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Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

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Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby Frank Rideau » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:26 pm

Why cutting in the 500-1000hz always get my mix to sound more clear and defined. What's going on in this area?
I know, it's sometime too easy, or there some sort of spychological effect, but it always seems to improve my mix to cut out some of the meat there. One would say I should probably work individual tracks (probably guitars and heyboards there) rather than doing the no-brainer cut.
Anyway, after slowly knowing (or at least pretending to) what to do with the low and high, I still find the only thing I can do with mid is too cut... :crazy:
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby Dynamic Mike » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:49 pm

Same here. I actually start with a 3dB cut on virtually all tracks at around 500Hz & a high pass filter at 60ish & then just put it back if I need it! I got the idea from The Recording Revolution video series & it's kinda stuck.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby The Elf » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:37 pm

There's a lot of solidity and character in the 500Hz region, and practically every instrument has something to say there. But like any other frequency range, you only have so much space there before there's too much fighting to be heard.

Personally I wouldn't blanket cut, boost, HPF/LPF, or anything else. I construct the mix in response to what I'm hearing. Some signals will need HPF, and some will need cuts at 500Hz, but listen to what the mix tells you and apply specific EQ to get from where you are to where you want to be - don't just pick on a frequency range as being worthy of special abstract treatment.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:53 pm

Good advice from The Elf.

No presets, only whats needed, case by case and in mixing ideally source by source.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby Frank Rideau » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:09 pm

Yes, definitively hearing this advice and that's why I posted this. I need to ask myself what the mix needs. The things is when I experience different eq corrections on the mix, it often reveal more clarity when I remove some meat in that region. The mid region is defintively the next step I wan't to have better control, I'm still looking to learn "where" I want to go.
I often like to do analogy with image color correction and balancing. The low and high are like the dark and white tones of an image. If you cut the mid tone, boost the dark and white, you get a very contrasted image, which can be visually attractive at first, but aesthetically not necessarily original or appropriated depending of content and subject. It's really when you start to know what to do with the mid tone that you can create colourful and interesting image enhancement.
I guess the same apply for audio.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby The Elf » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:31 pm

If you want to liken it to balancing out a photo in Photoshop, then you need a balance of blacks, white and mid-tones. Most of the interesting details of your picture are likely to be in the mid-tones, so it is here that you need to spend your time, ensuring that things blend or advance/recede where appropriate.

Mixing novices spend a lot of time worrying about the very highs and very lows of their mixes, but once you have your mixing stripes I think that it is your attention to the mids that will make or break you.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:12 pm

There is quite a bit of character to be found round that part of the spectrum for some instruments if you allocate it wisely.

There's always the possibility there's a bit of resonant conflict in your system/listening environment...
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby Frank Rideau » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:43 pm


But if the novices are taking much time with highs and lows, it's maybe because that's what they've been taught in the first place. It seems to me that a lot of the advices out there have many things to say about high and low attention while there is less teaching about the mids processing. The effect is already at the educationnal stage in my opinion.

I mean, I agree you need to carefully choose your sources of information, as there is indeed plenty of second grade Youtube "revolution" kind of tutorials that are just giving the quick fixing advices like what you should "always" do for equing overhead drums mic (That I've stopped following since a good time).

But even "Mix Rescue" column will often thake more time around separating kick and bass in the low, high passing unrelevant tracks and open up the highs for more air than saying anything about what's going on in the mid. Maybe in that case because it's often what the submitted mixes need more. Maybe because mids are much more content related (where basses and highs are more proper for "formula").
From now, I would really like to hear more about treating the mids and I will pay more attention to it.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby turbodave » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:18 pm

Hi, Sometimes I find myself cutting and boosting the same frequencies on different instruments. I found this perplexing until it dawned on me that all I was doing was "losing the room"....so i don't suppose this could be an issue for you. Maybe you have spikes that accentuate your mids...so perhaps you have to cut more than others. This may not be the case however, and all you are suffering from is the accumulation of instruments possessing similar properties...in this instance I think EQ and placement in the field need to be the focus...and by this I mean don't be afraid to lose/exaggerate some of the instruments characteristics to serve your purpose.
Also , it must be said that floppy bass doesn't help...but you say that you have this controlled. If the obvious and sensible doesn't work, don't be afraid to try the less obvious and seemingly stupid. Dave
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby Dynamic Mike » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:53 pm

The Elf wrote:Personally I wouldn't blanket cut, boost, HPF/LPF, or anything else. I construct the mix in response to what I'm hearing. Some signals will need HPF, and some will need cuts at 500Hz, but listen to what the mix tells you and apply specific EQ to get from where you are to where you want to be - don't just pick on a frequency range as being worthy of special abstract treatment.

