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EQ in mastering? Dynamics Plugins
Old 17th November 2009
  #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hilander74 View Post
It seems to me that all BK was saying is that it helps to actually know what you're doing.
41Hz is always 41Hz, it was 41Hz yesterday and will be 41Hz tomorrow.
You're perception of it and how it relates to other frequencies in any given context can alter, even slightly, from day to day.
There's nothing 'unmusical' about the numbers.
Exactly, 41Hz is always 41Hz. G# isn't. Maybe the master was VSO'd 2%.

Hendrix tuned to Eb, etc.

DC
Old 17th November 2009
  #182
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Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
Exactly, 41Hz is always 41Hz. G# isn't. Maybe the master was VSO'd 2%.

Hendrix tuned to Eb, etc.

DC
"Only cowboys stay in tune" - Hendrix
Old 17th November 2009
  #183
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Beyond that unassailable logic is my unassailable laziness; it's hard to imagine taking my hands off the EQ to determine what key we're in, what note in that key is the target, check a chart to convert that note to a frequency, and return to the EQ to set the frequency accordingly, when a simple sweep of the frequency with gain up and Q tight could find it in mere seconds, not to mention more accurately.

This episode of run-on-sentence-of-the-day™ was brought to you by Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale.

I mean... it might not be better, but I'll race ya.

-dave
Old 17th November 2009
  #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave-G View Post
to determine what key we're in, what note in that key is the target, check a chart to convert that note to a frequency
To be fair, if you had a midi / piano keyboard around, referencing to the key wouldn't be necessary. Just hit the note.
You could even ditch the chart altogether and just put stickers with the frequencies on the keys themselves... Makes you wonder why no one has proposed that yet
Old 17th November 2009
  #185
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Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
To be fair, if you had a midi / piano keyboard around, referencing to the key wouldn't be necessary. Just hit the note.
You could even ditch the chart altogether and just put stickers with the frequencies on the keys themselves... Makes you wonder why no one has proposed that yet
I figure I could do it all within several seconds if set up for it.
Old 17th November 2009
  #186
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Originally Posted by dave-G View Post
Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale.
A fine choice. In fact that and the bit about pancakes are the highlights of this thread.
Old 17th November 2009
  #187
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Ok so, I got two questions.

What I have to improve/change to get the track less ear-ache? I'm feeling that when I'm listening to it on high levels and on long times.
Also how to get less congestion on the instruments? I try it on the mix with EQ and with the PAN but.. you know

(Sorry about my bad english)
Old 17th November 2009
  #188
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If it's true that critical bandwidth varies between 1/6 and 1/3 octave, then assuming one tunes to A 440 (which is likely the majority of recordings) that knowing the note will put you on the money whereas using your ear alone only gets you within the critical bandwidth for that frequency?

Granted that not all frequency problems are note based, but when they are this skill can be handy in addition to basic frequency recognition.
Old 17th November 2009
  #189
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Originally Posted by macc View Post
A fine choice.
I prefer something like a Franziskaner myself, but I'll take your word for it that Samuel Smith makes a good one too!
Old 17th November 2009
  #190
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Originally Posted by Peakly View Post
I prefer something like a Franziskaner myself, but I'll take your word for it that Samuel Smith makes a good one too!
Fine ales and snacks could be Bobs second business....thumbsup
Old 17th November 2009
  #191
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Originally Posted by Peakly View Post
I prefer something like a Franziskaner myself, but I'll take your word for it that Samuel Smith makes a good one too!
Franziskaner is suuuuuperb - different thing though being a Weissbier.

I remember drinking 2 Franziskaners in an Alpine restaurant for my 30th birthday, then snowboarding down the mountain with Kind of Blue on my mp3 player. THAT is the life
Old 17th November 2009
  #192
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Originally Posted by macc View Post
Franziskaner is suuuuuperb - different thing though being a Weissbier.

I remember drinking 2 Franziskaners in an Alpine restaurant for my 30th birthday, then snowboarding down the mountain with Kind of Blue on my mp3 player. THAT is the life
Hitting the white beer and then the pistes... aaaahhh.... This thread has taken a turn for the better.

Alistair
Old 18th November 2009
  #193
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Originally Posted by macc View Post
I remember drinking 2 Franziskaners in an Alpine restaurant for my 30th birthday, then snowboarding down the mountain with Kind of Blue on my mp3 player. THAT is the life
That is the life!
Old 18th November 2009
  #194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
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.
I think both using your sense of pitch & the chart is a valid way as well as using a RTA. It depends on which way you are more comfortable and which way it is faster for you.

