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200 hz: Friend or foe? Consoles
Old 11th July 2018
  #1
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200 hz: Friend or foe?

Seems like every time I try to compare any mix I'm working on to any pop reference, I ALWAYS want more 200hz in there than the reference shows.

Most of the pop references (also male vocals) are relatively flat there (on 4dB/octave slope). If there is a hump, it's generally more like a slight dip on either side befoer it picks back up to the same level.

Without a hump in that region, though, both the snares and my vocals sound too thin. Yes, the vocals sound quite thin on a lot of those references too, but I'm not particularly fond of the sound.

Am I just trying to put a square peg in a round hole here with the drums dominating the way in they do some old Al Green tunes, and a more natural vocal presentation in an environment that just doesn't value those things, or am I ignoring real world problems like car/desktop/soundbar systems boosting that range to make up for lack of true low end making such a hump painful to listen to?

Anyone else constantly running up against this? What have you settled on, and why?

I've already tried puling the range out of kick/bass, ducking the range for the rest of the mix via snare/vocal, and a variety of other things, but interested to hear how anyone else addresses it if they want to keep the range in control without thinning out male vocals and snares too much.
Old 11th July 2018
  #2
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I love a big pokey 200hz snare spike as well. My problem area seems to be 100-150hz. I try and cut EVERYTHING but the snare at that frequency so it can come through nice and strong without needing to push it's level too much. I would try aggressive static EQ cuts on everything before I would try ducking that frequency with an active EQ or multiband or something, personally.
Old 11th July 2018
  #3
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Usually i want to cut 200...250...400 to get rid of boxy or muddy.
Almost never on "reference" tracks, i have a good playlist )
It is not because of acoustics/room, working at different studios, same behavior.
Old 11th July 2018
  #4
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Maybe it's just a personal thing. Pop vocals nearly always sound thin and over EQ'd to me.

When I hear a track with a huge beefy snare, I always think it sounds good.

None of my systems make it sound boxy, but I don't know that others wouldn't.
Old 11th July 2018
  #5
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I'm with you. Most modern vocals are heavily filtered. Listen to 21 Pilots. It sounds like there's barely anything below 400hz.

If you want to hear a nice somewhat modern fat vocal, listen to Beck's "Sea Change" album. You probably already have, actually.
Old 11th July 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zvukofor View Post
Usually i want to cut 200...250...400 to get rid of boxy or muddy.
Almost never on "reference" tracks, i have a good playlist )
It is not because of acoustics/room, working at different studios, same behavior.
I agree with you with everything but snare. I cut EVERYTHING at 200hz just to make room for the snare, because if I don't, the only way to get the snare to cut through is with pure level, which then puts it "in front" of the vocal and totally f*cks with any buss compression I have going on.
Old 12th July 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnight Oil Audio View Post
I'm with you. Most modern vocals are heavily filtered. Listen to 21 Pilots. It sounds like there's barely anything below 400hz.

If you want to hear a nice somewhat modern fat vocal, listen to Beck's "Sea Change" album. You probably already have, actually.
Can't say I remember which that one is. Will check.

Might be a key thing making it so frustrating at the moment. It's always been an issue, but seems worse at the moment.. It may just be that the key/register has it's strongest fundamental peak for the vocal right on top of the center of the snare sample's meat.
Old 12th July 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ain't Nobody View Post
Without a hump in that region, though, both the snares and my vocals sound too thin.
What are you using for gear? that has a lot to do with the 200hz area. Or atleast the quality of it.
Old 12th July 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
What are you using for gear? that has a lot to do with the 200hz area. Or atleast the quality of it.
I'm ITB. That's why I post a lot of Q's in this particular subforum that aren't necessarily computer related... so folks don't try to interpret them according to whatever analog gear they're using.

It's not just opinion, though. I'm looking at graphs of references vs graphs of my music where I think it sounds right. It's pretty consistent that I have to work to avoid double or even triple (bass) stacking at 200 hz.
Old 12th July 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ain't Nobody View Post
I'm ITB. That's why I post a lot of Q's in this particular subforum that aren't necessarily computer related... so folks don't try to interpret them according to whatever analog gear they're using.

