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EQ...Isn't it for the most part a fancy band-aid?
Old 25th September 2007
  #1
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soupking's Avatar
 

EQ...Isn't it for the most part a fancy band-aid?

Now, obviously this isn't the post of a professional but...

Didn't EQ enter the scene long after the recording process began? Like, before then people would just get better mic placement.

Now I've heard how cool the Pultec is and definitely has it's moments.

I've also helped trim noise out of a bass neck using EQ.

I've also add perk to the naturalness of a signal, but for the most part it seems like a whole a do about nothing. Is the agenda to get more out of a signal than was there before?

What's even more remarkable is that I've been on the other side of this fence as well (and probably will when I get two more channels of Quad Eight to fill out my outboard).

It is the last line of defense though isn't? Maybe I'm just a newbie and I'm trying to just train myself not to rely on it.

Of course, I guess there's also the never-ending conversation about which kind of EQ you have. Regardless, the question in amplification and compression always seemed to have more gravity. EQ just seems like the aftermath of an unfinished signal or something. ?

Is it really necessary?
Old 25th September 2007
  #2
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soupking View Post
Now, obviously this isn't the post of a professional but...

Didn't EQ enter the scene long after the recording process began? Like, before then people would just get better mic placement.

Now I've heard how cool the Pultec is and definitely has it's moments.

I've also helped trim noise out of a bass neck using EQ.

I've also add perk to the naturalness of a signal, but for the most part it seems like a whole a do about nothing. Is the agenda to get more out of a signal than was there before?

What's even more remarkable is that I've been on the other side of this fence as well (and probably will when I get two more channels of Quad Eight to fill out my outboard).

It is the last line of defense though isn't? Maybe I'm just a newbie and I'm trying to just train myself not to rely on it.

Of course, I guess there's also the never-ending conversation about which kind of EQ you have. Regardless, the question in amplification and compression always seemed to have more gravity. EQ just seems like the aftermath of an unfinished signal or something. ?

Is it really necessary?
i don't care how good the mic or pre..ya gotta use eq on todays pop and r&b productions
Old 25th September 2007
  #3
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

Since there is no piece of gear that accurately captures or reproduces sound in the same advanced manner as the human ear, we need various tools to make the illusion of authenticity more convincing. EQ is just one of these tools. Phase and frequency manipulation are often times very desirable (especially when in the context of a mix that involves several sources).
Old 25th September 2007
  #4
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EQ is sometimes a compensation tool, making up for deficiencies or surfeit in input signal, i.e. frequency balance problems of noise-maker thingy you are recording, or the environment it is making noise in, or the devices used to pick up the noise.

In this case I find that I'm usually subtracting signal.

EQ is sometimes a creative tool, for shaping sound beyond mere compensation.

This could be as much subtractive as it is additive.

It just depends on what your goal is.

When trying to capture the real sound of whatever is being recorded, I try and use EQ as lightly as possible and work on good input signal, as you point out, mic placement and tonality of noise-maker thingy.

I'm pleased if I can get a clear fader push mix with EQ out. Then it's just touchup. When I start EQing too heavily, I end up just painting myself in a corner. More to do with me than any limitations of EQ, I'm sure.
Old 25th September 2007
  #5
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No.

its a tool.

think of old records. when the record is cut, the signal going to the record is drastically EQed lows are cut, highs boosted. when he sound comes off the record, it is then equalized again.

in that case, it isn't a "band-aid". it is a tool used to maximize fidelity.
for more info look up "RIAA Equalization"

in regards to the implementation of equalizers in modern recording.
If an engineer is using an equalizer to make an instrument, lets say accoustic guitar, sound more like an accoustic guitar, you might have a point. But I try to shy away from using eq to make individual instruments sound "right". Generally , I try to use it to make groups of instruments work together, or as an effect.

those are my thoughts
Old 25th September 2007
  #6
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hle144's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupking View Post
Now, obviously this isn't the post of a professional but...

