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Author Topic: EQ Guidelines - Free vst EQ  (Read 3372 times)

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Offline Glenn

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EQ Guidelines - Free vst EQ
« on: September 08, 2011, 09:58:26 AM »
I found some notes a while back, that I've gathered along the way, and thought they might be useful here.
EQ tips - Just a guideline - so experiment.  :)


Edit> here's a link to an EQ chart, as it goes with this topic too.
http://www.gmhcafe.ca/gforums/index.php?topic=119.0

- Vocals
A challenging element to EQ, as it depends not only on the range and timbre in the voice, but also the mic used to record the vocal.  Cut or boost around 300 Hz, depending on the voice mic and song. Also, try a very small boost around 6 kHz to add some clarity.

A tiny 2 dB boost at 11 - 12 kHz can add 'air' and brilliance to a vocal track.

- 100 - 250Hz -  Adds ‘up-frontness’
 - 250 - 800Hz -  Muddiness area
 - 1 - 6kHz -  Adds presence
 - 6 - 8kHz -  Adds sibilance and clarity
 - 8 - 12kHz -  Adds brightness and 'air'


Kick Drum - one of the foundation elements in many arrangements.

I like a good thud with definition, and bit of 'attack' in the kick.
If it sounds a bit 'muddy' it can be rolled off around 300Hz. You can try a small boost around 5-7kHz to add some high end. Just don't overdo it.

- 50-100Hz  - Adds bottom (thud and thump) to the sound
 - 100-250Hz -Adds roundness (fullness)
 - 250-800Hz - Muddiness Area
 - 5-8 kHz  - Adds high end presence
 - 8-12 kHz  - Adds Hiss

the Snare drum
Depending on the song, EQ of a snare can make a big difference in the feel of the overall energy of a tune.
Try a small boost around 60 -120Hz if the sound is a little too small or tinny or tiny. Try boosting around 6kHz for that ‘snappy’ sound.
Try mic'ing the top and bottom snare, for more flexibility in the mix. EQ each a bit differently.

- 95 -250 Hz  - Fills out the sound
 - 5 - 9 kHz -  Adds presence, brilliance, clarity

Hi hats and cymbals
I love the sizzle and brightness of good quality cymbals.  The type of cymbal used will determine how it's handled in mix, especially the EQ.
To keep these sounding clean, without any muddiness, they can be rolled off around 300Hz. To add some brightness try a small boost around 3 kHz - 5 kHz.  Too much boost in this area can create a 'brittle' sound, so be careful.

- 250 - 700 Hz  - Muddiness area
 - 1- 6 kHz  - Adds presence
 - 6 - 8 kHz  - Adds clarity
 - 8 - 12 kHz - Adds brightness and sizzle

Bass
Bass is a challenging instrument and range to record and mix so that we get punch and presence and power too, without dominating the entire sonic spectrum.

Try boosting around 60Hz to add more body and warmth and fullness to the bass. If it sounds a bit muddy, it can be rolled off around 300Hz.  If more presence is needed, boost around 6kHz.  Don't forget to use a compressor while EQ'ing your bass and kick.

- 50 -100Hz -  Adds bottom end
 - 100 -250Hz -  Adds roundness
 - 250 - 800Hz -  Muddiness Area
 - 800 -1kHz  -  Adds beef to small speakers
 - 1- 6kHz  -  Adds presence
 - 6 - 8kHz -  Adds high-end presence
 - 8 - 12kHz - Adds hiss

Piano
The EQ treatment of a piano track can greatly affect the overall sound, clarity and 'realism' of a 'synth' piano. Watch that the track doesn't become 'brittle' with too much top end.
Muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz. Try a small boost around 6kHz to add some clarity.
- 50-100Hz -  Adds bottom
 - 100-250Hz-  Adds roundness and fullness.
 - 250-1kHz - Muddiness area
 - 1-6kHz  - Adds presence
 - 6-8Khz  - Adds clarity and shine or brilliance.
 - 8-12kHz  - Adds hiss and air.