It's not just opinion, though. I'm looking at graphs of references vs graphs of my music where I think it sounds right. It's pretty consistent that I have to work to avoid double or even triple (bass) stacking at 200 hz.
What tracking converters are you using? that matters quite a bit with regards to the quality in the low mid areas. It has nothing to do with ITB or OTB or hybrid mix or whatever.
Old 12th July 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
What tracking converters are you using? that matters quite a bit with regards to the quality in the low mid areas. Obviously preamps matter too.
Vocals are the only thing not sample based. Duet, but it's definitely not a gear issue.
Old 12th July 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zvukofor View Post
.400 to get rid of boxy or muddy.
Almost never on "reference" tracks, i have a good playlist )
It is not because of acoustics/room, working at different studios, same behavior.
Actually, 400 is potentially your warm energetic friend if you let it!
Especially for snare. Depends what your'e after, some people like their snare to sound deep thuddy and kickish.
I like my snares to sound like snares. I read alot of online advice about cutting the snot outta 400-500 cycles on the MB and it bewilders me, perhaps it's an easy out to a poorly designed tonal balance on top of a questionable arrangement..
I'm fond of collapsing my mixes at around 400 to mono and just keeping it centered in the stereo image. Depending on the song key, that might move up or down a few cycles.

Just a suggestion based on Op's post, one can try cutting around 160 on the mixbus a db or so and you find it unclutters a region known for it's challenges, preserves the intensity of low low mid rhythmic information particularly when the high mid information is getting multiband compressed for that big in your face exciting mix sound. Problem with any genuine advice on this stuff is it should also come with a disclaiming caveat that any advice is given with the best of intentions but the effectiveness of any suggestions is really contingent on the existing tonal balance of a track none of us has heard, but can relate to the specs provided by the OP.
Old 12th July 2018
  #13
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I don't know what you guys are talking about, 2 KHZ has always been my biggest problem.
Old 12th July 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
I don't know what you guys are talking about, 2 KHZ has always been my biggest problem.
I'll trade you. I've hot 200hz to spare, but could use some 2k.

Not a straight-up trade, though. After all, the exchange rate is what, like 10:1?
Old 12th July 2018
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
I don't know what you guys are talking about, 2 KHZ has always been my biggest problem.
2k is not usually a problem since very few instruments dominate that area
Old 12th July 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
2k is not usually a problem since very few instruments dominate that area
Lol, well only the guitars and the vocals
Old 12th July 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
Lol, well only the guitars and the vocals
eehh 2k Guitar is only where some of the crunch is not the meat and not even really the presence. I think maybe cheap single coils pickups could have an issue there since their frequency response is so limited much like an AM radio.

vocals are like 100hz to 5k. I don't think I have ever EQd 2k in my life when using a quality microphone. then again I track with 1073s and couldn't even if I wanted. I don't even think my 550s have 2k on them. I think my 560s have it but they are tuned at weird octaves
Old 12th July 2018
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
eehh 2k Guitar is only where some of the crunch is not the meat and not even really the presence. I think maybe cheap single coils pickups could have an issue there since their frequency response is so limited much like an AM radio.

vocals are like 100hz to 5k. I don't think I have ever EQd 2k in my life when using a quality microphone.
No, the top end of guitars and vocals. they can easily destroy a good mix if you don't keep them under control. I know you know what I'm talking about.

This track goes out to Hollowman9, keep your 2k under control

Old 12th July 2018
  #19
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Depending on the track, a narrow cut of around 0.5 - 2 db @ around 220 Hz on the 2-bus can sometimes help with muddiness
Conversely, a wide gentle boost at around 200 Hz on the 2-bus or bass bus can sometimes add body to a track or help bring out a bassline.

Every situation is different.

Not a big fan of 200 Hz myself.
Old 12th July 2018
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
No, the top end of guitars and vocals. they can easily destroy a good mix if you don't keep them under control. I know you know what I'm talking about.

