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are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

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are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby alexis » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:41 am

They seem to be less "sharp" appearing (dB/octave) than some I've noticed in some vids. (Referring to their use in the early stages of a mix, for example to clear out space from other instruments for the kick and bass). Is it a matter of being a 1st vs 2nd order filter?

Thanks for any thoughts -
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby oggyb » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:28 pm

Yup, totally fine, I use them in almost every project. Mostly on channels where I'm not already using a more refined EQ plugin. You can change the "order" with the Q setting. I think it's set at a stupidly high 7 by default.

There's a legacy v1 (I think) option on the menu which is less good. Beware.
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby mjfe2 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:38 pm

Just out of interest, what makes a HPF 'good' or 'bad'?
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby oggyb » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:49 pm

Digital artefacts, mainly, or it just "sounds brittle". I'm no scientist :P
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby alexis » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:46 pm

mjfe2 wrote:Just out of interest, what makes a HPF 'good' or 'bad'?

I don't know the answer to that (I'm the OP), but TBH I was thinking about how sharp the cutoff was, in non-engineering terms,how "steep" it is on the graph, the dB/Octave, not really sure what the correct term is.

But what I was asking about was really whether Cubase's "steepness" of the cutoff is up to snuff compared to others ... for applying to non-bass sounds to "leave room" for bass sounds (also for getting rid of the gradoo in the non-musical range of lower frequencies, but for all I know, that requires a different tool).
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:23 am

It's fine. In C7, they've helpfully added high and low pass filters at the channel input stage (where the gain and phase controls are) and these are fine too. Never judge plug-ins by appearance (except metering ones!). Judge only the sound.

One useful trick for the Studio EQ HP filter is to play with the Q setting so that you can get a little bump at the bottom end. That leaves you an extra filter in the EQ to play with... which you can use to add a little dip immediately after the bump. A very different sound from a simple high pass filter followed by a boost, and only two bands to move if you want to change frequency, rather than the three it would otherwise take.

There are differences in filters in the analogue domain, and some plug-ins try to recreate that. Eg listen to the filters on the UA Harrison EQ. Yum!
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:43 am

alexis wrote:I was thinking about how sharp the cutoff was, in non-engineering terms,how "steep" it is on the graph, the dB/Octave, not really sure what the correct term is.

The term is 'slope'. A first-order filter has a slope of 6dB/octave, a second-order is 12dB/octave, third is 18 and fourth is 24.

Fourth-order filters are very severe in analogue terms and usually only found on synthesiser filters.

Traditional analogue console high-pass filters are usually second or third order (12 or 18dB/octave). First order filters are useful for correcting proximity effect on directional mics (if they have adjustable turnover frequencies), but naff-all use for removing unwanted subsonic rubbish becuase they just take far to long to impose a useful amount of attenuation. If the turnover (-3dB point) is set to, say, 80Hz, rubbish at 20Hz (two octaves lower) will only be attenuated by about 15dB (3+6+6).

For really getting rid of unwanted subsonics you need a second order filter as a minimum, and third-order would be better... The classic Neve 1073 console module has an 18dB/octave high-pass filter. For the same 80Hz turnover, a second order would give 27dB of attenuation and a third order nearly 40dB -- which is much more useful!

But the amplitude response isn't the only aspect of a filter, and the steeper the slope the greater the corresponding LF phase shift... and sometimes the audible effect of the phase shift is counter-productive... so some people prefer to use second order 12dB/octave filters as a compromise (and they are cheaper for a manufacturer to implement on a hardware console or rpeamp than a third-order).

H
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby alexis » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:49 am

Mixedup wrote:It's fine. In C7, they've helpfully added high and low pass filters at the channel input stage (where the gain and phase controls are) and these are fine too. Never judge plug-ins by appearance (except metering ones!). Judge only the sound.

One useful trick for the Studio EQ HP filter is to play with the Q setting so that you can get a little bump at the bottom end. That leaves you an extra filter in the EQ to play with... which you can use to add a little dip immediately after the bump. A very different sound from a simple high pass filter followed by a boost, and only two bands to move if you want to change frequency, rather than the three it would otherwise take.

There are differences in filters in the analogue domain, and some plug-ins try to recreate that. Eg listen to the filters on the UA Harrison EQ. Yum!
Thanks, Mixedup. That sounds interesting, I'll check it out!

I wish I could retype my original title - the Cubase 6.5 EQs I was referring to are the "built-in" ones that pop up when u click the little "e" {the ones between the insert slots and the send slots). I wonder if the comments "the HPFs in Cubase 6.5 are just fine" applies to those as well as "s
Studio EQ" …?
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby alexis » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:15 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
alexis wrote:I was thinking about how sharp the cutoff was, in non-engineering terms,how "steep" it is on the graph, the dB/Octave, not really sure what the correct term is.

The term is 'slope'. A first-order filter has a slope of 6dB/octave, a second-order is 12dB/octave, third is 18 and fourth is 24.

Fourth-order filters are very severe in analogue terms and usually only found on synthesiser filters.

