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Using graphic EQ


From:

Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters

with Brian Lee White

Video: Using graphic EQ

A graphic EQ is a special type of EQ that has fixed frequency and Q values and is arranged in a multi-band, almost mixer-like presentation. The only control in a graphic EQ is gain, which can either be boosted or cut to alter the amplitude of a fixed-frequency spectrum. Graphic EQs offer a fixed number of frequency points, or bands, that can be altered. This simplicity, along with the inherent visual presentation of the total EQ curve, makes them very simple to use and especially effective at certain tasks.
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  1. 3m 28s
    1. Welcome
      1m 36s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      35s
    3. Using the exercise files
      58s
    4. Using the "Get In the Mix" Pro Tools and Logic Pro session files
      19s
  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 15s
    1. Get in the Mix: EQing FX returns
      4m 29s
    2. Using common vintage-modeled EQs
      5m 2s
    3. Using frequency analyzers
      3m 45s
    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
      19s
  7. 5m 51s
    1. A session with Brian Lee White
      5m 51s

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Watch the Online Video Course Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters
2h 29m Appropriate for all Jan 11, 2012 Updated Jan 17, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Measuring frequency and amplitude
  • Understanding the relationship between frequency and pitch
  • Working with EQ controls such as bandwidth (Q) and gain
  • Using graphic EQ
  • Understanding the shelving and high-pass and low-pass filters
  • Creating focus with EQ
  • Creating complementary EQ curves
  • Performing frequency bracketing with filters
  • Automating EQ
  • Using frequency analyzers
  • Using harmonic generators to excite frequency content
Subject:
Audio + Music
Software:
Logic Pro Pro Tools Waves
Author:
Brian Lee White

Using graphic EQ

A graphic EQ is a special type of EQ that has fixed frequency and Q values and is arranged in a multi-band, almost mixer-like presentation. The only control in a graphic EQ is gain, which can either be boosted or cut to alter the amplitude of a fixed-frequency spectrum. Graphic EQs offer a fixed number of frequency points, or bands, that can be altered. This simplicity, along with the inherent visual presentation of the total EQ curve, makes them very simple to use and especially effective at certain tasks.

Because they can contain many unique bands, sometimes over 30, graphic EQs are a popular choice for calibrating playback systems to a specific room or space. They are often used to compensate for a venue's acoustics in live sound systems and can also be found performing the same task in many recording studios. A large number of unique bands can help an engineer neutralize very specific room modes or points of resonance in a space. Sometimes I like to use graphic EQs for normal everyday EQ, tasks such as EQing a guitar or vocal, because of their simplicity.

The limited number of frequency points can really help you stay focused on the creative side of things and get sounds quickly, without getting mired in the details of sweepable frequency and Q. Here I'm using the Waves API 560 EQ, a model of the API 560 hardware unit. This is a 10-band graphic EQ that is divided into one-octave increments. I can use it to quickly get this vocal to sit in the mix without worrying about Q settings or center frequency since those are already set for me, so I can focus more on the specific areas I want to boost or cut. Let's take a listen.

(music playing) So here I'm removing some of the low- mids to get rid of that muddy resonance that usually builds up in a vocal and a little bit of the harmonics on that mud.

I am also cutting heavily on the lowest two bands to remove any rumble or unrelated low-frequency content that would just add up and cloud the low end. I might also improve the clarity a bit by boosting some of the high-mids around for 4k and add a bit of air at 16k for good measure. So I hope you can see in here that by using the graphic EQ in this scenario I can focus on what really matters, getting the vocal to sound how I want it to without worrying about if I picked the exact right frequencies or following some sort of recipe.

While they aren't perfect for everything, if you have access to a graphic EQ plug-in or hardware unit, try it out on some different material. Mixing is just as much about creative flow as it's about precision movements and critical thinking, so sometimes fostering forward motion by using simple, even restrictive tools that allow you to quickly move on to the next idea can be just what's needed to get the mix sounding great.

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