I don't think you need that high of a resolution RTA because you can fine-tune by ear and many of these annoying resonances actually have a bandwidth that is wider than one pitch and are best handled with a lower-Q setting.
Old 18th November 2009
  #195
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Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
If your mastering engineer stops playback, gets up to consult his chart or starts humming or plinking a tuning fork, personally I would run from the room.


DC
hahaha!
Old 18th November 2009
  #196
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
No, but you do think, on a regular basis: "There's a resonance at 400 Hz." Or "It seems to be lacking something in the 5K region". Or you wouldn't be a mastering engineer.

Now think back to being a musician and knowing nothing about frequencies. How did you connect the dots? How did you get from here to there? Of course it's all about connection NOW, but put yourself back in that time.....

In the beginning it HAD TO BE intellectual, for the beginner has to start somewhere. The "internalizing" that you refer to is what musicians call "muscle memory". The equalizer is your musical instrument and after at least 10,000 hours of practice you are considered an expert. Your ear-to brain-to hand coordination has become so intuitive that you don't even realize what you're thinking internally; that's when "muscle memory" takes over.

It has to be intellectual for the beginner. When it becomes muscle memory it ceases to be intellectual. Don't argue with aids that help the beginner get his feet on the ground. You paid your dues as a musician by practicing and you had to start somewhere. You pay your dues as a mastering engineer by practicing, and having some theory to back up your understanding is the important beginning intellectual connection to a lifetime of success as a practicing mastering engineer.

Talking about how we learn and learning how to teach are also skills and I think I've done a pretty good job of expressing concepts on the printed page that you (or we) may scoff over as practicing engineers----but these concepts have helped thousands of people to understand a job that's been shrouded in mystery for far too long. Words on the page of an educational book, by their nature take on an "intellectual" slant and they have to be studied first, then internalized, and finally become part of second nature. That's how we all advance. Frankly I'm tired of defending your idea that "you're being too intellectual" when TEACHING is the point here. By the time you get past the learning process you learn to live in the moment, you've made your "connections", but everyone has to start somewhere.

You can become a GOOD audio engineer without having any technical knowledge of how the equipment works and the theory. And there are many practicing engineers without any technical knowledge at all. But I don't think you can become a GREAT audio engineer without also understanding some of the important theory behind the equipment. We can argue that point, but no one that I know discounts the importance of education.

When you argue against the ideas presented here, you're not being anti-intellectual, you're being anti-education.

Do you learn more from a book or from an apprenticeship? Answer: Irrelevant. You have to have both! Can you teach yourself how to mix and master? Answer: You may be able to, but end up with some very strong gaps in your knowledge. School is important. Practice is even more important. And I'm still learning. How about you?
kudos, in a way

The Carnegie Chart is not going to harm anyone or make them a less-qualified engineer. It provides information that, for some, can make the lightbulbs flash as it can help a newcomer correlate information. Then again, it may not do that much for another newbie.

Personally I like to see as much information as possible about a master. Meters RTA's and other analysis tools give information and it is never bad to know more about what you are dealing with. This is most especialy true for the mastering student as long as long learn to trust no tool completely and trust their ears above everything else.

So Bob, I support you on the Carneghie Chart but have to support Edward_Vinatea on what he said about the use of RTA's.

Mastering engineers of your ability have earned the right to use any method that works for you - and no one can really say that is incorrect. You made good points about students needing theory and apprenticeship, and initially things will "click" for them that fall outside of your norm.

Take Care
Old 18th November 2009
  #197
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Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
If your mastering engineer stops playback, gets up to consult his chart or starts humming or plinking a tuning fork, personally I would run from the room.


DC
Agreed, but on the other hand if an ME can tell me the key of a song or name of a resonant note that needs a little reduction without any tools or sweeping an EQ I wouldn't be going anywhere.
Old 18th November 2009
  #198
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Originally Posted by Superdisc View Post
Personally I like to see as much information as possible about a master. Meters RTA's and other analysis tools give information and it is never bad to know more about what you are dealing with. This is most especialy true for the mastering student as long as long as they learn to trust no tool completely and trust their ears above everything else.
"I like to see" - preference
"never bad" - speculation
"especially true" - preference and speculation
"as long as they learn to trust their ears above everything else ...." - wildly optimistic

What do you think about listening first, most and always? Close your eyes even.

