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Applying EQ

From: Pro Tools 8 Essential Training

Video: Applying EQ

Equalizers or EQ's are used to boost or cut selected frequencies within a signal. In this video, I'm going to show you how to apply an EQ to an audio track as well as demonstrate some of the more radical EQ plug-ins in Pro Tools. There are several reasons to apply EQ. To improve the tone quality or the timbre of an instrument or voice, to create a special effect like a telephone vocal sound, to help a track stand out in the mix, to fix mic choice and placement problems like frequency problem, likeage or noise issues, to make up for inadequacy in the recording equipment, to create a better blend of instruments, and to improve the overall sound of the mix if you applying the EQ to the master output.

Applying EQ

Equalizers or EQ's are used to boost or cut selected frequencies within a signal. In this video, I'm going to show you how to apply an EQ to an audio track as well as demonstrate some of the more radical EQ plug-ins in Pro Tools. There are several reasons to apply EQ. To improve the tone quality or the timbre of an instrument or voice, to create a special effect like a telephone vocal sound, to help a track stand out in the mix, to fix mic choice and placement problems like frequency problem, likeage or noise issues, to make up for inadequacy in the recording equipment, to create a better blend of instruments, and to improve the overall sound of the mix if you applying the EQ to the master output.

Most home and car stereos have some form of equalizers. Even the simplest bass and treble controls are equalizers. There purpose is the same as the EQ plug-ins you use to mix in Pro Tools. However, our Pro Tools EQ plug-ins are more advanced and give us more control over the EQ parameters allowing us to alter specific and controllable frequency ranges. Let me show you how to apply EQ. We will start with a Digidesign stock 7-Band EQ. This EQ is a parametric EQ which enables us to control three parameters, the central frequency abbreviated here just as FREQ, the boost or cut which is the Gain, and the width of the affected frequency range or Q. The central frequency is the frequency that you want to adjust, so if I grab this knob and move it, you will see that the central frequency is moving here, this orange dot. For example, say you want to reduce the low-end muddy frequencies on an acoustic guitar. In that case, I'll dial this over to about 300 Hz because that's where mud likes to live in a mix.

The Gain is the amount of increase or decrease an amplitude that you want to apply to the central frequency. So, if I boost this, you will see the curve rise, and if I decrease it, you will see it go down. If you want a slight reduction in the guitar parts mud, I would cut it by 1-3 dB. For more drastic change cut 6-9 dB. The third parameter, Q, is the width of the boost or cut region around the central frequency. So, as you see as I turn this knob, the width changes.

A higher Q value yields narrow widths for affecting a smaller range of frequencies, while a low Q provides expanded widths to encompass a larger range of frequencies. And let's hear what this sounds like. So, we have the guitar part soloed, we want to change the Gain to 0, and then press Play. And I'll change the Gain and we'll hear how that affects the sound. (Music playing.) Do you hear how muddy it got when I actually boosted the Gain? Now, when you are looking for the frequency that you want to adjust, try this technique, we call it the boost and twist. So, you insert an EQ on a track, like we have here, and you increase the Gain pretty significantly. We'll bring it all the way up to 14 dB. And now we'll make the Q really high so that it is a very narrow band. And now what we do is play the track, and then sweep with the Frequency control to find a frequency that you want to boost or cut. (Music playing.) Let's say that I actually want to get rid of some of the nasally tone that's right around this area at 761 Hz. So, now that I found that frequency, I can adjust the Gain, bring it down some. And then if I want to expand the width, I can either increase or decrease the Q. Let's hear what that sounds like. (Music playing.) It's a subtle change but noticeable and you will notice that I actually hit the Bypass button here to AB it. That is, to listen to the track with the EQ and without the EQ. One thing we were also doing here is we are listing to this track in Solo. Now you don't want to just EQ while you are in Solo, you also need to listen to the track with the rest of the tracks in the session.

You could make this track sound amazing by itself but it might not sound good in the mix. So, don't EQ in a vacuum by keeping the track in Solo. Let's move on to a common mixing practice called the carving EQ holes. For example, let's say we have this acoustic guitar track and a vocal track. Often it's a good idea to cut out some of the mids of the guitar to allow the vocals to have more room in the frequency spectrum where they sound the best, like between 1-4 kHz. So, let's cut out 3 kHz from the guitar signal, I'm going to adjust the Frequency to about 3, decrease it a little, and kind of narrow it out. And I need to un-Bypass this track. And I'm actually going to take this part of the EQ out by clicking the In button and making that part inactive. So, now we have this little bit EQ'd out of our guitar signal. So we are carving a little EQ hole for the vocals to come in and shine through over the guitars in this area.

Now, another thing that we could do is actually boost some of the guitar Frequencies. Let's go up to around 6 kHz and add a little bit of shine to the guitar sound at that area. And this frequency range on the guitar is out of the way of the vocals. So it's another example of carving an EQ hole where we can actually boost the guitar to have it shine through a little bit more at this frequency. Let's hear what it sounds like. (Music playing.) It takes out some of the bite from the mids that would allow the vocals to shine through. Now be aware that any EQ setting that you change on a particular instrument will affect not only its sound but how the sound of that instrument interacts with all of the other tracks in the mix. Now let's look at some of the more radical EQ effects that you can add to tracks in your Pro Tools session.

