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How often do you perform surgery?..... (on EQ) Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 14th March 2004
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
How often do you perform surgery?..... (on EQ)

I'm a newbie setting up my home studio (G4/PT Mix Plus/ 888/24) and I keep reading about surgical eq for removing problem spots etc..I'm looking to get my first quality mic preamp and eq, and I want to keep the eq section as simple (for a novice to get a good sound) as possible but still effective at getting good sounds without too much agita. I'll mostly be recording distorted (light and heavy) electric guitars and male vox;

So how often do you need a 'surgical' eq? Will I be okay with something relatively simple say a chandler tg channel or an aurora gtq2? Would I be better advised to get an eq with more bands, say a speck or great river eq1nv, or something even more complex than that?

I don't have the headroom on my visa card to buy a bunch and return the ones I don't dig, so I want to land in the ballpark on the first buy.

Thanks
Old 15th March 2004
  #2
Re: How often do you perform surgery?..... (on EQ)

Quote:
Originally posted by tiltrite
I'm a newbie setting up my home studio (G4/PT Mix Plus/ 888/24) and I keep reading about surgical eq for removing problem spots etc..I'm looking to get my first quality mic preamp and eq, and I want to keep the eq section as simple (for a novice to get a good sound) as possible but still effective at getting good sounds without too much agita. I'll mostly be recording distorted (light and heavy) electric guitars and male vox;

So how often do you need a 'surgical' eq? Will I be okay with something relatively simple say a chandler tg channel or an aurora gtq2? Would I be better advised to get an eq with more bands, say a speck or great river eq1nv, or something even more complex than that?

I don't have the headroom on my visa card to buy a bunch and return the ones I don't dig, so I want to land in the ballpark on the first buy.

Thanks
Surgical Eq is most essential when mixing(fixing tracks,creating sounds or helping instruments blend).

When tracking instruments in my opinion it isn't as crucial.

I think a good first buy would be the Amek CIB. The mic pre is great for vocals and the EQ is very useful.

Its not stereo though(if that will be a problem).
Old 15th March 2004
  #3
Although for the most part I agree with thethrillfactor, there are times when you'll want to nail down problems on the way in - Basses with a note that's hotter than others, ring in a snare or tom, overtones in a guitar cab, 60-cycle hum, etc.

These are things that you want to get out of the way ASAP. If you can't fix the problem with mic placement, etc., a hardcore parametric will likely do the trick.

John Scrip - www.massivemastering.com
Old 15th March 2004
  #4
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
thanks for the helpful info, gents. I'm trying to nail down how much eq I need to buy for my first foray into mic pre/eq/compressor land: 3 band, 4 band, boost, cut, 'Q', shelf, etc... before laying down the heavy cash. I'm probably going to want separate units so I can put the eq before/after compressor etc...no? But if in 95% of cases the eq is better before the compressor then I'll go ahead and get an all in one mic pre/eq like the TG channel, but does that have enough eq? Oy Vay, I hate learning curves!
Old 15th March 2004
  #5
Quote:
Originally posted by tiltrite
thanks for the helpful info, gents. I'm trying to nail down how much eq I need to buy for my first foray into mic pre/eq/compressor land: 3 band, 4 band, boost, cut, 'Q', shelf, etc... before laying down the heavy cash. I'm probably going to want separate units so I can put the eq before/after compressor etc...no? But if in 95% of cases the eq is better before the compressor then I'll go ahead and get an all in one mic pre/eq like the TG channel, but does that have enough eq? Oy Vay, I hate learning curves!
You basically buy the best you can with the dough you got.

The only 4 band unit out there is a GML and imagine that's a little out of your price range.

If you want an all in one channel you have a bunch of good choices: API 7600,Requisite Audio,GML,Mil Media to name a few.
Old 15th March 2004
  #6
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor

The only 4 band unit out there is a GML and imagine that's a little out of your price range.
Unfortunately I believe it is.

So you think I should go all in one channel strip rather than individual units?
I can spend around $4k on pre/eq/comp. (and hopefully a nice DI thrown in for good measure. ) To be used mostly for rock guitars (cleanish & dirty) & male vox. So far my extensive mic cabinet consists of an sm57 and a royer 121.