It would take a little longer to work blind, but I work in the dark for a reason ... to see less and hear more. There is only so much brain power to go around and the more we look the less we hear. If the room needs a RTA then something is wrong. Those are for live music, in a new venue per night, not your mastering room.
Old 18th November 2009
  #199
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Originally Posted by lucey View Post
There is only so much brain power to go around ...
Hey, speak for yourself.

sorry, jes kiddin'.

seriously though, interesting post.
Old 18th November 2009
  #200
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Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
Hey, speak for yourself.

sorry, jes kiddin'.
(insert smiley here)
Old 18th November 2009
  #201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
(insert smiley here)
Old 18th November 2009
  #202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward_Vinatea View Post
The stakes are high. Careers threatened. Three methods:

1) Expensive monitors + acoustically treated rooms and 30+ yrs of listening experience.
2) A note hum {on key} a midi-keyboard, and a chart.
3) An itsy-bitsy RTA software you can download from the web FREE.

And the winner is....................
Enjoyed reading this thread tonight and learned a lot, even with all the distractions of the disagreement over which approach is best. Not sure there is one, they're all just different tools. As my dad would say "different ways to skin the pig". (gotta love forums )

In my case, I've used the "listen first", the "sine sweep" and the "watch the spectrum analyzer" methods. All have been useful. Was glad to see Bob's video tonight about the MIDI keyboard method. One more tool in my belt. The other methods are good but I've also had to deal with that "one note" that really sticks out yet only happens once every few measures, and so fast it's hard to see the analyzer or to track it down with a sine sweep.

One problem I've found with the sine sweep method, if this makes any sense, is it kinda messes with my internal target for the mix. I have this idea of what I want to hit. I hear a "one note bass" problem. As I go hunting for it, using a sine sweep, typically I'll boost to find the the problem area, then cut after I've found it. When I'm done, after hearing all that pumped up bass, it seem I've lost some track of what I wanted to hit. It would be nice just to identify the troublesome note, match it to a key and knock it down in one shot.

One refinement I thought of was to to simply pump the MIDI to the spectrum analyzer so I don't need a chart. When I find the key (hunt/peck here, no perfect pitch) that matches the note, I can just look at the analyzer to give me a pretty good idea of where to adjust.

..ant
Old 18th November 2009
  #203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antstudio View Post
One refinement I thought of was to to simply pump the MIDI to the spectrum analyzer so I don't need a chart. When I find the key (hunt/peck here, no perfect pitch) that matches the note, I can just look at the analyzer to give me a pretty good idea of where to adjust.
I shall repeat my revolutionary idea (I really should get this patented):

Stickers with frequencies markings on a small casio keyboard, saves you both the chart as well as the analyzer.

Quote:
I've also had to deal with that "one note" that really sticks out yet only happens once every few measures, and so fast it's hard to see the analyzer or to track it down with a sine sweep.
Bob mentioned this as a contra sweeping argument as well, but I don't get it. If the problem is a rare occurrence, I just make a quick region loop. Only takes 2 clicks in Wavelab. Maybe that's more of an issue if you have a couch type setup or if the keyboard & screens are on the side and not in front.

Quote:
One problem I've found with the sine sweep method, if this makes any sense, is it kinda messes with my internal target for the mix. I have this idea of what I want to hit. I hear a "one note bass" problem. As I go hunting for it, using a sine sweep, typically I'll boost to find the the problem area, then cut after I've found it. When I'm done, after hearing all that pumped up bass, it seem I've lost some track of what I wanted to hit.
Good point. But playing a note on a keyboard, to me, seems as much of a distraction as a sweep. A way of countering such listening disorientation would be to just bypass the EQ band after finding the frequency and give the ear a bit of time to adjust before making the cut.
Old 18th November 2009
  #204
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How about just sweeping a notch rather than a peak?

BTW, I personally can't make out _useful_ EQ changes on an RTA. "Correct" modifications to EQ, even when mixing, are so subtle no RTA I'm aware of can resolve them usefully.

The only thing I find RTAs useful for is seeing something going on below 30HZ or above 15KHz or so (I hear 17KHz fine btw ). Like DC rumble (no pun intended) or weird whines up high from bad gear that show up as constant spikes. You can usually hear that on a full range system but it can be nice to see it instantly.

But everything from 50Hz-15KHz either you don't need an RTA to observe or you won't find any use from one, no matter how fine the FFT window or fancy the ballistics. And if you can, why have you spent so much time training your eyes?
Old 18th November 2009
  #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spicemix View Post
BTW, I personally can't make out _useful_ EQ changes on an RTA. "Correct" modifications to EQ, even when mixing, are so subtle no RTA I'm aware of can resolve them usefully.
Spicemix, don't try to use RTA's to give you details on sound texture. You can't use these tools to 'see' harshness, distortion, grating or screeching sounds in mixes or even individual sounds. However, if you pay close attention at the overall harmonic balance of the signal being analyzed, you could see that higher amplitudes at the mid range bands usually correlate to that harsh, grated, coarse sound you hear in some mixes, and as the balance tilts towards more mid-hi's and top end, you can hear the correlation to those metallic, thin sounding mixes and so on. Similar correlations happen with bass frequency bands, but I 'll skip that.

