EQ in Action
Today we're talking about q I think was great because a lot of us are familiar with it you know everything from your car stereo tio crank up the base and you get more low and crank up behind get more high end well understand at some level what it does and it's a tool that in mixing we're pretty familiar with even if you've mixed for you know, one day you can understand how I can change the tone of an instrument with nick you so it's a really familiar tool but also tool that we we either misuse or don't use to its full potential and once you get this concept and all the things we're going talk about today it could change everything in your mix is I mean, I feel like it is the most important tool kun compression of the two most but if you had to pick one tool, I would almost say picnic you if that was the on ly plugging you could use to shape your mix that's we're going to talk about today so I'm going to jump in. I'm going to show you some examples of what accused doing across the board...
in our mix and then I want to walk you through a bunch of different stuff in the session and in mastering mixing recording a little bit but then break it down and make it really, really simple yes understand? So let's start with just hearing what he accused doing so we know globally what it's doing to a mix so if you were their session yesterday is the exact same song exact same session I've basically we mixed one of my songs with just stock e q and compression here on pro tools and again it's this is not a pro tools class so whatever deal you guys work on you can even implies toe life sound just focused on what we're doing with the q but here's the here's the course of the song and what I'm gonna do is if you see this top row of plug and these were all accuse across my entire track and so I'm gonna press play and then I'm gonna bypass all of the issues you can hear in an instant what the mix sounds like we take away all the queue it should be pretty obvious because you hear that so you're hearing the mix go from mixed to kind of need a little more muffled little less clear it still sounds ok but when you pop the keys back in like that crispness that clarity some of instruments jump out a little bit more that's what cues doing we're taking a song that hopefully was recorded well I try to do my best to get good sounding tracks but bringing any q is going to make every single track pop the right way so in this segment instead of jumping into like all the parameters on any q and explaining how it all works, I'm going to do that in a later segment I thought I would show you some more e q inaction and explain sort of bird's eye view of why we're going to use a cute how it can make a big difference in all stages of your recordings and mixes andi I want to start from the like the last into the chain in mastering actually show you the power of the q and a great way to show that I think is a mastering because when people think about mastering I know this is a mix of course anything about mastering a lot of time for thinking about special effects to make your mix sound even better but most of a good master q and it's it's really, really simple so what I've got is another track here um but bring up my every locations at another track here of mine that I wantto is like a final mix um and so it's just a stereo track and it has not been mastered so uh mrs you know we like we finished our mix we're feeling good about it I rendered it out into a stereo way file and right here, if I was given this track to master the first thing I would do say let's use an e q to make this mix with maybe it sounds ok, but I hear some some problems like even though I know I'm the mix engineer in the song I hear some things that probably have done differently. I listened to this track and I think it's a little muffled a little a little bit of low mid stuff that's happening something in there that I want to clear it up, I want to brighten it up, so what I'm going to do is show you how powerful a simple q is. I'm going to grab a stock e q here the seven banned in pro tools, this comes with pro tools and pretty much every major w's going tohave a digitally cue like this and it's going to have all these frequency points we can grab and move around. I'm going explain all these knobs in a later segment so you will feel really at home with it, but at its core, you you probably understand what I think you can do, so let's let's see if we can use a simple e q to sculpt this this mix and make it even better even though we can't go in and adjust individual tracks so the first thing I hear when I hear this track is some of that low mid stuff that's building up, so what I'm gonna do is try to clear up some of that run around! They're going to pull some out and I'm gonna explain everything I'm doing here but I want to show you what we can do here I'm gonna pull just a d b and a half of that out that's around four hundred hertz. What I'm doing here is kind of like the snare drum. It was like a really round sounding fat snare drum but didn't have a lot of like crack or sizzle to it some kind of trying to bring out some of the snare drum even on this mix that I can't really just the snare tracks are going right around three and a half k three point seven sounds really cool might be a little bump there this little shelf here is kind of opening up the top and a little bit um some of the symbols were little, little muffled and so I'm kind of bringing that out a bit, but then also that a little bit of low end here that I kind of want to tame a bit, it seems to be out of control it's take some of that out, all right, some here's what I've got press play we've done four little queue moves on this week, you nothing more than I wanted a half deby riel changed a little bit of a cut, a little bit of a boost, these air really subtle moves and just take a listen at home, take a listen and then here try to listen to what you hear happening to the mix is I bypassed this cq it doesn't really matter what I was doing necessarily as much as I want to show you how subtle moves in antique you make a massive difference even on this stereotype back, you hear those changes mean here how we took this, how it may be amassing mastering engineer would think I mean, you can't really go and adjust the basic can't turn the base down or