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Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

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Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Mixmoister53 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:30 am

Hi there, so my query is, if I put this example of a pretty severe EQ curve In my mastering chain (Ozone 9). Is it going to degrade my audio or are there going to be any problems for a really clean sounding Master?

The loudest part of my mix is -6.5dB and the quietest section is about -11dB if this makes any difference.

Example EQ Curve: https://imgur.com/XO9Smu8
Image

The reason I want to use it is because after scanning a massive folder of my favorite tracks with Izotopes 'Tonal Balance Control 2 plugin, this curve was the closest I could get for my mix to match the target curve for those combined tracks. Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Zukan » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:42 am

Are you mastering for yourself or someone else?
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Mixmoister53 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:39 am

Zukan wrote:Are you mastering for yourself or someone else?

Hi, I'm mastering for myself. Also, I've had an Idea that i might use a semi-parametric EQ on the master bus before I export my pre-mastered mix to achieve the tone I want for my master in a less aggressive way. Do you think this might be better?
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:58 am

Mixmoister53 wrote:...if I put this example of a pretty severe EQ curve In my mastering chain ... Is it going to degrade my audio or are there going to be any problems for a really clean sounding Master?

'Degrade' in this context is an entirely subjective term. Presumably the reason you want to do it is to make your mix sound 'better' and more like your favourite commercial tracks... in which case, it either achieves that or it doesn't. If it does, then that's great.

However, it is a pretty radical EQ to need to apply, so it might be more beneficial in the long term to figure out why your mixes are so tonally adrift of your target. The most likely reason is that you're compensating for your room's (and/or speaker's) acoustic issues in the mix.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Mixmoister53 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:18 am

In response to Hugh, I appreciate the input, My room acoustics are indeed terrible and I'm constantly bouncing my mix to play in the lounge room and car for reference. I've only just got hold of tonal balance control and it is really helpful. I did use it in my mix to adjust individual eq and volume on separate tracks and arrived to where I am now. I must admit that I was adjusting the levels to a slightly different target as I did this. I was using the 'Pop' music preset but now I'm changing directions again.
I guess I'm wondering how strict the guidelines on EQ In mastering is and the effects that radical cuts and boosts (more-so cuts in my case) has on audio quality has when that track is being heavily limited and processed. In the event of being lazy and completely over the mixing stage I would like to resolve my issue in the mastering process.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:01 pm

Until you've tried recording/mixing in a reasonable well treated room you don't realise just how much difference it makes... Do yourself a favour and invest in some acoustic treatment, you'll never look back...
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Tim Gillett » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:06 pm

Without the audio to go with it, the EQ curve you uploaded is pretty much meaningless to us here.
Can you link to the audio to which this EQ was applied? Preferably before and after the EQ.

That will also allow us to comment more specifically on other issues like the room contribution, monitoring, and perhaps other issues you may not have thought to ask about.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby CS70 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:08 pm

No degrading per se - and as Hughs says it either sounds as you like or it doesn't - but a challenge you have is that, in the absence of a decent room, you will be listening to your massive EQ adjustments in a similar skewed way in which you did your mix.

While it's possible to make very rough tonal adjustment "by sight", you always need to actually close your eyes and listen to figure out what's what, and you cannot do that in a bad sounding room, for the same reasons you couldn't make a mix like you wanted in the first place.

So - short of making the room better - it's probably better to use good headphones, that you know well. Certain aspects will still be skewed, but in a more predictable way (everything sounds more present with most headphones, for example, so you risk to dull the mix) so you should be able to judge the results better. Especially if you reference the tracks you like on the same headphones.

If, on the other side, you mixed the tracks before you knew you wanted "that sound"... unless you're on a deadline, the best is to remove all the mixing moves and start to scratch, to achieve "that sound" in the mix as much as possible.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Mixmoister53 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:37 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:Without the audio to go with it, the EQ curve you uploaded is pretty much meaningless to us here.
Can you link to the audio to which this EQ was applied? Preferably before and after the EQ.

tI could be helpful but I'm more asking from a technical standpoint, not "can you hear the difference". Unfortunately, I'm not feeling ready to put my music in the public domain just yet. You can see the degree of the curves exceed -6 - 7 decibels and I'm trying to find out if this is going to create problems in the processes down the mastering chain. I have around 6dB of headroom if that helps.