Didn't EQ enter the scene long after the recording process began? Like, before then people would just get better mic placement.

Now I've heard how cool the Pultec is and definitely has it's moments.

I've also helped trim noise out of a bass neck using EQ.

I've also add perk to the naturalness of a signal, but for the most part it seems like a whole a do about nothing. Is the agenda to get more out of a signal than was there before?

What's even more remarkable is that I've been on the other side of this fence as well (and probably will when I get two more channels of Quad Eight to fill out my outboard).

It is the last line of defense though isn't? Maybe I'm just a newbie and I'm trying to just train myself not to rely on it.

Of course, I guess there's also the never-ending conversation about which kind of EQ you have. Regardless, the question in amplification and compression always seemed to have more gravity. EQ just seems like the aftermath of an unfinished signal or something. ?

Is it really necessary?
What on Earth are you talking about???
Old 25th September 2007
  #7
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lucey's Avatar
Yes it's necessary. It's not a band aid, it's an important tool. You first get great sounds, then you eq them to make a mix.
Old 25th September 2007
  #8
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Yes it's necessary. It's not a band aid, it's an important tool. You first get great sounds, then you eq them to make a mix.
long ago in a brain far away i vaguely remember hearing that this studio had a "clearer" sound" than other places and it was discoved that something was wired "wrong" and it pulled out 400hz and that is where the concept of eq came from..but it may be a bad flashback
Old 25th September 2007
  #9
Of course it's necessary.

Even if we accept the premise that mic choice and placement it the best or the "only" way to get a sound, the number of things, instruments or singers or groups of either that could exist in front of a mic far numbers the number or mic designs in existence. It is a statistical certainty, that even if you owned every mic in existence, you will find contexts where the mic and placement alone can not get the job done.


The main arguement against EQing while tracking is the phase shift. That's not always a bad thing. Think about "parked wah" guitar sounds or telephone vocals. Sometimes the phase shift is part of what you need to get the desired sound.

Sometimes the sound you want is the sound of EQ.

When it's not, then it's a band aid, or a short cut.

The simple answer is no.
Old 25th September 2007
  #10
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

I'd also like to add that viewing EQ as a "band aid" seems to presume that microphones are perfect devices.

Although microphones are the tools we have, they are far from perfect devices. In comparison to the human ear they are infinately flawed.

Oh....one other thing. We are still using a moving peice of paper as our playback delivery system.
Old 25th September 2007
  #11
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lucey's Avatar
Well, 'perfect' is not the goal anyway. If every instrument was recorded perfectly you'd still need to eq them to fit.

EQ was for films at first.
Old 25th September 2007
  #12
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Jimbo's Avatar
I thought EQ was first used in telecommunications to remedy the frequency loss that occurred when a telephone signal was sent over long distances.

They were trying to "Equalize" the received signal to the original transmission.

Old 25th September 2007
  #13
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
I thought EQ was first used in telecommunications to remedy the frequency loss that occurred when a telephone signal was sent over long distances.

They were trying to "Equalize" the received signal to the original transmission.

'twas. Think it was compensation for the capacitance in the lines or something.
Old 25th September 2007
  #14
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Sigma's Avatar
i guess in the broadest sense the Trautonium and Hammond organ were the earliest eq'ing devices for music audio [they used resonant filters]
Old 25th September 2007
  #15
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I create my own samples when producing hip-hop beats, and sometimes I'll EQ out most of the highs and lows to give a "lo-fi" sound. Mostly for piano and strings samples. I guess in that case it's more of an effect.

Also, if it's used to make something fit into a mix, it's not really a "band-aid" so much as it is a ..... tool I guess. In the same way you would use a preamp or mic to get a particular sound, right?

EDIT: Maybe I should have read the entire thread before I repeat others, huh?
Old 25th September 2007
  #16
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8th_note's Avatar
 

Quote:
Is it really necessary?
I'll add that eq is necessary in the sense that we have to use it to achieve the kind of sound we expect from modern popular recordings.

