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What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

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What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby I'd Rather Play » Thu May 09, 2013 9:12 pm

Any recommendations?
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Jonnypopisical » Thu May 09, 2013 10:52 pm

Waves Q2 for gentle boosts of top or lows

Cambridge EQ for upper mid crunch
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby The Elf » Fri May 10, 2013 5:54 am

None whatsoever. If the mix needs overall EQ, then why not EQ the contributing tracks to get the mix sounding better without a master buss EQ?
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Urthlupe » Fri May 10, 2013 6:34 am

Ooooh Elf, you're my hero.....

Despite the approach Elf suggests, personally I can envisage many situations where master buss EQ would help.

Often some attention in the Lo Freq region might tighten things up. For instance Waves Linear Phase Lowband EQ (from their masters bundle), or possibly one of the Brainworx or Nugen devices which would allow you to easily bring your mix to mono below a certain frequency, although I'm not completely sure sometimes that the Brainworx plugs I have are altogether transparent. It's quite simple though to matrix to MS by other means and then carry out the EQ in another way.

You might want to think hard however before simply pouring your whole mix through a sparkly plugin with dancing displays and preset smiley curves (L316 springs to mind). If you find yourself routinely indulging in that way then yes, you need to rethink your mix technique and probably your listening methods.

Incidentally - and so that Elf may feel that occasionally he's in the right - I recently remixed a project which included a stack of plugs on the two bus including the UAD Manley MP. I mistakenly thought that I could short-cut to improvement by moving to hardware master bus processing, including a hardware MP. However I could not match the mix! This made me sweat.... The whole mix character was in the two-bus plugin processing. Once I'd had a hard talk with myself and gone back and adressed the mix issues things worked out properly and I was able to move the mix forward (with the hardware MP on the two-bus ).

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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby The_BPP » Fri May 10, 2013 7:22 am

UAD's Manley MP for me.
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby hugol » Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 pm

The Elf wrote:None whatsoever. If the mix needs overall EQ, then why not EQ the contributing tracks to get the mix sounding better without a master buss EQ?

This is an interesting topic. I've heard this argued both ways. However isn't one argument that you can get the overall sound you want quickly with some bus EQ, and reduce the need to EQ so much on each channel. Thus you're actually reducing the amount of overall EQ needed and surely there's some benefit in terms of phase alignment by eq'ing things together in that way?
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Sam Inglis » Sat May 11, 2013 9:58 pm

The Elf wrote:If the mix needs overall EQ, then why not EQ the contributing tracks to get the mix sounding better without a master buss EQ?

Because it's quicker and easier to EQ one bus than many tracks?
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Bossman » Sat May 11, 2013 10:03 pm

I'm with Elf.

I never EQ the master bus. I have tried putting an EQ on the master to help me identify problem frequencies.. but then I would normally take that EQ off and look for individual tracks to apply the EQ.

Maybe EQing the master is a quicker fix, but not always better. It might only be one track that is contributing too much in the low mids (for example), and if you EQ the master to compensate for that then everything else in the mix is compromised. I would prefer to tackle the problem at the source.

On the other hand I kind see how a gentle HF lift could be of benefit on the master bus.
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Zukan » Sun May 12, 2013 9:21 am

If it's not at the mastering stage then adding EQ on the master buss has to happen at the start, and even then it begs the question why? If you simply throw an EQ on the master when the mix has completed then prepare for a long slog of adjusting gain values across the channels, adjusting reverbs, blah blah. Even multiband EQs work across a handful of bandwidths within the entire range and will have slopes and corssovers that will affect all sounds.

There are uses for slamming an EQ across the master but I generally prefer to make adjustments at the chanelel stage.

However, you haven't specified what you need the EQ for: colour or surgical treatment?
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Guy Johnson » Sun May 12, 2013 9:45 am

No mix bus eq for me, unless i use it to simulate crap speakers; I don't have speakerphone!
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Sam Inglis » Sun May 12, 2013 1:30 pm

Most of the recordings I make are done live on location, and when you have lots of mics open at once in a room that's not acoustically treated, the character of the room often seems to lead to build-ups of particular frequencies across many of the mics. In that case it seems to me to make sense to, say, cut 2kHz on the master bus rather than end up cutting 2kHz on most of the tracks individually. When you've got a project made up from overdubs or samples it perhaps makes less sense to apply global EQ.