Electric guitars
With so many types, setups etc, this depends on the mix and the recording. Of course, it all depends on the type of sound you are going for, .. crunch, power, wall of sound, cutting, piercing, smooth, edgy, warm, light ...etc etc.   Cut or boost around 300hz, depending on the song and sound. Try boosting around 3kHz to add some presence  or edge to the sound, or cut to add some transparency. Try boosting around 6 kHz to add presence. Boost around 10 kHz to add brightness.
100-250Hz -  Adds body
 250-800Hz -  Muddiness area
 1-6Khz -  Cuts through the mix
 6-8kHz -  Adds clarity
 8=12kHz -  Adds hiss

Acoustic guitar
New strings can go a long way in making a good guitar performance sound 'great'.  Tune up before each take, it's well worth the added time it takes.  The type of pick, thickness and flexibility can brighten an acoustic guitar track and can add definition too - especially to rhythm tracks.

If you notice any muddiness in the track, it can be rolled off between 100-300Hz. Use small amounts of cut around 1- 3 kHz to bring it out in the mix without adding gain.  Use small amounts of boost around 5kHz to add some presence.
100 -250Hz -  Adds body
 6 - 8kHz -  Adds clarity
 8 - 12kHz -  Adds brightness


When EQ'ing, I like to solo the track, hone in on the frequency I want to boost or cut, then make an adjustment, then I take the solo off, and then re-do the adjustment again to the EQ, and then listen to how it sits in the mix as the adjustment is being made ... it can be surprising how much EQ cutting a track can take, and while it may sound awful when solo'd, it can sound fantastic when put in context with the other elements in a mix.  This is especially true for electric guitars and vocals. So don't rely just on the sound of a track when it's solo'd.. it's how it sits in the mix in relation to everything else that's in the mix.

Experiment with some of these tips, and get a clearer, punchier, more powerful mix, that is pleasing to the ears and easy to listen to.

Again, just guidelines, as a starting point.

I hope this helps.

 :)
Happy Recording
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 07:41:17 AM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Old Goat

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Re: EQ Guidelines
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 12:24:31 PM »
I know that my voice and my Guild are pretty competitive, and found myself cutting a couple of db off the guitar around 4-500hz and boosting the vocals a bit in the same range so often that the ART Dual Tube EQ is set that way when I record now. ;D
Better a crust in peace than a feast in a house of contention.

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Offline Glenn

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Re: EQ Guidelines
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2011, 01:22:03 PM »
I know that my voice and my Guild are pretty competitive, and found myself cutting a couple of db off the guitar around 4-500hz and boosting the vocals a bit in the same range so often that the ART Dual Tube EQ is set that way when I record now. ;D

lol, almost like being 'hard-wired' ...  :P

 :P
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Old Goat

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Re: EQ Guidelines
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2011, 07:50:41 PM »
Really. And, you know, I like the results I've been getting. I have been so enamored of the magical things a DAW can do that I would try to use them all. Now going into my analogue rack, I have to make decisions before I hit the red button, and my tracks just haven't needed much ITB lately. Adjust levels, do some automation maybe.

My major decision now is whether to master in Sound Forge or go back through the VLA and Tube EQ, then hit the Lex for a little 'verb. 8)
Better a crust in peace than a feast in a house of contention.

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Offline Glenn

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Re: EQ Guidelines
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 07:33:25 AM »
Yeah, all part of developing one's 'Sound'.   :)

Sometimes it can lead to getting into an 'audio rut' .. everything always patched, processed the same... but it DOES create a 'signature' or 'sound' of it's own... really good when it's 'good' sound..lol. 

