Thursday, May 7, 2009

To Solve a Nasty EQ Problem, Make it Worse

You're constantly working with EQ. Part of the time, you need to add some desired aspect to the tone. However, many times, you instead need to remove something; harshness, tubbiness, resonance, or some other piece of nastiness. What's the best way to zero in on your target? Make it worse!

A typical approach is to start cutting in a frequency range that you're guessing contains the objectionable aspect. This can work, but sometimes a better alternative is to instead make it worse. Grab a sweepable EQ, and create a nice, big 6 or 8 dB boost, (and if you have a true parametric, make the slope fairly narrow - i.e. high Q) and slowly sweep it across the range of frequencies you suspect. Because your ear is already telling you something stinks in the spectrum, it's usually obvious when you hit the range of crap you're trying to remove; that horrible sound gets markedly worse. This allows you to really zero in on the center point. Once you're zeroed in, then simply turn that boost into a cut, and voila! Vastly improved tone. At this point you might want to play with the slope (again if it's available) to make sure you're not removing more tone than you need, and you're done.


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