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Eq Question

Discussion in 'Recording' started by CopperheadRecords, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. I know it's not a great idea to mix and master your own songs, but unless my boss decides to double my salary I can't afford any of the studios around here so I bought my own "studio".

    I've been recorded a bunch of times, and I have a lot of live experience, but I'm relatively new to recording. I've been in four different studios with my band, and I've done a lot of research, so I was hoping I could equal the sonic results of at least 1976's recording machines. A lot of them are muddy sounding and unfocused.

    I have a Fostex VF160EX 16 track digital Standalone unit with an internal CD burner.

    AT3035, AKGd112, Samson C02 Overheads, and a couple of fake SM57's from Ebay...I'm running through a few cheap preamps, Presonus tubepres and an ART tube mp. I have a 2 channel BBE Maxcom Compressor.


    I have Mogami cables that're pretty nice.

    My question is that when I finish a mix, to master it, I was thinking of feeding it through a stereo EQ and my compressor on conservative settings, but I hear that Graphic equalizers cause phase problems/ comb filtering? I have an MXR 10 Band pedal I use on guitar that I've been eq'ing with.

    Is there something better than a 31 Band Graphic eq, like the dbx 231?

    I'm hoping to give my recordings some more punch and clarity, and I understand that an equalizer can help smooth out boominess. Also, I know I can put an eq through the sidechain of my compressor and reduce or boost certain frequnecy ranges.

    I'd like to post a song eventually, give Remy and the others on this board a chance to critique my style of recording. I'm having a hard time finding a drummer to play with, and my drum programming skills are pretty lame.

    Thanks for everything
    -Dave
     
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    My basic advice is to go for it. What have you got to lose? Everything you are looking at is budget gear, and every step is education. Sure you are adding more eq and compression to the final mix than if you were sending it out for mastering. Just do it with the equipment you have and see what it sounds like. It's only 1's and 0's on a disk drive. Do it over if it doesn't sound good.

    All of the mastering houses use better eq units than the dbx, but the dbx is a good live unit (and cheap) and if that's what you got, give it a try.

    With all that said, the phrase "as equalizer can help smooth out the boominess" makes me think that you have a big problem with the room you are recording and mixing in. I'd check out the acoustics forum and see what you can do to improve your room. That may do a lot more for your recordings than any gear you can buy. It did for me.
     
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well it sounds like you are anxious to give it a go? Here are some recommendations and clarifications.

    By the descriptions of your microphone selections and preamps, you have all the necessary tools to make a truly good recording. Funny, I've heard a lot of 1976 recordings that were neither muddy nor unfocused? Oh! You mean the ones recorded with Dolby A? Right.

    Curious, how you get to the 2 track stereo mix, before mastering? Do you mix on the Fostex and then burn to a audio CD? Do you then rip that audio CD back into your computer? Then, you could go through your analog processing and then loopback to 2 inputs back into your computer?

    Or are you trying to mix within the Fostex, while utilizing your stereo mix bus inserts, in order to go through your analog equipment and back into the Fostex mix bus returns into the left/right stereo summingthrough the FOSTEX device for the stereo mix??

    The choices and differences are numerous.

    In response to your equalizer question. Almost all equalizer's are basically frequency selective phase shifting devices and so we get, equalization. 1/3rd octave, 31 band graphic equalizer's are inappropriate for mastering purposes. Those are for loudspeaker corrective problems. Those can certainly do more harm than good. The MXR 10 band pedal is a guitar processor and not what we would consider a "mastering quality equalizer". More like a $50 toy. I would never feed my mix into anything like that. Maybe for an effect but not for mastering. Given a choice, I would choose a software plug-in over that thing.

    If you are experiencing "boominess" it's a problem with your mix. Best corrected before the mastering process so that your entire mix is not thinned out in the process of correcting bass frequency problems.

    Utilizing an equalizer on the side chain of your compressor will cause it to become a frequency weighted/selective compressor and so if you reduce certain frequencies, it will allow those frequencies to more easily pass through before it hits threshold. Conversely, if you should boost certain frequencies, you'll make the compressor more sensitive to certain frequencies, which will in turn actually reduce the overall level based on a very small frequency spectrum you have selected. This type of frequency weighted compression and limiting is commonly used to control high frequency energy and reduce sibelence while also allowing a vocal to poke through the broadband compression a little more. There are many applications for this, none of which are generally effective in the mastering process, unless your mix is of a very substandard quality level.

    Otherwise, only a touch of equalization and a little fast limiting might be the only thing necessary for mastering?

    Chops or no chops? That is the question.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    steinberg's Wavelab is relatively cheap.
    here

    If you have a CD you can import the tracks in.
     
  5. I haven't treated my room at all that I'm using, and I know that it's a major sin in the audio world. I A/B my mixes to major commercial ones, though, and they've translated pretty well into a few stereo systems in cars, other houses, etc.

    The MXR is great for the guitar, but it does seem really limited for actual studio work. I was thinking of getting a parametric eq. John Vestman said it makes you listen more with 4 bands than 31, and it seems like a good idea to me.

    As far as treatments, I've thought of a few diffuser DIY deals, and maybe some bass traps for corners. I'm not going to Auralex this room because I'm hopefully going to be moving out in about a year.

    I notice a lot of early slapback type echoes on my recordings if I don't close mic, so I've opted to add fake reverb after, but it's sort of a band-aid, because I've found that Jimmy Page's

    "Distance Equals Depth."

    has always been true. A lot of engineers I've worked with have told be I was crazy when I asked for 6 mics on one amp spaced all around the room, but I've found that mixing the signals down works a lot better than simply doubling tracks. I'm pretty erratic as well as a player, so if I get a great take, I'm probably never going to get it again.


    I can do an internal mix-down with the fostex which bounces everything down to 2 tracks. So, yes.

    Should I get 4 Band Parametric EQ to polish individual tracks? The fostex has 3 band digital, but you can't edit below 400 hz for some reason, so it's pretty useless for tuning the bass. I've used the MXR but it's kind of harsh.

    I don't have a computer yet...I'm planning to go that route eventually, but for now I'd like to stay in the box I have. I've heard Sonic Solutions is a good mastering program, but I doubt without a decent room it would do me any good.

    Thanks for your replies. I will check the acoustics forum.

    Oh, and the muddy recording, Remy was Black Sabbath's "Master of Reality". Great songs, but the sound just seems kind of dull and blurry to me. One of the first CD's I bought in 6th Grade.
     
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Sonic Solutions is fantastic but pricey
     

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