Having said all that, don't think of RTA's in terms of being speaker monitors or a replacement for focused, critical listening. Accurate speakers and critical listening trump over any RTA for a simple reason, some of the transient peaks you observe on RTA's are simply the by-product of the accumulation of frequency bursts coming from many sub-harmonic frequencies within the music or audio. Most often than not, they can not be described in terms of music notation. It is what it is. The large majority of them are intermittent and some of them are constant. Those that are constant are the ones to watch out for, and if you address these harmonic imbalances, I guarantee your mix will sound more polished than the next. Example: BK's bass note issue was IMHO, constant not intermittent.

How many ME's are willing to go the extra mile to make sure everything sounds 'on point' on all systems? Many I am sure, but the good ones have years upon years of experience and they could hear such anomalies at the flip of a dime. The RTA {the accurate ones} can help you close that gap. It's a fast way to learn and to understand primarily the fine art of sound design and mixing, and also to some extent, of mastering. Keep in mind that IF your mixing is 'perfect', your mastering should be at around +/- one dB adjustment to either the top and/or the bottom, or better yet, nothing done at all. One final point, if you start studying frequency analysis, stick to one real good RTA as going from RTA to RTA is confusing and IMO, an ineffective way to learn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by antstudio View Post
One refinement I thought of was to to simply pump the MIDI to the spectrum analyzer so I don't need a chart. When I find the key (hunt/peck here, no perfect pitch) that matches the note, I can just look at the analyzer to give me a pretty good idea of where to adjust.
I would love to develop the RTA that has the FFT bins centered at those midi-note frequencies in that chart. That is, I'd like to design its interface and expand its utility. This would probably be the best of both worlds: BK's and mine.
Old 18th November 2009
  #206
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This really is the bottom line.

As to the overly resonant bass note, don't even think of a number (or frequency).

You hear the sound you want to adjust,

reach for the correct knob on the appropriate equalizer,

cut a dB or two, adjust the Q a click,

and you're done, move on.

The only reason we use the numbers is for documentation.

It's the direct connection to your gear, monitoring and room that counts,

an intuitive sense, without a lot of thinking and analyzing.

Just go for the sound, with no barriers in between.

JT
Old 18th November 2009
  #207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
I think this is the bottom line.
As to the overly resonant bass note, how about not even thinking of a number (or frequency).
You hear the sound you want to adjust,
reach for the correct knob on the appropriate equalizer,
cut a dB or two, adjust the Q a click,
and you're done, move on.
The only reason we use the numbers is for documentation.
It's the direct connection to your gear, monitoring and room that counts,
an intuitive sense, without a lot of thinking and analyzing.
Just go for the sound, with no barriers in between.

JT
Agreed. However, BK's concepts and/or my position on RTA's are not for guys like you and there is a lot of unnecessary noise being made by some of those who profess the trade. You are at the top of the food chain, this is more for bottom dwellers a-k-a amateurs and beginners, maybe even some intermediate level engineers. Can BK master without a chart? I am sure he can. Can I? Sure, but I still like to occasionally glance at the RTA just to make sure that all that good sound is correlating to the visual display. I have developed such a 'visual-memory', the RTA is mainly on for a little peace of mind :-)
Old 18th November 2009
  #208
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In addition to not thinking of frequency numbers,

I should also add, not thinking of deciBels, voltage or electronic circuitry either.

Just you, the sound, your gear, monitoring, and room... and a touch of musical sensitivity.

That's it, as pure of a connection as is possible.

JT
Old 18th November 2009
  #209
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don't over-think or over-analyze...

just listen...

make adjustments...

listen again...

fine tune if needed...

print it...

move on to the next tune...

One of the best engineers in these parts is blind.

Computers are useless to him.

He doesn't read the internet forums.

He listens...

JT
Old 18th November 2009
  #210
Elk
Gear Nut
 

Fully agreed.

However one still needs to translate that pure connection into a physical act, such as grabbing the appropriate 1/3 octave EQ fader.

Even if there is no frequency label one still must decide on which one to move.

The necessary transition from connection to action is accomplished in different ways by different people; knowing how notes translate to Hz, an RTA, trial and error, sweeping, etc.

Once you can easily correlate what you hear with what you need to change to make it sound better you may get to the point you don't need any of these tools and just act.

I'm not there yet.
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