"Making space" for different Instruments using EQ

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KVRist
495 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:13 am

sambombe wrote:
Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:22 am
Those micro adjustements are hard to perceive isnt it? Ive tried some here and didnt change much. It could be my ear or the equipment i using, both arent top notch lol... My problem in digital composition has been on how some synths "covers" lots of frequencies and mask other sounds. Thats arrangement problem i guess. About dynamic EQ, is there any tutorial about that, ive found the principle here very interesting.
Yes, If you want more clarity try to use sounds with less rich harmonics. Less lush, less fat, more thin. When you use several voices they are summed, it creates mess.

As someone said here EQed individual sounds often seem thin. It's normal.

Sometimes such a problem is a problem of sound design. Make one step back, tweak your synth/sampler.

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KVRist
44 posts since 15 Jun, 2021 from Brazil

Post Thu Jun 24, 2021 4:19 am

lobanov wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:13 am
Yes, If you want more clarity try to use sounds with less rich harmonics. Less lush, less fat, more thin. When you use several voices they are summed, it creates mess.
Is there any tool to monitor that?, i mean, when your ears are tired and your hardware is not that good, so you can see which "zones" are more messy and crowded? tks for your answer :idea:
My music project "Strange Adventures in Void" :arrow:
https://soundcloud.com/savoid

KVRAF
1734 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Thu Jun 24, 2021 4:35 am

Spectrum analyzer? A lot of EQs have them built in. SPAN is good. SPAN plus or Melda MMultiAnalyzer let you see multiple tracks overlaid which is handy

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KVRist
44 posts since 15 Jun, 2021 from Brazil

Post Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:55 am

imrae wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 4:35 am
Spectrum analyzer? A lot of EQs have them built in. SPAN is good. SPAN plus or Melda MMultiAnalyzer let you see multiple tracks overlaid which is handy
Much appreciated, tks a lot! :clap:
My music project "Strange Adventures in Void" :arrow:
https://soundcloud.com/savoid

KVRer
22 posts since 9 Mar, 2021

Post Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:54 pm

Also keep in mind that its okay if an instrument sounds thin & brittle when soloed, what matters most is how it sounds in the mix with other instruments playing.
This has taken me sooooo long to understand .. for the longest time I jsut wouldnt accept the fact that an instrument while soloed could sound thin yet sound great IN THE MIX :p

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GRRRRRRR!
11992 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Sat Jul 10, 2021 11:20 pm

ferez21 wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 2:32 am
Obviously the spectrum of each Instrument is going to be all over the place with many peaks and valleys, so when searching for clashing frequencies among multiple instruments, are we only looking at the fundemental frequencies?
I never look, I always listen. Honestly, in the 20 or so years I have been working ITB I have never once applied a spectrum analyser to anything. I listen for problems and when you do that, you will know what to trim or boost without having to work anything out. Once you know where you need to make changes, a spectrum analyser might help you to home in on it more quickly but I'd let my ears decide where to look first.
shawshawraw wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:30 am
I'm striving to think a sound in a mix as three parts: attack, sustain, and reverb. If anything clashes, which part is it offending? Instead of EQ, a compressor gets there quicker in terms of rebalancing the attack/sustain on the dry track, to make things pop or duck.
This is terrible advice. It barely makes any sense at all.
sambombe wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:33 am
So, my questions are:
1) A voice or sound or timbre has its beauty because of its frequencies, if i remove some of them, wont it loose part of its richness?
2) Some instruments have more lowend/midend/highend than others, how can i balance that in my song (to have an equilibrium on those frequencies)
3) Should i automate eq so when i solo a instrument i remove the cuts for it sound better?
My answer to all three questions is not to overthink it. If you are cutting frequencies and it ruins the sound, don't do it. There are no rules so it's hard to answer these kinds of questions definitively.

The way you get better at this is to do it. The more experience you gain, the better your ears get and the more naturally you will deal with issues as they arise. Honestly, I don't think about those things, not specifically. I just try and make what I think is a good song and, in doing that, it seems to come out OK. That's why I don't think you should overthink it, just trust your ears and do what sounds right/good.

In the meantime, just use your ears and your brain - which part is making it hard to hear this other part? OK, what can I do with these two parts to make them work together? Let's say it's two parts with lots of low-mids getting in each other's way. First thing I'd do is to push each part up and down an octave or two and see how that goes. I find it is usually the best fix and often makes for a fuller sounding arrangement. If that doesn't do the trick, though, the next thing I'd do is try some other presets for each instrument and see if I can find one or two different sounds that work better. Or if one part is chords, strip out one of the notes in the chord and see how that goes. All I am worried about is the song, I am not precious at all about the instruments, any particular patch or even the arrangement - I'll use whatever does the best job for the song.

