Archives For frequency

EQ Part 3: Going Fishing

Jared Taylor —  March 18, 2013 — 2 Comments
Part 3 of 3 in the series EQ

Grandpa-Taylor-fish-1

Grandpa Taylor was a handy guy to have around. He was as strong as an ox, loyal to the bone and knew the value of good tools. Although he never got into mixing audio, he possessed at least one related skill …

In our first post in this series we established that EQ is a volume control for a specific frequency. Last time I recommended an approach based on cutting frequencies before boosting. But how do you choose which frequency to adjust? How do you identify what you’re hearing in order to make a change?

Training your ears for mixing is a lifelong process. Our series on critical listening is a great overview of what to listen for on most common instruments. If you’re not sure where to start with a particular instrument, go back and read it! If you identify what you’re hearing but can’t quite find it on the console, you can learn to dial in the exact frequency with a process called fishing.

Fishing is like a “try-before-you-buy” for parametric EQ settings. Whether you’re looking to squash a particular sound (cut) or highlight it (boost), you can follow the same simple process:

Step 1 – choose your pond. In most cases, you’ll be fishing in the high-mid or low-mid bands. Remember, you can only fish where you can sweep (sounds a bit like ice fishing doesn’t it?) so high and low shelf filters are not an option on most analog desks.

Step 2 – bait with boost. I know – if you read my last post this will sound like heresy. Don’t worry, it’s only a temporary measure. When fishing for frequencies, the proper bait is a sizeable boost of 9 dB or more (feedback permitting).

Step 3 – sweep it around. Adjust the frequency control until the sound you’re looking for pops out. The big boost makes it easier to hear when you’ve found it. (An analogous fishing term for this would be doodlesocking. I think I’ve said enough)

Step 4 – reel it in. With the target sound dialed in, adjust the gain until the frequency is cut or boosted to your satisfaction.

Remember that fishing sounds pretty strange coming through the speakers. This isn’t a concern during soundcheck, but if you make adjustments during a performance you should go about it in a more subtle way. The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to identify frequencies and make tweaks without having to go fishing every time.

Part 2 of 3 in the series EQ

Saw

If I could only give one tip for working EQ it would be to cut first, boost if you have to. There are a few good reasons I say this, but first I want to make sure we all know what I’m talking about.

Cut first, boost if you have to

Last week we said that EQ is a volume control for a specific frequency. It lets you add or subtract gain at a specific frequency to [hopefully] balance the sound of a source. Boosting turns up a particular frequency, while cutting turns it down. So, if the goal is to make everything heard clearly, why shouldn’t we just turn up the frequencies we want to hear? I’ll give you two reasons: one technical and one artistic.

The technical reason is that, when it comes to EQ, boosts aren’t as clean as cuts. Boosting frequencies soon results in Continue Reading…

What is Sound?

Jared Taylor —  February 4, 2013 — Leave a comment
Sound represented in a histogram

Music represented in a histogram

Have you ever seen sound? Unless you’re one of a small percentage who experience chromesthesia, the answer is probably no. But you’ve likely seen sound represented graphically in a histogram. It’s a common and useful way of displaying information about sound, but it is not what sound looks like.

Sound is wave of varying pressure, compressing and decompressing at a rate our ears can detect. If we could see it, it would look more like ripples in water, only they’re in the air and moving right at you! Continue Reading…