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I'm looking for a few tips on EQing a track. Specifically I use Reason 5 But this applies to most DAWs. Basically, when I get to the point where i have several synths/samplers, the overall volume of the track is just too high, since I try to balance out the volume of each unit as I add it - you know how it is, you raise the volume of one synth to get over the other and it keeps going like that untill a lot of them have to be really loud.
Now the question is here I am with a nearly finished track, whats the best way to go back and EQ/master it all so its still at the same levels relative to eachother, but overall more compressed? Can I just put a compressor on the mixer right before the final output? or is it better to go back and turn down the volume on each synth seperately?
At 2/3/11 01:43 AM, BluGil wrote: or is it better to go back and turn down the volume on each synth seperately?
never used that program, but look to see if there is some sort of a limiter unit in the program over master volume control. should do the trick
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If you send every track into one compressor, it will sound really funky, since every track is being compressed at the same time. Not every track will need compressing. Usually only vocals, drums (specifically the kick drum, if you want the punch found oh-so-frequently in popular music), and maybe some of the other instruments. The more you can avoid using a compressor, the better. If you can get away with turning down the volume on each track, or lowering the master fader, then do that; your tracks will sound better. Don't forget, a compressor is activated when a sound is over a certain dB level, and cuts the volume of that section by whatever ratio you've chosen (e.g. if your ratio is 2:1, and your limit is 10dB, everything over 10dB will be halved: e.g. 24dB becomes 12dB).
Limiters are usually avoidable if you mix the other tracks well. Which is good because limiters are usually a bit too harsh.
As for actual EQ'ing, well then you really will have to use your ears. Play the track back on different speakers, monitors, headphones, earbuds, whatever -- everything has a different frequency response. It might be in your interest to buy a decent pair of flat headphones, ones that don't have a bias (or spike) in one or more frequency ranges.
And don't be afraid to pan the shit out of stuff. In popular music, there are really only three tracks that need to be centered: drums, bass, and vocals (or, on instrumental tracks, the lead instrument, whether that's a guitar or a synth, etc.). Anything and everything else can be panned slightly, or completely, doubled, etc. which will lend itself to a wider overall sound. (You probably already knew that, but I've seen sessions where every track is in the center.)
At 2/3/11 01:43 AM, BluGil wrote: Mixing/EQ Help!
Some general ideas to have in your head as good mixing philosophy:
-Not EQ'ing usually hurts the songs potential.
-Over EQ'ing hurts the songs potential (so this is where use your ears comes in)
-Try to avoid adding more then 5db of gain with your EQ'ing, just raise the volume instead. If things look wackey, you'll have to do more elsewhere to over compensate, which turns into over Eq'ing very quickly
-Read the meters, avoid red lines, and avoid having too many instruments all playing in one frequency range
- Parametric EQs will be your friends.
-Lower end gets messy quickly, so do bass roll offs on the instruments that don't play in a low section.
-Dampen your reverbs/delays that allow you to cut off low frequencies there too, its just adding blurring down there.
-On low instruments, do a tight roll off near the frequency that their lowest note plays to allow room for other bass instruments (if you're like me, you have a lot going on down there, if not this may not be an issue)
-If you have too many things playing and the overall volume output is too high, just lower your mixer's master volume down like 5-10%, play through the loudest parts, check if its still 'too loud'.
-Once your volume output isn't red lining, you should be able to more easily hear and be able to tweak the instruments volume levels
-Don't mix with a compressor/limiter on your master, it makes the above rule way harder to do by ear
And stuff. If you ever aren't sure how what you are doing is effecting things, just mute or turn off your EQ/volume controls/effects for a comparison of 'before/after'.
A lot of it depends on the monitor setup you've got. Like they mentioned above, it helps to try it out in your car, your friends car, on your ipod, on your home stereo, on your computer speakers, etc. See what levels pop out on different quality systems.
I monitor my tracks using a set of headphones most of the time, so I tend to overload the bass in most of my songs. I've talked to a couple of different studio producers and have found that a good starting point for my EQ adjustments are as follows:
Increase 40hz/800hz for clarity and punch
Decrease 200hz/500hz to clear out muddiness
Decrease 50hz to lower bass boom
Then I tweak it from there depending on what my input sounds are.
After that I'll usually run a multi-band compression and adjust specific areas of the sound so that they clear up a little more. If a track requires too much cleanup, then a lot of the times it comes from one of the tracks being too loud or distorted in the first place.
You may want to isolate each track out on its own and listen to it to see what part is cluttering out the rest.
