosts to each stems individual eq....otherwise you are boosting bass for everything and for me that usually muddies everything up. The only thing I ever bother with for a master channel eq is a slight boost in the mid-range as this is usually where I need more emphasis in my music.


I am no mastering engineer though so dont listen to me. lol
I just go with what works for me.
Old 12th November 2009
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbreman View Post
Haha I remember that chart. To know what key cooresponds with which frequency to help make necessary cuts for notes that are too loud right?
Actually, that's a VERY small part of it.*

Hey, timbreman, the chart is mostly about timbre :-). When I was 20 years old I trained myself to recognize (blind) every fader of a 1/3 octave equalizer. I had a fellow engineer give me a test with each band boosted and I was able to tell him which one he had raised. Anyone can train their ears with this kind of precision. Perfect pitch is learned. Knowing what knob to grab and what it can do for the music definitely speeds up an engineer's job. It's a perfectly musical way of getting your ears going. So learn, what does 1.2 kHz sound like?

There is one main purpose for the Carnegie Chart, it introduces beginning engineers who are musically-oriented to the language of frequency based on the fundamental ranges of the musical instruments that he knows. The concept is not a "preset" and I do not encourage preset mentality, just the opposite. On the contrary, it opens up your mind to a new language. Similarly with the chart describing the sonic effects of boosting and dipping the different audio ranges; it's a start, it's an introduction, and it's not confusing, and thousands of people (literally) will tell you that.

No working engineer sits down with an equalizer and a chart and says, "I want it to sound "gritty" so I'll go to the chart and find "gritty" and turn that up. But if you have not yet played with the equalizer, the chart gives you some ideas of what it can do. "Nasal" is a descriptive term. "Turn the 1.2 kHz up" is an audio term. Whether you agree that 1.2 kHz is a nasal frequency, having a mnemonic help is certainly way to jump-start an engineer in the use of an equalizer. The chart is a conceptual introduction, a good start to a career.

On the subject of the Ibis, while I do also have nearly perfect pitch and I can identify a G# blind, I do agree it is silly to mark a control (like the Ibis) with musical notes, primarily because its bandwidth is an octave wide and getting the pitch center is not as important as understanding what its effect is on timbre. I would be interested in knowing if the note markings on the IBIS have helped any musicians to connect with an equalizer. I've been thinking in frequencies for too many years to need the note language, especially for 1 octave band equalization.

----------------------------

* That was to use the chart to deal with one-note bass problems in conjunction with a keyboard. It's an extremely musical approach! For one-note bass problems, I find it 2-3 times faster than the traditional method of sweeping the equalizer to find the note. Speaking of the Ibis, if you were doing note by note eq to deal with one-note bass and if the equalizer had a Q of 12 or 15 or narrower, then you could get there quicker if the equalizer were marked in notes directly!

If your mind is not closed, then you'll recognize it's a technique worth learning. Try it yourself, visit this video, which has had thousands of downloads...

YouTube - Mastering Audio by Bob Katz
Old 12th November 2009
  #72
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There is a distinction between "relative pitch" and "absolute" or "perfect pitch"
Old 12th November 2009
  #73
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Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
There is a distinction between "relative pitch" and "absolute" or "perfect pitch"
Yes. Perfect pitch is probably genetic, and doesn't necessarily indicate musical giftedness. Relative pitch is learned, and for practical purposes, much more useful.

My dad was a choir director, and over the years he had a few singers with perfect pitch. It was tough on the singers that had it, because on acapella pieces, if the choir drifted off the exact pitches, it would be very irritating for them to hear that discrepancy. But on the other hand, sometimes it was handy for my dad to have a human tuning fork in the choir!

Mychal
Old 12th November 2009
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
{snip}
----------------------------

* That was to use the chart to deal with one-note bass problems in conjunction with a keyboard. It's an extremely musical approach! For one-note bass problems, I find it 2-3 times faster than the traditional method of sweeping the equalizer to find the note. Speaking of the Ibis, if you were doing note by note eq to deal with one-note bass and if the equalizer had a Q of 12 or 15 or narrower, then you could get there quicker if the equalizer were marked in notes directly!

If your mind is not closed, then you'll recognize it's a technique worth learning. Try it yourself, visit this video, which has had thousands of downloads...

