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Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters
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A session with Brian Lee White


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Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters

with Brian Lee White

Video: A session with Brian Lee White

(music playing) My name is Brian Lee White. I am a mixer, producer, and educator based in Oakland, California, and I like to make records and show other people how to do the same. I grew up in a musical family. My dad played lots of instruments, played in bands, so I've been playing instruments since I can remember.
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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 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
      19s
  7. 5m 51s
    1. A session with Brian Lee White
      5m 51s

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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
Subjects:
Audio + Music Mixing Music Production Audio Foundations Audio Effects
Software:
Logic Pro Pro Tools
Author:
Brian Lee White

A session with Brian Lee White

(music playing) My name is Brian Lee White. I am a mixer, producer, and educator based in Oakland, California, and I like to make records and show other people how to do the same. I grew up in a musical family. My dad played lots of instruments, played in bands, so I've been playing instruments since I can remember.

I got into computers at a really young age too, computers, technology, and the Internet. So to me, mixing kind of really incorporates this left-brain, right-brain, very artistic, right, and aesthetics, as well as highly technical and analytical components, and kind of fusing the two together into this kind of middle-brain spot to really kind of achieve the best of both worlds and deliver something that's really special. (music playing) I originally got into teaching sort of as a way to supplement my income in what is really a hard industry.

Ultimately, I really grew to love teaching, being able to share my experiences, share my tips and tricks with everyone, and I kind of created this kind of nothing-is-secret approach. I came to that point because I would have students and I would have friends come to me and they would say things like, "Yeah, you know, I heard this really cool thing that my buddy was doing and he told me I am not going to show it to you because that's my trick." I would hear that and I would say, "That's ridiculous." That's not the mentality that we need to have in this community of people making art.

And I would immediately go and then show them exactly what they wanted to learn how to do, and then some. The real value of a mixer, a producer, a songwriter is what's in here. It's those instincts that tell you not how to do something, not how to turn a knob, but why you would turn that knob. I think ultimately the mix has to serve the song, right. It has to serve the emotion of the song, and ultimately, when I'm working for somebody I'm providing a service, so I ultimately want to achieve the goal of the songwriter and the producer, sort of where they want to go with their aesthetic, right? And that could be both artistically as well as commercially.

(music playing) What I like personally in a great mix is I tend to gravitate towards mixes that really make a strong statement, right, where the artist and the producer and the mixer have all come together. They're all on the same page, and they kind of say, let's go for this. We're going to go out there. This could be a polarizing aesthetic. This could be the sounds and the textures and the way we're presenting them-- not everyone might get.

We're going to make a really gutsy move on this, and we're going to make an artistic statement. Those are the kind of things that really excite me. (music playing) As a mixer, of course, sonics are a big thing for me, how things sound, is it clear, was it recorded well? While that is my job, I think it's important for me as a mixer and other mixers, all of the greatest mixers, what they recognize is sort of what draws people to a piece of music or a piece of art can be totally disconnected to how it sounds sonically.

You can see it all over the place, right? You see people listening to songs off their cell phone speaker and just loving it, just digging it, right? Listening stuff off YouTube. It's been recompressed thirty times and it's no different to them. They're getting it, right? The emotional connection is not lost. People are really stoked on music, and it makes them happy, and even in very bandwidth-limited presentations where the sonics are just horrible, it still makes them happy, and they're still getting 99% of the same enjoyment out of it.

And so I need to take that to heart and use those concepts to really serve the project I'm working on, and try to present those so that that enjoyment is maximized, no matter what speaker system or compression algorithm is being used to put that out there. (music playing) One of my most important jobs as a mixer is to really own the aesthetic of the song and the genre and really present that to the listener.

So whether it's a crazy garage rock punk tune that's going to have all kinds of distorted vocals and drums or some super clean R&B that's got a ton of low-frequency and a ton of high- frequency extension, for me, I really want to own that genre. I want to own that aesthetic, and yes, fit it within sort of some genre expectations and kind of really push that forward so that listeners of that genre, it's not a super-big stretch for them to kind of take that and run with it.

And I think that really makes my job super fun, because I really get to wear all these different hats and paint with all these different colors from one day to the next.

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