Thanks!
Eric
Old 15th March 2004
  #7
Quote:
Originally posted by tiltrite
Unfortunately I believe it is.

So you think I should go all in one channel strip rather than individual units?
I can spend around $4k on pre/eq/comp. (and hopefully a nice DI thrown in for good measure. ) To be used mostly for rock guitars (cleanish & dirty) & male vox. So far my extensive mic cabinet consists of an sm57 and a royer 121.

Thanks!
Eric
$4k?


Preamp-TG2/Great River NV/Phoenix/Vintech X81(preamp+EQ)/GTQ2 all good choices.-$2000 range

All in one units: used Amek CIB/API 7600 or Requisite Audio-$1900

Compressor: a used Distressor with Brit mod-$1200
Old 15th March 2004
  #8
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

Tilt, get a DBX 242.

They run about $100 and sound quite nice IMHO. Were designed by Robert Orban BTW.

Harvey Gerst's studio uses them unmodded, and does major label work with them.

So they "might" be good enough for a home studio too.

They can be hot rodded for better clarity later on if you wish.

The prior suggestions of the (vastly) more advanced members than I are surely excellent too.

Chris
Old 15th March 2004
  #9
A surgical EQ is sometimes a help, but not always necessary especially if things are tracked carefully. It takes a lot of foresight and wide gear selection (mics, preamps, instruments) to guide things along enough in tracking, where you know from experience how they will ultimately fit into the mix. Generally I find that there a few 'hot spots' that I come back to on instruments in general...usually cuts in the 350hz-600hz range on kick, guitar amps and toms (this seems consistent across good rooms, and a variety of quality monitoring systems). But this is the sound I like to hear, and it doesn't require much, maybe a couple of db. That's a subjective call and would still be fine if left alone.

Most surgery that I do is done on vocalists who have an unbalance in the frequency curve of their voice, mostly they are "green" beginners in their first couple of years of singing. There is always some kind of strange rise in the 1-4k range that is hard on the ears (i.e. nails on the chalkboard) that I never hear in more experienced people. About the only thing that would fix it would be to use a ribbon like an R84, but that can present other problems, like increased proximity effect at close quarters or possible damage to the ribbon by people who don't know what they are doing in front of the mic. I'd rather just notch out a couple of db's if it's otherwise fine and use a condenser.
Old 15th March 2004
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Thrill is SO right about a good surgical EQ for 'Fixing' problems and poorly tracked songs. A fleixible EQ is obviously the best option here and then there is the decision about if its to be a transparent or colour EQ.

For my money in the 'affordable' but still VERY useable and highly musical i cant stress the CLM dynamics 'Expounder" enough.... in cant work out why it never really took off over in the US.

On the expensive tip i rekon the GML is prolly one of the most neutral sounding and fleixble EQ's around.... there is a reason that its an industry benchmark for parametric EQ.

In the non surgical but still useable catagory i would place...

Neve variants.
API 560... one of my all time fave EQs and cool for sculpting
Focusrite ISA range
AMEK 9098 pre/eq

countless others too..

Cheers
Wiggy
Old 15th March 2004
  #11
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
The only 4 band unit out there is a GML and imagine that's a little out of your price range.
Negatory there good buddy... a GML 8200 is two channels 5 bands and $5k each... the 2020 channel strip has a 4 band EQ... and yeah, that is definitely out of the brother's price range.

I have to say I wholeheartedly disagree "MASSIVE master"s statement that "surgical" EQ can fix things like a note that's popping out on a bass... OK, not that it can, but that it's a good application for surgical EQ. In my world, that's like putting a Band-Aid on a head wound... better to get to the root of the problem, be it the instrument or the player and try to fix it there than with an equalizer... but to each their own I suppose...

From the description of your applications something tells me that the Chandler TG channel strip and/or the Chander LTD-1 mic-pre/EQ might be just the ticket... couple either of those with something like a Daking module or an API 2 channel frame with a 512 and 560 EQ and you should be most stylin'...