Traditional analogue console high-pass filters are usually second or third order (12 or 18dB/octave). First order filters are useful for correcting proximity effect on directional mics (if they have adjustable turnover frequencies), but naff-all use for removing unwanted subsonic rubbish becuase they just take far to long to impose a useful amount of attenuation. If the turnover (-3dB point) is set to, say, 80Hz, rubbish at 20Hz (two octaves lower) will only be attenuated by about 15dB (3+6+6).

For really getting rid of unwanted subsonics you need a second order filter as a minimum, and third-order would be better... The classic Neve 1073 console module has an 18dB/octave high-pass filter. For the same 80Hz turnover, a second order would give 27dB of attenuation and a third order nearly 40dB -- which is much more useful!

But the amplitude response isn't the only aspect of a filter, and the steeper the slope the greater the corresponding LF phase shift... and sometimes the audible effect of the phase shift is counter-productive... so some people prefer to use second order 12dB/octave filters as a compromise (and they are cheaper for a manufacturer to implement on a hardware console or rpeamp than a third-order).

H
Thanks, Hugh, we were typing at the same time and I didn't see your response till just now.

I think you are saying that 2nd order EQ is probably fine for the purposes I was talking about (removing the bottom from non-bass tracks so as to "carve out space" for the bass and kick; removing subsonic gradoo that takes up space but doesn't add to the musical content)?

For those here that use Cubase 6.5 - would you happen to know what "order" the built-in Channel settings EQ are? I would guess 2nd order, but after reading through the operations manual I can't say I could find anything that addresses that.

Thanks -
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:15 pm

alexis wrote:I think you are saying that 2nd order EQ is probably fine for the purposes I was talking about


Yes. 2nd order is fine, 3rd order is generally.

For those here that use Cubase 6.5 - would you happen to know what "order" the built-in Channel settings EQ are?


There's an easy way to check if you have a spectrum analyser plug-in or metering mode.

Find a source of noise (white ideally), and apply the high pass filter (a higher turn over frequency often makes this easier).

Look at the attenuation slope on the analyser. Pick a frequency a little way below the turnover 'knee' where the slope adopts a straight line and note the amount of attenuation. Then check the attenuation an octave below (half the frequency value). Sometimes its easier to see if you look two octaves below. Subtract the lower attenuation figure from the higher one and that will give you the slope in dB/octave (if you took the lower frequency attenuation figure from two octaves below, then divide the answer by two!).

Hopefully, it will be something close to 6, 12, or 18dB/octave -- you probably won't get the exact answer because of inaccuracies in reading the display and the inherent variations in amplitude of the noise signal, but it should be close enough to make it obvious what the intended slope is supposed to be.

H
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:33 pm

alexis wrote:the Cubase 6.5 EQs I was referring to are the "built-in" ones that pop up when u click the little "e" {the ones between the insert slots and the send slots). I wonder if the comments "the HPFs in Cubase 6.5 are just fine" applies to those as well as "s
Studio EQ" …?


The *quality* is fine, but the practicality is another question... When in C6 and earlier I tended not to use the LP and HP filters in that EQ — because usually I want the filters to be pre any significant processing with compression etc. Hence, I'd normally use an EQ instance first in the plug-in chain. IIRC you're on a PC, so check out the GVST plug-ins. They're free and they have simple high pass, low pass and band pass filters. Perfect for that job. You can then use all four bands in the inbuilt plug-in at the end of the processing chain for gentle tonal shaping for the mix, freeing up the low and high bands for shelving purposes. Not essential to work that way, but I found it helped. The C7 arrangement is much more preferable — you get HP & LP filters at the start of the channel, and then, within the new Racks, you can move the place of the EQ in relation to the other inbuilt processing. (though not yet, unfortunately, in relation to third-party inserts).
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby alexis » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:06 am

Mixedup wrote:
alexis wrote:the Cubase 6.5 EQs I was referring to are the "built-in" ones that pop up when u click the little "e" {the ones between the insert slots and the send slots). I wonder if the comments "the HPFs in Cubase 6.5 are just fine" applies to those as well as "s
Studio EQ" …?


The *quality* is fine, but the practicality is another question... When in C6 and earlier I tended not to use the LP and HP filters in that EQ — because usually I want the filters to be pre any significant processing with compression etc. Hence, I'd normally use an EQ instance first in the plug-in chain. IIRC you're on a PC, so check out the GVST plug-ins. They're free and they have simple high pass, low pass and band pass filters. Perfect for that job. You can then use all four bands in the inbuilt plug-in at the end of the processing chain for gentle tonal shaping for the mix, freeing up the low and high bands for shelving purposes. Not essential to work that way, but I found it helped. The C7 arrangement is much more preferable — you get HP & LP filters at the start of the channel, and then, within the new Racks, you can move the place of the EQ in relation to the other inbuilt processing. (though not yet, unfortunately, in relation to third-party inserts).
Beautiful Hugh and Mixedup, thx so much. Hugh I prob. will do that experiment, 'coz it sounds so cool. Mixedup my chain will now be: Cubase HPF on the audio in buss (the at4033 also has a roll off, so that should get most of the subsonic stuff gone before it's printed … right?), then one of my UAD-1 EQs as a HPF in insert slot one of the audio track (I don't have one of the fancy ones, but I guess it should be fine from what everyone is saying), then whatever other inserts needed, then the Channel EQs … etc.

