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Tracking with or without EQ

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Cosme, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. Cosme

    Cosme Guest

    Hi guys, I've got a doubt about something: when I track drums, I always use a bit of EQ on the toms, just to scoop out a bit of the muddy low mids and make it sound a bit more natural, but I've heard that using EQ when tracking drums is something most recording engineers won't do. Another colleage of mine told me that he used to EQ the drumset also in the tracking process and one time, when he had to track this drumset for some mixing engineer in the US, the guy heard the track and returned it because it was EQed, so he records flat since then.
    What do you guys think? Record flat or use the necessary EQ if it works for me?
  2. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    The biggest argument against EQ while tracking is that EQ introduces phase shift to a source, which will be multiplied by further EQ'ing during mixdown. You can't take it back if it's printed. That being said, many great records have been made where EQ was applied during tracking. There's no absolute right or wrong, just a question of leaving yourself some wiggle room.
  3. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    with or without EQ
    with or WITH OUT EQ AHH ahh
    I can't live
    with or with out eq

    Woooh ooh ooh ooh
    Woooh ooh oh oh oh
    Woooh ooh ooh ooh oh oh oooh

  4. AudioGeezer

    AudioGeezer Active Member

    I like recording what I want when I record. With eq or without eq.
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    There are definate schools of thought on this one.

    As has been said.....printed is impossible to fix....okay....call it improbable.

    On the other hand, recording a source that has a truckload of anomolies you dont want isnt so easy to deal with either.

    What I do.....and this is simply what I've learned to do over the last many many years or so.....I make sure that the source is as close to the mixed sound I'm looking for before I ever hit the red button. On drums, if this means a pound or more of duck tape, moon gel, dampers, head changes, drum changes, many hours of tuning, etc etc to achieve that sound then so be it.

    You can very seldom find a source that sounds good live that also sounds good in a studio setting.

    Again....a flat recording of a source that sounds perfect is the optimum choice. Always.
  6. AudioGeezer

    AudioGeezer Active Member

  7. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Agreed. In the studio situation the target is typically a very clean representation of the music. To get that sound the microphone is normally very close to the source. The tone at that distance is very different than how it would behave in a room with sound reflections and diffusion. Furthermore, tone is often shaped for the mix in the studio, especially if additional layers are added that are not in the live performance.

    Of course if your "studio setting" is the band all in one room with a pair of microphones at the listening position, then there is little difference between live and recording.
  8. AudioGeezer

    AudioGeezer Active Member

    still not working for me.

    I do lots of live stuff and lots of studio stuff. What works for live generally works for the studio. What works for the studio generally works for live. The biggest difference for me is in the studio I do more distant room micing that doesn't translate to the live setting.

    I try to make the source sound as good as possible. Move mics before I grab an eq bla bla bla. Do whatever it takes to make it work the way I want it to. Live or studio. Davedog said much the same in his post. I just don't get the "You can very seldom find a source that sounds good live that also sounds good in a studio setting." statement. That's not my experience.

    Good sounding instruments with good mics and technique typically sound good in the studio or on stage.

    my .2
  9. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    wow 20 cents. I feel lucky. Normally it's only 2 cents.

    I should have closed my post: YMMV.
  10. AudioGeezer

    AudioGeezer Active Member

  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The big difference for me is the amount of area you are trying to cover with an amp'd instrument. In a venue of any shape or size, generally you are at least trying to cover the immediate stage area as well as some part of the dance floor and adjacent spaces.

    This requires a certain amount of power and , depending on the acoustics of the room, a certain EQ shape that does NOT always translate into a defined sound that one might put on a record.

    For example, in order for bass to cut well in a room with high ceilings and lots of low-end reflection, you would NOT want to emphasize a lot of the low and low-mid frequencies to play to the house. These are frequencies that you might very well want a ton of for a particular sound on a particular song. In this case, the room will manufacture a bunch of it already and emphasizing these would create a big lot of lowend crap that no one wants to be around for very long.

    Of course, close micing in a venue and EQing to a recorder can lend great results, but in my experience with this its usually more about the energy and vibe of the performance than the pristine quality of the sound.

    NOT to say you cannot get a great sound live.....I'm simply saying you get these sounds with a very different set of techniques.....one which may not coincide with the other for getting the same quality.

    On the other hand. In a controlled environment such as a recording studio, you are not trying to cover ANY area at all, only to reproduce the best sound possible with the gear available.

    Power and projection arent as much of a dividend here as well as having less factors such as comb-filtering, standing frequencies and time related issues to deal with.

    Such is the heart of my statement.
  12. AudioGeezer

    AudioGeezer Active Member

  13. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    I find that in the digital age my peers and I do not EQ as much prior to hitting the record button.

    Committing to EQ while tracking is mostly a matter of experience and familiarity with the equipment, room, etc. Back "in the day", when studio time was precious to the band entering the studio, the engineer knew all of the flaws of the tracking room and the nuances of the mics and pres. There was little time (budget) for "fix it in the mix" (anyone remember window punches?). Also, the tracking engineer was often the mix engineer in the same studio, so s/he was already mixing when tracking began.

    When I started engineering hitting the record button meant a lot of red lights on a 2" tape machine. It also meant that when you did an overdub or a punch whatever was on the tape previously was gone forever. The EQ on the board was all that you had unless you were at one of the top flight facilities. You also spent hours moving mics and gobos around; taping, muting and tuning drums; mixing and matching cabinets and heads, and tweaking guitar/bass amp EQs; sometimes a whole day was spent prepping for album tracking. Now I have endless takes from which to choose, can comp the "perfect" performance from them, and can endlessly tweak individual sound bytes with endless plugins without commitment.

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