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At which point do you tend to do your subtractive eqing?
Old 5th May 2009
  #1
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meymia's Avatar
At which point do you tend to do your subtractive eqing?

HI!
i mean during tracking or do you completly leave it t the mix?
Old 5th May 2009
  #2
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HobbyCore's Avatar
 

Whenever it sounds good.
Old 5th May 2009
  #3
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

I defer everything to mixdown so I can tweak things in context. Those more manly than me might EQ stuff on the way in. heh Though there's no advantage to that - only a possible disadvantage if you change your mind later.

--Ethan
Old 5th May 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I defer everything to mixdown so I can tweak things in context. Those more manly than me might EQ stuff on the way in. heh Though there's no advantage to that - only a possible disadvantage if you change your mind later.

--Ethan
From your manly comment, all I can think of now is a lumberjack with a huge beard in the mix position. Intense.

Anyways, during the tracking process I like to EQ out some of the frequencies I know I'm going to EQ out later (low mids in a kick, etc). You know the drill. I just like to have these things a little more concrete when it gets later down the road.
Then during the mixing stage, I'll really sit down and nail out whatever frequencies are left that can be subsidized so everything sounds clean.

It works out pretty well for me, I think!
Old 5th May 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I defer everything to mixdown so I can tweak things in context. Those more manly than me might EQ stuff on the way in. heh Though there's no advantage to that - only a possible disadvantage if you change your mind later.

--Ethan
I slightly disagree that their is no advantage to tracking with eq/compression/effects. I feel that tracking while the sounds are as close to complete sounding as possible tends to make the band smile and play better together. Sometimes I'll mult the signal and record either both or just the unprocessed signal and save the real shaping for later.

I'm not saying anyone is wrong here. Everyone has different ideas. I'm just giving mine. Thanks!

Neil
Old 5th May 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amishsixstringe View Post
I feel that tracking while the sounds are as close to complete sounding as possible tends to make the band smile and play better together.
Absolutely! But you can get the exact same result patching EQ and other effects into the playback path rather than going in. All the benefits, none of the downsides.

--Ethan
Old 5th May 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Absolutely! But you can get the exact same result patching EQ and other effects into the playback path rather than going in. All the benefits, none of the downsides.

--Ethan
Amen. It's all about what is most efficient for your workflow and needs. If there was only one way to record audio, it would make gearslutz a lot less interesting
Old 6th May 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Absolutely! But you can get the exact same result patching EQ and other effects into the playback path rather than going in. All the benefits, none of the downsides.

--Ethan
that's the point, you can always eq it during playback. I try to avoid making decisions at tracking as much as I can, once you've done it, it's done, no way to go back.
Old 6th May 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HobbyCore View Post
Whenever it sounds good.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Absolutely! But you can get the exact same result patching EQ and other effects into the playback path rather than going in. All the benefits, none of the downsides.

--Ethan
The downside is that if you are mixing ITB, you may have additional latency and conversions to come out to that hardware EQ and go back in. I prefer the "No Time Like the Present" approach. If I KNOW I'm going to do something, then I do it immediately... otherwise, everything else waits until the mixing phase.
Old 6th May 2009
  #10
Riv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciozzi View Post
that's the point, you can always eq it during playback. I try to avoid making decisions at tracking as much as I can, once you've done it, it's done, no way to go back.
Personally, I think that's kind of the point. Why do we need "a way back"?

Just my opinion, but I've never seen the advantage of waiting until everything is done to commit to ~some~ things. It helps everyone decide what parts to add, where things are going, and what needs adjustment in the arrangement to make that happen.

And I don't agree 100% with EQ-ing the playback having "none of the downside." Again, it's an excuse to use the way back machine...


Riv
Old 6th May 2009
  #11
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I mix ITB, so I don't use much outboard EQ. But if you're interested, maybe you could try both ways and see which is a better fit for you personally. Track a project with some up-front EQ or compression, and see if it really is limiting to you at mixdown.
Old 6th May 2009
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I defer everything to mixdown so I can tweak things in context. Those more manly than me might EQ stuff on the way in. heh Though there's no advantage to that - only a possible disadvantage if you change your mind later.

--Ethan
Unless you compress on the way in as well......