This track goes out to Hollowman9, keep your 2k under control

well 9 inch nails albums are pretty bad IMO, sure 2k is problematic if you suck at tracking or put an MXR distortion + on your keyboards and vocals like Trent Reznor did. Luckily only azzholes do that crap. :-)

Sorry but most eq on high quality desks don't even have 2k and for good reason.
Old 12th July 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
well 9 inch nails albums are pretty bad IMO, sure 2k is problematic if you suck at tracking or put an MXR distortion + on your keyboards and vocals like Trent Reznor did. Luckily on azzholes do that crap. :-)

Sorry but most eq on desks don't even have 2k and for good reason.
Oh man, I don't know what desks you are mixing on.

And 200? 200 has never been a problem for me. perhaps it was just because I just used a good bass to begin with.

Old 12th July 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
Oh man, I don't know what desks you are mixing on.

And 200? 200 has never been a problem for me. perhaps it was just because I just used a good bass to begin with.

Though I do sometimes use electric bass with the lows rolled out and a deeper kick, it's never really the bass that's the problem. It's when the fundamental of male vocals doubles up with the meat of the snare.

Maybe I need to just learn to sing like MJ.

Out of curiosity, though, if anyone here DID find they were having that issue... how would you solve it? Pretty sure I've done all the usual tricks, but always interested to hear another approach.... and I like both my vocals and my snares with a little meat on the bone.
Old 12th July 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
... sure 2k is problematic if you suck at tracking or put an MXR distortion + on your keyboards and vocals like Trent Reznor did. Luckily only azzholes do that crap. :-)
I'm not sure just one :-) is enough for that one.
Old 12th July 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneHall View Post
Actually, 400 is potentially your warm energetic friend if you let it!
Especially for snare. Depends what your'e after, some people like their snare to sound deep thuddy and kickish.
I like my snares to sound like snares. I read alot of online advice about cutting the snot outta 400-500 cycles on the MB and it bewilders me, perhaps it's an easy out to a poorly designed tonal balance on top of a questionable arrangement..
....
Well, i'm not always cutting some, just seen some tendency in this range. There was a lot situations where i did not used EQ at all, but that was not pop music )

I like when snare sounds good for a song. Sometimes it is fatter than bass drum, sometimes it is just a click, sometimes it is limited as hell and washed with reverb... i like them all!
Old 12th July 2018
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm not sure just one :-) is enough for that one.
Hi Brent, Since Trent is sort of a poser only one was required.
Old 13th July 2018
  #26
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Just wanted to chime in and say the basic idea behind this thread is very worthy of discussion. At one time, ripping stuff out in the 200 to 400 range was what you just automatically did, for a variety of gear-and vinyl-related reasons. But now I hear and sometimes work on people's unmastered mixes that are solid in the tummy, and they come back from mastering all skinny. Usually when the mastering engineer (including some famous ones) is of a certain age. You send 'em Gene Kelly and they send back Fred Astaire. In the earbud age, especially, there's no need for that.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 13th July 2018 at 05:51 PM..
Old 13th July 2018
  #27
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Pretty much everything I ever sent out to mastering went out as this guy:



And came back as this guy:

Old 13th July 2018
  #28
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Point taken.

I've always had a fondness for the Rick record, in spite of all the reasons not to. And that space they shot in... wow. FWIW, even in London, you almost never see hand pumps in a joint that swanky.
Old 13th July 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
well 9 inch nails albums are pretty bad IMO, sure 2k is problematic if you suck at tracking or put an MXR distortion + on your keyboards and vocals like Trent Reznor did. Luckily only azzholes do that crap. :-)

Sorry but most eq on high quality desks don't even have 2k and for good reason.
Was it a distortion+? Because I wanna be just like Trent, and I don't want to buy the wrong fuzz. For my vocals. I've got to have the right vocal fuzz.
Old 13th July 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Point taken.

I've always had a fondness for the Rick record, in spite of all the reasons not to...
If we go by viewcount, he's still one of the most popular artists in the world.


... though most of those views were technically unwilling.

Hey, I'd take it.
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