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EQ: Carving Out a Place For Everything
Old 24th January 2007
  #1
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camerondye's Avatar
 

EQ: Carving Out a Place For Everything

Does anybody know of any books or resources to help me get better at carving out spaces for everything using eq? I definitely get the idea of it, but I feel like I am going about it wrong and definitely not getting the results I believe I should be getting.
Thanks,
Cameron
Old 24th January 2007
  #2
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kyle barton's Avatar
 

the "art of mixing" by david gibson was a good read for me

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Mixing-Rec...e=UTF8&s=books
Old 25th January 2007
  #3
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six_wax's Avatar
 

Not the answer you're looking for, but...

Just listen & practice. Alot.
Old 25th January 2007
  #4
Gear Nut
 

well, there are two books that i've been using as my basic resources:

1) "Studio Recording Procedures" by Mike Shea. This sizeable volume covers damn near everything about recording. A solid, solid reference. (of course includes section on eq)

2) "Mixing With Your Mind" by Michael P. Stavrou. People kept raving about this book and i was lucky enough to get a copy. The raves were warranted. A great read and his approach to eq was very smart indeed.

i'll go ahead and mention one of the things he had to say about finding the right eq because it was really smart and he kept emphasizing it: Don't sweep the eq to find your desired frequency. He recommends listening to the track and imagining how you want it to sound and then taking your best guess. Stop the track. Dial in the frequency that you think you want to boost (or attenuate) and then do a quick A/B. You'll be able to tell in a second or two whether or not you got it right. Stop the track. Try again. Don't sweep the eq.

The reason he recommends this stop/start A/B method is because the human ear and mind adapts so quickly to changes in frequency that the "sweep til you find it" technique actually desensitizes your ability to distinguish changes. A/Bing things keeps your ears fresh and sharp and trains you to recognize the actual tone of certain frequencies much in the same way that singers can develop perfect (or relative) pitch.

i don't put it as well as he does and he has much more to say on the matter but i really liked that bit of advice.

Great book. Had to order direct from the author and have it shipped from Australia.
Old 25th January 2007
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

I used to eq like crazy to carve out spaces for everything, but after a while I found out I really very rarely need to. My mixes started sounding better the moment I started to eq only when I really really need to. Especially the low mid-range is critical. I used to remove to much there, and when I listen back now my old mixes sound very thin.

But, these are the opinions of a non-professional. My trade is writing songs, and I only record and mix because I have to (and because it´s a lot of fun...)

Old 25th January 2007
  #6
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i just take tracks individually, slap a frequency analyzer on it, and listen through...MANY times. Watch, and listen....then do it again.

You can pretty much find what it is you wanna keep, what is too strong, what is too weak, and what you absolutely must not change to keep an instrument's character by looking/listening.

Don't go scooping 250/500/1khz on everything just cuz you want that vocal to sit nicely. It's all about balance and subtlety.
Old 25th January 2007
  #7
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camerondye's Avatar
 

What is a good inexpensive VST Frequency Analyzer? I know I am falling into the newbie pitfalls of doing too much, that is definitely one thing I try to keep on my mind. The mixing with your mind book is unfortunately about $90 to get to me, I still may consider it...who knows. Thanks for all the help...
Cameron
Old 27th January 2007
  #8
Who is it that made that frequency analyzer SPAN? Voxengo?

Seems like it's good, but free.
Old 27th January 2007
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by glitch View Post
Who is it that made that frequency analyzer SPAN? Voxengo?

Seems like it's good, but free.


Nice plug, best most used free plug I have on my machine.
Old 27th January 2007
  #10
TYY
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EQ carving has its place, but the best way to accomplish the task is really in the arranging phase and in tracking. Choosing guitar tones, mic placement will define where tracks sit, and it takes very aggresive mixing to change some of these things.
Old 27th January 2007
  #11
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EXACTLY.

The idea is at the very least overplayed...

you don't need to "carve" anything with EQ.

a properly ARRANGED record has all the clarity it needs.