Sound reasonable as a starting point?

Thanks
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby Mixedup » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:27 am

Sounds reasonable to me... though I'd be disinclined to use up the available processing power on the UAD1 unless native processing power were also limited on computer (eg. ageing machine etc). Seriously, I think you'd get a lot of use out of the GVST free bundle for simple tasks like this. You're not loading an entire bank of filters just to use the HPFs. Though by all means use the UA ones if they're adding something for you.
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby The Elf » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:20 am

Don't go throwing HPF on every track like it's an 'always do' situation - use what the track needs, rather than applying a formula to it.

And don't forget that if you upgrade to Cubase 7 you get HPF/LPF at the top of every channel as standard and you get to keep the four band EQ for other duties.
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:51 am

alexis wrote: ...the at4033 also has a roll off, so that should get most of the subsonic stuff gone before it's printed … right?

Yes. The HPF in that mic is a second order 12dB/octave design from 80Hz, if memory serves, and it is intended to help control subsonic mush. A lot of mics have gentler 6dB/octave filters starting higher up, which are primarily intended to reduce proximity effect and are not much help with subsonics. Few people understand or recognise the difference!

H
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby alexis » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:35 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
alexis wrote: ...the at4033 also has a roll off, so that should get most of the subsonic stuff gone before it's printed … right?

Yes. The HPF in that mic is a second order 12dB/octave design from 80Hz, if memory serves, and it is intended to help control subsonic mush. A lot of mics have gentler 6dB/octave filters starting higher up, which are primarily intended to reduce proximity effect and are not much help with subsonics. Few people understand or recognise the difference!

H
Correctamundo, sir.

Now that I have learned about the phase shift associated with EQs - a question occurs to me that I had not thought of before: If I have HPF'd via my AT4033a, am I helping at all by applying a HPF on the analogue input buss within Cubase? Or is the 2nd filter superfluous, with all the work having been done by the mic? In that latter case, could I possibly actually be hurting things by phase shifting without reaping the benefits of actual signal filtering?

Thanks -
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:44 pm

alexis wrote:If I have HPF'd via my AT4033a, am I helping at all by applying a HPF on the analogue input buss within Cubase?


The two filter stages are applied in series with the result that the slope will be steeper (ultimately becoming a fourth-order slope) and the phase shift will be increased commensurately.

Or is the 2nd filter superfluous


Depends how much attenuation you want or need to deal with unwanted LF signals. One filter stage might well be enough... but two might be useful! The phase shift is a by-product of the filtering, but not removing harmful subsonics is usually far more objectionable than the additional LF phase shift that happens when a filter is applied. In some cases, the phase shift is actually a wanted aspect of the sound! Remember that it happens with transformers too!

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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby Mixedup » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:26 am

The Elf wrote:Don't go throwing HPF on every track like it's an 'always do' situation - use what the track needs, rather than applying a formula to it.

And don't forget that if you upgrade to Cubase 7 you get HPF/LPF at the top of every channel as standard and you get to keep the four band EQ for other duties.

That's exactly what I used to do pre C7... a template with a GVST hp/lp filter on the very first slot of every channel but bypassed by default. Just made it easier to reach for.

Alexis... I tend not to filter on a Cubase input channel, just because it offers no practical advantage for me over using it on the recorded track (whhich can be monitored while recording), but it does impose limitations. I do have some input plugins... eg I might use an amp modeller on occasion, just so I commit to a decision. But for me that's a slightly different thing. But ultimately, use your ears and mske your own mind up!
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Re: are Cubase 6.5 HPFs satisfactory?

Postby alexis » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:09 pm

Mixedup wrote:
The Elf wrote:Don't go throwing HPF on every track like it's an 'always do' situation - use what the track needs, rather than applying a formula to it.

And don't forget that if you upgrade to Cubase 7 you get HPF/LPF at the top of every channel as standard and you get to keep the four band EQ for other duties.


That's exactly what I used to do pre C7... a template with a GVST hp/lp filter on the very first slot of every channel but bypassed by default. Just made it easier to reach for.

Alexis... I tend not to filter on a Cubase input channel, just because it offers no practical advantage for me over using it on the recorded track (whhich can be monitored while recording), but it does impose limitations. I do have some input plugins... eg I might use an amp modeller on occasion, just so I commit to a decision. But for me that's a slightly different thing. But ultimately, use your ears and mske your own mind up!


Thanks Mixedup and Hugh, you've been most helpful and in a very practical way. I will check out those free GVST filters to see how friendly they are to my old XP computer, vs. Cubase's own Studio EQ.

Thanks again to all!
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