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Frequency sculpting, becoming a lost art?
Old 18th November 2009
  #1
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
Frequency sculpting, becoming a lost art?

After spending so much time in that 70's thread, I have been listening to the music a little differently trying to figure out why it just sounds good when you crank it up. Sure, now there is the slamming of every track and then the slamming of the whole works, but even more, every single track seems to go for the full frequency spectrum. We are concerned about the highs on the bass and the kick. The vocals, keys, guitars, everything. Gotta have good full bass and highs to the moon. We have the gear, we have the mics, and maybe too many people think you have to use it all? I know the pros here know how to work with the arrangements and get this right (assuming good arrangements). But is this, too, becoming a lost art?
Old 18th November 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I think we're eqing TOO much now. Killing the natural tones from the instruments we are recording.
Old 18th November 2009
  #3
It's amazing what kind of openness and breathe-ability you get by subtractive EQ. If you think about it-- if you just had one mic, and one instrument, there's your full frequency spectrum right there, 'specially with this awesomely densely perfectly accurate digital capture medium these days. You pile all kinds of signals like that ontop of each other, yes sure you are going to need to clear some swaths, just so things can be heard!

And I think the "monster" mixes that have everything just so, I think that comes from a vast familiarity with the gear and a whole trail of protocols and systems and schemes that utilize the strengths of each step along the way-- layers and layers of nuances and finely tuned pressure points. Nothing automatic nor easy about any of that.
Old 18th November 2009
  #4
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mexicola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by magus888 View Post
I think we're eqing TOO much now. Killing the natural tones from the instruments we are recording.
I completely agree. I think mic placement is becoming a lost art in the world of digital samples. If you take 5 minutes and walk out into the live room, put on a pair of headphones, and put the mic in the right spot, you'll save a lot of time when it's ready to mix it all down.
I'm even all for doing "practice" takes just to get the right sound and moving the mics around for different takes. Then bringing the band in and getting their input on which positioning sounds best to them. Then we'll go for the gold performance take.
I try to run the audio through as few circuits as possible at mixdown, and the less eq I have to use, the better.
Old 18th November 2009
  #5
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amishsixstringe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by magus888 View Post
I think we're eqing TOO much now. Killing the natural tones from the instruments we are recording.
I disagree. For some genres...sure. I guess.

I record hard rock/metal/punk/ska... Have fun trying to explain to these dudes that you're not going to spike the top end on the kick and snare so it can cut through the mix on the ole iPod buds. Plus, I love it. Natural has its place, but it sucks for some things. I can go both ways. Genre/song/band specific for sure.

Neil
Old 18th November 2009
  #6
i disagree. from my experience, if you want kick and snare to pop through on aggressive music it doesnt have to come from eq.

a kick and snare that pop in the room, combined with mics and pres (api...) that complement that push will be more effective than eqing it in.
Old 18th November 2009
  #7
I have a frequency sculpture from the 1800's in my front yard. Everyone loves it when they see it.

But anyway, I really like older stuff mostly, where the track count is like one one thousandth of the modern rock song or something like that. With a vastly sparser composition, and a lot more space and room for ambience, you can kind'a sort'a just record it like it should sound and not have to do so much EQ'ing to carve out room for things. Probably a lot harder when you have fifty five layered snare tracks and a hundred and fifty vocal tracks and whatnot.
Old 18th November 2009
  #8
soulstudios
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by magus888 View Post
I think we're eqing TOO much now. Killing the natural tones from the instruments we are recording.
EQing doesn't devalue natural instrument tone any more than mic placement does. You can't EQ what isn't there.
Old 18th November 2009
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soulstudios View Post
EQing doesn't devalue natural instrument tone any more than mic placement does. You can't EQ what isn't there.
Not my point. We're taking too much out to gain more level!
Old 18th November 2009
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by magus888 View Post
I think we're eqing TOO much now. Killing the natural tones from the instruments we are recording.
Who we, paleface?


Quote:
Originally Posted by amishsixstringe View Post
I disagree. For some genres...sure. I guess.

I record hard rock/metal/punk/ska... Have fun trying to explain to these dudes that you're not going to spike the top end on the kick and snare so it can cut through the mix on the ole iPod buds. Plus, I love it. Natural has its place, but it sucks for some things. I can go both ways. Genre/song/band specific for sure.

Neil
I would suggest that you spend more time selecting and placing microphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soulstudios View Post
EQing doesn't devalue natural instrument tone any more than mic placement does. You can't EQ what isn't there.
Yes, but attempting to do so can play hell with your phase response, causing smearing and other nasties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneoconnor View Post
i disagree. from my experience, if you want kick and snare to pop through on aggressive music it doesnt have to come from eq.

a kick and snare that pop in the room, combined with mics and pres (api...) that complement that push will be more effective than eqing it in.
+100. Eqing doesn't really get it. The pop and punch come from the player on the instrument, captured by a properly selected and placed microphone. If you don't get that right you can use all the EQ you want it but it won't get you there. If you do get it right you'll need little or any EQ.

Another major problem these days is the abuse of compression, especially on drums. Compression generally detracts from punch by destroying the dynamics of the signal. Dynamics = punch.
Old 18th November 2009
  #11
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I think the OP is on to something....every great record I've ever listened to has a ton of eq...not only that...mostly additive...i'd go one step further and say we've lost the art of additive eq...plugs are great for subtracting, but not adding IMO....learning when to crank and where is a life long journey...frankly I'm getting tired of subtractive eq...we all need to grow a pair and start f-ing cranking to the right!
Old 19th November 2009
  #12
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by glissando View Post
I think the OP is on to something....every great record I've ever listened to has a ton of eq...not only that...mostly additive...i'd go one step further and say we've lost the art of additive eq...plugs are great for subtracting, but not adding IMO....learning when to crank and where is a life long journey...frankly I'm getting tired of subtractive eq...we all need to grow a pair and start f-ing cranking to the right!
I agree as well. I don't think you can subtract your way through all sounds. You need to significantly boost some things and cut others. Get out of your comfort zone and experiment.
Old 19th November 2009
  #13
One thing I definitely did kind of figure out the hard way is that, because everyone always said use subtractive EQ, in those cases where what the thing really need was just a small boost somewhere to make it stand out the correct way, instead I was trying to lower everything but that small thing, which is kind of crazy. Just boost those one or two places that need it and lower the ovearall gain a bit and you are at the same place with far less abuse of the signal. I'd end up with almost nothing left and a signal level at like -30dB and wondering what I was doing wrong.
Old 19th November 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
b808's Avatar
 

I've been thinking about this too.

My understanding is EQ is there to craft the sound you want.
Cut some of this to get like that. Boost some of that to sound like this.
If you like what you hear then leave it alone if you don't then experiment.

How much is too much is mostly a matter of perspective IMO.
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