All in one boxes? Well we've established that the 2020 is out of your range... and something tells me probably not the right tool for the job anyway... I mean "clean" is great for a whole bunch of applications... but for guitars... I dunno... I usually want something that brings something of it's own to the party... like well within your budget could be any of the things previously mentioned... or maybe a Pendulum Audio "Quartet" or a Great River MP-2NV with a stereo pair of Speck Electronics ASC's... or a couple of months and a few hundred dollars over budget the Pendulum Audio "Quartet-II" is going to be an absolutely killer tool [if I do say so myself]...

Options do abound... it's a great time to be alive!! Best of luck with your search.
Old 15th March 2004
  #12
Gear maniac
 
Dan-O's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by chessparov
Tilt, get a DBX 242.

They can be hot rodded for better clarity later on if you wish.


Chris
Really? What mod is available for these?. I have a couple sitting around that I could never find a use for. What's exactly is the improvement?

Dan-O
Snake Oil Recording
Richmond, Va.
Old 15th March 2004
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
I have to say I wholeheartedly disagree "MASSIVE master"s statement that "surgical" EQ can fix things like a note that's popping out on a bass... OK, not that it can, but that it's a good application for surgical EQ. In my world, that's like putting a Band-Aid on a head wound... better to get to the root of the problem, be it the instrument or the player and try to fix it there than with an equalizer... but to each their own I suppose...
Agreed. That's also kind of like buying really expensive speakers you don't like, putting them in a room you don't know, and slapping graphic EQ's on them to compensate. Hey, just like those new JBL's!heh
Old 15th March 2004
  #14
I did mention trying to fix it first... I would never just try to EQ out a problem before making every attempt to fix it on the way in.

Just for the record...
Old 15th March 2004
  #15
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
MASSIVE master, no disrespect intended... and I could certainly see [hear?] finding a solution to one note popping out at mix time with a parametric... but during the tracking phase of the project, if it were a glaring enough problem to notice and put an equalizer on it... I humbly submit that the problem should be addressed at the source... whether that is to fix the bass, work with the bass player on their technique, find a new bass, or find a new bass player. When all of those options were exhausted I think I would probably go to a "side chained compressor" before I would strap and equalizer across a bass... but to each their own.

Peace.
Old 15th March 2004
  #16
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
From the description of your applications something tells me that the Chandler TG channel strip and/or the Chander LTD-1 mic-pre/EQ might be just the ticket...
I'm very interested in the TG channel, just haven't heard much about it yet. I've heard that the TG2 is fantastic and that the TG Channel has the same pre as the TG2, no? Is the EQ on the TG channel all I'd need?

Quote:
couple either of those with something like a Daking module or an API 2 channel frame with a 512 and 560 EQ and you should be most stylin'...
which daking module do you mean to combine with the TG channel/LTD-1; and why the API 560 rather than the 550?

I feel like I'm getting very close to making the buy, so I really appreciate all of your observations.

Contestant #1) TG Channel + Distressor
Contestant #2) MP1nv+eq1nv+distressor
Contestant #3) DRS-1+eq1nv+distressor
Contestant #4) GTQ-2 + Distressor

I've picked the distressor 'cause from what I've read it's versatile and relatively easy to dial in.

Quote:
Options do abound... it's a great time to be alive!!
True that. Problems of abundance these are.
Old 15th March 2004
  #17
Lives for gear
 
TinderArts's Avatar
 

One of my favorites for severe cutting is the KT DN410.

1/12 octave bandwidth and a -25dB cut allows for some serious carving. Great for broadcast work and getting rid of individual notes, squeaks, hum..........
Old 16th March 2004
  #18
Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
Negatory there good buddy... a GML 8200 is two channels 5 bands and $5k each... the 2020 channel strip has a 4 band EQ... and yeah, that is definitely out of the brother's price range.

Options do abound... it's a great time to be alive!! Best of luck with your search.
Fletch,

My bad, i must had a moment of brain freeze!!heh

thumbsup
Old 16th March 2004
  #19
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

Dan-o IIRC one of the basic things to mod are the outputs.