There are audiophile recordings that are proudly tracked and mixed without eq. Some jazz recordings use little or no eq. Same with classical - they might use a little eq to correct for hall problems but they work very hard to get the sound they are after up front.

But if you want to achieve a sound like a Green Day record you have to use eq. As stated several times above, it's a tool, like compression, used to get a certain type of sound.
Old 25th September 2007
  #17
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PhilE's Avatar
Sure EQ is not necessary.

In the same way that Microphones, Recorders and Loudspeakers are unnecessary... they're all just compensating for the fact that the artist isnt in your living room
Old 25th September 2007
  #18
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soupking's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hangman View Post
No.

its a tool.

think of old records. when the record is cut, the signal going to the record is drastically EQed lows are cut, highs boosted. when he sound comes off the record, it is then equalized again.

in that case, it isn't a "band-aid". it is a tool used to maximize fidelity.
for more info look up "RIAA Equalization"

in regards to the implementation of equalizers in modern recording.
If an engineer is using an equalizer to make an instrument, lets say accoustic guitar, sound more like an accoustic guitar, you might have a point. But I try to shy away from using eq to make individual instruments sound "right". Generally , I try to use it to make groups of instruments work together, or as an effect.

those are my thoughts
I'll have to look up RIAA Equalization and learn more about the process.

I think the advertising gets to me. Maybe that's it. It just seems like there's so much a do with some magic bullet EQ that's going to make your song sound SOOO much better. That's just seems a little odd to me if you're using Neuman mics and Neve pres in a nice room and have a clue. Like if you're not getting by then, an EQ isn't going to help or, heck, I'd be surprised.

Then again, I have run into situation where a little EQ can go a long way. But whether I used "this" box over "that" one...I don't think it'd matter much as long as it's really not cheap and artificial sounding.
Old 25th September 2007
  #19
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soupking's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
I'd also like to add that viewing EQ as a "band aid" seems to presume that microphones are perfect devices.

Although microphones are the tools we have, they are far from perfect devices. In comparison to the human ear they are infinately flawed.

Oh....one other thing. We are still using a moving peice of paper as our playback delivery system.
Yeah, good point. And note, don't let alcohol near pinch rollers.
Old 25th September 2007
  #20
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soupking's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
I create my own samples when producing hip-hop beats, and sometimes I'll EQ out most of the highs and lows to give a "lo-fi" sound. Mostly for piano and strings samples. I guess in that case it's more of an effect.

Also, if it's used to make something fit into a mix, it's not really a "band-aid" so much as it is a ..... tool I guess. In the same way you would use a preamp or mic to get a particular sound, right?

EDIT: Maybe I should have read the entire thread before I repeat others, huh?
This is such a broad subject. I should've been more specific in my original posting in referring to EQing a live signal path.

Sorry guys, I was kind of tired when writing it.
Old 25th September 2007
  #21
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You don't need to EQ a live signal path.

aside from all that, I think the obsession with a million different (plugin) EQs is a bit mental.
Old 25th September 2007
  #22
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bcgood's Avatar
 

Steely Dan

What gives those albums such a clean sound? Is it all close mic'd and overdubbed a million times? Compression? Or just a combination of the arrangements and players etc.?

Thanks again!
____________

Elliot Scheiner

I seldom used compression or eq while recording those records. It was more a combination of the songs, arrangements, production and the way I hear their music. There was a synergy amongst us that created the final product.

Els
Old 26th September 2007
  #23
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
Steely Dan

What gives those albums such a clean sound? Is it all close mic'd and overdubbed a million times? Compression? Or just a combination of the arrangements and players etc.?

