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Stacked EQ's/bands

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  • Stacked EQ's/bands

    Most shelving boosts don't sound all that great when you go above around 2.5dB of boost. It's usually a better idea to trim the related miss, to allow those frequencies to come out, rather than apply a boost. However, if you need more than 2-3dB of hi-shelf gain, this boosting method will work with something like a Waves REQ6, where the top two bands can both be selected as hi-shelves............... Select one of your shelves, and tune to the desired frequency. Boost until your top end is where it needs to be. You'll now find that you've got loads of treble, but it's getting a bit 'phasey', weird, or indistinct. No problem - simply halve the amount of gain, copy this setting to the 2nd hi-shelf control, and activate. Et voilà, all of that weird indistinctness is gone - leaving you with the nice, round and solid top-end that you were looking for in the first place. I don't know why this works, but I suspect it's something to do with phase - sure sounds like a phase thing in any event. Has anyone done something similar?
    flip the phase

  • #2
    I have both the Renaissance and Q10. I really don't use them much because I get good results with Sonars Sonitus EQ. Waves tends to be clear but it can be overly sharp when you use too much of it. I usually don't need much EQ and when I do I prefer to use something a bit milder and more forgiving.

    There's another trick that's been around a long time you may want to try. This is taken from the waves Manual. If you want to read the full thing its in chapter 8 here. I took a few of the relevant items and posted them below.

    The most important is gain levels. When you boost EQ levels you're also boosting track gain. If you have the sweet gain spot set before you EQ it doesn't take much to push the track out of that sweet spot. Starting with lower track levels to start with helps as does cutting and boosting frequencies. If you have to boost some, it means you have too much of something else. By tweaking both you can wind up with less overall gain if boosting or lack of gain when cutting only.

    Second having more bands means you have more bands overlapping each other with less phase issues.

    There is a trick you can use that's highlighted below creating a notch at the knee which works very well.

    You can also use two bands at the same frequency with different Q settings. The boost can have a wider Q and the cut has a narrower Q. (or vice versa) As they say you would seem to think this is counter productive nut I have several other EQ's that have presets using this same technique and it actually does create very sharp natural sounding peaks using only one EQ plugin.

    From the manual

    Waves anti-alias filters are invisible/inaudible largely because they are “phase-compensated”.

    All conventional EQs have a side - effect . In changing the frequency response EQ’s change the phase response
    too. This is a fact of life , a law, that all analog and most digital EQs have to abide by. If you create the SAME
    frequency curve , with 2 analog EQs and two typical digital EQs, all 4 will have the same phase response
    curve . An other little fact of life is that the steeper the curve , the more dramatic the phase shift.

    Digital EQs have the advantage on this field . Some of Waves Equalizers and filters have been designed with an added
    phase compensation algorithm so that it changes the phase opposite to what the EQ causes so
    that the end result is an Eq with minimized phase shifts.

    It is possible to do this in analog circuits but not practical . There are problems with ganged controls , component tolerances bei n g
    fixed values.

    Waves EQ’s do not have the phase roller coaster drawback and may be the right choice for demanding tasks
    like mastering or audiophile engineers who would dread to be caught using EQ. Most equipment designers try
    to avoid phase shift but they would be hard pressed to describe what it sounds like. Sometimes it helps, most of the time it doesn’t.

    The best known of the Waves Equalizers is the Q10 which has been available for several years and on many
    platforms. The Q10 can have as many as 10 fully parametric bands in stereo. The curve shapes are very similar
    to modern analog parametric EQs. It may not be fair to compare analog EQs to the Waves DSP EQs
    because the Q10 has way more bands, wider Q range, storage, recall and compare features, phase compensation
    and graphic displays. You can compare the Q10 to other DSP EQs, but besides the number of bands,
    range of control and phase compensation, there are issues of DSP allocation, efficiency and stability that tip
    the scales towards the Q10.

    The most recent full-blown EQ in the Waves line up is the Renaissance EQ.Waves decided to make an “analog
    of analog” EQ. It was a research and opinion polling search to find what was magic in some of the vintage
    EQs and an exploration project to determine new and interesting approaches.A blend of old tools,
    fresh new tools, 48 bit precision, and an intuitive, simple interface all make this one special.

    You usually don’t have to worry too much about levels with analog EQs but most digital EQs require some
    attention and optimizing of gains to get good
    resolution and no clipping. This is typically the first thing that
    will bug an analog engineer.

    Some of the frequency shaping curves are new by digital standards but old analog tricks. The Shelf curves
    are inspired by the time tested Pultec EQP-1A’s.With the old Pultecs, you have a one knob to boost lows
    and one to cut lows. Engineers favor using both knobs at the same time (secret).

    You might think that this would just cancel out, as it would on most EQs, but it doesn’t.

    Instead you get the full amount of boost in the deep lows, a steeper slope then a dip at the frequency or knee where it would normally be approaching flat. The usual immediate reaction is that “This is very FAT!”.Why? On most equalizers, when you boost low
    shelves, you also boost the low mids and, to a smaller extent,the mids. When you boost lows on the RenEQ,
    that is all you boost.A typical (single pole) shelf EQ generally has a rounded slope tapering at the top and
    bottom. At its straightest and steepest points it is about 4.5 dB per octave and gets lower. 4.5 dB/oct is gradual,
    (like a low Q on a bell) so a high shelf grabs a lot of high mids (esses) and mids (honk). These new
    slopes on the RenEQ range from 10 to 18 dB per octave (significantly steeper) depending on the Q control.
    The dip at the knee is unusual and will probably hurt de-esser sales.


    • #3
      Another trick to use, if your preferred plugin only has Pultec-inspired resonant shelves, and you want a shelf with no notch in the knee, is simply to use a band-pass (bell shaped) eq instead, usually with a wide Q, and centred on an extreme high, or low frequency, to taste. Try it. Simple
      flip the phase


      • #4
        Lately for my solo stuff I been trying to avoid using EQ as much as possible. This has evolved over time. I had been focused on using completely flat signals tracking bass and vocals and doing all the heavy lifting to get those to fit in a mix using EQ in the box. I've since switched my methods to target the exact tones I want on the tracks using analog gear and using any mixing tools for light highlight work.

        The result is superior clarity and 3 dimensionality after mastering. The exception of course is if a track has frequency masking. I'll want to correct that before mixdown because you cant use things like Multiband or overall EQing and remove two overlapping frequencies.

        I cant always do this with live sessions. Real drums have all kinds of issues when using multiple mics. You can't fix phase issues with an EQ and having two or more mics cancel frequencies out has to be fixed before any EQ settings to be effective. Bleed over between mics adds a layer of time phase issues. EQ can add to the problem with additional phasing. I instead use track shifting to align the loudest elements first and find most of the frequency issues disappear.