"Do I really need that foot tapping 60Hz on the flute mic? Hmmmmm....dunno, I may need it later... for glue or something.... I'll keep it"

Now we have the luxury of ridiculously low noise floors you can just leave it all till mix time. It's not the quickest way of working though.
But better safe than sorry I guess.
Old 6th May 2009
  #13
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Mike Brown's Avatar
 

I EQ, compresses whatever at all points of the journey if needed.
Old 6th May 2009
  #14
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You are building a recording by assembling or mixing together elements when you are doing a recording.
Putting off everything until mix is just collecting a bunch of elements and then sorting them out later.
There is so much required to build a good sound going to "tape" in many instruments like drums and some GTR stuff.
There are just some instruments (ie. drums and ACSTC) that I don't want to hear un-EQ'd through-out the whole tracking process.

I have always EQ'd everything to sound decent on the way in.
I also EQ at mix in order to tweak the sound of the pieces to get them to sit even better.

I have a question to ask of the folks that don't EQ until mix...

Do you record a drum kit flat?
Do you record GTRs and ACSTC flat?
Do you do EQ in your DAWs mixer to listen to while continuing tracking or do you leave everything flat until mixdown?

In the analog tape days it was almost always necessary to EQ to tape in order to keep from adding hiss and other weird stuff because you were EQ'ing the tape noise.
Still, I knew guys that cut to 2" flat and EQ'd at mix.
As a rule they were not very good engineers.

Man!!! LEARN TO EQ!
Don't experiment!
Be boold!
Know what sounds good and ANTICIPATE the final result!
KNOW what you are building!
Have a F' ing vision!
Old 6th May 2009
  #15
Riv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post

Man!!! LEARN TO EQ!
Don't experiment!
Be boold!
Know what sounds good and ANTICIPATE the final result!
KNOW what you are building!
Have a F' ing vision!
I've got to agree. I'm not saying that EVERYTHING that goes to tape gets EQ'd - to be honest, if you're recording everything right you shouldn't NEED all that much EQ on the way in. But if you're recording something and you know it's going to need to be cut then just cut it.

When people talk about doing things "in context," I think the phrase "in context" gets overused sometimes.

The tracking process is all about BUILDING context. That includes shaping the tracks that need them.

Personally, I find the "wait until the end and do it all at the mix" thing to be pretty lazy.

Of course, I'm probably just opinionated.

Riv
Old 6th May 2009
  #16
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You might be opinionated, but you are largely correct.

I will admit that I have been lazy and NOT EQ'd on the way in when I had to record six or more drum tracks in a four hour session.
I was working on an analog console and tracking to digital and the drummer was a veteran session drummer who I recorded hundreds of production music cuts with.
I didn't have time to tweak EQ, so I tracked without EQ most times.

This was the ONLY time I ever did and I only did it for time's sake and because the guy was good and his kit sounded good.

Recording production music taught me to get sounds VERY fast.

If you know your craft it is easy to EQ properly in most all cases.

I also agree that not everything needs EQ.
I have done whole sessions with a full rhythm section, horns and mega vocals with only hi-pass shelving on the OHs and vocals and the standard EQ for a live kick drum.
Even on analog it can sound good, but you better have GREAT players playing GREAT sounding instruments!
Old 6th May 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
You are building a recording by assembling or mixing together elements when you are doing a recording.
Putting off everything until mix is just collecting a bunch of elements and then sorting them out later.
There is so much required to build a good sound going to "tape" in many instruments like drums and some GTR stuff.
There are just some instruments (ie. drums and ACSTC) that I don't want to hear un-EQ'd through-out the whole tracking process.

I have always EQ'd everything to sound decent on the way in.
I also EQ at mix in order to tweak the sound of the pieces to get them to sit even better.

I have a question to ask of the folks that don't EQ until mix...

Do you record a drum kit flat?
Do you record GTRs and ACSTC flat?
Do you do EQ in your DAWs mixer to listen to while continuing tracking or do you leave everything flat until mixdown?

In the analog tape days it was almost always necessary to EQ to tape in order to keep from adding hiss and other weird stuff because you were EQ'ing the tape noise.
Still, I knew guys that cut to 2" flat and EQ'd at mix.
As a rule they were not very good engineers.

