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A question about ITB eq. Equalizer Plugins
Old 19th May 2004
  #1
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A question about ITB eq.

Ok, so after alot of reading I have conluding that adding eq ITB is not the best answer and can cauze you to get a harsh highend sound. What about taking away eq ITB? Is that a safe route? Or will it dramatically effect the quality of the sound?
Old 19th May 2004
  #2
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Some people say the cutting EQ in the analog world is better then boosting, but i'm not sure if there's anything more to this then personal preference.....in the digital domain, i think this is also not the case......for example, say you wanted to hi-shelf +6dB @ 5k.......= harsh.......so you try lo-shelving down 6dB @ 5k, then boost the whole track by 6dB.....i think it would probably sound the same......
Old 19th May 2004
  #3
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Charles Dye's Avatar
 

TheReal7,

I'm curious, what were your sources for that conclusion? I really couldn't disagree more. For me, I EQ itb every single day. There are without a doubt harsh sounding EQ plug-ins, but there absolutely are others that are incredible sounding.

Please, I don't want you to take this in the wrong way, I'm really not trying to be a smartass and you may have simply not mentioned it, but your post does beg this question. You said, that after a lot of reading you concluded this, but I'm really curious to know what your ears tell you? Have you been experiencing this on your system? I'd also be interested in hearing what EQ plug-ins have you had the opportunity to try out?

It smells like this thread could be a breath away from an analog v. digital debate, which @ this point isn't even a debate @ all. Either you're on one side or the other + you ain't gonna budge. No amount of web pontification will sway you. If it would be at all possible I'd love to suggest (to everyone, not just you TheReal7) that instead of blanket criticism of digital EQs, we could more constructively discuss specific plug-ins and your opinions + preferences. I always love a good debate, especially one I may learn from.

Just a thought.
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Old 19th May 2004
  #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Dye
It smells like this thread could be a breath away from an analog v. digital debate, which @ this point isn't even a debate @ all. Either you're on one side or the other + you ain't gonna budge. No amount of web pontification will sway you. If it would be at all possible I'd love to suggest (to everyone, not just you TheReal7) that instead of blanket criticism of digital EQs, we could more constructively discuss specific plug-ins and your opinions + preferences. I always love a good debate, especially one I may learn from.

Just a thought.
I'm actually swindling in the middle.....I love both.

I've also found that harsh sounding eq's isn't just a digital issue...there's plenty of analog eq's that can sound harsh. Dare I say the B word?

I agree that a discussion of different plug-in EQ's would be great for everyone on here.....
Old 20th May 2004
  #5
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Thanks for the responses. I don't have access to many plugs, exept for the Waves Parametric EQ and Digiracks. I am very new to all this. I use Protools LE. My original reason for posting this topic was to learn how adding EQ vs Subtracting EQ in a digital world compairs to analog EQing. I try my best to get the sound right on the way in and in my recordings as of late I have been very successful with that. I am at point where I am using waves eq almost exclusively for HPF and LPF. I do agree this could be a good debate and learn lots from it. I was just trying to get a better understanding on how digital EQ is vs analog and what are the do's and don'ts.

Thanks
~Scott
Old 20th May 2004
  #6
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Has anyone else here checked out the PSP MasterQ plugin? I've been using it for a few months now in my little home studio and I think it sounds really nice although it's a bit heavy on the cpu. My experience with eqs is pretty much limited to various vst plugin demos though so my opinion doesn't mean much.

The way I understand the boost vs. cut issue is that it's simply about phase. Cutting and boosting both mess with the phase of your track but if you cut you're turning down the frequencies that are getting this phase shift rather than turning them up. So if this doesn't matter to you or if you like the effect of the phase shift then don't worry about it.

Of course if your source is harsh then the ITB eq may sound harsh simply because you're emphasizing deficiencies somewhere else in your signal path (such as the high-end on your converters).
Old 20th May 2004
  #7
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If you boost the eq of an audio track in your DAW which is already close to 0dbFS, you are likely clipping that audio. Yes, that WILL sound harsh, but it's not the box's fault. That is a symptom of improper gain staging.

A lot of (if not most of) the analog tape aficianados who complained about the "digital" sound, or "that PT sound" or "that ITB sound" were simply clipping their audio, because they were treating gain-staging in digital just as they were used to doing in analog.

