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In this installment of the Foundations of Audio series, author Brian Lee White shows producers and audio engineers how to properly apply equalization (EQ) and improve the sound of their mixes. The course covers the use of parametric and graphic EQs—and filters such as the high/low pass filters and shelf filters—in a variety of musical settings. These principles can be applied to any digital audio workstation platform, including Logic and Pro Tools, as well as analog workflows.
Truth be told, there are more EQ and filter tools in the market than I care to count. It's no surprise that producers and engineers often become quickly overwhelmed with the number of choices. Even though all the complex interfaces, graphs, and knobs may look radically different from each other, the reality is that all equalizers today are pretty much designed on the same principles as the ones from a few decades ago, and learning the fundamental concepts behind them and the basic techniques for using them in your mixes translate surprisingly well across both hardware and software processors.
Think about it this way. If you can drive a Honda, you can certainly drive a Toyota. It might take a few minutes to get used to the controls and you may not understand the full feature set that the car offers, but once you know how to drive, you can pretty much drive anything and get from point A to point B. Now some cars can zero to sixty in under five seconds, while others were designed to take it slow and smooth. EQs are no different. Some work best for precision carving and transparent tweaking, adding no artifacts, while others are designed to color the signal, adding warmth and sheen.
EQs can exist as plug-in-based software programs that run inside your DAW-- otherwise known as in the box--or as output processors that are built into a channel strip of a console or exist as separate hardware pieces in a rack. In this course, we'll take advantage of some of the factory-bundled plug-ins included with the most popular DAWs, as well as the industry-standard Waves plug-ins, a popular third-party choice that works in almost any DAW as well as many digital consoles.
Although we will look at a number of fantastic tools throughout this course, everything I will be showing you will easily translate to the EQs you have access to. So let's get started.
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