YouTube - Mastering Audio by Bob Katz
I watched your entertaining video a while ago, Bob. But I am sorry, there is an easier way to do this. If you have the RTA on, that bad note would also show its ugly face at around 124Hz. In fact, it would do so exactly where the problem frequency actually is and any adjustments wouldn't need to be made based on a note/frequency chart. So, you grab a parametric eq or your linear phase equalizer and you dip it. "It's that simple". These two methods fix the same problem, but guess which method would get the job done faster and with more precision? The only thing that one can argue against this method would be as to whether there would actually be a correlation between the sound of a bad {boomy} note and the display of its frequency band. IME, it's usually correlated

Regards,
Old 12th November 2009
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward_Vinatea View Post
I watched your entertaining video a while ago, Bob. But I am sorry, there is an easier way to do this. If you have the RTA on, that bad note would also show its ugly face at around 124Hz. In fact, it would do so exactly where the problem frequency actually is and any adjustments wouldn't need to be made based on a note/frequency chart. So, you grab a parametric eq or your linear phase equalizer and you dip it. "It's that simple". These two methods fix the same problem, but guess which method would get the job done faster and with more precision? The only thing that one can argue against this method would be as to whether there would actually be a correlation between the sound of a bad {boomy} note and the display of its frequency band. IME, it's usually correlated

Regards,
It is another valid method, if you can catch the RTA fast enough and accurately enough. But usually the RTA is not narrow enough; it has to be one with 2-5 Hz accuracy and set to a narrow setting between about 20-200 Hz. By the time you get that set up and working to your satisfaction, it only took a split second to identify a note using the keyboard. I don't usually have an RTA running in my room but I do have a keyboard in my Iphone and a set of ears :-)
Old 12th November 2009
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peakly View Post
Yes. Perfect pitch is probably genetic, and doesn't necessarily indicate musical giftedness. Relative pitch is learned, and for practical purposes, much more useful.

My dad was a choir director, and over the years he had a few singers with perfect pitch. It was tough on the singers that had it, because on acapella pieces, if the choir drifted off the exact pitches, it would be very irritating for them to hear that discrepancy. But on the other hand, sometimes it was handy for my dad to have a human tuning fork in the choir!

Mychal
The potential for perfect pitch may well be genetic but it is still learned in terms of correlating it with standard pitches which, of course, are arbitrarily agreed upon by our "culture"; not to mention that "concert pitch" has changed over the years. Also, there are courses where "perfect pitch" can be learned. In any case, as far as I can tell, Bob was using the term accurately.
Old 12th November 2009
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
It is another valid method, if you can catch the RTA fast enough and accurately enough. But usually the RTA is not narrow enough; it has to be one with 2-5 Hz accuracy and set to a narrow setting between about 20-200 Hz. By the time you get that set up and working to your satisfaction, it only took a split second to identify a note using the keyboard. I don't usually have an RTA running in my room but I do have a keyboard in my Iphone and a set of ears :-)
Bob, sorry for disagreeing. We are not talking some cheap RTA like the freebie that comes with some of the Windows Media Players on PC computers, but the ones that display spectrum with accurate FFT bins or frequency channels. I even find the PAZ analyzer very good for these tasks with its 68 band analysis and resolution in 10 Hz steps to view what's going on with bass frequencies. Thus, no "set up" time is required. Bear in mind that if someone is mixing with poor response speaker monitors, they are going to produce that type of mixes you are trying to fix on your mastering session. So, by advising users to look at a good RTA, there is no need to hum a note to oneself, turn a keyboard on and then look at a chart. RTA's do that more accurately and so much more. I am writing that book :-)

Regards,
Old 12th November 2009
  #78
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Bob,

a point of interest re: the video. No mention was made of which octave, or the relevance of harmonic overtones. For instance, it was not immediately clear to me that the B in question was not the one at 62 Hz rather than the one at 124Hz. BTW, I ascribe to your method as well. It is very useful in live sound as well, where I can look at the players and see what notes they're playing that are causing the offending frequencies.
Old 12th November 2009
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
Actually, that's a VERY small part of it.*

Hey, timbreman, the chart is mostly about timbre :-).
So a C4 played on a piano has a different frequency range than a C4 played on a horn? You are saying It's slight varying frequencies that create the timbre in the first place? I guess I've never noticed those kind of subtle frequency differences on my spectrum analyzer. Neat.

