Question for the big boys.....

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OTRjkl

Guest
.....or anyone else in the know:

Preface:
Back in my younger days (I won't say how long ago that was... :eek: ), I used to work out alot at what was then Presidents Health Club. One of the trainer guys was telling me that their term for bulky, well-defined triceps was "muscle-cuts".

I have adopted this term in describing the lower end of the audio spectrum. In looking at numerous FFT graphs of great sounding, punchy tunes, I have noticed that the low-mid (I mean, mud) region (~130Hz-400Hz) is well "cut". It looks as if it were intenionally and deliberatly carved out to look/sound a particular way. In other words, the shape of the graph in that region has very defined slopes.

The term "muscle cuts" applies here as these freqs. along with the bottom end really do provide the muscle (punch/drive) of the song. If the bottom end is flabby, the whole song sounds flabby.

OK - Understanding that this spectral region can make or break a tune....

....how do you big boys do it? ("cut" the bottom end)...EQ?, M/B compression?, What? Is it a secret?

We little guys would really appreciate some hints from you heavyweights! Thanks.
 
O

OTRjkl

Guest
It's basically EQ. Sometimes M/S EQ, sometimes straight stereo.
OK - I'll sound dumb.....
.....what do you mean by M/S EQ? How does that work? Is that specific to certain types of gear? (Help!)

Different shapes and tones allow us to cut or boost the freqs necessary to open the top and allow the bottom to remain punchy.
Shapes? as in Bell, Shelf, Resonant, etc.?
Tones? :eek: )

Thanks again!
 

realdynamix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2001
Brad, thank you for sharing the information in the proceeding posts. Your answers are very complete and shed a clear light on the intricacies of mastering, though just a tiny bit, but a lot of information just the same. Volumes can be written in the areas of just the subjects you mentioned alone.
Truly thankful,
--Rick
 

Dave McNair

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2001
Jeff, I'd add one more thing to answer your question. I am primarily a recording/mixing engineer, however I've been doing quite a bit of mastering in recent years. That region you speak of is the hardest thing to get right when you are mixing. Part of why it's hard, is that recording studios rarely have a monitoring environment that will really tell you what is going on there. And consequently in mastering, you had better have your room/speaker system up to a high level of accuracy and resolution to allow you to hear that high bass/low mid area and make eq choices there. The funny thing, is when you get that area right, it sounds good on any system. My .02 worth.
 

Bob Olhsson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2001
Location
Nashville TN
In my experience you get far better results from remixing than from any extensive processing such as MS eq or multiband compression in mastering.

Yes, there are times we need to really "step on" a mix in the mastering room because of time constraints but the real power lies in tracking and mixing rather than trying to use an equilizer as a bass drum, a guitar or a vocal fader.
 
M

mknappe

Guest
Originally posted by Brad Blackwood:
Originally posted by On-Track Recording:
what do you mean by M/S EQ? How does that work? Is that specific to certain types of gear?
Mid/Side EQ. This can be done in any DAW, but specific EQ's allow for this, and some of us have circuitry built into our consoles to allow for M/S level manipulation as well as M/S inserts.

Basically, it's EQ'ing the mono and stereo information separately. This allows you to clean out the mud in the mono signal (from chesty vox or a flabby bass) with out killing the body in hard panned gtrs. Or allows you to add bite to said hard panned gtrs (or air around the panned overheads) without affecting the mono portion of the material. Simple phase manipulation will get you there...

Originally posted by On-Track Recording:
Shapes? as in Bell, Shelf, Resonant, etc.?
Tones?
Yes - pretty much every EQ ever made has different slopes to the EQ curve - some are constant Q (bandwidth) while some peak as more gain is added. Some are sharper and some are more broadband. These different curves, when used together, allow you to shape and/or leave intact what you need.

As for the tone of the EQ, I'm referring to the 'sound' each EQ imparts on the program material. Some (like a Sontec or Millennia Media) are very neutral - you almost can't hear them in the circuit. Others (like a Pultec or Massive Passive) color the tone as soon as they are in line, and the more EQ you apply, the more coloration (ahem, character) is applied. In conjunction with one another, different EQ's allow you to not only sculpt the tone via boost/cut, but by the very selection of that EQ might impart whatever coloration or lack thereof you need...

And that is why most mastering rooms have several of everything - for tone. Mind you, I don't run every track through every peice just because I have it - the key to mastering is doing just the right amount; no more, no less.
Could you list some of the specific EQ's that do M/S manipulation?

Thanks,

Mike
 
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M

mknappe

Guest
Found an answer, Weiss for example has digital filters with integrated M/S processing.

Mike
 
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