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Old 02-09-2019, 11:02 AM   #41
Steviebone
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If you have to do alot of EQ on mixdown chances are your arrangement is poor. A little EQ here and there, especially in the subtractive, can help gel a mix but if you have to do extreme stuff all over the place you probably have too many instruments in the arrangement in the first place. This is an area that can be hard for musicians to conquer. Every member in the band wants to play all the time. Many guitarists are stuck on power chords. But too many competing frequencies just confuse the brain and turn your mix into mush. LESS IS MORE.

It might be better to spend more time on arrangement and less time on EQ.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:25 AM   #42
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Many otherwise quite reasonable people people actually believe that boosting everything except the low end is somehow different from cutting the bass.
So let me be one of the unreasonables then...

Given that you could have the same curves and phase response by boosting, you could end up with a similar result, but you might actually be changing dozens of other things all over the project too, instead of doing a single move on one. That is, if too much bass (energy, levels) is of any concern in the project overall, makes perfect sense to cut it instead of boosting everything else and then setting all the levels again. Well, to me at least. While at it, might as well post what I didn't do when this topic appeared. Nothing new there, but anyways..

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Ever notice that most of EQ work is doing the opposite of what's natural?
I guess it depends on what you see as "natural" and with what kind of recordings you are dealing with. While every instrument has their own full tonal range, in a composition their ranges must often be limited into what serves the arrangement as a whole.

To me that starts already when selecting the instruments, how they are tuned and continues with deliberate choices of playing dynamics and tonality between the instruments, fitted with the arrangement. If that kind of setup is possible and being taken care of, there might not be that much need for a corrective or balancing EQ to begin with. And when you must do it, it can be more of bringing out the balance between the instruments, not fighting against the natural tonal character of any instrument. Unless that is for some reason an intended outcome.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:39 AM   #43
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So let me be one of the unreasonables then...
OK, I was talking kind of specifically about EQ on one track, and assumed you'd adjust the overall level to be appropriate either way.


In the case of the bass guitar, you can turn it up until the low end feels right, but you need more top end, so you boost it, OR you can turn it up until the top end sounds right, but then there's too much low end, so you cut it. Works out exactly the same.


I agree to an extent that you should get it from arrangement and at the source, but most bass guitars really aren't meant to be "the source". They're supposed to be plugged into an amplifier and be affected by the tone controls and cabinet response, and especially in rock music that usually involves quite a lot of boost in the upper mids and highs.



Also, some of us sometimes use bass guitars to fill the space a low guitar might (see the Cure et al) and those don't need any real bass at all.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:45 PM   #44
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OK, I was talking kind of specifically about EQ on one track, and assumed you'd adjust the overall level to be appropriate either way.
Yep, I was talking from the point of the whole mix there.

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Also, some of us sometimes use bass guitars to fill the space a low guitar might (see the Cure et al) and those don't need any real bass at all.
I think depending on the arrangement, bass guitar is often the one which could bring the real bottom to what some maybe mistakenly think has to be provided by the (electric) guitar.

There were some funny and frustrating times back when so many youngsters were starting to go crazy with drop-Fart tunings and realized the bedroom earthshake didn't quite translate if serious attention was not paid to the setups and who played what.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:52 PM   #45
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I think depending on the arrangement, bass guitar is often the one which could bring the real bottom to what some maybe mistakenly think has to be provided by the (electric) guitar.

There were some funny and frustrating times back when so many youngsters were starting to go crazy with drop-Fart tunings and realized the bedroom earthshake didn't quite translate if serious attention was not paid to the setups and who played what.
I've often wondered if that's why that kind of music has so much slap bass - the guitars are so low down that the bass is either a bit redundant or fighting to be heard so they've changed the instrument to be more of a slappy rhythmic thing than actually playing in the bass register. Possibly also provides subs below even the dropped guitars.

For me, in principle I just set the overall level til the bass frequencies are sitting right and let other instruments take care of the high frequencies - they'll mask most of the highs from the bass any way.

So no bass cutting or high boosting (which I agree lead to the same thing if the settings are the inverse of each other). It's also why I like a Precision with flatwound strings.
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:11 PM   #46
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That modern down-tuned metal stuff usually has lows provided by the guitars, and bass provides rattly attack and subs, quite often with synthesised sub bass to reinforce it. Multiband compression and/or limiting keeps the guitars' palm-muffled chugs from eating up too much headroom.

Drums are tupperware clicky nastiness.

What's funny is how less powerful this combination sounds when compared to older metal with more natural, dynamic and full-spectrum mixes, IMHO.
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:56 PM   #47
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That modern down-tuned metal stuff usually has lows provided by the guitars, and bass provides rattly attack and subs, quite often with synthesised sub bass to reinforce it. Multiband compression and/or limiting keeps the guitars' palm-muffled chugs from eating up too much headroom.
I must admit I haven't followed much of that stuff after melodeath about a decade ago, where my favorites were at drop-B or higher and bass could actually be the bottom instrument if so chosen. But imagine people asking how they could tune and record their bass at F#0 (yep, 23.12Hz at A 440Hz) while their guitarists were battling with F#1, their old bottom area. I blame Meshuggah for that...


