I dont understand EQ fully

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by DjXXXCluesive, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. DjXXXCluesive

    DjXXXCluesive Active Member

    I browsed through the forum a lil bit and couldnt find it so sorry if its already out there and im asking again. I m not quite sure how (at all) i am supposed to use the EQ to master a track. yes i know its a newbie question so please dont be hatin, im just looking for generally accepted uses . i am trying to master hip hop beats in ableton live specifically. Thank you
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    So first get the mixing vs. mastering thing out of your head. The first task is to learn how to use eq, and the basic ideas are the same on a single drum track or a full stereo mix. Try the following exercise.
    1) Take a single track - maybe a beat from Ableton - and loop a couple of measures of it - a very short sample.
    2) Listen to the track with your monitors set low. You want to be able to hear clearly, but you want to have a lot of headroom to boost certain frequencies without blowing your speakers.
    3) Put a parametric eq plugin on the track. Set the Q very small - about a tenth of an octave. Set it to boost 8-10 dB. (Again - watch out. You don't want to blow up your speakers.)
    4) Sweep the peak slowly through the frequency spectrum. Stop and move it back and forth when you hit a particularly interesting band. Take notes
    5) Do the same thing with a -10 dB cut.
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    As an addendum: subtractive EQ is often much more useful than additive EQ. As Jack Sparrow would say though, it's more a guideline than a rule. Drink up me Hearties yo ho...
  5. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    It would likely be helpful if you researched a bit about different kinds of EQ, how they work, and related topics.

    Use your search engine to find "Graphic EQ", "Parametric EQ", "EQ basics", "music equalization", etc. Also, there are many charts on the internet that display the frequency range of music, and will have many examples of where certain instruments (and vocals) fit in the frequency spectrum. Those can be useful to guide you closer to the frequency ranges you might want to adjust for particular tracks.

    I used to have links to hundreds of articles about music related stuff, but that was on the old computer, or I would provide a few for you.

    Knowing what frequencies (and harmonics) certain instruments (and vocals) occupy, and how to manipulate them with the proper use of the right kind of EQ is worth some time studying. They need to all sound good together, whether they sound good, or not, separately. So, you may end up thinning out a particukar track that sounded good and full by itself, just so it fits in with the entire tune.

    Anytime you change the EQ, compression, etc. of any track, you're likely changing its level, somewhat, too. Pan positions can factor in, also. It's basically a balancing act, where you try to hear all the parts clearly, with some parts working together tightly (like bass and kick drum), and some parts getting out of the way of other parts. Even with bass and kick, there are different goals of how they compliment each other, depending on the musical style.

    You can end up chasing your tail, a lot of times, since each tweak affects other things. Decisions have to be made, but the goal is to keep things clean, punchy and crisp. If the tune lacks a bit of bass, and you perceive it as just a bit too bright...do you boost the bass, or attenuate the highs? It depends. Maybe, neither. Maybe you just need a bit of light compression/limiting to make the bass ride better and tame the highs? When you boost EQ, you run the risk of adding distortion. maybe you just need to EQ out a bit of highs, and not boost the bass? Maybe the kick is perfect, but you need to massage the bass a bit to get rid of mud or add substance?

    Anyway, try doing some research on the internet, download some articles, try some things. As you gain an understanding of how EQs work, and how things fit together, you'll more easily zero in on problems, and you can post more specific questions (and maybe even samples) of any problems you have.

    As the esteemed BobRogers mentioned...play with it. Mix some tracks, learn some stuff. As long as you don't save over the original tracks, you won't hurt anything. (If you want to be extra careful, save your "practice tracks" as something else, and mess with that, leaving the original alone). A good understanding of EQ should be one of the first basic things anyone should know when trying to mix music.

  6. DjXXXCluesive

    DjXXXCluesive Active Member

    Thank you guys. i have been looking around a bit. it looks like i have my homework cut out for me. i have been messing around with one of my tracks trying to isolate the best parts of the different sounds using the EQ 8 as well as tweaking some of my presets. Its amazing how it makes that much of a difference. thank you for pointing me in the right direction.
  7. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Do your homework and ask the right questions, young grasshopper - the good folks here will lead in the right direction if you do. They've always done so for me.

    Sounds like you already understand that, just reinforcing.

