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Old 05-17-2018, 02:19 AM   #1
sjs94704
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Default There are lots of videos on YT for EQing vocals & Instruments, BUT, what about ......

A YouTube video that shows how to properly EQ the master fader? If there is not one specifically for this, what video on YT would you recommend?

For me, I am just starting out and do not yet have a trained ear to know on my own when to use some of the many EQ filters that can be used and when to use them.

So far, I am sure that I am bringing each band up way too high all in the name of volume! I know this is wrong and am working to learn to correct this.

Is subtractive EQ a good best practice? I am sure it is all subjective and depends on each given situation, BUT, is there a general 'rule of thumb' here to pretty much use most of the time?

Any ideas on how I can begin to learn this part of EQ ?
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:54 AM   #2
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Comparison of your track to commercial releases is very helpful.

A good exercise that I like to use is to put a graphic EQ on your track (there's a JS 7 band that comes with Reaper). You don't want too many bands to fiddle with and you don't want the EQ to affect your reference track.

Then experiment by boosting and cutting each band (either one at a time or maybe two adjacent bands at once) while comparing to your reference track. Don't be afraid to use drastic cuts/boosts- it's only an exercise.

This process can quickly reveal things like "My mix has WAY too much low frequency content" or "My mix has NO low frequency content."
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:13 AM   #3
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I would say that it's not something you should feel you have to do.

Some people have an EQ on their master track that they mix into. But to do this, you have to know beforehand what you want to achieve. If you add an EQ after you've mixed your music, it will change the balance you've just worked to achieve.

I think it's better, when people are starting out, to not use EQ on the master track and get everything right in the mix.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:04 AM   #4
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In the analog days I sometimes used a "colour" EQ on the master bus, BUT only when I felt that I want its overall tonality on my mix. Sometimes I would boost the top end minimally, sometimes the low end, sometimes it was flat (and driven into, as my console had/has pre and post fader inserts).
In digital I don't see the point (except for cases like Nebula "Mojo" EQ programs), it's perfectly legit on a subgroup though. Just mix the tracks as you feel the timbre is right.

(a whole different case is a compressor on the master insert)
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjs94704 View Post
A YouTube video that shows how to properly EQ the master fader? If there is not one specifically for this, what video on YT would you recommend?
Some folks will swear there is a certain "Master FX" chain that should be used. I can see how someone just getting started can easily become confused. Even many who are somewhat experienced can be confused.

Quote:
So far, I am sure that I am bringing each band up way too high all in the name of volume! I know this is wrong and am working to learn to correct this.
If this is a concern then you are going in a wrong direction. It shows you may have the wrong idea of what an EQ is or how it works.

Quote:
Is subtractive EQ a good best practice? I am sure it is all subjective and depends on each given situation, BUT, is there a general 'rule of thumb' here to pretty much use most of the time?
That's a notion that's spread across the web, and it has it's reasons. However, that don't mean it's an absolute, I know of very few professional audio engineers that are afraid to use additive EQ, and most of them will tell you that. The important thing to understand is the phase relationship between the EQ bands, especially if they are close together. That and understanding the bandwidths.

Quote:
Any ideas on how I can begin to learn this part of EQ ?
I'd say forget about the Master FX to start out with. Instead concentrate on the individual tracks, get their EQ, compression and/or other things setup first. This includes audio editing.

As far as Master FX goes, I never put that on the actual MASTER, I don't touch that in any way. I not only create my own MASTER track, but I have a Sub track that I call the "Sub Mast FX" that goes to the MASTER track, this has all my Mastering FX on it. Also I have a "Sub Master" track that goes to the Master FX track, and it's this "Sub Master" track that determines how hard I hit the "limiter". If you want an explanation of why I do this, I will try explain it to you if I have the time.

One important aspect for me is that I've been and audio engineer for nearly 50 years, and I've lost the upper frequencies in my hearing, I can only hear up to 4Khz. Fortunately what frequencies I have left are quite well balanced, plus I have a very good control room which helps give me confidence in what I do.

However, with my situation, I make much use of "Reference" tracks, and will usually have at least 2, but as many as 6 reference tracks in a project. Further more I set them up so I can check my own project mix against all of the reference tracks at the same time, using "SPAN" which is a great free spectrum analyser.

Here is a picture that shows one of my projects with 3 reference tacks.



My main advice sjs94704, don't worry about the "Master FX" until you've got your tracks set up and mixed well first.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:35 PM   #6
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I typically think of the Master bus as the place where Mastering is done. As such, when I'm mixing is has nothing on it - no compression, no FX, nothing.

Then I render the song, take a break - normally a few days - and then I open the project again I a pretend that I'm playing the role of a Mastering professional. I listen to the song and think: "who the heck mixed this piece of crap!". No wait... That would be me. Ha ha.

I do what others have said: listen to the song in reference to other commercially produced songs. But I don't go to crazy with that because commercial songs are also all over the place: some are more harsh, some have huge low end, some more high end, some super wide stereo, etc.

Then I listen to the song and I ask the artist: what exactly are you trying to accomplish here? Are you trying to have a dynamic and exciting song or something smooth and laid back?

Then I have to remind the artist that the Mastering process is not going to perform miracles and that the song is NOT going to sound like those produced by professionals using very high end gear. So... what it is?

So the Mastering process begins and that is where the sh*t hits the fan. Bus compressor and limiters make the song louder, but WHAM BAM - the vocals suddenly become sibilant and the song becomes harsh and painful to listen. Hmmmm... Mastering is not all that easy. And so, comes out the EQ - sometimes a dynamic EQ, in order to tame some of the issues that appeared. If all goes well the song goes back towards what is sounded like before Mastering, but just a bit louder. If all goes wrong I remove all the effects from the Master bus, fire the Mastering person, and go to bed - sleep on it to pass the frustration.

The next day, the Mixing person is back in the seat and tries to deal with the things that make the Mastering process go wrong.

The loop Mixing - Mastering back to Mixing can go on a few times. But, sometimes I actually leave the Mastering effects ON and then Mix into them...

What is the take home message from this little story/example? Us amateurs are dealing with very complex subtleties. We have great expectation, but don't really have the tools and skills. We try to find ways to get us to a place that we can live with - a song that we find acceptable.

Note: I'm not actually real Mastering - I'm pseudo-mastering because I can't do better than an approximation.

There is no single recipe (i.e. video on Youtube) that can deal with all the unique situations an amateurish mix will yield. Sometimes the best thing is to mix the song and ask others to comment. This can be useful because your ears can get fatigue/bias, maybe your room is not treated and you're hearing over - under representation of some frequencies, etc. Having people you trust suggesting some mixing edits can help you learn.

Mix the song - make it a bit louder and let us have a listen.

Have fun.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:16 PM   #7
sjs94704
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Default Thabnk You so much for everyone's input ...

I truly appreciate each of you for taking your time to offer me your feedback. I have read all of it and will most likely read it all over again, maybe several times, to be sure I get what your all saying.

Thank You so much!

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