Hence the "harshness" of ITB EQing which you've been "reading" about.

It's not about the box. It's about proper gain staging.

First off, don't record to digital with the levels riding right up against the 0db line - if you do you may be clipping even if the red clip indicator doesn't light up (Nika wrote a white paper about this). Leave some headroom.

Second, if you do need to boost eq, and it sounds harsh (clipping), reduce the input gain to the eq plugin.

And third, as has been stated, subtractive eq is almost always better than additive eq.

Happy hunting.
Old 20th May 2004
  #8
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant
If you boost the eq of an audio track in your DAW which is already close to 0dbFS, you are likely clipping that audio. Yes, that WILL sound harsh, but it's not the box's fault. That is a symptom of improper gain staging.

A lot of (if not most of) the analog tape aficianados who complained about the "digital" sound, or "that PT sound" or "that ITB sound" were simply clipping their audio, because they were treating gain-staging in digital just as they were used to doing in analog.

Hence the "harshness" of ITB EQing which you've been "reading" about.

It's not about the box. It's about proper gain staging.

First off, don't record to digital with the levels riding right up against the 0db line - if you do you may be clipping even if the red clip indicator doesn't light up (Nika wrote a white paper about this). Leave some headroom.

Second, if you do need to boost eq, and it sounds harsh (clipping), reduce the input gain to the eq plugin.

And third, as has been stated, subtractive eq is almost always better than additive eq.

Happy hunting.
Thank you Eric. I now have a good understanding of EQing in DAW. I don;t think I personally have experienced the 'harshness' but after reading here and there, thought maybe I was missing something. Now that I understand it. I will know what to do and not to do.
Old 20th May 2004
  #9
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While some EQ plugins can be harsh/grainy (Digirack), I find, over all, the plugins I use (Filterbank, Waves) are more polite and smooth than the analog EQ's I have (Amek, Lang). Sometimes I like the edgyness of the Digi EQ - I use it often. I've tried swapping plugin for hardware many times, and have discovered a couple of things (for me at least):

If it sounds good/is well recorded, plugin EQ is great. If it was recorded poorly and needs to be cranked on, analog EQ works better. Drastic measures to get a pleasing result work better in analog (drastic measures to get a weird result/f*@k something up, work great in digital. There are some seriously crazy plugins out there for weirdness!)

Analog EQ seems to have more "hair" and "balls" than digital EQ (sorry to conjure up that image). If those qualities were captured on the way in (which is what we all try to do anyway, right?), then gentle nudging/filtering works great in the box. I've received tracks to mix that needed so much help, I just ran everything back through my console and re-recorded the results - then mixed in the box.

After confering with several other engineers who make hits, they all agreed.


Of course, as always, YMMV.
Old 20th May 2004
  #10
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One of the main things analog EQs have over plugins is the ability to tweak 2 controls at the same time...

...for example, when I'm EQ'ing sub bass......once i've decided which frequency i want to EQ (45hz for arguments sake)....i can then grab the gain and the Q and twist them at the same time......for me this is crucial for hitting just the right spot...the right balance of gain and width..

...ok, could do it with the mouse, but it's tedious and non intuitive......i guess you can do this also on ProControl or some other controller, but it doesn't feel as direct as just grabbing a knob and yanking..........hand follows thought....direct...

...i also think analog EQ encourages you to try more extreme settings....where-as with a plugin, you're always scared to yank the knob (mouse) recklessly for fear of exploding your monitoring....
Old 21st May 2004
  #11
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One thing that has help me with ITB eq (not that my mixes are great, tho) is picking a good eq plug and using as a first choice when eq'ing. This kind of forces you to get really familiar with the plug, and you end up getting better results without as much tweaking.
I think you also end up looking less at the screen controls and graph, and use your ears more.
Old 21st May 2004
  #12
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
posted by Dave B:
One thing that has help me with ITB eq (not that my mixes are great, tho) is picking a good eq plug and using as a first choice when eq'ing. This kind of forces you to get really familiar with the plug, and you end up getting better results without as much tweaking.
That's pretty good advice.