Man!!! LEARN TO EQ!
Don't experiment!
Be boold!
Know what sounds good and ANTICIPATE the final result!
KNOW what you are building!
Have a F' ing vision!
Old 6th May 2009
  #18
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dualflip's Avatar
 

EQ, compress, and summ tracks or whatever if needed during tracking, a recording engineer is not a guy who can place a mic and hit rec, any smart kid can do that, a recording engineer is the guy who by the means of technique, trained hearing, experience and creativity is able to capture that magic take, music, art and record good sounds so they can later be mixed, which is very different to recording sounds so they can later be fixed, in the way of the tracking process he uses the different tools and techniques available to him which defines him as a recording engineer, otherwise he would be called the microphone positioner.

I sometimes make the analogy of the recording process with food, when you go to a restaurant and you order lets say a steak with fries, the chef gives you an already prepared dish, if you later decide to add some more salt, sauce to your steak or ketchup to your fries then thats up to you, but ive never been to a restaurant where i have a steak delivered raw, cuz the chef was "too afraid of over cooking it".

I dont know if my analogy makes any sense to you but i would say: commit, be ingenious, and have the balls to do whatever your ears are telling you to do. That also means that if your ears are telling you not to EQ then dont do it.

No pain no gain!
Old 6th May 2009
  #19
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Unclenny's Avatar
Definitely like to get it sounding good at the tracking stage.

I EQ my amps....right?

And I only have one good outboard EQ so I use it on the way in whenever possible, particularly on bass and vox.
Old 6th May 2009
  #20
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memphisindie's Avatar
 

Not flaming just responding, especially since we usually agree on most things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
You are building a recording by assembling or mixing together elements when you are doing a recording.
Yes, I am.
Quote:
I have always EQ'd everything to sound decent on the way in.
I also EQ at mix in order to tweak the sound of the pieces to get them to sit even better.
I have a question to ask of the folks that don't EQ until mix...

Do you record a drum kit flat?
Mostly, yes, there may be some EQ on the kick to attenuate offensively loud sub freq's if they are going to mask the info I want to use in the upper bands.
Quote:
Do you record GTRs and ACSTC flat?
Yes. Usually nothing on them. I have to listen carefully to make sure they gainstaging/sweetspot of the pre is at a good ratio and that mic selection and positioning are correct, but, I usually hit it on the first setup, I'm old, been doing it a long time. IF they just can't work it's usually an instrument problem that can't be fixed and then maybe I'll compress it a little or EQ if that is what will fix it. Doesn't happen often.
Quote:
Do you do EQ in your DAWs mixer to listen to while continuing tracking or do you leave everything flat until mixdown?
Flat till mixdown. I enjoy mixing this way. Sometimes I already have a sonic landscape or movement in mind and sometimes I don't but I always give the tracks a chance to speak to me. Sometimes it alters the plan for the better, you can tell right away if it will.
Quote:
In the analog tape days it was almost always necessary to EQ to tape in order to keep from adding hiss and other weird stuff because you were EQ'ing the tape noise.
Still, I knew guys that cut to 2" flat and EQ'd at mix.
As a rule they were not very good engineers.
Not in the studios I worked in, from interning up, it just wasn't done, usually, in rare occurrance it would be, but, I learned that selection and placement ruled, an pretty much they do if you have the tools handy, but, if you don't, well, what the heck, move a knob, don't waste a lot of time. You know what's in your locker and racks, you know what's about to be required, it' a no-brainer.
Quote:
Man!!! LEARN TO EQ!
Don't experiment!
Be boold!
Know what sounds good and ANTICIPATE the final result!
KNOW what you are building!
Have a F' ing vision!
I don't think it's a mutually exclusive thing, in fact I know it's not. You can do both, not EQ and compress on the way in, and still have be actively anticipating the end result in tracking. That doesn't necessarily mean you'll be experimenting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualflip View Post
EQ, compress, and summ tracks or whatever if needed during tracking, a recording engineer is not a guy who can place a mic and hit rec, any smart kid can do that, a recording engineer is the guy who by the means of technique, trained hearing, experience and creativity is able to capture that magic take, music, art and record good sounds so they can later be mixed, which is very different to recording sounds so they can later be fixed, in the way of the tracking process he uses the different tools and techniques available to him which defines him as a recording engineer, otherwise he would be called the microphone positioner.
Again, it seems to me, that is a very black and white approach to a very non black and white area. Of course there are going to be things that you know very well you'll never use in a specific track and those can be removed at tracking, but, to make tracking style dogmatic is not going to work out. That is the essence of "track it well and mix it later" ethos, if you need something you removed at tracking, you'll have to re-track, so, if you don't remove info that may be "useful", again a very subjective term, of course, that also depend on what you're going for, which you prety well know if you communicate with th customer/producer/artist/whatever.
Quote:
I sometimes make the analogy of the recording process with food, when you go to a restaurant and you order lets say a steak with fries, the chef gives you an already prepared dish, if you later decide to add some more salt, sauce to your steak or ketchup to your fries then thats up to you, but I've never been to a restaurant where I have a steak delivered raw, cuz the chef was "too afraid of over cooking it".
I think tracking is the same as going to the butcher and getting the meat for the fridge, not cooking it, pre-production is aging he meat. Mixing is cooking, mastering is plating at the pass and garnishing, duplication & distribution is getting it to the customers.
Quote:

