Vocal EQing

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davewalton
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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by davewalton » Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:20 am

Quote:Quote:Hello, Does anyone have any preferred EQ settings for vocals? Definitely!!!! My overwhelming favorite vocal EQ preset is NONE!!EQ is there if I messed up something while tracking, but that's kind of like using a band aid to fix a broken arm.This is funny. Brandon lives where I live. I recognize his name from some articles in our local newspaper.Cape Girardeau is taking over the planet! Brandon, I sent you a PM.Dave

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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by edteja » Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:09 am

Better Cape Girardeau than kudzu, I suppose.
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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by ernstinen » Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:29 am

Another coincidence:I played piano on a riverboat out of Cape Girardeau, in, about, 1924.Ern

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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by og » Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:32 pm

Didn't plant any kudzu while you were there, did ya?

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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by edteja » Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:29 am

I saw ya, Ern. Didn't like your version of Swarmy River, but the Al Joulson bit was funny. Too bad about the food on that boat.
"In the future, when we finally get over racism, bigotry, and everyone is purple, red, and brown ... then we'll have to hate people for who they truly are."--George Carlin

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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by musicbydavid » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:45 am

Flat is good. That's the preferred and generally known standard. I break that rule daily, but that's the general idea and a great starting point. Begin your mix by making room for that flatly EQ'd voice by getting proper levels on the instruments, or, my favorite: the mute button. No joke. We make arrangements awfully complex these days. Sometimes just killing OK tracks will make all the room you need. And believe me... the loss of the that OK track for the gain of a well understood vocal will pay off 10X. Once you've done your best without EQ, that's a good time to do a little tweaking, and I do mean a little. And if you can, make it subtractive, or in other words, don't boost. Cut frequencies and then raise the level if you need to compensate.IF that ain't workin' for ya... the best few bucks I've ever spent was here: http://www.voxengo.com/product/voxformer/This plug in is a miracle worker, able to push a sonic source way past the legal limits and get a voice to sit comfortably on top of the musical smudge below. This company rocks. And you WILL use this plug in a lot.Good Luck!David

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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by andreh » Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:52 pm