Robert Orban himself posted some things to do over at RAP. If you use the search function there it should be pretty easy to find.

If and when I felt compelled to mod mine, I'd contact Jim Williams at www.audioupgrades.com to see if he works on this model. Excellent reputation for quality work.

Chris
Old 16th March 2004
  #20
Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
MASSIVE master, no disrespect intended... and I could certainly see [hear?] finding a solution to one note popping out at mix time with a parametric... but during the tracking phase of the project, if it were a glaring enough problem to notice and put an equalizer on it... I humbly submit that the problem should be addressed at the source... whether that is to fix the bass, work with the bass player on their technique, find a new bass, or find a new bass player. When all of those options were exhausted I think I would probably go to a "side chained compressor" before I would strap and equalizer across a bass... but to each their own.

Peace.
Fletcher - No disrespect taken. We're actually completely on the same page here - I think it's the situations that differ...

I've just been working with too many bands lately who evidently just don't have the time/money/interest/experience as they should. My whole point was on the question of where & when with surgical EQ - In some of these cases, I have to go with the "live sound" fix and get on with it. For example - If there's a bass that has a "whoom" at a low "A" a nice sharp but shallow cut at 110 or 55 might get it in the ballpark - fast - and we can get on with things.

Same thing with a nasty ring on a floor tom - We could rip the heads off, put new ones on, stretch them out, tune, stretch again, tune again - OR put a 3" strip of gaff on it and hit "record." It's not the most favorable technique, but it keeps things moving.

I've got to go with the big picture of the band's budget vs. expectations and of course, the studio's setups and schedules. A lot of the places I wind up at don't exactly have the setups & outboard I would find optimal, but I don't normally book the studios (maybe this is why I got into mastering... )

Of course with optimal bands, budgets, time and gear, the fixes are different and more "proper." And certainly the purpose of the final product can dictate the direction of the fix. There have been plenty of times where we're sitting around waiting for another Fender Twin or someone to repair the Dumble or we send out for another snare. However, with some of the bands I have to work with, I'm lucky that the instruments are even in tune. Sometimes the use of "Band-Aids" is unavoidable. That's why they call them BAND-aids, no?

** BAND-AIDS is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson Corp.

Old 16th March 2004
  #21
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
MASSIVE... I can relate... most of my gigs are small to no budget events but you have no idea how much I absolutely hate doing headphone mixes of any kind... so I almost exclusively do "band in a room no headphones"... which means that **** like a ringing floor tom is either fixed at the drum, or part of the recording... a bass with one note popping out will often have that note popping out in the kik drum as well.

Overdubs... I guess that's a different story [I also try to perform the instrument overdubs in the control room area... again to avoid the dreaded cue mix]... but we can spend a bit more time fukking around with stuff.

On a related note... I also work as a guitar and drum tech so diving into these instruments and correcting these problems isn't all that difficult for me...

That kind of work is generally included in my fee... except when I have to sit up for a few hours after a session is done and rebuild some cocksucker's never been maintained guitar so I can get something that might hold a tuning for a whole song... in that case I do charge the moron for my time (and I'm not subtle about it either... but will generally spend what I charge them for the service on beer or something for the session). I charge them mostly so he'll know never to bring an instrument in piss poor shape into my control room (or any control room for that matter) ever again... /rant mode
Old 16th March 2004
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
, no disrespect intended...


i think someone hi jacked fletcher's name...or he got hit on the head really hard...

heh
Old 16th March 2004
  #23
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

FWIW I still don't have an EQ I would use... basically, no surgical EQ takes place over here. I have accomplished some minor miracles with a GML, but that was still a hell of a lot of work (requiring GREAT monitoring! Or who knows what you're "fixing" ...) and would have been way better to get it right to begins with...

As for problem bass notes, the place to fix that is before the amp, IMHO. If none of the approaches Fletcher is talking about can be achieved, or on a recalcitrant keys bass where you can't do some of that, a parametric before the amp sounds infinitely more natural- I do have a Rane I got for a few hundred bucks for such occasions. Haven't used it in a long time...
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