    FWIW, the esteemed Kapt. gave you a nice tutorial to mixing w/o specifics. I even (re)learned a few things myself.
    It's easy to get lost in all of that stuff, especially as you dive into it. Nice to know there's always perspective to be found here.
  8. DjXXXCluesive

    DjXXXCluesive Active Member

    Hey guys i put up two versions of the same beat i have been working with . Can you tell me if im heading in the right direction? I Used Eq 's to try and spread the sounds more evenly . if anyone is using ableton live 8 i can send you the live set if you wanna see the specifics.

    DjXXXClusive719's sounds on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
  9. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Well, it's not really right or wrong here. Most of us are working with tracks that we recorded, and often require a lot of tweaking. You're a step ahead, you're starting with what is an entire finished mix. It sounds great on it's own already, so what we're dealing with now is almost purely personal taste. If you like a little extra 8000hz, give it a bump there, if you like less mids, give it a cut there... but honestly I wouldn't do anything too agressive because this is already EQ'd and made to sound good.

    Can I ask what you're looking to change about it specifically?

    Also, did you create this mix out of individual instruments, or is it all in one track for you already? If you have access to the individual instruments I think you would have better results by EQing those individually (for example, if you want more bass, you might be better off adding bass to the kick drum alone, rather than the whole mix. That said, you may discover the opposite is true, but if you have the ability to try both then this is something you should do, both for your own learning benefit as well as to see which will get you the best mix).
  10. DjXXXCluesive

    DjXXXCluesive Active Member

    I Put the track together myself using different tracks and vst's in Ableton. the drums are a loop that i chopped in a few places to kill some of the repetition but its mostly vsts with automation envelopes (like the bells that start as bells and i flipped their sound with a decay envelope). Back to EQ, I used on it most tracks individually with the 8 band EQ presets w/tweaking and what not. I was attempting to make it sound "not as flat" and give it character while cleaning up different frequency ranges and enhancing the best parts of individual sounds. I guess what im asking is A) does it sound cleaner B) Is the flatness gone and if not what else do i do C) Overall does it blend all the sounds nicer.
  11. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    I think both versions sounded good honestly, the second was definitely clearer and brighter, the opposite of more blending I thought it had better seperation. Is that lack of brightness the "flatness" that's bugging you? But I found the somewhat muffled sound of the first one interesting, not what you hear every day.

    I don't think either sounded bad, so if you personally prefer the one with the extra EQ then go for it I say.
  12. Boywonda

    Boywonda Active Member

    EQ in mastering is a tough nut to crack. This website might help you out... Index of /
  13. Le Vab

    Le Vab Active Member

    EQ during mastering is not the issue here Here is a suggestion to work on a transparent mix using the necessary frequencies only by EQ.

    Step 1
    Give all your instruments the right frequency package
    Use a low cut as well as high cut filter with the steepest setting you can get.
    Walk through your instrument with the filters on and decide the frequency package.
    Judge this through YOUR EARS and do not use a freequency response meter !
    It's is always possible to change the steepness of the filter later on !

    Step 2
    Solo the best sounding instrument.
    Solo the instrument which sounds the best through your ears.

    Step 3
    Add the next best sounding intrument and listen in mono
    First let me explain MONO :
    Mono is listening through 1 speaker and not in mono through two speakers !
    Listen carefully what's happening between the 2 instrument tracks and try to achieve a clear definition
    together seperately. Do it with the EQ way I explained in step 1 !

    Step 4
    Continue by adding the next one, the next one, etc
    By adding instruments in order of judgement by your ears from good to less good you will also mix and pay
    attention to the most relevant elements. Don't missunderstand me here, because a little less important
    element, which you added at the end, could be of great value. just make shure that it is transparent in the mix.

    Step 5
    The mix in mono
    Now you have a complete mix through one speaker, but if you worked on it correctly, you hear all instruments clearly.

    Step 6
    The Mix in stereo,panning and re-EQ
    Now you can work on the mix in stereo
    You have a bigger soundscape available now, so it's time to pan where necessary.
    Start again in order with the same instruments you did in mono.
    You also can check on re-EQing your instruments.
    Now you can decide to change your steepness settings of the EQ or not.

  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm speechless.

    I'd like to EQ this post.
  15. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    It needs a gate.

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