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Audio Mixing Bootcamp
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Equalizing the strings


From:

Audio Mixing Bootcamp

with Bobby Owsinski

Video: Equalizing the strings

Whether real or artificial strings, are frequently used as a finishing touch to an arrangement, although they tend to stick out of the mix because of their mostly high-frequency content. In this video I'll show you some tips for EQing strings. First of all let's listen to the song with the strings in the mix. (Music playing) What we just heard was some artificial strings like you'd find on a typical synthesizer and you can hear that they stick out the mix a little bit.
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  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 8m 20s
    1. Determining the listening position
      2m 27s
    2. Fixing acoustic problems
      2m 5s
    3. Setting up your monitors
      3m 48s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Setting up your session
      5m 52s
    2. Setting up your subgroups
      7m 50s
    3. Setting up your effects
      6m 35s
  4. 8m 45s
    1. Developing the groove
      3m 46s
    2. Emphasizing the most important elements
      3m 44s
    3. Knowing what to avoid
      1m 15s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Learning the principles of building a mix
      1m 1s
    2. Assigning the drums to a subgroup
      3m 55s
    3. Building the mix from the kick
      10m 8s
    4. Building the mix from the snare
      8m 46s
    5. Building the mix from the toms
      5m 25s
    6. Building the mix from the overhead mics
      3m 53s
    7. Checking the drum phase
      4m 44s
    8. Balancing direct and miked bass channels
      3m 36s
    9. Building the mix from the bass
      3m 26s
    10. Building the mix from the vocals
      4m 19s
    11. Balancing the rhythm section
      2m 44s
    12. Balancing the rest of the instruments with the rhythm section
      5m 22s
    13. Making a mix without building it
      4m 20s
    14. Balancing the harmony vocals
      2m 35s
  6. 23m 2s
    1. Looking at the three main panning areas
      9m 23s
    2. Panning the drums
      6m 9s
    3. Avoiding pseudo-stereo
      7m 30s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding compressor parameters
      3m 42s
    2. Setting up the compressor
      14m 44s
    3. Compressing the drums
      7m 53s
    4. Compressing the room mics
      4m 9s
    5. Compressing the bass
      5m 24s
    6. Using the New York compression trick
      4m 23s
    7. Compressing the clean electric guitars
      4m 40s
    8. Compressing the distorted electric guitars
      4m 48s
    9. Compressing the acoustic guitars
      8m 7s
    10. Compressing the piano
      6m 35s
    11. Compressing the electric keyboards
      4m 32s
    12. Compressing the vocals
      4m 34s
    13. Compressing the horns
      3m 55s
  8. 25m 36s
    1. Learning noise gate basics
      9m 23s
    2. Using the noise gate on guitars
      3m 57s
    3. Using the noise gate on drums
      7m 38s
    4. Learning de-esser basics
      2m 15s
    5. Using the de-esser on vocals
      2m 23s
  9. 36m 4s
    1. Understanding equalizer parameters
      10m 16s
    2. Learning subtractive equalization
      8m 57s
    3. Learning frequency juggling
      8m 28s
    4. Using the magic high-pass filter
      7m 39s
    5. Learning the principles of equalization
      44s
  10. 49m 46s
    1. Equalizing the kick
      6m 7s
    2. Equalizing the snare
      2m 57s
    3. Equalizing the rack toms
      5m 4s
    4. Equalizing the floor tom
      4m 32s
    5. Equalizing the hi-hat
      4m 56s
    6. Equalizing the cymbal or the overhead mics
      6m 49s
    7. Equalizing the room mics
      5m 13s
    8. Equalizing the bass
      3m 59s
    9. Editing the bass rhythm
      4m 21s
    10. Equalizing the rhythm section
      5m 48s
  11. 47m 58s
    1. Equalizing the electric guitar
      8m 15s
    2. Equalizing the acoustic guitar
      4m 55s
    3. Equalizing the hand percussion
      3m 28s
    4. Equalizing the lead vocals
      6m 5s
    5. Equalizing the background vocals
      4m 14s
    6. Equalizing the piano
      4m 46s
    7. Equalizing the organ
      6m 49s
    8. Equalizing the strings
      6m 4s
    9. Equalizing the horns
      3m 22s
  12. 30m 47s
    1. Learning the principles of reverb
      1m 59s
    2. Understanding reverb parameters
      6m 49s
    3. Timing the reverb to the track
      6m 6s
    4. Equalizing the reverb
      2m 51s
    5. Using the two-reverb quick setup
      5m 35s
    6. Using the three-reverb setup
      7m 27s
  13. 59m 8s
    1. Adding reverb to the drums
      7m 56s
    2. Adding reverb to the vocals
      11m 59s
    3. Adding reverb to the guitars
      5m 17s
    4. Adding reverb to the piano
      4m 19s
    5. Adding reverb to the organ
      3m 43s
    6. Adding reverb to the strings
      5m 36s
    7. Adding reverb to the horns
      2m 57s
    8. Adding reverb to the percussion
      4m 46s
    9. Using reverb to layer the mix
      12m 35s
  14. 46m 8s
    1. Learning delay principles
      1m 40s
    2. Understanding delay parameters
      6m 54s
    3. Timing the delay to the track
      1m 28s
    4. Using delay timing variations
      2m 51s
    5. Equalizing the delay
      4m 23s
    6. Understanding the Haas effect
      2m 51s
    7. Using the three-delay setup
      7m 23s
    8. Adding delay to the vocals
      8m 43s
    9. Using delay to layer the mix
      9m 55s
  15. 21m 35s
    1. Understanding the types of modulation
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding modulation parameters
      4m 13s
    3. Modulating the guitars
      4m 7s
    4. Modulating the keyboards
      3m 17s
    5. Modulating the vocals
      4m 17s
    6. Modulating the strings
      2m 58s
  16. 12m 22s
    1. Mixing with subgroups
      5m 5s
    2. Using mix buss compression
      4m 21s
    3. Understanding the evils of hypercompression
      2m 56s
  17. 39s
    1. Goodbye
      39s