I dont know if my analogy makes any sense to you but i would say: commit, be ingenious, and have the balls to do whatever your ears are telling you to do. That also means that if your ears are telling you not to EQ then dont do it.
No pain no gain!
There's the gold.
Old 6th May 2009
  #21
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warhead's Avatar
 

I refuse to EQ anything that doesn't sound better afterwards.

I refuse to turn anything LEFT first based on any kind of principal.

The whole "use subtractive EQ first" thing is almost useless in a pop / rock recording environment. I think most people sort of know where they are reaching first before they even reach, after some experience is gained.

I EQ while tracking when it comes to drums and bass guitar. I never EQ vocals during tracking, ever. Guitar cabs get it sometimes, at least a hi-pass.

War
Old 6th May 2009
  #22
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I am building the mix when I first look at the drum kit and start to mic it.

I am building the mix as soon as the artist tells what they want to record.

I have just been doing this ****e for a long time and I know how to EQ.
I know what works because I have done it right, wrong or half-assed so many times in the past.
EQ just isn't a big decision that needs to be put off.

Obviously you choose the right mic for the job, but that doesn't always do the trick on it's own.
You aren't recording the perfect instrument and the perfect player in every case.

EQ, compression, balancing and everything else involved in a recording has to be grasped as a whole.
Wrapping your mind around everything takes a while.

In my world I have always recorded in as neutral of a way as possible where I don't paint myself into a corner, yet I still have as many options as I need at mix-down.
In other words, my multi-track will have the instruments recorded in a way that is natural to how the instrument speaks on it's own.
If I want to jack it up during ix I can, but on the master recording there is the basic well recorded representation of the instrument.
Using this method you can take the mix anywhere you want.

I'll give some you guys a big hint....
If you have to wait until mix-down to pull the mix/recording together you are working from a dis-advantage.
Your recording needs to sound great as soon as you have the first sounds up.
Old 6th May 2009
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by meymia View Post
HI!
i mean during tracking or do you completly leave it t the mix?
Different folks like to work differently.

Some people who have tight project schedules like to get things 'right' up front. And that can really speed up the subsequent stages, since there are less decisions to make and -- if your strategy fits the project properly.

But I'm someone who has the option of -- and likes to -- leave himself options. Sometimes I know pretty much where I think a song should go... and sometimes it goes there.

But some of my very favorite works grew out of sudden left turns -- and sometimes U-turns -- smack in the middle of things.

That said, I no longer take clients and I no longer (as a rule) live under production schedules. So... I like to keep my options open.

You have to pick the right strategy for the situation.
Old 6th May 2009
  #24
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Note that I said that I record all instruments in a manner where they sound great when tracked and I am still able to take them almost anywhere at mix.

I can EQ, compress and process during tracking without limiting myself at mix-down.
It's easy because I know what the instruments I am recording sound like in their purest form.
Old 6th May 2009
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
wrekdahouse's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
Man!!! LEARN TO EQ!
Don't experiment!
Be boold!
Know what sounds good and ANTICIPATE the final result!
KNOW what you are building!
Have a F' ing vision!

thats serious advice, i agree 100%
Old 6th May 2009
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
Note that I said that I record all instruments in a manner where they sound great when tracked and I am still able to take them almost anywhere at mix.

