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u/Wabaareo · 7 pointsr/trapproduction

From the Mixing Engineer's Handbook (third edition)

The Frequency Element: Using the Equalizer

Even though an engineer has every intention of making his recording sound as big and as clear as possible during tracking and overdubs, it often happens that the frequency range of some (or even all) of the tracks are somewhat limited when it comes time to mix. This can be due to the tracks being recorded in a different studio where different monitors or signal path was used, the sound of the instruments themselves, or the taste of the artist or producer. When it comes to the mix, it's up to the mixing engineer to extend the frequency range of those tracks if it's appropriate.

In the quest to make things sound bigger, fatter, brighter, and clearer, the equalizer is the chief tool used by most mixer, but perhaps more than any other audio tool, it's how it's used that separates the average engineer from the master.

> "I tend to like things to sound sort of natural, but I don't care what it takes to make it sound like that. Some people get a very preconceived notions that you can't do this or you can't do that, but as Bruce Swedien said to me, he doesn't care if you have to turn the knob around backwards; if it sounds good, it is good. Assuming that you have a reference point that you can trust, of course." - Allen Sides


> "I find that the more that I mix, the less I actually EQ, but I'm not afraid to brung up a Pultec and whack it up to +10 if something needs it. - Joe Chiccarelli


The Goals of Equalization

While we may not think about it when we're doing it, there are three primary goals when equalizing:

  • To make an instrument sound clearer and more defined.
  • To make the instrument or mix bigger and larger than life.
  • To make all the elements of a mix fit together better by putting each instrument in its own predominate frequency range.

    Sometimes just being aware of which of these you're trying to accomplish at the moment can help you get the sound you're looking for quickly and easily, rather than just randomly twisting some knobs until you think it might sound right.


    The Frequency Bands and What They Do

    Before we examine the various methods of equalization, it's important to note specific areas of the audio frequency bandwidth and how they affect what we hear. The audio band can effectively be broken down into six distinct ranges, each one having an enormous impact on the total sound (see Table 7.1).


    Table 7.1 The Audible Frequency Ranges

    Range | Description | Effect
    16 Hz to 60 Hz Sub-Bass | Encompasses sounds that are often felt more than heard and gives the music a sense of power. | Too much emphasis in this range makes the music sound muddy. Attenuating this range (especially below 40 Hz) can clean up a mix considerably.
    60 Hz to 250 Hz Bass | Contains fundamental notes of the rhythm section. | EQing this range can change the musical balance, making it fat or thin. Too much boost in this range can make the music sound boomy.
    250 Hz to 2 kHz Low Mids | Contains the low-order harmonics of most musical instruments. | Can introduce a telephone-like quality to the music if boosted too much. Boosting the 500 Hz to 1000 Hz octaves makes the instruments sound horn-like. Boosting the 1 kHz to 2 kHz octave makes them sound tinny. Excess output in this range can cause listening fatigue.
    2 kHz to 4 kHz High Mids | Contains speech recognition sounds such as "m," "b," and "v." | Too much boost in this range, especially at 3 kHz, can introduce a lisping quality to a voice. Too much boost in this range can cause listening fatigue. Dipping the 3-kHz range on instrument backgrounds and slightly peaking 3 kHz on vocals can make the vocals audible without having to decrease the instrumental level in mixes where the voice would otherwise seem buried.
    4 kHz to 6 kHz Presence | Responsible for clarity and definition of voices and instruments. | Boosting this range can make the music seem closer to the listener. Reducing the 5-kHz content of a mix makes the sound more distant and transparent.
    6 kHz to 16 kHz Brilliance | Controls brilliance and clarity. | Too much emphasis in this range can produce sibilance on the vocals.


    For those of you who have an easier time visualizing the audio spectrum in one-octave increments (like those found on a graphic equalizer), here's an octave look at the same chart (see Table 7.2).