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Drums are tupperware clicky nastiness.
I may have to loan this for special occasions, if you don't mind.

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What's funny is how less powerful this combination sounds when compared to older metal with more natural, dynamic and full-spectrum mixes, IMHO.
We might be just too old to understand and appreciate it, but I certainly agree.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:09 PM   #48
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I may have to loan this for special occasions, if you don't mind.
Be my guest.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:23 PM   #49
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That modern down-tuned metal stuff usually has lows provided by the guitars, and bass provides rattly attack and subs, quite often with synthesised sub bass to reinforce it. Multiband compression and/or limiting keeps the guitars' palm-muffled chugs from eating up too much headroom.

Drums are tupperware clicky nastiness.

What's funny is how less powerful this combination sounds when compared to older metal with more natural, dynamic and full-spectrum mixes, IMHO.
Totally agree!
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:39 PM   #50
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Drop-D sounds heavier than standard, 1 step down too, 1.5 steps, 2 steps and... heavier (ish). I think there is a point it becomes more mush than heavy and sort of exposes the who's heavier contest more than original angst of the musical message though. In the quest to sound even darker/heavier than those who came before... lower tuning helped but...

Those aren't the natural ranges of the guitar that is designed to function within kick/drum/bass conditions. That puts the guitar down where the natural ranges of the kick and bass do live and kick and bass were subsequently moved out of the way. I use drop-D a bit myself but to me it sounds heavier due to the lower perfect fourth as much as the pitch difference.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:45 PM   #51
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Drop-D sounds heavier than standard, 1 step down too, 1.5 steps, 2 steps and... heavier (ish). I think there is a point it becomes more mush than heavy and sort of exposes the who's heavier contest more than original angst of the musical message though. In the quest to sound even darker/heavier than those who came before... lower tuning helped but...

Those aren't the natural ranges of the guitar that is designed to function within kick/drum/bass conditions. That puts the guitar down where the natural ranges of the kick and bass do live and kick and bass were subsequently moved out of the way. I use drop-D a bit myself but to me it sounds heavier due to the lower perfect fourth as much as the pitch difference.
I don't have a problem with down tuning. It's the production aesthetics of modern heavy music that I find... meh.

Sabbath managed some pretty low tunings while keeping solid arrangement and without losing the voice of their instruments. Only having one guitar probably helps a lot with that.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:59 PM   #52
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I don't have a problem with down tuning.
Neither do I. But those poor bass players and drummers... "Get off of my bandwidth!".

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Only having one guitar probably helps a lot with that.
And/or less gain.
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:51 PM   #53
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Sabbath managed some pretty low tunings while keeping solid arrangement and without losing the voice of their instruments.
I always loved the sound Tony Iommi got on the original Sabbath albums. His use of banjo strings to help with his prosthetic fingers had a really unique sound.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:34 PM   #54
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Yep...I only have few guitars, and I have played them for decades in standard, drop-D and half-step down. Trying to set them up lower wouldn't make much sense for me, because I like them right where they are and I would just feel like playing on spaghetti strings. But lower tunings do have a specific gnarl which is really hard if not impossible to get with higher ones, even without the lowest bass frequencies and indeed, with right amount of gain.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:27 AM   #55
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And/or less gain.
That definitely is a huge factor. When I was a kid I made exactly the same mistake as everyone else into heavy guitar: thinking that more distortion gives a bigger sound, rather than it being a tradeoff between harmonic content and clipped signal.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:29 AM   #56
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I always loved the sound Tony Iommi got on the original Sabbath albums. His use of banjo strings to help with his prosthetic fingers had a really unique sound.
Yeah, I've played in concert pitch for years now, but I always loved light gauge strings tuned down a fair bit. I like the bendy slinkiness of it.
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Old 02-10-2019, 03:30 AM   #57
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I thought I would add - the key of a song has MUCH more to do with what is needed to be done with EQ.
So for example a (normal tuned band) song in E or F has much more low freq than a song in D.

There should never be a generic approach to cutting or boosting EQ.
In the real world this just does not happen
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:38 PM   #58
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I thought I would add - the key of a song has MUCH more to do with what is needed to be done with EQ.
So for example a (normal tuned band) song in E or F has much more low freq than a song in D.

There should never be a generic approach to cutting or boosting EQ.
In the real world this just does not happen
Isn't that only if using a 4 string bass in standard tuning?

If the bass is 5 string or drop tuned or a synth then surely it is lower than the same tune in E?
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