trying to snare up or brighten up the cymbals and the drums. All I can do is e q certain frequencies aiken bring out certain frequencies more I can get rid of other frequencies that are building up, and with these subtle teeny moves on one e q, we were already sculpting and shaping thiss final mix. So in mastering this is one way you might think about a q, and I just want to show you that because I thought to be it as a bird's eye view, show you the power of what an e q khun dio and I know we're going to spend most of her time today talking about mixing, but if you are interested in mastering off your master in your own music, let me take this moment to sort of share with you that e q is your most powerful tool in mastering as well? You know, if it's it's not fancy mastering software that we think we need to master a track it's all always comes down to the right frequencies either things that are covering up other frequencies or things that aren't displayed in the proper way in this and e q is what gives you control over all of that so it it's simply queue moves in mastering and look at what we did again. Look how subtle these bruce and cuts are they don't even look like much in the graph the graphical interface we have here and you can read them as again one and a half tb moves for each one that's all we're doing or not doing three d b we're not going to sixty because they're really, really subtle moves and they make a massive difference, and I want you to keep that in mind the whole day all these segments in this session because we're going to take that philosophy of little subtle moves in queue, just like we talked about compression in yesterday's session add up to a huge huge difference, and with the key is you don't want to go too crazy because you consort of distort and harm your mix, but you can just do subtle move they're going to have a mass of impact across the mix, okay, so that's one way to think about in terms of masking weezy q all the time and mastering tio you know I get a track and I say that is a good mix but their vocalist still little buried like and bring out the vocal with the cue or the base isn't bad enough I can bring that out or it's too much it's overloading and I containment a little bit or maybe one of your mix is if you're doing your own album sounded good but in the next mix you have too much bass in it you don't realize that until you've got all your mixes side by side in the mastering session and that's when you can come in and say ok, this one mix I'm gonna leave alone but the second mix I got attain the base a little bit or the drums weren't as bright and so you can use an e q two subtly balance your final mixes across each other make sense questions just come in while you were explaining that a little bit s so here's a question that comes in from a user and we've had a couple of votes on this one hello graham any tips on e queuing a final mix to tame the brightness of the overheads and avoiding destroying the snares top end I mean that's that's a hard one because they're living in the same space right? So if you if you still have time to mix the song, so if it's something that you are mixing, then that's I would go back to the mixing phase and focus on then as individual instruments, so I would e q this snare the way you want, and we're gonna look at that today and woody, cue that overheads and the vocal of whatever it is you're competing, do them separately, as opposed to waiting to the mastering face, but if you're given a track like this, which is just a stereo file and it's or it's too late, you can't remix it, then then you have a lot of trouble because you have to pick and choose because boosting one frequency is going to boost everything in the mix at that frequency. At this stage of the game, your hands are a little tied in the mastering phase, but way have another q overheads question here, and we have two people voting on this, and I want to remind people if you don't know how to vote for these questions, all have to do is click little blue arrow because we do have tons of questions to get to if you see one that you really want the answer or do it would be excellent if you could vote for and we'll try to get to the ones that have the most votes. So we can use this time most efficiently to answer as many of you as possible this one has two votes, and it was submitted by delicious, and they say when you e q overheads, do you e q most of the bleed out, or do you look for a more natural sound? Most cubans the bleed out? Um, that's a great question, I'm going to show you what I'm doing with my overheads in a second, and maybe that will help you. I would say it depends on when your overhead sound like I mean, some overheads are that the some sound of the drums, and they're real balance, and so you don't want to take you much out it all sometimes there's too much kick drum in the overhead and it's kind of competing with the close mike so you could do a high pass filter, and I'll explain what that is a future segment as well. So I try to do is a little to the overheads as possible, but I was not really a bleed thing that you're taking out it's more of frequencies that are building up in the overhead, so don't need to be there, I'll show you, that may be so maybe that your questionably answered in and a little bit all right, we'll let you get going then, and you can answer questions we come through awesome okay, so keep in mind in this segment I'm just trying to show you weak you I want to show it to you first and then will build into the how and why I'm or the philosophy and in the next segment so it might be a little bit backwards but it'll be more fun to dive into just showing you teach you in action so that's one way to think about q and mastering little adds up to a lot and you can completely change the shape of a mix with q and mastering most of the was going to happen in of course the mixing face so we bring up the rest of our mix we'll show you that so this this session I've already kind of gone through and mixed it and shows an e q settings but take a look at what we're doing here I want to show you some before and after examples of the individual tracks and so we can listen to what he was doing on individual base so let's take um let's take my kick drum let's start with that way here. All right? This is