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Multiband compression vs eq

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Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Kinh » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:09 am

I was wondering if it's common practice to use a one band eq to meticulously cut troubled areas in a vocal as opposed to using multiband. Personally I cant dont use multiband because
a) I cant find any with the band narrow enough and
b) even if I did I cant hear or see on the spectrum exactly where the trouble area is. That's the main reason. I mean how do you hear where the spike is simply by soloing an moving the mouse given the surrounding frequencies are linked?

It's therefore easier to just get an eq and surgically remove the harsh highs. Dont you agree?
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:26 am

Anything that does the job is the right tool... but for most common issues, which are more or less constant over the entire length of the tracks, a regular EQ is the one.

If the problem is not constant, a dynamic EQ can be useful, and then it's more similar to a multiband compressor - the difference is usually in the control interface: besides the compression controls, a dynamic EQ will tend towards regular "frequency center+gain+Q" interface while a multiband will provide controls to manipulate a few bands - which as you say tend to be larger and with defined crossover etc. A bit like a car's steering wheel an a bike steering column, ultimately they might be doing the same conceptual thing but the interface and the line thinking that goes into their use is different.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Zukan » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:35 am

I always use EQs with a graphical/spectral display as it allows me to visually locate trouble areas and spikes etc.

Next up, I always band pass my channel pre everything to get rid of unwanted frequencies.

A dynamic eq is used for different purposes and not useful for 'cleaning' tracks/channels.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Mixedup » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:08 am

Dynamic EQ can be *really* useful in taming inconsistent problems in a vocal (or other source for that matter). On individual vocals (as opposed to layered backing parts, where I tend to find multiband compression more useful) it's great. But you need to use your ears and, usually, not to be overly radical with it.

I'm sure people are getting rather tired of me recommending Tokyo Dawn's Nova GE, but it deserves the recommendation, and it is a great tool for this job. The paid GE version has a learn/deresonate mode, which will help you identify problem resonances — it will at least put the bands in useful places for you to start tweaking, and will also get the Q setting quite near. I don't recommend relying on this feature long term, but it might help you educate your ears a bit.

But you might also achieve what you need with regular EQ. I find it hard to believe you can't find a filter narrow enough. And you can always automate the gain/Q of different EQ bands to tackle problems without colouring the part all the way through the song...
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Zukan » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:06 am

Mixedup wrote:Dynamic EQ can be *really* useful in taming inconsistent problems in a vocal

True, but never for cleaning. No point having erroneous peaks nicely bouncing along.
The cleaning process is not about highlighting the error but about eradicating it.

However, I understand why you had to be a bit more thorough then me.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Kwackman » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:30 am

Kinh wrote:I mean how do you hear where the spike is simply by soloing an moving the mouse given the surrounding frequencies are linked?
If "Spike" means a very narrow band of frequencies, or even just one frequency, this is a method that might help.
Make a single EQ band with a very high Q. Instead of using it to cut the frequency, use it to boost it. As you move the frequency of the EQ up and down the audio spectrum, the offending peak will suddenly jump out at you. Once identified, change the "Boost" to "Cut".
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Zukan » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:22 am

Kwackman wrote:
Kinh wrote:I mean how do you hear where the spike is simply by soloing an moving the mouse given the surrounding frequencies are linked?
If "Spike" means a very narrow band of frequencies, or even just one frequency, this is a method that might help.
Make a single EQ band with a very high Q. Instead of using it to cut the frequency, use it to boost it. As you move the frequency of the EQ up and down the audio spectrum, the offending peak will suddenly jump out at you. Once identified, change the "Boost" to "Cut".

Nowadays we have solo for eq bands, so drop it in solo and follow Kwackman's advice.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Kinh » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:47 pm

Kwackman wrote:
Kinh wrote:I mean how do you hear where the spike is simply by soloing an moving the mouse given the surrounding frequencies are linked?
If "Spike" means a very narrow band of frequencies, or even just one frequency, this is a method that might help.
Make a single EQ band with a very high Q. Instead of using it to cut the frequency, use it to boost it. As you move the frequency of the EQ up and down the audio spectrum, the offending peak will suddenly jump out at you. Once identified, change the "Boost" to "Cut".
Move it up and down? I move it sideways. but by cutting you mean bring down the gain...so what you're really doing is cutting the frequency which is exactly what eq is.

I should point out I dont just cut the spike and leave the eq on, I automate it to cut when it occurs so really it's doing the same job as the MB. I find this more accurate than MB because as I said the band is never narrow enough. Take Alloy2, the narrowest is a range of 100, the Fabfilter one is twice that width.