I am going to close this up and have a listen to the Bass track instead. First, we check out the Air Kill EQ. So we have got this track soloed, I'm going to press Play and add in some interesting effects that this EQ can do. (Music playing.) This plug-in is a 3-Band EQ with Kill switches on each band, right here. With this plug-in you can cut off the Lows, Mids, and Highs for some really cool effects, like you just heard. Let's try another one. Related to the Kill EQ but with some different parameters, this Vintage Filter is a resonant multi-mode filter that can be manually adjusted or modulated over time, using a built-in LFO or Low Frequency Oscillator. It also has an Envelope follower. Now watch what knobs I'm going to tweak with the mouse, and we'll hear the sonic outcomes. (Music playing.) You have got a lot of opportunity to get creative with this plug-in. So, now you know how to properly EQ a track utilizing the boost and twist method.

You can also sonically sculpt any track pretty radically with some of these EQ plug-ins that are available in Pro Tools.

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This video is part of

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Pro Tools 8 Essential Training

120 video lessons · 10761 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 12m 54s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      2m 30s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      3m 51s
    4. Troubleshooting
      3m 1s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 16s
  2. 23m 41s
    1. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      5m 8s
    2. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    3. Optimizing Pro Tools performance
      6m 55s
    4. Setting essential preferences
      3m 42s
    5. Creating a Pro Tools session
      3m 56s
    6. Identifying elements in a session folder
      3m 2s
  3. 47m 9s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      4m 50s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      2m 21s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 55s
    5. Investigating Pro Tools menus
      4m 37s
    6. Creating new tracks
      4m 10s
    7. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 36s
    8. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      5m 54s
    9. Adjusting the I/O setup
      7m 7s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 50s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and keyboard focus
      3m 49s
  4. 30m 43s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      5m 6s
    2. Importing audio
      5m 13s
    3. Importing MIDI
      3m 55s
    4. Importing session data
      6m 17s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      4m 18s
    6. Importing video
      2m 57s
    7. Unmounting a hard drive
      2m 57s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Recording audio
      5m 6s
    2. Playing back audio
      10m 31s
    3. Creating a Click track
      4m 53s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      9m 25s
    5. Recording with playlists and the Loop Record mode
      3m 6s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      5m 28s
    7. Dealing with latency
      4m 17s
    8. Creating a group
      4m 33s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      7m 41s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      5m 34s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 13s
  6. 1h 26m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 31s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Trimmer and Scrubber tools
      6m 57s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and Zoom presets
      5m 14s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      3m 27s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 26s
    7. Understanding the edit modes
      7m 54s
    8. Arranging regions
      8m 38s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 3s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      10m 29s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      5m 28s
    12. Locking and muting regions
      3m 36s
    13. Special buttons in the Editing window
      8m 16s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      5m 11s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      10m 59s
  7. 18m 43s
    1. Working with region groups
      5m 47s
    2. Setting time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 46s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 10s
  8. 35m 30s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 25s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 50s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 46s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      5m 24s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 15s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      6m 27s
    7. Using step input
      4m 45s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      2m 51s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      3m 47s
  9. 48m 41s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      8m 23s
    2. Editing MIDI data with the MIDI Editor
      7m 20s
    3. Working with the MIDI event list
      2m 41s
    4. Editing MIDI data with event operations
      8m 25s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      11m 31s
    6. Creating and using groove templates
      5m 59s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      4m 22s
  10. 18m 51s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 22s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      6m 33s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 30s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      2m 26s
  11. 19m 0s
    1. Utilizing the Time Shift plug-in
      7m 41s
    2. Editing with Elastic Time
      8m 30s
    3. Editing with Elastic Pitch
      2m 49s
  12. 48m 20s
    1. Working with Boom
      11m 23s
    2. Working with Xpand2
      7m 21s
    3. Working with DB-33
      6m 58s
    4. Working with Vacuum
      7m 55s
    5. Working with Structure Free
      7m 12s
    6. Working with Mini Grand
      3m 57s
    7. Using Midi Learn
      3m 34s
  13. 25m 55s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      6m 4s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      4m 56s
    3. Editing automation with the Trimmer and Grabber tools
      2m 9s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 5s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      4m 25s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      4m 16s
  14. 1h 40m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      8m 0s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 18s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      3m 53s
    4. Dealing with delay compensation
      6m 51s
    5. Applying EQ
      9m 19s
    6. Adding compression
      11m 17s
    7. Applying limiters
      2m 57s
    8. Using Gates and Expanders
      4m 40s
    9. Working with Side Chains
      3m 35s
    10. Working with De-Essers
      3m 4s
    11. Adding delay
      7m 34s
    12. Utilizing modulation effects
      4m 43s
    13. Adding reverb
      7m 5s
    14. Adding harmonic effects
      5m 7s
    15. Renting and purchasing plug-ins
      2m 2s
    16. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      5m 19s
    17. Bouncing down a mix
      5m 50s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Setting up a session for mastering
      8m 56s
    2. Using plug-ins for mastering
      8m 47s
    3. Applying Dither and Noise shaping
      4m 5s
    4. Bouncing down master recordings
      3m 56s
  16. 19m 52s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      4m 20s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      12m 28s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      3m 4s
  17. 4m 50s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 50s
  18. 31s
    1. Goodbye
      31s

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