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References points for appropriate Q / Bandwidth of EQ Channel Strips
Old 8th December 2015
  #1
Here for the gear
 

References points for appropriate Q / Bandwidth of EQ

Hi there

I have been visiting this forum for some time now but this is my very first post and I am hoping that a few of you here would be kind enough to provide me with some guidelines regarding the adjustment of the 'Q' control when apply EQ in the mix. Now I fully understand that as with all these type of applications that what is required is specific to the sound source and the particular mix you are working on and that ultimately you have to trust your ears and adjust until it sounds right. However, when developing your knowledge of such things it is always handy to have some guidelines and reference point from those that are more experienced.

I just wondered how wide or narrow you typically tend to make the 'Q' on your EQ on various applications when cutting away a little mud in those low mids and when boosting to add a little presence and definition in the mid range? I am finding that when removing low mids that my Q is typically between 60 - 75 on most sources and when boosting in order to get a bit more presence on say a kick drum, bass guitar or vocals I seem to find I am using a Q of around 180 - 230. I'm just a little concerned that my scoops are too wide and that my boosts are too narrow for these type of applications.

I would be most grateful for any input on this subject and should anyone here be kind enough to provide some screen shots showing some examples of their EQ settings, then that would be fantastic. I just need some type of reference point to check that I am going in the right direction and that my ears are not deceiving me!
Old 8th December 2015
  #2
Hi, good questions!
I won't ask your questions in the way you would expect because each track is so specific and unique and I naively believed in the past it would exist a "guru guide" or a miracle solution with "fixed frequencies" in order to get immediate results when cutting or boosting (though you may have a look at existing hardware eq and see which frequencies are represented..). Fact is you need to train your ears and experiment by yourself on tracks/stems you know well. And if it was too easy... you also need to experiment on different digital plugins eqs because it's a matter of taste and on my opinion some sound far better than other (psp audioware Neon, MDW Massenburg, DMG etc...). You also ask for narrow vs wide but once again I noticed that different EQs have differents behaviors when narrowing or widing Q... Some are smoother, some are chirurgical. What I'm trying to say here is that at the end you and only you will have to take the right decision.
A last reflexion: As time goes by I work more and more without trusting numbers that are displayed on plugins but much whith closing my eyes and trusting my ears.
Old 8th December 2015
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Many thanks for your reply arnoldorodeo.

Your response is kinda what I expected… due to the fact that it is so true!
I think one of the reasons that has made me second guess myself is that I often read time and time again how various engineers tend to apply a wide boost as it sounds more musical etc. Now I know that it is different for every situation due to the reasons you have explained above (and I whole heartily agree with), but regardless of what plug-in EQ i use I alway seem to find any wider than 180 on the Q with a boost of between 1.5 - 4 always sounds too thick to me and dominates the mix and I typically end up with a Q of around 2.00 - 2.30 which I wouldn't consider as 'wide'.
Old 8th December 2015
  #4
Deano, I'm 42 years old and keep on learning on my way to mixing. Music is not an exact science. It's true that we manipulate numbers and frequencies but as I said before you cannot compare eq plugins models because they don't sound the same. That is also why I began buying hardware stuffs:You can push hard by example a 16k freq on a hardware pultec without this "harsh" effect you would get from a pultec plugin.
My personal opinion: I have very good result with Psp Neon for equalizing master bus. I also noticed that if you compose a song without pushing too hard each track when recording (around -14dB) you get a better general sound and then no need to compress too much. And we all know how master compression & eq are deeply implicated in the final result of a mix so ...
One last thing: I have a folder on my desktop with reference tracks (M. Jackson, EW&F, Diana Krall, various amricana artists..) and I think that the most difficult thing when mixing is to take the decision to stop, just rest a bit for 20 minutes, drink a coffee & then coming back to work & compare your work by A/B-ing with reference mixes. We are human beings not robots! You cannot hear everything when working on a mix for 8 hours ! That is why I stopped working on the evening. If your brain is tired you will take bad decisions.
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