random start but here's here's a e q curb I have on my kick john let's bypass it and bring it back in and hear what it's doing and then I'll sort of explain what I've got going on here can you hear those changes so it's kind of subtle we're not really doing anything drastic but you can see how on this kick drum if you heard it what you heard probably is before the kick drum kind of it's like flapping like flat flat flat flat and after its a little rounder maybe that's the word I would use and you can see what we're doing here there's a little bit of a low end featuring fifty five hertz on this kick drum by about three d b I've cut wherever that was around five hundred hertz by about three and a half tb which is scooping out cem I'll show you some of what I call like this sort of nastiness down there and then a little bit of boost that four and a half k which is kind of went maybe where the smack of the beat her head is so it's it's three distinct little moves on this one kick drum but it takes it from this little little weightier with also some more pop it's not a drastic change we couldn't really change the sound of this kicked from it's just a little bit better okay here's another example here is our snare drum fill a peak you on this this is real simple you don't even hear much of a change most of what I'm doing is cutting out some low end and cutting out some four hundred eighty eight which kind sounds like this it's kind of this muffled, awkward frequency and that taken some of that out just to kind of clean up the snare drum and again, I'll explain in this next segment the why behind what I'm doing let's look at the bass guitar here is with the q and a will take it away subtle change it's maybe a little rounder a little cleaner in these by themselves they don't really sound like a whole lot on this kind of what I'm trying to show you here let's look at these guitars through this over driven guitars here what do you hear on this guitar is a little more obvious what do you hear? Changing sounds a lot more crunchy when you take a lot of the bottom out it's it's like thinners and I mean by itself I almost prefer no sounds thinner, a little windier and yet that's my cue for it in the song that's actually what I've showed I did that on purpose I was sitting to the entire mix though not just by itself bingo, bingo yes, this is huge we're going talk about that, but yet this decision was made while listening to the guitar in the rest of the mix this you hit on it perfectly harris this is goingto kind of shape the way you make a few decisions but that's a drastic change and a weird change if you do it in solo and so that's why what I'm showing you right now it's kind of weird thing has some purpose is a kind of a weird way to display you would never say you how you should do that on guitars yeah that's that's the great guitar e q because I don't think actually that sounds great pie itself let's look at the next guitar so that was one the left this is the one on the right somewhat similar was also different what do you hear there yeah a lot of the bottom is gone out of the way it's gone thinner smaller more mid rangy right massive massive change here but without understanding why we're doing what we're doing I don't know if it's a good change necessarily but it is a change um let's say only show you here's the organ wait hear that change what do you hear when you're that organ similar thinner thinner a little more mid range and you can see there's a massive boost on this mid range as well and I cut out a lot are starting to see a trend here in the mixing side of things would have doing my cue making room making room this is huge we're going to talk about this and more in the next segment e q this's all we're what we're doing in solo because no one really should eke you much in solo because we would make the wrong decisions that's kind what I want to show you now here's a lead vocal on this isn't gonna be much different but here's with without sticks and stones on tearing means soon until you start breaking me down she ma boom you hear that crisper grizzly crispy exactly little brighter a little bit of the well there's not much about him in but a little bit that there was it's been taken out yeah a little cleaner that down there the bottom exactly take a listen to my drama even have you in my drum bus remember I've got all these drum tracks they're in the red here and they're feeding a drum group or drum bus here um so let me meet the rest of band they hear any change there is a little better interesting yeah this I mean this is so this one subtle for sure and you can see this little not much happening I mean there's a dip mid basis tamed and is a little bit of a shelf one d b of the shelf boost here in the top in so there's just these air little subtle things happening across the entire mix but remember when we had everything in if you take all those e q moves we did across all the guitars is a little bit on the accused to guitar all the vocals together they make a big difference when you take away the what's robin, right it's a massive change, it's more like a global like oh, it was ok, you know, it's better with the technique you way uh, not is exciting or or bright um what we just did. And again, I'm going to show you how today's today's goal is to show you how to make these decisions. How to know what e q I'm supposed to put on an instrument? How why are you doing this grand wire? These random curves. You know what? Why that and why on the acoustic guitar does it look like that? That's? Weird understand? Why do we have these that's? What I'm michael for you is to be able to walk away from this session and know that one e q makes a massive difference in your mixes. It changes the whole tone and shape of your mix into their some specific strategies to help you always know what the right move is for your situation. I can't tell you with the right kind of is, but you will if you follow what we talk about today, you will know how to beat you so that you get the right q on any piece of music you're working on so that you get that result in the end, where if you took it away he said, man, the mix isn't that great. But you bring it back, and it sounds good to you. It sounds good on other speakers. It sounds good out in the real world, which is really the goal.