Speaking of EQ.
A good friend who is a math nut once told me if someone ever comes up with a more precise fast fourier transform algorithm then it would be possible to narrow down frequencies much more precisely with eq.
How close are we to this?
Old 12th November 2009
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbreman View Post
So a C4 played on a piano has a different frequency range than a C4 played on a horn? So it's slight varying frequencies that create the timbre in the first place. I guess I've never noticed those kind of subtle frequency differences on my spectrum analyzer. Neat.
It's not the frequency, per se, that make the timbre, but the harmonics and their distribution from the fundamental.

Quote:
A good friend who is a math nut once told me if someone ever comes up with a more precise fast fourier transform algorithm then it would be possible to narrow down frequencies much more precisely with eq.
How close are we to this?
I don't know what your friend meant, but you can have an FFT of arbitrary precision.

.000001Hz if you are willing to wait for the answer. It will be as useless and confusing as ever for eqing, but you can spend the extra time the computation and settling takes to ignore the screen and listen.

So it could be a net gain.


DC
Old 12th November 2009
  #81
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Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
It's not the frequency, per se, that make the timbre, but the harmonics and their distribution from the fundamental.
Nice way of putting it! The note, and then that great spread depending on how good the instrument is.



Quote:
Also, there are courses where "perfect pitch" can be learned.
Are you sure you're not speaking of relative pitch?

Mychal
Old 12th November 2009
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
It's not the frequency, per se, that make the timbre, but the harmonics and their distribution from the fundamental.



I don't know what your friend meant, but you can have an FFT of arbitrary precision.

.000001Hz if you are willing to wait for the answer. It will be as useless and confusing as ever for eqing, but you can spend the extra time the computation and settling takes to ignore the screen and listen.

So it could be a net gain.


DC

Dictionary says that "Timbre depends on the relative strengths of the components of different frequencies, which are determined by resonance".
Old 12th November 2009
  #83
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward_Vinatea View Post
Bob, sorry for disagreeing. We are not talking some cheap RTA like the freebie that comes with some of the Windows Media Players on PC computers, but the ones that display spectrum with accurate FFT bins or frequency channels. I even find the PAZ analyzer very good for these tasks with its 68 band analysis and resolution in 10 Hz steps to view what's going on with bass frequencies. Thus, no "set up" time is required. Bear in mind that if someone is mixing with poor response speaker monitors, they are going to produce that type of mixes you are trying to fix on your mastering session. So, by advising users to look at a good RTA, there is no need to hum a note to oneself, turn a keyboard on and then look at a chart. RTA's do that more accurately and so much more. I am writing that book :-)

Regards,
I NEVER use a spectrum analyzer to tell me "what's going on" in terms of 'how much to EQ", not in any way. That's for the ear. If you want to find out the frequency of a bass note that you already know (by ear) is standing out too much, and you want to use an FFT to find it, you're going to need 3 Hz resolution or better because whole steps in the low bass octaves are less than 5 Hz apart, some half steps as little as 3 Hz apart! Fortunately, the bass player rarely plays accidentals, but it does happen. We can have dueling ears vs. FFT anytime you'd like.
Old 12th November 2009
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
Bob,

a point of interest re: the video. No mention was made of which octave, or the relevance of harmonic overtones.
Right you are and I intentionally did not try to settle that issue in the video. But if you have the ears, you can usually tell whether it's the 62 Hz fundamental or the 124 Hz harmonic that's giving the problem, or even both. And if you have to be within 5 Hz of the desired frequency for your narrow-band correction, then you can find this note out far more quickly by playing a keyboard than by sweeping an EQ. The jury is still out on whether an FFT can do this as quickly. By my experience, it's a lot more difficult and slower than Edward makes it out to be. Next time he runs into a one-note-bass issue, I'd like to hear him report the speed of his success.

If people get the picture that I'm somehow always running up to the Carnegie Chart in the middle of a session, or playing a keyboard, they're dead wrong. What I demonstrated was an interesting method of solving a problem faster than the other traditional methods. Sweeping an equalizer is not so easy when you have a traveling bass line, only one note stands out and it goes by faster than you can turn the knob to find it.
Old 12th November 2009
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbreman View Post
Dictionary says that "Timbre depends on the relative strengths of the components of different frequencies, which are determined by resonance".
Exactly. These components are the harmonics.

Unfortunately, it's just another de-construction of the argument that a chart of fundamental frequencies of individual instruments is going to be any help in mastering.

But you knew that already.