    Table 7.2 Graphic Equalizer Chart

    Octave Band | Effect
    31 Hz | Rumble, "chest"
    63 Hz | Bottom
    125 Hz | Boom, thump, warmth
    250 Hz | Fullness or mud
    500 Hz | Honk
    1 kHz | Whack
    2 kHz | Crunch
    4 kHz | Edge
    8 kHz | Sibilance, definition, "ouch!"
    16 kHz | Air


    EQ Methods

    Since each specific song, arrangement, instrument, and player is unique, it's impossible to give anything other than some general guidelines when it comes to equalization methods. That said, there are a number of methods that can quickly and easily get you in the ballpark, as long as you know what you're going for. Remember that different engineers have different ways of arriving at the same end, so if the following doesn't work for you, keep trying. The method doesn't matter, only the end result.

    Before these methods are outlined, it's really important that you observe the following:

  • Listen! Open up your ears and listen carefully to all the nuances of the sound. Everything you hear is important.
  • Make sure you're monitoring at a comfortable level--not too loud and not too soft. If it's too soft, you may be fooled by the non-linearity of the speakers and overcompensate. If it's too loud, certain frequencies may be masked or overemphasized by the non-linearities of the ear itself, and again you will overcompensate.


    Method 1: Equalize for Definition

    Even source material that's been recorded well can sound lifeless, thanks to certain frequencies being overemphasized or others being severely attenuated. More often than not, the lack of definition of an instrument is because of too much lower midrange in approximately the 400- to 800-Hz area. This area adds a "boxy" quality to the sound. Sometimes it's because the sound is lacking in the 3-kHz to 6-kHz area that makes it undefined. Subtractive equalization is a method that allows you to zero in on the frequencies that are masking the definition in a sound.

  1. Set the Boost/Cut control to a moderate level of cut (8 or 10 dB should work).
  2. Sweep through the frequencies until you find the frequency where the sound has the least amount of boxiness and the most definition (see Figure 7.1).
  3. Adjust the amount of cut to taste. Be aware that too much cut makes the sound thinner.

    There are two spots in the frequency spectrum where the subtractive equalization is particularly effective: between 200 Hz and 600 Hz and between 2 kHz and 4 kHz. This is because most directional microphones provide a natural boost at 200 to 600 Hz because of the proximity effect brought about by close-miking, and many mics (especially those known for being good vocal mics) have a presence boost between 2 kHz and 4 kHz. Dipping those frequencies a few dB (more or less as needed) can make the track sound much more natural than if you were to try to add frequencies instead.

    If there was a limited number of microphones (or even just one) used to record all the instruments in a home studio, these two frequency bands (or any other where there's a peak in the response) will build up as more and more instruments were added. By dipping those frequency bands a bit, you'll find that many of the instruments can sit better in the mix without having to add much EQ at all.

    > What I hate to see is an engineer or producer start EQing before they've heard the sound source. To me, it's kinda like salting and peppering your food before you've tasted it. I always like to listen to the sound source first, whether it's recorded or live, and see how well it holds up without any EQ or whatever." -Bruce Swedien

    Tip: Always try attenuating (cutting) the frequency first. This is preferable because all equalizers add phase shift as you boost, which results in an undesirable coloring of sound. Usually, the more EQ you add, the more phase shift is also added and the harder it may be to fit the instrument into the mix as a result. Many engineers are judicious in their use of EQ, but that being said, anything goes! if it sounds good, it is good.


    Alternate method

  4. Starting with your EQ flat, remove all the bottom end below 100 Hz by turning the low-frequency control to full cut.
  5. Using the rest of your EQ, tune the mid-upper midrange until the sound is thick yet distinct.
  6. Round it out with a supporting lower-mid tone to give it some body.
  7. Slowly bring up the mud-inducing bottom end enough to move air, but not so much as to make the sound muddy.
  8. Add some high-frequency EQ for definition (see Figure 7.2).

    > "I just try to get stuff to sound natural, but at the same time be very vivid. I break it down into roughly three areas: mids, the top and the bottoms; then there's low mids and high mids. Generally, except for a very few instruments or a few microphones, cutting flat doesn't sound good to most people's ears, so I'll say, 'Well, if this is a state-of-the-art preamp and a great mic and it doesn't sound that great to me, why?' Well, the midrange is not quite vivid enough. Okay, we'll look at the 3k, 4k range, maybe 2500. Why don't we make it kind of come to life like a shot of cappuccino and open it up a little bit? The....