...and if it works, then I say, leave well enough alone and don't try to fix something that aint broke. lol  :P

But, I also like to keep open to new ways of processing my tracks too, - there's times when I like to go into 'experi-mental' mode - trying crazy ideas and strange ways of patching things, - I sure learn lots about what 'doesn't work' ...lol... but once in a while it can lead to some pretty cool sounds.   EQ can be one of the elements that add to this process in a creative way.

..but I find that doing lots of "A" : "B" testing and listening sessions is the way to go when trying a new patch route, new vst's, new gear etc...

Like you say OG, when you know what works for ya, and you've fine tuned the settings for your voice, your guitar etc, it can be left there, and if it's a vst, it can be stored as a preset so you can go back to call up 'your sound' - that is pretty convenient.

I recall many sessions that lasted days, where we'd be mixing a project for a band, and we'd all go out for lunch or have a days break from the mix, -  I'd have to put a big sign over the mixer board, "MIX IN SESSION DO NOT TOUCH" ..  so no one would mess with the settings and levels - now it's just a matter of 'save presets'  'save mix' .. and go for coffee.  Now we can have 3 mixes going on at the same time thanks to digital 'saving' of projects...that IS cool.

btw.. one of my favourite vst  EQ's is the DDMF IIEQ parametric Equalizer.
http://www.brothersoft.com/iieq-download-266995.html

and it's at our favourite price point too....  free download.

This EQ is very 'responsive' - and has a 'sound' of it's own.  I usually like to go with fairly transparent sounding EQ's (no difference in sound when all settings are neutral)  but THIS baby does have a 'sound' of it's own, and it's 'sweet' IMO ... when you do use it to boost or cut - it's very responsive even at miniscule changes.

CHears
Happy Recording
Glenn :)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 07:40:01 AM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Old Goat

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Re: EQ Guidelines - Free vst EQ
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 08:09:56 PM »
I've used that one. IIRC it's a good'un.  Looking at the DL site, not sure if it is W7 compatible.

I like to mix things up, too, but for an album I kind of like for it to have the same basic vibe. Whatever tweaks I do during the mix, it's still obvious it was recorded "Old Goat". ie, it'll have that tube sound, that really gentle VLA comp, and that buttery tube EQ, then we'll decide how much Lex it gets on the last pass.

I think I kind of screwed up Hurricane Rosie because I was so enamored of the itb power.
Better a crust in peace than a feast in a house of contention.

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Offline Glenn

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Re: EQ Guidelines - Free vst EQ
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 06:44:18 PM »
...
I like to mix things up, too, but for an album I kind of like for it to have the same basic vibe. Whatever tweaks I do during the mix, it's still obvious it was recorded "Old Goat". ie, it'll have that tube sound, that really gentle VLA comp, and that buttery tube EQ, then we'll decide how much Lex it gets on the last pass.

I think I kind of screwed up Hurricane Rosie because I was so enamored of the itb power.

Yep, I know what you mean OG, for an album - you go for that underlying 'consistency' of sound throughout the project (shows in the rhythm section ... ) and I do agree, your 'sound' is very consistent - even with the added 'elements' in a couple of your tunes. 

... yeah, that's the thing with getting new vst's to play with - the tendency is to want to use em on the next thing we're working on... only to realize months later (when we can look at our own stuff more objectively) "what was I thinkin'?" lol.  ... but it's fun testin' the new toys out anyway!

> back to EQ, I've noticed two schools of 'approach' to EQ, ....  8)

some people like to mix using "EQ" as another 'effect', while others tend to only use EQ to 'balance' the tone of a track or instrument, bringing out or enhancing what's already there. Some use a bit of each school, (ok, that's 3 schools of thought..lol)  :P
Using EQ can be an effect when taken to extreme, after all, EQ is only a bunch of 'filters' that increase or decrease gain in that particular frequency region.

Most audio processing is basically (repeat, 'basically') 'filters' combined with gain.. ok, maybe not most, but much of it is IMO. (phasers, flangers, tremollo, exciters, wahs, gates, etc etc).