You know which EQ plugin I use the most by far? Not joking: the DigiRack 1-Band EQ. Not that I don't use others (LOVE the BF Pultec EQP-1A, fer instance). But the overwhelming majority of EQ fixes in my mixes require simply:
1) A lo-shelf cut,
2) a hi-shelf cut, or
3) a few dB boost or cut at one frequency.

If I need more than that, yeah, I'll break out the 4-band parametric jimmy joints.

Or re-cut the track.
Old 21st May 2004
  #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by juniorhifikit
Analog EQ seems to have more "hair" and "balls" than digital EQ (sorry to conjure up that image). If those qualities were captured on the way in (which is what we all try to do anyway, right?), then gentle nudging/filtering works great in the box. I've received tracks to mix that needed so much help, I just ran everything back through my console and re-recorded the results - then mixed in the box.
after the image is scarred on my retinas without even seeing it....I couldn't agree more.

the area I struggle with the most itb eq wise is adding upper mid "zing" without being thin or harsh and that brings something forward...I would love to hear what works for others...

Im curious to try the URS plugs, I downloaded the demos today.
Old 21st May 2004
  #14
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Waylon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius II
One of the main things analog EQs have over plugins is the ability to tweak 2 controls at the same time...

...for example, when I'm EQ'ing sub bass......once i've decided which frequency i want to EQ (45hz for arguments sake)....i can then grab the gain and the Q and twist them at the same time......for me this is crucial for hitting just the right spot...the right balance of gain and width..

...ok, could do it with the mouse, but it's tedious and non intuitive......i guess you can do this also on ProControl or some other controller, but it doesn't feel as direct as just grabbing a knob and yanking..........hand follows thought....direct...

...i also think analog EQ encourages you to try more extreme settings....where-as with a plugin, you're always scared to yank the knob (mouse) recklessly for fear of exploding your monitoring....

TRANSLATION : "I dont have and or am not used to a full featured control surface for my DAW, and therefore, analog is better to use.

No offense, but your specific workflow has NOTHING to do with te original questin, which was about the sonic quality of Digital EQ, and weather or not one should boot or cut as a rule...

Speakign of subtractive EQ... for me is has much much less to do with phase than gain staging, good post Curve!
Old 21st May 2004
  #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Waylon
TRANSLATION : "I dont have and or am not used to a full featured control surface for my DAW, and therefore, analog is better to use.

How do you know this?.....how do you know what experience i have using what?

Quote:
Originally posted by Waylon

No offense, but your specific workflow has NOTHING to do with te original questin, which was about the sonic quality of Digital EQ, and weather or not one should boot or cut as a rule...


Look around the forum.....there are plenty of threads that go off on a tangient......don't take it to heart.
Old 21st May 2004
  #16
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As we are about OT stuff;
I tried walnut-wheat bread lately with fumigated hum, gratinated with mozzarella and with herbs from Provence on top.
That combines to killer stuff! thumbsup thumbsup

Seriously, check it out! heh

Ruphus
Old 21st May 2004
  #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Dye
[

Please, I don't want you to take this in the wrong way, I'm really not trying to be a smartass and you may have simply not mentioned it, but your post does beg this question. You said, that after a lot of reading you concluded this, but I'm really curious to know what your ears tell you?
I want to make an OT comment here because I see it so often and, as a moderator known for being well-spoken and clear thinking, I think you should know. "Beg the question" is an idiom which refers to a situation in which a question seems to be answered by some sort of a priori statement leaving the real question unanswered. For example, if I ask why it is that all bachelors don't have wives, and you answer that it's because all bachelors are (by definition) unmarried, then I can say that that "begs the question" as to why they are unmarried. You seem to have answered the question but haven't given me any real information. It has nothing to do with a question "begging to be asked". But believe me, in these newsgroups there's plenty of opportunity to use the idiom in the correct fashion. (Apologies to all for this trivia, and no offense meant)

That said, I think the quality of your digital high end eq will hinge greatly on the quality of the signal itself. I personally still like what the Ren EQ brings to the party, and like the Massenburg for more transparent, surgical uses. All in all, I think less is more, and it's better to cut than boost.

Anybody tried those 1073 and API emulations? I used the demos for a week and was impressed.

-R
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