Lots of good pointers on this thread. A few more thoughts:Quote:A decent mic, a decent preamp, and a decent compressor will usually sound great direct, no EQ. Try it!..and don't forget room treatment! Especially if you're in a bedroom studio, you'll need to address accoustic issues. Not just foam (or better yet, pressed fiberboard like OC703) for keeping mids and highs from bouncing off the walls, but something for the lows as well, such as wood panel traps or several layers of 703 in the corners.Some great-sounding tracking spaces don't have much acoustic treatment, but these are usually large rooms whose ambiance doesn't sound boxy or ringy like smaller rooms can.If you're forced to mix in the same room you're tracking in, the room's anomalies wreak havoc twice; once when they're recorded, and again when they're heard on playback. Theoretically you'd mix out these anomalies, but it doesn't usually work that way for a number of reasons...so treat your room! Quote:There's no such thing as "preferred EQ settings" for anything. Unless you're modeling something like an AM radio or the curve of a particular speaker, EQ is always in context. Asking where to set the EQ for vox is a "how long is a piece of string" question.I personally have no religious objection to using EQ even with a decent mic, preamp, and compressor. I agree with Nick on both counts. You can't decide you want more of this or that until you know how much of this or that is there in the first place.As to whether ot not to process your vox sound...how does it sound in the mix? If it sound good, it is good. If it sounds bad, then fix it!Quote:...and the first I really got into my head was the part about giving each voice or instrument it's own space...This is crucial. It's why a part might sound thin and bland all by itself, but fit nicely in a mix that's filling out other frequencies. Or, if you know you want a big, full vocal sound, plan to pull some conflicting frequencies out of less important parts.Quote:Quote:Hello, Does anyone have any preferred EQ settings for vocals? Definitely!!!! My overwhelming favorite vocal EQ preset is NONE!!EQ is there if I messed up something while tracking, but that's kind of like using a band aid to fix a broken arm.I completely agree that we should be getting the best sound possible going in. However, that can be hard to achieve if 1. your ears aren't developed enough to know what to listen for or 2. your tracking space imparts undesirable characteristics that may need to be corrected in the mix.I my experience, most semi-pro recordings will require some sort of EQ to get the vocal sitting right in the mix.Quote:Flat is good. That's the preferred and generally known standard. I break that rule daily, but that's the general idea and a great starting point.If your room is fairly flat, I agree. Many semi-pro or hobbyist rooms that have been treated for mid and high-end absorption will suffer from low-mid and low frequency anomalies, and these can certainly affect vocal frequencies. In one room a "flat" take might have a 10 or even 20dB's greater content in a certain frequency range.However, I agree with the concept that you shouldn't just assume you'll be EQ'ing your vocal take (at least until you get to know your room and/or how the voice you're recording generally sits in a mix with your setup). Quote:Sometimes just killing OK tracks will make all the room you need. And believe me... the loss of the that OK track for the gain of a well understood vocal will pay off 10X.Absolutely. And if you just can't live without the track that's conflicting with your vocal or other important part, use a parametric EQ to discover which frequencies are clouding the parts together, and pull them out of one or the other part. Solo'ing is valuable, but hearing parts in context is priceless. Quote:Once you've done your best without EQ, that's a good time to do a little tweaking, and I do mean a little. And if you can, make it subtractive, or in other words, don't boost. Cut frequencies and then raise the level if you need to compensate.I agree; most frequency problems can be solved by subtractive EQ'ing. Don't be afraid to experiment with boosting to understand its effect, but this method is usually better suited to tone shaping rather than corrective EQ'ing. Context is everything, but here are some possible ways to approach vocal EQ'ing in a mix:- Watch out for too much mud ~200-300Hz (even lower with male vocals), especially if you have big electric guitars taking up space there, but don't pull out so much that you lose your "warmth." Hi bass guitar can conflict ~100-200hz as well.- You generally don't want to hear much vox below 80-100Hz, so use a low-pass filter here.- Definition and air come at higher frequencies ~10-16k, but too much top end can be fatiguing, especially on sibilant notes. You can pull out offensive frequencies with a de-esser, and then boost those frquencies to maintain air on non-sibilient sounds (ala Kelly Clarkson).- Watch for a nasal or honky sound ~1k-2k, but you'll lose body if you pull too much out here.- Watch for harshness ~3-4k, but don't suck out too much presence. Careful of conflict with snare frequencies here as well.If you can't bring yourself to change the tone of two conflicting instruments, you can try a ducking compressor to reduce the sound of one when the other is playing (i.e. - duck the guitars with the vox, duck the bass or with the kick, duck the drum overheads with the snare).There's a whole world out there to experiment with. Have fun!Andre
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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by og » Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:06 pm

What is the difference between cutting several frequencies and boosting a couple, then cutting the eq output?

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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by edteja » Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:56 pm

This is a great thread. Don't stop now kids.
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Re: Vocal EQing

Post by andreh » Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:44 pm

Quote:What is the difference between cutting several frequencies and boosting a couple, then cutting the eq output?og-You can work either way, but here's why I generally (but not always) prefer the subtractive EQ method:1. It's easier to find and reduce all the undesired frequencies than to find and boost all the desired ones, since there are usually fewer of them (undesired)...especially if you've paid attention to mic placement during tracking.2. Boosting a frequency range to get a part to stand out more won't always solve the underlying problem of conflicting frequencies among two or more parts; this approach is more like a band-aid than a cure.3. There's almost always more overall frequency content in a mix than is ideal to allow each part its own space, and boosting frequencies just adds to the pile.4. Many of us are using plugins for EQ, and most software-based EQ's handle cutting frequencies better than boosting them. This situation isn't as predominant today as it was just a few years ago thanks to EQ plugs like the Massenburg, Sony Oxford, SSL emulations from Waves (boo, hiss) and SSL, Sonalksis, Hydratone, and a few others.I usually listen to what's going on with a part in the context of one or more other parts to hear what's sitting where, apply subtractive EQ to problem areas, then use some touch-up boosting for additional contrast between parts.But this is an art, not a science...whatever works for you!Andre
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