DC
Old 12th November 2009
  #86
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EXTREME OT GEEKERY : Perfect vs. Relative Pitch blurb

Sorry for the long OT - it's a bit nerdy, but I thought it might be appreciated. I've read about this topic in a few books, but most notably The Singing Neanderthals by Steven Mithen. I highly recommend reading this book if you're into well-written and entertaining non-fictional case studies and theories on the genesis of human language - and our unique sense of music.

Quote:
The potential for perfect pitch may well be genetic but it is still learned in terms of correlating it with standard pitches which, of course, are arbitrarily agreed upon by our "culture"; not to mention that "concert pitch" has changed over the years. Also, there are courses where "perfect pitch" can be learned. In any case, as far as I can tell, Bob was using the term accurately.
Quote:
Are you sure you're not speaking of relative pitch?
Quote:
Yes. Perfect pitch is probably genetic, and doesn't necessarily indicate musical giftedness. Relative pitch is learned, and for practical purposes, much more useful.
There have been many case studies on people who exhibit perfect pitch, those who learn relative pitch, and those who lack any sense of pitch - in adults as well as infants. There is strong evidence that most humans are actually born with perfect pitch, and it is "unlearned." Children who start some form of music early in life have a much higher chance to retain their perfect pitch. Those who learn music after a critical period in childhood must retrain their brain to acknowledge differences in pitch, and are therefore relying more on relative pitch.

The terms "perfect" and "relative" are misleading, however, because "perfect pitch" itself is relative - some people "tune" more sharp, some more flat (their brain/ear prefers one over the other) - but in either case, all perceived notes are in perfect correlation. In other words, two people with proven "perfect pitch" sing a scale - both scales collectively may be off from each other by a few cents, but each note of both scales will be off the other by the same cent value, depending on each person's leaning. (It's even a bit more complicated than that: in most cases, the cent value difference isn't linear throughout the hearing range - people tend to sway further toward sharp or flat the higher/lower the pitch. I believe there are more "sharps" out there than "flats," but I'd have to recheck the studies to be sure).

I can tune a guitar by ear to within a few cents of the correct notes, but I always lean more toward sharp. I just prefer the sound - it seems more "right" to my ear.

Also, Dave Moulton, a friend of mine, made an audio-reference / learning series for training the ear to ascertain frequencies. I haven't actually used it, so I can't speak to its effectiveness... but it's kind of like Bob's example of the 1/3 octave EQ. As for me, I found it effective to practice with a parametric EQ on white and pink noise.

[/geek]
Old 13th November 2009
  #87
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Originally Posted by bass man View Post
Dont agree with this one Lucey . If you don't know how many hertz on the upright bass the B note is you might end up notching the G# and help it a little but kill that lovely bottom end of that fine jazz Trio recording ....
So you look at charts and then set your EQ by looking at the frequencies on the dials? Yikes!

Alistair
Old 13th November 2009
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward_Vinatea View Post
Bob, sorry for disagreeing. We are not talking some cheap RTA like the freebie that comes with some of the Windows Media Players on PC computers, but the ones that display spectrum with accurate FFT bins or frequency channels. I even find the PAZ analyzer very good for these tasks with its 68 band analysis and resolution in 10 Hz steps to view what's going on with bass frequencies.
Hey hey hey! Although I agree with you that using a RTA is more efficient than using a MIDI keyboard to determine a particular frequency, don't knock freebies!

Voxengo SPAN is vastly superior to Waves PAZ and it is free! One cool trick to try with SPAN: Press and hold CTRL on your keyboard and sweep over the RTA window while holding the left mouse button.

Real-time audio spectrum analysis plugin - SPAN - Voxengo

There are a few other free RTA's that IMO all beat SPAN. Someone even had a page somewhere listing them all. Hmmm... Where did that go?

Alistair
Old 13th November 2009
  #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
If you want to find out the frequency of a bass note that you already know (by ear) is standing out too much, and you want to use an FFT to find it, you're going to need 3 Hz resolution or better because whole steps in the low bass octaves are less than 5 Hz apart, some half steps as little as 3 Hz apart!
Voxengo SPAN gives you 1 Hz resolution...

Alistair
Old 13th November 2009
  #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
The jury is still out on whether an FFT can do this as quickly. By my experience, it's a lot more difficult and slower than Edward makes it out to be.
With SPAN you can both use your ears and see! heh

Alistair
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