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Once recording and editing are finished, audio engineers can take advantage of the training in Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools to punch up the final output. Digidesign Certified Expert Brian Lee White covers all the basic mixing tools that every producer and engineer should know, from using EQ to add clarity and focus to using compression and limiting to maximize track levels within a mix. Brian stresses the importance of setting up a solid mixing plan prior to any work in Pro Tools, and gives advice on the best plug-ins for each stage of the process. Exercise files accompany the course.
So, I showed you the EQ III from Digidesign and this comes stock in every system. However, I find that I benefit by adding a few additional third party EQs to my workflow. They are going to give me some different colors to try and some are better for processing certain tracks than others. And so some of my favorites, I just want to go through, I really like this new plug-in from McDSP called 4020 Retro EQ.
And what McDSP try to do is not create an emulation of a vintage EQ necessarily, but sort of create something that does have a little bit of saturation or harmonic distortion to it like a vintage EQ. but not necessarily an emulation of one specific older EQ. It's really, really nice. The high-end or the top-end sounds great on it. And it's really basic. You just get this four frequency bands plus your high-pass and low-pass filters that you can kick in there.
And it sounds really great. It's going to give you just that little extra color on something. So, when you are using like virtual instruments or samples or things like that you want to have a little extra color on. This is actually a really great sounding EQ. Now, another one that I like to use, especially when I need something that's really, really precise and clean and super transparent, is the Sony Oxford by Sonnox. And what this is, is an emulation of the Oxford Consoles EQ.
The Oxford Console by Sony was really one of the first digital consoles that engineers thought sounded really good. And this is basically a sort of algorithmic copy of the EQ in that console as a plug-in. The cool thing about this is you are going to get a really, really precise EQ and you have these different types. And if I go through here, the types are actually going to affect how the EQ responds. So, when I boost and cut, if I switch to the types, we are actually going to see differences in the bandwidth.
See how when you cut with TYPE-2 it's actually doing a more focused bandwidth then when you boost. And there is even a really cool mastering style type four, which is just going to allow you to paint in really broad strokes. So, this one is really great, just add a little top ends. If I wanted to add a little top into this mix, maybe I'll push this over here to 13K, I'm just going to play this back and listen. (Music playing) (Male singing: We hit the town.) (Male singing: And I'll never forget that sound.) So, just add a little bit of additional air to the mix bus, not quite mastering.
Kind of in between mixing and mastering. Sometimes I like to add a little bit of top end and a little bit of low end. That kind of helps me get my mix jiving without using too much EQ on individual tracks. That can be nice sometimes. Now the last one I want to show you, probably one of my favorites, is the Massenburg Design Works. It comes in a 3-band and a 5-band and what this is, it's an emulation of the Massenburg 8200 Stereo Equalizer. Now that's $5000 Equalizer and this plug-in does a pretty much dead on job of emulating that.
It sounds really, really great. It's super transparent and smooth but in a way that has a little bit of character. So, it's a very accurate EQ, but I find that I can do really aggressive boosts and cuts without getting a lot of weird fuzziness from the equalizer and the high end, you'll notice, goes all the way up to 41K. Now obviously, the human ear can't hear that high, but there are some cool tricks you can try setting it to let's say like 25 and then boosting a little bit.
So, what you are getting is you are actually getting some boost down here in the lower frequencies and that's kind of another cool trick to add in a little bit of air to the top end of your mix. (Music playing) (Male singing: We hit the town.) (Male singing: And I'll never forget that sound.) (Male singing: Tonight...) So again, this is the one that you can kind of really drive and it's going to stay smooth even when you are pushing 6dB, 10dB boosts.
So, what you are going to find is there is tons of different EQs. Some have a lot of feature overlap. So as far as EQs go, I'm not going to buy 5 or 10 or 15 different EQs out there. I find that by just learning the sounds of a few, I can get 99% of my mix decisions done. Now, the prices will vary widely on these and so what you want to do is before you go drop the $500 or $1000 on really a nice equalizer plug-in.
Download the demo, listen to it on your tracks, kind of see where it fits into your workflow and see if you really need this plug-in. And is it doing something unique for you that you can't do already. And you would be surprised when you kind of stack the EQs up next to each other and you listen to them sometimes the really expensive ones don't sound too much different than the ones that come with Pro Tools.
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