So I just wanted to get a sense of what everyone else is doing and if I'm the only Alien on the planet. Good to see I'm not. Just dont get how people can use MB on vocal to cut harshness. I've see them do it on youtube and it baffles me. In practice it doesn't work.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Kwackman » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:20 pm

Kinh wrote:
Kwackman wrote:As you move the frequency of the EQ up and down the audio spectrum, the offending peak will suddenly jump out at you. Once identified, change the "Boost" to "Cut".
Move it up and down? I move it sideways....
By "move the frequency of the EQ up and down the audio spectrum" I meant move up and down the frequencies to tune in on the offending frequency, which on most EQ plug in visuals is, as you say, sideways!

Kinh wrote: but by cutting you mean bring down the gain...so what you're really doing is cutting the frequency which is exactly what eq is.
Well, yes! I was only trying to explain a method to answer this query....
Kinh wrote:I mean how do you hear where the spike is simply by soloing an moving the mouse given the surrounding frequencies are linked?
If I've only muddied the waters more, ignore me and move on! ;)
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby The Elf » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:39 pm

I use MB compressors (or 'Dynamic EQ', as I prefer to think of it) all the time. It's a very benign way of EQ-ing.

My favourite is Waves C6, which scores with its two free floating bands.

I have no problem centering its frequencies. Apply some boost, then sweep the frequency, just as you would a static EQ. I can't imagine why anyone would find it a problem, TBH, but to each their own.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Kwackman » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:04 pm

The Elf wrote:Apply some boost, then sweep the frequency

It took me 53 words to explain that, and Elf does it in 7!
Respect! :D
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Mixedup » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:03 pm

Zukan wrote:
Mixedup wrote:Dynamic EQ can be *really* useful in taming inconsistent problems in a vocal

True, but never for cleaning.

Here we disagree. A static EQ dip might very well be cutting wanted harmonics of some notes, along with unwanted resonances on others. A dynamic EQ, set up judiciously, can tackle the unwanted resonances without intruding on the rest of the track. You could automate a static EQ to be even more precise, of course...
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Zukan » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 am

Each to their own.

I have never used a dynamic eq for cutting frequencies. For motion, yes, for attenuating one band against another, yes, but not for removing unwanted frequencies.

But, that is the beauty of our industry: whatever rocks your boat works!
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby The Elf » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:56 pm

It can work really well, Zuke. The example of fret squeak is a good one - when the squeak really hits hard then the dynamic EQ takes care of it, but when it backs off you have a signal with essentially no EQ and, hence, no EQ artifacts. It becomes an automated EQ without the need to write any automation. It's a trick I use a lot.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Zukan » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:51 am

Cool.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:33 am

I find spectral editing is much more effective at dealing with fret squeak than multiband or dynamic EQ, but it's a bit of a faff sometimes.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby The Elf » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:19 am

Spectral editing is certainly a powerful tool for fret squeak, but it can be a sledgehammer for this nut - I rarely need to go there to get something perfectly usable. But yes, it is a truly amazing tool.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:12 am

I've managed to record room tone in a number of metal percussion hits. Room tone becoming more audible as tone decays of course. Would spectral editing be useful in a situation like this? It looks daunting and as the high frequency percussion tone is close to the same pitch as the room tone I can't imagine there is much I can do without really affecting the tones I want.
More research is in order from my end re: spectral editing but any practical advice appreciated.
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:51 am

Sam Inglis wrote:I find spectral editing is much more effective at dealing with fret squeak than multiband or dynamic EQ, but it's a bit of a faff sometimes.

Me too — it's usually quite easily identifiable (unlike some problems in vocals, which I find are better handled with dynamic EQ). I wouldn't call it a sledgehammer — quite the opposite in fact.

As a sidenote, it's nice to see the Reaper now has spectral editing available directly in the arrange page, as this makes it easier to attend to small but annoying issues (page turns, chair squeaks and so forth).
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Re: Multiband compression vs eq

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:57 am

ManFromGlass wrote:I've managed to record room tone in a number of metal percussion hits. Room tone becoming more audible as tone decays of course. Would spectral editing be useful in a situation like this? It looks daunting and as the high frequency percussion tone is close to the same pitch as the room tone I can't imagine there is much I can do without really affecting the tones I want.
More research is in order from my end re: spectral editing but any practical advice appreciated.

Not in my experience. It depends on the hits and the tone, and how much decay you wish to preserve. But there are a few possible approaches. For example... A (potentially multiband) transient designer could help, by reducing the sustain. An automated low-pass filter can be useful, rolling the high frequencies off in a more natural way than volume alone. Or you might trigger a sustain sound, leaving the attack of the percussion to give you most of the character, and a cleaner sustain sample to help the sound extend. Or you might try Zynaptiq's dedicated de-reverb tool Unveil.

But really, you know the best answer already... go back and do a better job of recording things ;)
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