At 2/3/11 02:19 PM, InvisibleObserver wrote:At 2/3/11 01:43 AM, BluGil wrote: Mixing/EQ Help!Some general ideas to have in your head as good mixing philosophy:
This sounds pretty solid, I think I'll refence this more when I do EQing.
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1) Try and use EQ's for cuts - if you're making frequencies louder you'll think its better regardless. Though adding can be useful for certain effects.
Here's some useful EQ cuts.
Cutting below the lowest note of every instrument - helps remove noise, mud, general shit. All of a sudden you've more headroom. Hurray!
Sometimes you'll need to cut a little of the bass out of the kick or the bass line so everything can be heard - though a common trend in pop and dance is to use sidechaining so that their volumes change in parallel. But try EQ'ing before that, alot of music doesn't really do the "pumping beat" thing.
I'd advise the same for any melody instruments, cut some bands so that certain instruments can come through. If it sounds fine to cut from 1-3Khz from the voice when the high guitar comes in but sounds bad once it leaves then automate it! No one says that your volumes, frequency content etc. have to remain static.
2)Compression - more is less. Again just because it's louder doesn't make it better. High ratios can cause very fatiguing effects. Compression also naturaly effects the transients and frequency content of the signal, so be aware that you can destroy a good sound with compression pretty easily. Especialy since you're using synth sounds (which by nature are synthetic and don't evolve nearly as complexly over time as acoustic sounds since you have to conciously induce these changes) and samples ( which presumably already underwent compression) I wouldn't be trying to squash them if I were you.
Limiters are useful for when something was recorded badly and you need it to stop. fucking. clipping. But honestly lowering the threshold, ratio and using a softer knee on your compressor can give you the same effect without ruining your signal. In your case it'd also be useful if you're using high feedback (100%+) on certain effects or generate feedback loops.
Parallel compression is a nice sound, sometimes. Set up a send with a compressor, route your rhythm guitar, bass and drums (maybe avoid too much hat and cymbals though, or low pass the bus). Same for synths - send your "rhythm" tracks to the compressor.
Be aware of your attack and release times! A very fast attack will kill transients as it'll squish everything, a slow attack will allow transients through. Release times will effect how long it takes the compressor to stop compressor after the signal falls below the threshold level - long times can bring out room noise in recordings but can add abit of tail to overly stacatto sounds.
Here's an idea! instead of raising the volume of each track, lower it and then just boost the master at the end if it's too quiet
Just mess with it around is a tricky advice. I usually follow this advice and ends up with a broken heart. What I do is to start off with the pre sets. They are there to start with in the first place. Just pick what kind of music your dealing with eg. if your mixing a jazz music get the jazz pre set in the multi band EQ and start from there.
Use you ears, that's pretty much the simplest and best answer.
I would personally do this,
Play ALL tracks at the same time and start EQ'ing each one of the tracks one by one, don't solo one track, EQ it and move on to the next one because then everything will sound out of place. To get rid of the loudness problem, well, get rid of any compressors that you have on and make sure the in the vst or synth, the dB meter does not go into the reds, keep it below it, on the master channel, keep EACH track at around -10dB, a bit less if you want and start EQ'ing each track one by one while listening to all the tracks when playing your song.
EQ to your likings, but please don't over do basses or kill the highs in hi hats or synths because then everything will sound muddy. EQ as you like and listen to what you are doing carefully, if you like then we should like it, depending on the equipment you have, if you have iSHIT earbuds or Skullcandy headphones then it will just kill the whole song trying to EQ on them, if you don't have any good equipment such as studio monitors, then I will invest in getting some.
At 2/8/11 02:12 AM, masheenH3ad wrote: Just mess with it around is a tricky advice. I usually follow this advice and ends up with a broken heart. What I do is to start off with the pre sets. They are there to start with in the first place. Just pick what kind of music your dealing with eg. if your mixing a jazz music get the jazz pre set in the multi band EQ and start from there.
No. The difference between having to EQ the low out of a piano to make room for the bass or cut some of the brass to make room for the vocals is too much of a wildcard for this. Generic EQ'ing at the end of a mix is fine, I guess, but I still wouldn't do it. No two jazz records, rock records or any other type of records are identical mixing situations with identical sounds. These approaches don't help you get better and the names on pre-sets go from vaugely helpful to deeply misinformative.
Just listen and have abit of patience with yourself - there's a reason certain people's mixing abilities are valued more than others and it doesn't have a whole lot to do with how big a bank of pre-sets they have.
That's kept for the guys who write dance tunes using certain synth presets. Massif's Brutal Electro, I'm looking at you.