And in answer to the original question, I usually use FabFilter's Pro-Q, but occasionally something more characterful like NI's Passive EQ. Or sometimes I'll set up a multi-band compressor to cut problem frequencies only when the track gets loud.
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Bossman » Sun May 12, 2013 5:19 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Most of the recordings I make are done live on location, and when you have lots of mics open at once in a room that's not acoustically treated, the character of the room often seems to lead to build-ups of particular frequencies across many of the mics. In that case it seems to me to make sense to, say, cut 2kHz on the master bus rather than end up cutting 2kHz on most of the tracks individually. When you've got a project made up from overdubs or samples it perhaps makes less sense to apply global EQ.


yeah, that makes sense, I'm with you there and would probably do the same. If your compensating for a global EQ issue, such as the room in a live recording, then it makes sense to EQ the bus.
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby The Elf » Sun May 12, 2013 6:07 pm

Yeah, that scenario makes sense, Sam.

I'll also EQ/process at group level when I'm combining mic's, such as kick, or snare mic's.
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Mixedup » Mon May 13, 2013 10:14 am

I've sometimes used one nice EQ for an HF boost on the mix buss, and roll the top off individual tracks where required. Eg the air band of the Maag EQ4 can work nicely in this way (the hardware's rather better - smoother - than the software for this). The logic is that channel EQs are generally fine for cutting duties but not always so great for boosts, and you can't afford to boost the HFs on lots of different tracks with such a high-quality EQ. That logic goes away somewhat when using plug-ins in a powerful modern DAW system, though, as you can have as many instances as you like, as long as processing power allows.

Sometimes I'll put a safety HPF on the master buss, just to stop LFs creeping through into the sidechain signal of the mix buss compressor. But really that's jut a safety: any unwanted freqs should have been filtered out on the source channels. Also, more and more often I'll use a buss compressor with a sidechain filter in any case. Sometimes I'll use a simple bass boost/cut to fine-tune the action of the buss compressor. I'm only talking a ±1 or 2dB smile type thing. It may seem lazy, but it works.

I will often use an EQ to figure out what happens if I apply a typical car-stereo-style bass/treble control boost. If applying that causes problems, I don't want to wait until mastering to sort them out in the mix; I want to be able to go sort it out in the mix. I guess that's not so much a buss EQ in the conventional sense, though.

But really, what does it matter? You get the mix sounding how you like it, using whatever tools you have available. If boosting/cutting frequencies on the buss has a desirable effect, why not do it? If the boost/cut affect more than one instrument simultaneously, and they're each routed to the mix-buss via different subgroups, or are sent to side-chains on other tracks' processors, then it's going to be a **** of a lot easier to just tweak one band on the buss than to unpick the mix and re-EQ several different things, only to find that that screws up what was happening with dynamics processors elsewhere in the mix. You can always bypass all buss processing when mixing down, and save the mix-buss channel preset to use as a starting point for a DIY mastering job; or print both processed and unprocessed versions to send to a mastering engineer, so they know what you had in mind but have the raw mix to fall back on. If they're worth their salt, they'll tell you if the mix needs revisiting or not.
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Urthlupe » Mon May 13, 2013 11:33 am

Mixedup wrote: But really, what does it matter? You get the mix sounding how you like it, using whatever tools you have available. If boosting/cutting frequencies on the buss has a desirable effect, why not do it?

It would certainly in my view be very foolish to pretend there is a hard and fast rule in this area. Sometimes it appears to me that there is a growing belief that there are fixed correct methodologies in areas where that kind of approach is completely inappropriate (in some areas it is completely appropriate of course - interconnectivity or file preparation for example). This leads me to wonder whether this is a reaction to the recent 'educationalisation' of our industry. We work in a creative field, certainly learn from and consider each others practice, but encourage difference, change and ingenuity.

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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon May 13, 2013 11:34 am

Mixedup wrote:The logic is that channel EQs are generally fine for cutting duties but not always so great for boosts.

I've sometimes wondered whether this belief that one should only cut with channel EQ and not boost is a hangover from the days when we were working with cheap analogue desks that had limited headroom. A well designed digital plug-in EQ should sound fine whether cutting or boosting, and the internal headroom within a DAW is massive, so I can't see a reason not to boost at the channel level if it gives you the right results. (Of course one does have to beware of thinking that it's sounding better because it's louder, but most EQ plug-ins have a gain control so that you can compensate for overall gain increases.)
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Re: What native Mix Buss EQ do you use?

Postby Mixedup » Mon May 13, 2013 1:09 pm

There may indeed be something in that, in as much that may be where the practice originated (I don't know that for certain). I know that I always get different results when working that way, whether on a decent desk, a cheapo one, or in the DAW. I suppose it kind of forces you into a subtractive EQing approach while mixing... which in turn probably helps you manage your levels. But when it comes to the 'air' band, things like the Maag EQ4 and the Kush Clariphonic also do something rather different from an SSL, Neve or Harrison console EQ, for example. Never mind a Mackie 8 buss! It might not be the EQing itself — perhaps there's a subtle enhancement effect at the high end, or something — but it's certainly a different sound. I'll make a mental note to figure out exactly why that is another time!
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