    Then it goes on more with another table later on but I ran out of text. You can get the newer 4th edition here:

    You can't Have an EQ chart for synths tho because synths make tons of different sounds in different octaves and frequencies.
u/kuraimusic · 2 pointsr/trapproduction

Do you mean your room is already treated or sound treating isn't a priority at the moment? If it isn't treated I'd make sure to get a good set of headphones to reference on, then use monitors when you're producing with friends or don't feel like wearing headphones.

headphones: audio technical mt50x $150

or audio techinca mt40x $100

monitors: Krk Rokit 5 or 6s or Yamaha Hs 5 or 7s
keep a look out for these on craigslist and eBay, you can find some good deals out there. Yamahas are going to be better quality, but you can find good deals easier on KRK and they'll get the job done

audio interface: Scarlett 2i2 $150~

if you're looking to record vocals then I'd get something like this for a mic
at2020. you'll want to get the package with the pop filter and the cables

You're going to want to get a power surge protector to keep your monitors and equipment safe. Also just a heads up, but Black Friday is just around the corner, so if you can hold out on certain items you'll be able to grab some of these items for a fraction of the price.

u/psychogenic_official · 1 pointr/trapproduction

Definitely upgrade to some reference headphones, you don’t even know what you’re missing. It’s like watching a movie on your phone screen vs on a big 4k tv (and maybe in that case a well treated studio is like a movie theater). In cheap ear buds, you get tinny highs, muddy mids and shitty bass/no sub.

Speakers can be good, and decent reference monitors can be pretty reasonably priced, but monitors aren’t very helpful if the space you’re working in hasn’t been treated properly. If you’re in a small room with no sound dampening, the audio can bounce around the room and cancel itself out, making sound design and mixing very difficult or impossible. In my opinion, headphones are the way to go unless you can afford a proper studio monitor setup.

I definitely second the vote for Audio Technica M50X. Best headphones for the money in my opinion. There are a lot of good headphones out there though, search this sub I’m sure there have been discussions about it before

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black

u/pepperjack510 · 1 pointr/trapproduction

I do have some monitors, they aren't the best.

But it's all on a budget, I guess it would of been better to invest more into the monitors and not be getting this keyboard but I picked these up a while ago. Honestly they aren't too horrible but like the speakers you mentioned they don't do the low end too good.

EDIT: I also have these for headphones. I can usually hear the low end better on those but I don't know if that's simply because it has an EQ adjustment.

u/doxmusic · 4 pointsr/trapproduction

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are my favorites, for a super reasonable price. They’re studio monitor headphones, great for delivering high quality sound, similar to what a home studio setup would sound like.

u/El_sone · 1 pointr/trapproduction

Check out VMusicBook, they probably have a section on this.

It’s not super well edited, but there’s a lot of good shit in there regarding navigating the industry, including publishing your work such that you can police any theft.

Plus, it’s like $8 on Amazon 👌🏼 Just make sure you type VMusicBook as one word if you decide to look it up.

u/iamonapig · 2 pointsr/trapproduction

your low-mids to mids as well as highs are lacking. as in you need either better samples to fill out those frequency ranges or you need to eq your stuff better. along with that your sub is lacking any real presence (in terms of the kick and the bass). you can solve this by distorting/compressing/eqing your kick/bass. another problem is stereo placement -- try using the haas effect as well as panning your instruments well.

you've been producing for four years but haven't done much mixing/mastering and your track reflects that. look into buying this book and watch this video as well, i highly recommend this one.

u/BrahbertFrost · 1 pointr/trapproduction

Aight. Get this, and get this. Get some speaker stands as well, and boom--you done. All of those things you'll be able to take wherever you go, and your body will thank you. Your neighbors won't mind either. If you live not on the ground floor you could invest in some speaker stands that allow you to fill the tube--put a bunch of sand in it, it'll help decouple the speaker from the ground. Gonna be a real pain to move those though.

