first post here, though Ive been lurking for a while(!)
I'd really value peoples opinion on/experiences with complimentary eq'ing (for want of a better term)... For the purposes of clarity, I mean when boosting one frequency range, cutting a complimentary 'band' somewhere else.
Do you do it much?
What works for you?
Ozzy, trust your ears. Learning how to EQ things is a NEVER ENDING learning curve. Several times in my career I thot I had finally gotten it, only to discover a few months later I had more to learn. This is what helped me the most: I used to sit and "practice" EQing my favorite CD's with a GML parametric EQ. At first all I did was make something better at the expense of making something else worse. After about a year of this (for about 4-6 hours EVERY day...yeah I know I'm kinda a fanatic nut, but it seemed FUN), I actually started making the entire record better. Well, probably not better, but more like I WANTED IT TO SOUND. How does this relate to your question? Well I could say subtract 100 from the kik and add 100 to the bass, but that would be a miracle if it worked in your case. By learning on a good finished mix, you will see very quickly what the frequencies you are adding and subtracting do. At first, you will add and subtract 2-4 dB before it sounds different, and after a while you will only be adding 1/2-1dB and it will sound drastic. This brings me back to my opening statement. I have seen some of my producers turn eq knobs without even knowing what they are turning. They just listen turn, listen turn, listen turn it back. After about 10 minutes it sounds amazing. I look at the EQ, and to my amazement it is pretty close to what is "right". It ain't the "rocket science" some engineers would lead you to believe. Like I said a million times before it's MUSIC! We are musicians, we KNOW. Experiment, and read the Cliff Diving Thread. Let me know if any of this makes sense.
It all depends on the material but I often find myself cutting for clarity. For example when you have a thick arrangement with a lot of midrange information I often will scoop some of the midrange out of a few tracks to make more room for the vocals.
It's weird. Listen to a thich full sounding string pad solo. It sounds great. Now add some stereo backing vocals and the lead vocal and the strings could begin to mask the vocals, making you push them up, then push the string up etc., which is a never ending cycle.
Now scoop the mids out of the strings and everything comes back into focus. But... when you solo the strings they don't sound as thick and rich anymore. No problem. They won't be solo'ed in the song. As long as they sound good in context.
One trick that engineers do on piano intros is to have a full bodied piano on the intro and then when the other instruments come in thin it out by scooping our rolling of some of it.
Thanks both of you for your advice (and for taking the time to give it to me) - I do appreciate it.
Dave - love the 4 - 6 hours a day eq practice thing. Being a (pretty much ex, now) instrumentalist/lecturer (at music college) who would regularly rack up 40+ hour weeks practice time I relate to that totally.
Obviously an SSL/laptop whatever anyone uses is an instrument like any other, and its musicians that make music on them...
D/L Starting Monday Ive got a year with access to both a neve, and an ssl studio (very happy!!) just for experimentation, so great advice at this point - the practice routine is already worked out.
(+ The cliff diving thread made perfect sense)
On a related note, in the book "Mixing with your Mind" the recommendation (which I now agree with) is "DON'T SWEEP". This goes against what most others recommend (namely, set the EQ to boost, sweep around until it sucks the most, then swap the boost for cut, and voila). The reason you don't want to sweep is because sweeping just clouds up your ears. It certainly clouds mine!
The "DON'T SWEEP" approach means that you have to actually learn the EQ bands, so that you can just know "hey, there's too much 250 going on in the sax track". The author tells how he learned them: he'd sit in the studio with a buddy and they'd play a game: one would mod the EQ some amount and the other would have to guess what the mod was. Practice, and competition, yields pretty good results pretty quickly!
Originally posted by Clueless you have to actually learn the EQ bands, so that you can just know "hey, there's too much 250 going on in the sax track". The author tells how he learned them: he'd sit in the studio with a buddy and they'd play a game: one would mod the EQ some amount and the other would have to guess what the mod was. Practice, and competition, yields pretty good results pretty quickly!