What's interesting is, that not all EQ's are the same... and that's the part that is cool, finding the right EQ for the job at hand - which means knowing each EQ one has, knowing how it will handle certain 'tracks' or situations, knowing which one brings out or enhances the track you are working on. Some EQ's are great for individual tracks, and others are great in the 'Master' slot.
At one time, I liked the 'graphic' EQ for ease of use, but now find that Parametrics often sound way better than graphics, generally speaking - mainly because of the added 'functionality' that comes with most parametrics.

EQ's, I like em... if there were only a few tools to choose from, a good EQ or two would be at the top of the list. (along with a good compressor, and verb).

all for now.  :)
CHears

« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 06:51:04 PM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Old Goat

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Re: EQ Guidelines - Free vst EQ
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2011, 08:14:17 PM »
True dat!

The nice thing about parametric eqs it that it's easy to find the freq that's driving you nuts. Crank the gain, narrow the Q, and sweep until your teeth fall out. Then just cut that band a bit and all will be well.

I'm still learning to drive the hardware eq, but I find it much gentler than some of the plugs. When I start tracking the new album I'm sure I'll get an education! 8)
Better a crust in peace than a feast in a house of contention.

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http://www.soundcloud.com/edward-null

Offline Glenn

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Re: EQ Guidelines - Free vst EQ
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2012, 01:21:32 AM »
True dat!

The nice thing about parametric eqs it that it's easy to find the freq that's driving you nuts. Crank the gain, narrow the Q, and sweep until your teeth fall out. Then just cut that band a bit and all will be well.

I'm still learning to drive the hardware eq, but I find it much gentler than some of the plugs. When I start tracking the new album I'm sure I'll get an education! 8)

That's an excellent point about the ability to zero in on a certain frequency by narrowing the "Q" and cranking the gain, then sweeping to 'hear' where it kicks in and out.. make the cut and reduce gain back to normal 'cut' and you're good to go.  ;D
 :)
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Glenn

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Re: EQ Guidelines - Free vst EQ
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 07:04:56 PM »
Sometimes a good 'notch' filter does the job!
Great for when you know there's an offending frequency that needs to be removed without removing any adjacent frequencies.
Kinda like having an extremely tight "Q" on a parametric EQ.
 
Great for cutting out a 60Hz hum from mains, or a 'buzz' from an amp etc.
 
High and Low Pass Filters work great for 'shelving' off freqs above or below a given point.  Eg: crashes and hi-hats don't need 'bass' frequencies, so they can be shelved to cut out all bass and low end frequencies.   
 
I sometimes duplicate a vocal track, and add 1.5dB gain @ 10 - 11KHz - to add some 'air' and crispness to the track. (don't overdo)  8)  Sometimes the entire mix can use that. 
Rolling off or 'cuttting' all frequencies below 60Hz on a mix can really clean it up, add clarity, and it makes 'room' for your amplifier to provide power to the 'needed' bass frequencies ...and not wasting it on 'rumble' and boom.  8)
 
I hope this helps.
 :)
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Glenn

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Re: EQ Guidelines - Free vst EQ
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2013, 05:04:43 PM »
...........
 
I sometimes duplicate a vocal track, and add 1.5dB gain @ 10 - 11KHz - to add some 'air' and crispness to the track. (don't overdo)  8)  Sometimes the entire mix can use that. 
Rolling off or 'cuttting' all frequencies below 60Hz on a mix can really clean it up, add clarity, and it makes 'room' for your amplifier to provide power to the 'needed' bass frequencies ...and not wasting it on 'rumble' and boom.  8) 
 
 :)

This comes in more frequently, as I listen to a lot of 'home' recordings these days!
 
Just got to remember to shelve or high pass the frequencies above the 'target' frequency you're aiming to enhance.. so as not to 'double' the sound file -
 
when you double or duplicate a track and play both, you are essentially adding 6dB to the signal output, if both tracks are (and they should be) completely 'in phase' with each other.
 
Glenn
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)