I know they are the least flashy, not very sexy upgrade items but trust me these are what you want.

EDIT: Oh and be sure to set up your room so your desk is in the center of the short side of the wall (you want the speakers "shooting down the room", so they should be projecting down the longer sided walls. Put the speakers on the small wall that has the least number of adjoining rooms and try to get it at least 1.5ft away from wall. Place the acoustic panels as directed.

It will blow your fucking mind how different the sound is.

u/schiesmusic · 1 pointr/trapproduction

I'd recommend getting a seagate external hard drive for your mac. I'm thinking a 1 TB would be enough storage space for omnisphere, including all your sample kits and other vsts 👍Also, I can't stress how important it is to backup all your data on separate hard drives or on the cloud. Best of luck man!


u/Infrah · 1 pointr/trapproduction

Do you mean the soundcard built into the Mac? No, you would need a 3/5mm jack if you want to plug directly into the laptop. Do not do this. Laptop soundcards are mostly awful and an audio interface is required to process sound from your DAW, otherwise you will experience audio crackling/lagging/etc. You're going to have to spend a little money on this, there really are no substitutions for a good soundcard / audio interface. This one is cheap and reliable, a different model than my exact one, but this is a good brand and you really can't go much cheaper than this without a major drop in quality.


Merged from my above post, so you have it all in one place:

Yes the XLR connector should be 3 prong male.

This is WRONG, do NOT buy

This is CORRECT, DO buy

On the back of my Yamaha HS8 monitors, there are female 3-prong connections, I plug the male 3-prong end of my cable into it, that is called an XLR connector. I then plug the other end of the cable, a 1/4 TRS shielded connector, into the back of my Presonus Audiobox iOne. Make sure that it is 1/4 TRS and not a 3.5mm audio jack, as that will be too small to fit into the audio interface.

These cables look fine. They're cheap, have good reviews, and are balanced/shielded cables which means you shouldn't have interference issues from other electronic devices.


Conclusively, you need these items, but if you find a cheaper audio interface with two TRS ports, go for it, as long as reviews show it's reliable. You also need two 1/4 TRS to XLR Male cables, balanced. Items:

u/bigfella42069 · 3 pointsr/trapproduction

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone, Black

pretty good one

u/Locsta · 1 pointr/trapproduction

Save yourself the time, return those and get these.

Ultimate Support JSMS70 Speaker Stand (Pair)

u/KingBlueTwister · 2 pointsr/trapproduction

Technically if there powered you could use Jack or XLR to 3.5mm Jack and plug direct into the audio out on your computer.



But really just buy a 2nd hand audio interface off eBay. Tascam do a really decent one for like $40

u/m2guru · 1 pointr/trapproduction

Nobody mentioned AKG. They’ve been broadcast standard for 50+ years because of comfort and indestructible. Oh and the sound is top notch.

I prefer them to both senheiser and at by a long shot.

AKG Pro Audio Professional Headphones, Black, 1/4" to 1/8" (K702)

u/SubLabSynth · 1 pointr/trapproduction

What you could take a look at is Sonarworks reference software, which compensates for errors in different headphones and gives you a flat response, so what you are hearing from your headphones is accurate.

I'd say upgrade at some point though if you looking at taking things seriously. The Phonon Subtonic SB-02 have a really good sub-bass response. Used with Sonarworks, you should be able to get good mixes which you can then check and fine tune in a car, laptop etc...

u/Bruce_Wayne69 · 3 pointsr/trapproduction

i know mr carmack among many producers have rocked these at some point. Audio Technica's.

Ive owned Sony MDRs and AIAIAI's aswell and I much prefer the AudioTechnica's, everyone different though. Getting familiar with how they translate to other speakers is very important.

u/GURLIKNOWUWANDIHDIHH · 1 pointr/trapproduction

What's your budget? The Numark PT01 USB may be one to consider.

u/dv8_z1d · 2 pointsr/trapproduction

Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball Mouse – Ergonomic Design with Sculpted Right-hand Shape, Compatible with Apple Mac and Microsoft Windows Computers, USB Unifying Receiver, Dark Gray

Can’t go wrong with this