I can EQ, compress and process during tracking without limiting myself at mix-down.
It's easy because I know what the instruments I am recording sound like in their purest form.
Of course, when I was working in studios, on production schedules, on tape (where it was ingrained habit to EQ up front to some extent and where, at my lowly level, good outboard boxes were often in short supply and FX would often get cut to tape as a practical matter), yeah... I was bold. heh


But I've unlearned a lot of that as I've adjusted to recording myself and my own projects -- a luxury I pretty much never had (except on my 4 track at home) back in the day.

What Danny does probably makes a lot of sense for him because he's in the trenches every day, probably on tight schedules. His choices are likely to be just about in muscle memory and he likely has an intuitive sense that guides him and keeps him out of trouble.


But back in the day I sometimes had to mix other people's work -- and I can tell you that mistakes and poor choices made going into tape (or whatever medium) can be a hideous mess to fix. These are mistakes and poor choices, mind you, that I doubt Danny or others at that level would make.

But let's face it, there are more and more less-and-less experienced recordists out there tracking every day...
Old 6th May 2009
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
But let's face it, there are more and more less-and-less experienced recordists out there tracking every day...
This is the problem in a sense.

There are just a lot of people who are working on their own who get to define their own discipline.
I was once that way except I had the keys to a pretty decent studio usually.
I guess it is where I learned the basics.

Still, it is the act of working under a tight deadline and in tough situations where you learn to really hone your craft.
You quickly learn what works and what doesn't.
Your set of "tools" gets more and more refined and your learn to use them more and more efficiently.

You can take the approach where you leave yourself lot's of time to sort it all out at mix, but the guys like me that can make it sound good quickly are going to eat your lunch.

There is lot of gear out in the world and the largest percentage of it is under-utilized.
Old 6th May 2009
  #28
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Oh, there are some places that sound better than others too, eq'ing on the way in can ruin you if you mix elsewhere sometimes.
Subtractive EQ should be used on mix, if you are going to EQ on the way in, additive EQ, when you reverse it later it will lower your noise in those bands too.
I had a partner that liked to EQ on the way in a lot, and sometimes he'd EQ on mix quite a bit. We mixed a song, he did one version and I did the other, they took mine.
It was so much punchier that my partner asked me "why are your mixes so much punchier than mine?".
I took a look at his board and there was additive EQ everywhere on mixdown.
Mine only had subtractive EQ on it.
There are many subtle and additive reasons for subtractive EQ at mix.
Taking out what you don't like reveals what is attractive yet there, whereas, adding more of what you want ends up being a pancake makeup job.
That said, it didn't take me nearly as long as it took him to come up with an undeniably superior mix, 2 hours versus 2 days. Oh yeah, I'm the man.
Old 6th May 2009
  #29
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciozzi View Post
you can always eq it during playback ... once you've done it, it's done, no way to go back.
Well, you can reverse any EQ curve if you make detailed notes. But the same cannot be said of compression or most other effects.

I understand and agree with people who say it's important to get a mix sounding good right away. But I do not understand the objection to patching EQ into the playback chain instead of the record chain. The argument that this increases latency might have been true 5+ years ago, but modern DAWs can handle unlimited tracks with unlimited plug-ins. Except maybe for reverbs. My most recent "big" pop tune project as 102 tracks, 30 soft-synths, and 62 plug-ins of which 6 are reverbs. SONAR handles that just fine on my 2 year old Dell computer.

The issue for me is not wanting to make a final decision until all of the tracks are in place. This goes along with the conventional wisdom not to EQ tracks when solo'd because you're not hearing them in context. By the same logic, how can you know what kick drum EQ will be best until the final bass part and its EQ are in place? Or how bright to make the rhythm guitar before the lead vocal is recorded?

--Ethan
Old 6th May 2009
  #30
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memphisindie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
Still, it is the act of working under a tight deadline and in tough situations where you learn to really hone your craft.
You quickly learn what works and what doesn't.
Your set of "tools" gets more and more refined and your learn to use them more and more efficiently.
That's the gold. That's the deal. Even in my lil'bitty project rig, there ain't no fat in there, it all gets used exactly for what it was intended plus whatever else it works well on, no extra gear.
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