I agree. I probably oversimplified my rationale because I was supposed to be working! New audio tracks in Cubase 6 default to Low Shelf II at 100Hz and Parametric II at 800Hz with a fairly broad Q, neither of which I find particularly useful. Consequently I set up the first track with my Eq preferences as posted, then duplicate it. This means I only need two mouse clicks to undo it on tracks where its not appropriate, and it's quicker & easier to tweak on the tracks where it's required.

I posted a while back asking if it was possible to change the defaults in Cubase, to be honest half expecting the usual little gem of elfin advice, but the post sank without trace, so I figured it couldn't be done.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:34 am

Dynamic Mike wrote:I posted a while back asking if it was possible to change the defaults in Cubase, to be honest half expecting the usual little gem of elfin advice, but the post sank without trace, so I figured it couldn't be done.
:D

Ooh! I hate to disappoint!

All you need to do is make the necessary changes to a new Project, then save this as one of your templates. When you create a new Project you can then choose this template. That should do what you're wanting.

I don't use the Templates facility myself. I have a 'Default' Project file that I load in and begin work by doing a 'Backup Project'. This works just the same.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby Mike Senior » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:48 am

Frank Rideau wrote:
But even "Mix Rescue" column will often thake more time around separating kick and bass in the low, high passing unrelevant tracks and open up the highs for more air than saying anything about what's going on in the mid. Maybe in that case because it's often what the submitted mixes need more. Maybe because mids are much more content related (where basses and highs are more proper for "formula").

Funnily enough, I can't honestly remember the last time I consciously cut in the 500-1000Hz region. 350Hz, yes. 2kHz, yes. But 750Hz? Not really. Maybe that's just a weakness of my mix technique -- everyone has their Achilles heel! :)

Seriously, though, I actually wonder whether the reason why I don't ever consciously think of cutting there is because I actually judge everything else about a sound in relation to its midrange when I'm listening to it, so if some other frequency feels out of balance, then I'll process that rather than the midrange. The character and body of many sounds is in that region too, and because a lot of mixing is about fitting sounds against each other (rather than changing their basic character) I reckon that might be another reason I don't think of cutting there. It's a psychological thing as much as anything, though, I imagine.

That said, 700Hz is one of those magic frequencies for me as far as boosting is concerned, especially where electric guitars are concerned, and a shot of 1kHz is frequently a nice addition for lead vocals I find. Still, you've got me wondering about this issue, which is always a good thing -- constantly questioning the way you work as a mix engineer is a very healthy thing, in my opinion.
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby sambrox » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:33 am

Frank Rideau wrote:But even "Mix Rescue" column will often thake more time around separating kick and bass in the low, high passing unrelevant tracks and open up the highs for more air than saying anything about what's going on in the mid. Maybe in that case because it's often what the submitted mixes need more. Maybe because mids are much more content related (where basses and highs are more proper for "formula").
From now, I would really like to hear more about treating the mids and I will pay more attention to it.


I think when Mike Senior's writing the Mix Rescue, he talks quite a lot about the mids, masking and related phenomena. Something that I think has helped me in the past is starting a mix in mono ie. not using the panning controls until a general balance has been achieved. Even though it's much trickier in the beginning, it forces you to find a range for each instrument in the frequency spectrum and gives better separation when you do eventually start panning things. Works for me, anyway.

Cheers,
Sam

Edit : ah, Mr Senior beat me to the punch
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Re: Cutting in the 500-1000hz area

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:18 am

When you are talking 1dB here and the consequence of monitoring accuracy becomes highly magnified.

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