Thanks again!
____________
What album? With Aja:
  1. World class players. Lots of them. Playing top notch instruments through top notch gear. Some of the world class players didn't make the cut, either.
  2. World class engineers
  3. Gary Katz
  4. World class studio
  5. Well-wrought songs
  6. Meticulous arranging
  7. Extremely picky clients demanding perfection (i.e. Walter and Donald)
One of my favourite albums for sonic quality is 'The Nightfly'
Old 26th September 2007
  #24
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bcgood's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
What album? With Aja:
  1. World class players. Lots of them. Playing top notch instruments through top notch gear. Some of the world class players didn't make the cut, either.
  2. World class engineers
  3. Gary Katz
  4. World class studio
  5. Well-wrought songs
  6. Meticulous arranging
  7. Extremely picky clients demanding perfection (i.e. Walter and Donald)
One of my favourite albums for sonic quality is 'The Nightfly'
I think you missed my point. Everything on your list is pretty common knowledge. The fact that he didn't eq though is much less known. Your welcome!

Listen to Babylon Sisters, that song just kills. Nothing recorded today even comes close!
Old 26th September 2007
  #25
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Didn't EQ enter the scene long after the recording process began? Like, before then people would just get better mic placement.
Before 70's, if a console had eq ..it was just bass and treble, like 100 Hz 8 kHz, and was unobtrusive to the overall sound. That all changed in the 70's. unfortunately.
Old 26th September 2007
  #26
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soupking's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Before 70's, if a console had eq ..it was just bass and treble, like 100 Hz 8 kHz, and was unobtrusive to the overall sound. That all changed in the 70's. unfortunately.
Yeah, the Pultec EQH is cool, but rather clunky, not exactly surgical. Fortunately, they're very kind as well.
Old 26th September 2007
  #27
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firby's Avatar
 

This desk here has forty channels of nice eq and 24 more channels of limited eq. I never eq on the way in. I also do overdrive the inputs on the way in. Everything is always tracked as clean as I can.

Sometimes I don't even use that much eq in the mix. I can just ride the faders and voila! doesn't sound bad.

Alot of times I munge it up on the way out though.
Old 26th September 2007
  #28
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themaidsroom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupking View Post
I'll have to look up RIAA Equalization and learn more about the process.

I think the advertising gets to me. Maybe that's it. It just seems like there's so much a do with some magic bullet EQ that's going to make your song sound SOOO much better. That's just seems a little odd to me if you're using Neuman mics and Neve pres in a nice room and have a clue. Like if you're not getting by then, an EQ isn't going to help or, heck, I'd be surprised.

Then again, I have run into situation where a little EQ can go a long way. But whether I used "this" box over "that" one...I don't think it'd matter much as long as it's really not cheap and artificial sounding.


the riaa eq curves are a very specific eq curve that allows for the storage of
sound on vinyl discs - it is more related to physics and real estate than to sound
tape also involves eq curves in and out

i think soupking was getting at a point that many people mention
i have heard eq refered to as correctional devices
i have many channels of great eq - i love seeing the board with no
eq engaged - some of the best recordings and mixes i have made involve
no eq whatsoever on either side of the 2" tape - just the mics, the board pres
and the compressor - i would call the choice of compressor an eq choice.....
when that gets it, it works for me




be well



- jack
Old 26th September 2007
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Sensual Ears's Avatar
 

EQ is God.

Don't ever forget that.

everything is EQ: think about it...
Old 26th September 2007
  #30
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NOCCA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
I'd also like to add that viewing EQ as a "band aid" seems to presume that microphones are perfect devices.

Although microphones are the tools we have, they are far from perfect devices. In comparison to the human ear they are infinately flawed.

Oh....one other thing. We are still using a moving peice of paper as our playback delivery system.
I'm sorry if someone addressed this already, but:

Human ear better than microphones? When was the last time you looked at the Fletcher Munson curve? Our ears are no where near perfect for better or worse. We don't even have the transient response of many high quality condensers.

Back to EQ. Band aid? maybe. Creative? Yes.

>>AG
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