But if you have to use EQ, try cutting the low mids on one and leaving the other alone. Run the frequency up and down and listen for the spot where you get the best clarity. Then try it the other way around. Then cut both a little bit. Now choose which of those works best and use that as a starting point. You might end up cutting one by 4dB at 240Hz and the other by 2dB at 500Hz. Trust your ears and keep tweaking it until you're happy. And be gentle, don't overdo it.
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KVRian

Topic Starter

1372 posts since 12 Oct, 2012

Post Sat Jul 10, 2021 11:31 pm

BONES wrote:
Sat Jul 10, 2021 11:20 pm
ferez21 wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 2:32 am
Obviously the spectrum of each Instrument is going to be all over the place with many peaks and valleys, so when searching for clashing frequencies among multiple instruments, are we only looking at the fundemental frequencies?
I never look, I always listen. Honestly, in the 20 or so years I have been working ITB I have never once applied a spectrum analyser to anything. I listen for problems and when you do that, you will know what to trim or boost without having to work anything out. Once you know where you need to make changes, a spectrum analyser might help you to home in on it more quickly but I'd let my ears decide where to look first.
I see your point on this one, but i would say my hearing is not as ideal as it was or as i wanted it to be (thank you army for that 😀), so spectrum analyzer can be helpful in some situations.

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GRRRRRRR!
11992 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Sun Jul 11, 2021 3:18 am

I spent 10 years in the infantry and I've been going to see bands for more than 40 years, I doubt I can hear much above 5kHz. It's not about how well you can hear, it's about how your ears can discern the details. It's training/experience. As I said, it's all about trust and your trust will grow with experience. You just need to keep plugging away and not expect to get top-notch results straight away. I'm on my 8th album and I'm still (definitely) learning and (hopefully) improving.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10, UR44C | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Viper, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

KVRAF
2351 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Mon Jul 12, 2021 5:38 am

sambombe wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:01 am
Guess who creates all that in a acoustic classical composition is the composer, not the conductor. A good composer knows all instruments available in a orchestra (or quartets, diff. ensembles, etc), range, timbre, etc beside compositional techniques (form, tempo, styles, expressions, etc). And theres the environment acoustics too. Conductors only rehearse, orient, and somewhat interpret tempo and levels to their tastes... what they do in presentations usually are only a "theatricality", every orchestra musician knows back and forth what to do an when at that point.
Indeed, in classical music the 'mixing' is done in the arrangement. Take counterpoint melodic lines, for example, if one stuffed full chords behind them in the same register one wouldn't be able to hear the melodic lines. The frequencies in the lines don't mask each other because they're different notes, i.e. different frequencies. Sometimes using eq to separate parts which overlap in terms of arrangement is not going to work well.

Similarly the instruments in typical guitar pop tend to not need lots of EQing as they've evolved to fit together. Put in some synths though, with unison and octave doubling, and one quickly swamps the soundstage.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

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KVRian

Topic Starter

1372 posts since 12 Oct, 2012

Post Mon Jul 12, 2021 5:46 am

I think in general organic acoustic instruments are easier to mix than synths, they are more predictable and have known resonances and frequency responses, while synths can occupy a much broader frequency range.

KVRian
1087 posts since 23 Sep, 2004 from Kocmoc

Post Tue Jul 13, 2021 9:00 am

sambombe wrote:
Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:22 am
Those micro adjustements are hard to perceive isnt it? Ive tried some here and didnt change much. It could be my ear or the equipment i using, both arent top notch lol... My problem in digital composition has been on how some synths "covers" lots of frequencies and mask other sounds. Thats arrangement problem i guess. About dynamic EQ, is there any tutorial about that, ive found the principle here very interesting.
Until I got VSX headphones, I couldnt be sure about 0,75dB move, now I can be sure about 0,50dB move with those, so yeah equipment does count.

Composition and arrangement - selecting the sound that fit is really the key for me. I dont like to use much EQ, but only where is needed.

For example dont cut too low's too early, dont use stupid brickwall filters, the bass is on the sounds where it is needed to be. See if sounds put too much low end, use shelf first, and A/B compare the minused dB level and hz area of cut slope of shelf to original without the shelf. Sometimes synths and samples might have too much rumble, even some hihat sounds have 100hz stuff there. Hihats can be cut from much higher if needed especially in electronic music. I've cut even from 1000 upwards, sometimes very high just so the treble part hits ears.

Also if using compressor->EQ - sometimes it is good to put EQ before compressor too to get rid of excessive lows and/or emphasis some parts to the compressor...

Some random words :party: :phones:
Soft Knees - Demoscene - Live 10 - Diva - Omnisphere - Slate Digital VSX - TDR - Kush Audio - Fabfilter - PA - Valhalla - Fuse - Pulsar - NI - OekSound etc...

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