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Audio Mixing Bootcamp
8h 53m Beginner Nov 11, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Bobby Owsinski reveals industry tips, tricks, and techniques for producing professionally mixed audio on any digital audio workstation. He offers recommendations for setting up an optimal listening environment, highlights the most efficient ways to set up and balance a mix, and shows how to build a powerful sound with compression. The course also explains how to master the intricacies of EQ; incorporate reverb, delay, and modulation effects; and generate the final mix.

Topics include:
  • Optimizing your listening environment
  • Setting up sessions, subgroups, and effects
  • Understanding which mixing elements to avoid
  • Understanding the principles of building a mix
  • Panning instruments
  • Setting up the compressor
  • Using noise gates and de-essers
  • Understanding the concept of frequency juggling
  • Using the magic high-pass filter
  • Timing reverb and delay to a track
  • Using reverb to layer the mix
  • Understanding the Haas effect
  • Modulating guitars, keyboards, and vocals
  • Mixing with subgroups
  • Tweaking the final mix
Subjects:
Audio + Music Mixing Music Production Audio Effects
Software:
Pro Tools
Author:
Bobby Owsinski

Equalizing the strings

Whether real or artificial strings, are frequently used as a finishing touch to an arrangement, although they tend to stick out of the mix because of their mostly high-frequency content. In this video I'll show you some tips for EQing strings. First of all let's listen to the song with the strings in the mix. (Music playing) What we just heard was some artificial strings like you'd find on a typical synthesizer and you can hear that they stick out the mix a little bit.

There are pads, three octaves of strings. But that being said there's not much movement and that's the way it usually is with most string sections. What that means is usually we have to make sure that not only does it fit in the mix but we can hear it as well. So let's listen to the string patch just by itself for a second. (Music playing) Now obviously when they're dry it doesn't sound as good as when we envelop it with reverb, but nonetheless you will get the idea where we add some EQ.

We'll go to our 4-Band native EQ in Pro Tools and the first frequency we'll look at is between 200 to 500 Hz and this will give the strings more body. So now I'm going to exaggerate how much EQ I'm going to add just to make sure that no matter what speaker you're listening on you're going here this. So we'll goose it up to almost +10 and we'll put it 334, just arbitrarily picking a number. Have a listen. (Music playing) You can hear there is a lot more body to the strings.

Anything below 250, 240, somewhere in there, you really won't hear because once again strings don't have a lot of low frequencies unless you have basses and in this case we're just listening to what would basically be violas and violins and there's not a lot of low frequencies there. Of course, you can't add anything that isn't there to begin with. This is a little too much. I wouldn't normally put that much on. So we'll bring it back here and now we'll go to the next frequency. Sometimes strings are a little harsh at somewhere between 4K and 5k, and just by attenuating those frequencies you can make these string sections sit better in the mix.

So let's go 4k or so and attenuate a little bit. The other thing that you should remember when we're attenuating is usually what we try to do is narrow the bandwidth somewhat and that's the Q. When we're attenuating, usually a narrow band that sounds better and we're boosting a wide bandwidth sounds better than that narrow one. So now what we're going to do is narrow this a little bit. Have a listen. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track.

(Music playing) Now we can hear it in the track, but it doesn't get in the way of anything and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to make sure that there is no frequencies that clash anywhere. Usually, you may be boosting the other instruments at 4K or 5K because it's a typical presence frequency for a lot of instruments, but it's just the opposite on strings.

So on strings usually we want to get rid of that little bit or at least attenuate it somewhat. The final frequency range that we want to look at is between 7K and 10K, which gives the strings some brightness. But we have to be careful. If we add too much, we can actually make everything sound little scratchy there. So what we're going to do is just boost it a little bit. I'm going to boost it more than I normally would just so you can hear the effect and let's solo it and play. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track.

(Music playing) Once again just by listening to a track by itself, be it the strings or any other track, in EQing doesn't really get you where you want to go a lot of times and that's just a solo instrument. What you're you trying to do is have each instrument sit well in the track with all the other instruments combined and sometimes something that sounds terrible soloed sounds terrific in the track.

So just by soloing something and making it sound good doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work with the other instruments. What I'm showing you here is more of an illustration of the frequency points that work, but it's not something that you have to use every time you EQ the strings or any other instrument. Also remember that a high-pass filter will get rid of a lot of the unwanted low frequencies that don't add anything to the sound, except in the case where you have basses in the string section and then you have to be very careful when you use that.

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