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Get in the Mix: Creative EQ with the telephone effect

From: Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters

Video: Get in the Mix: Creative EQ with the telephone effect

I'm sure you've heard a mix where the Ecu curves are not always about correcting First, let's listen to an example of a telephone style filter in action.

Get in the Mix: Creative EQ with the telephone effect

I'm sure you've heard a mix where the lead vocal or another instrument sounds a bit low-fi. Or purposefully low bandwidth that creates a unique mood and enhances the contrast of that element in the mix. Ecu curves are not always about correcting an instruments tonal balance but are sometimes used for a creative effect or placing an element in a unique space within the mix. To me, there's nothing that represents this usage more than the classic telephone effect.

Let's take a look at applying this effect to a vocal track. First, let's listen to an example of a telephone style filter in action. Listen again, as I automate the effect in and out of the mix. lyrics. Aptly named the telephone effect makes it sound like the signal is coming across on a telephone connect hopefully you notice that the effect sits the vocal in a very unique place in the mix not necessarily in the foreground of the mix. But definitely not in the background. The filter effect gives the vocal a cool low-fi quality that grabs the ear, yet takes up very little frequency space.

Therefore allowing all the other instruments around it to fill out the spectrum. Let's take a look at how it's done. First I start with the low pass filter and sweep down until I find a nice spot around two to three K where I can still hear much of the harmonics that make the vocal intelligible. Then I will sweep up with a high pass filter to remove all the low frequencies up through around 400 hertz. The combination of a low and a high pass filter creates what's commonly referred to as a band pass filter. And this lays the foundation for my telephone style effect.

Intensify you will hear on the dance floor when the DJ plays your favorite song, this is when we lose it. Notice that I'm using a very aggressive slope or que of 24 DB per ovtive here. This allows the high and low pass filters to restrict the frequency range and box in the vocals energy to just the frequencies I've selected. To take the effect even further it is often common to include a resonant bump somewhere around the low-pass frequency's cutoff.

This narrow cued boost can really make the effect pop and extend the low-fi feel even more. Check it out. Hopefully you notice that when I add almost 12 DB of gain to my parametric boost, I'm nearly eating up all of my head room and even starting to clip when I sweep into certain frequency ranges. To counteract this, I can simply trim down the output of my EQ to regain some of that head room and prevent clipping. When using this radical of a filter effect, it is not uncommon to have to re-address your signal's relative volume anyways.

You may need to either raise or lower the volume of the track in the mix after the effect has been applied, as it really changes the perceived level of the track in the mix. The telephone filter effect is an excellent example of how taking away frequencies rather than boosting them, can actually provide greater contrast and make a track stand out more in the mix. By catching the listener's ear in a unique way, they're more drawn to that specific element in the mix. So the next time your working with equalization think about not only how it can solve your frequency problems or how it can help you creatively place elements in the mix by alternating their frequency makeup and unique and artful ways.

Well something like this could be classified as purposefully distorting the original signal and making it less audible. Sometimes you have to dirty things up in order to make other things appear clean. And that contrast is what makes for an interesting mix.

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This video is part of

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Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters

36 video lessons · 12488 viewers

Brian Lee White

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  1. 3m 28s
    1. Welcome
      1m 36s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
    3. Using the exercise files
    4. Using the "Get In the Mix" Pro Tools and Logic Pro session files
  2. 15m 46s
    1. What are frequency and amplitude?
      2m 27s
    2. Measuring frequency
      1m 48s
    3. Measuring amplitude
      1m 58s
    4. The perception of frequency and amplitude
      4m 18s
    5. Frequency and pitch
      5m 15s
  3. 36m 10s
    1. What is an equalizer?
      4m 14s
    2. Hardware and software EQ
      1m 58s
    3. Understanding frequency and gain EQ controls
      3m 41s
    4. Using the bandwidth, or Q, EQ control
      5m 35s
    5. Parametric equalizers
      2m 36s
    6. Shelving filters
      5m 11s
    7. High- and low-pass filters
      5m 42s
    8. Putting it all together with multiband EQ
      3m 43s
    9. Using graphic EQ
      3m 30s
  4. 46m 13s
    1. Creating focus
      3m 47s
    2. Get in the Mix: Using EQ to fix problems and place elements in the mix
      8m 30s
    3. Get in the Mix: Creating complementary EQ curves
      9m 7s
    4. Get in the Mix: Creative EQ with the telephone effect
      5m 30s
    5. Get in the Mix: Frequency bracketing with filters
      5m 44s
    6. Get in the Mix: Automating EQ
      6m 18s
    7. Learning to listen
      3m 10s
    8. Balancing expectations from the recording process
      4m 7s
  5. 41m 14s
    1. Get in the Mix: EQing FX returns
      4m 29s
    2. Using common vintage-modeled EQs
      5m 2s
    3. Using frequency analyzers
      3m 44s
    4. Using harmonic generators to excite frequency content
      5m 44s
    5. EQ or compression first?
      3m 3s
    6. EQ and room acoustics: Is your room lying to you?
      6m 15s
    7. Boost or cut? The relative nature of EQ and headroom
      4m 0s
    8. Building healthy EQ strategies
      8m 57s
  6. 19s
    1. What's next and EQ summary
  7. 5m 51s
    1. A session with Brian Lee White
      5m 51s

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