Each instrument can then be heard in its full range (as it should be) and they won't fight each other.
Old 28th January 2007
  #12
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u b k's Avatar
 

faders are the new eq. actually, they're the old eq, but something went awry in the 80's and if you only listened to radio you'd think things were still awry.

but they're not. here's the most counterintuitive thing i know about balances: if you're bringing in an element, and you can't hear the element clearly, and you can't hear the rest of the mix clearly, you probably need to make the element louder. *maybe* a cut in the low-mids or mids well, but keep pushing that fader.

no, really, keep pushing it. you'd be surprised how far you gotta push it, then *pop*, it's in it's own space and everything behind it is clearer as well.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 28th January 2007
  #13
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BradM's Avatar
Here's going a step further. The mute button is my new EQ. What can I say...I'm a sucker for instant gratification. If the element I'm trying to fit in the mix is really putting up a fight and I've twiddled and twisted the the EQ knobs until my fingers are sore then usually it just means that element was not destined to be a part of the mix in the way I thought it was. Often the mute button is the proper solution. If this is indeed the case then defer to Mr. Whitman's post about arrangements.

Brad
Old 28th January 2007
  #14
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(DC)'s Avatar
 

I am sorry I can't refer you to a good book, but I can offer my opinion and advice to you. Carving out a space using EQ for all the sounds would be an interesting way to mix, but it sounds a bit too unrealistic to me. Sometimes it sounds good when instruments fight for space in the mix. Honestly, a lot of that comes down to the tastes of the engineer and the style of music being played. I won't argue with the fact that instruments in the lower frequency sound "muddy" if not properly eq'ed for their own space (kick and bass for example). I find with sounds of a higher frequency, it is easier to keep them as they are. So if you can focus on keeping the lower spectrum of your mix more properly defined by EQ, you can make the rest of the mix stand out tremendously more. Remember, you always build with what you feel would translate best.
Old 28th January 2007
  #15
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

I think sometimes you have to choose a couple of elements to be dominant, and let the others recede. A mix where everything is exactly equal is boring. If you're recording your own stuff, you need to find those hook licks and lines and feature them. If you don't, you'll just have a wall of sound that doesn't say anything. The new Beatles remix CD 'Love' is a good example of mixes deconstructed. Some songs just feature a few key elements of the original mixes, and you see how a song can be built around one or two key parts, and how all the other parts are superfluous.
Old 28th January 2007
  #16
TYY
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Just to add, the only EQ carving I do is between the kick and bass guitar. I think that is something that is frequently needed in mixing rock/pop music.
Old 28th January 2007
  #17
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I think that the challenge of mixing is the ying-yang of 'seperation' and 'glue'. There are many ways to achieve this and like others have said here arranging is the most important one. But it's not the only one and why should enhancing the sonics with EQ be better or worse that say using compression or reverb?
Old 28th January 2007
  #18
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DirkB's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
faders are the new eq. actually, they're the old eq, .

Couldn't agree more.

In fact, I hardly carve out anything, not even on bassdrums. A little low-mid dip here and there, a little mid boost (600-900Hz ) here and there and sometimes I might do a deep narrow cut on a snare somewhere or in the nasal part of the vocal.

But really, cover all meters, don't look at numbers and push faders up and down.
During mixing, I switch off the LCD screen, dim the lights and just move faders up and down. When I have a tricky part, I switch to mono on one speaker and try to balance from there. If that doesn't do it completely, I might increase or decrease the compression.
If it really it's an eq thing, it's most of the time very obvious and I change it as soon as I hear it.

Good luck,
Dirk
Old 28th January 2007
  #19
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My favorite is the Mixing Engineer's Handbook, written by Bob Owsinski.

You are targeting an important thing within mixing. A good place to start is to learn how and when to use pass filters. Pass filters are very easily misused.

A good rule is to not carve when you don't need to as well as record different sound sources in different frequency ranges.
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