CS70 wrote:in the absence of a decent room, you will be listening to your massive EQ adjustments in a similar skewed way in which you did your mix

I do use headphones alongside my monitors which I've adjusted to compensate certain untamed frequencies and deficiencies. I get what your saying though and I will get some acoustic treatment when I can but for the moment I'm a bedroom producer and have to deal with it. at the moment I'm just experimenting and acquiring knowledge so I can use it I my mixes in the future.
In regards to this eq curve, I understand what its doing to my track. You can see that by introducing more warmth in the low end while taming the subs and reducing some of the main harsh frequencies in the high/mids while balancing the mids. Thats my take on it and It could work because my mix is sounding quite harsh and am amateurish.
What I'm getting at and I appreciate everyone who has commented, is that In what ways I achieve the sound that this eq curve will give my track (in the final stages i.e mastering) without sacrificing 'musical information and loss in audio quality or essentially.. I wan to 'enhance' my sound.
.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby The Elf » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:57 pm

I think the others have covered it. But if I had to carve EQ like that over the mix I would be going back to the mix.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:06 pm

Mixmoister53 wrote:...I'm trying to find out if this is going to create problems in the processes down the mastering chain. I have around 6dB of headroom if that helps.

No, as long as you have some headroom in the audio file it won't cause any technical problems down the line -- he files will play just fine.

But if the mastering engineer needs to process the signal further it's possible that he may struggle to undo your processing -- if that should be necessary.

If your EQ treatment results in the sound you want when auditioned on a variety of different systems in different locations (headphones, car, kitchen, friends' houses etc etc) then it should all be fine. But if that's what's needed to make it sound good just in your own studio then it will cause problems at mastering....

In regards to this eq curve, I understand what its doing to my track. You can see that by introducing more warmth in the low end while taming the subs and reducing some of the main harsh frequencies in the high/mids while balancing the mids.

Fair enough. You have obviously thought about this -- and cuts are always better and less audible than boosts, so that aspect is fine too. But as a learning tip, rather than trying to dial in warmth and reduce harshness as an overall mix EQ, a better approach would be to preempt those problems at the tracking stage by miking in a different way and/or by processing individual instruments differently.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby RichardT » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:06 pm

As long as it’s a decent EQ and the cuts are relatively smooth, as they are in your case, I wouldn’t expect degradation per se. But as others have said, if you need to apply this kind of curve then something is wrong with the recording the mix or the monitoring.

Mastering is not equivalent to master buss processing. This kind of EQ adjustment would not be made in mastering. Don’t expect that the mastering process can fix the mix. The mix needs to be fixed in the mixing stage! Mastering involves subtle EQ, compression and limiting to increase clarity and integration and to achieve the right levels.

Suggestions:

have a listen to the mix and see if particular tracks can be adjusted in terms of volume, compression and EQ to get you closer to what you want. If they all need the same EQ adjustment, then it makes sense to do a single adjustment on the master buss, as you have done, but I expect you’ll get a long way without needing to do that. The reason I’m suggesting this is that large scale EQ changes on the master buss are a bit of a blunt instrument and will probably have undesirable side-effects.

Secondly if you have trouble with your monitors, get or use decent phones to work with.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Mixmoister53 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:34 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:No, as long as you have some headroom in the audio file it won't cause any technical problems down the line -- he files will play just fine.

But if the mastering engineer needs to process the signal further it's possible that he may struggle to undo your processing -- if that should be necessary.

If your EQ treatment results in the sound you want when auditioned on a variety of different systems in different locations (headphones, car, kitchen, friends' houses etc etc) then it should all be fine. But if that's what's needed to make it sound good just in your own studio then it will cause problems at mastering....

But as a learning tip, rather than trying to dial in warmth and reduce harshness as an overall mix EQ, a better approach would be to preempt those problems at the tracking stage by miking in a different way and/or by processing individual instruments differently.
RichardT wrote:As long as it’s a decent EQ and the cuts are relatively smooth, as they are in your case, I wouldn’t expect degradation per se. But as others have said, if you need to apply this kind of curve then something is very wrong with the recording, the mix or the monitoring.

Mastering is not equivalent to master buss processing. This kind of EQ adjustment would not be made in mastering. Don’t expect that the mastering process can fix the mix. The mix needs to be fixed in the mixing stage! Mastering involves subtle EQ, compression and limiting to increase clarity and integration and to achieve the right levels.

Thank you very much everyone, since this is all mainly electronic stuff there's no excuse for me not to go back and mix everything better... Sigh, I'm so over this track.
Anyway, I've applied a slightly less aggressive version of the above curve on the master bus of my mix using a semi-parametric EQ for the moment and I'll see how this sounds across a bunch of speakers/rooms. However, based on overwhelming opinion it seems I will be going back to do some tweaking in the mix.

Thanks again. :)
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby The Elf » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:44 pm

Mixmoister53 wrote:However, based on overwhelming opinion it seems I will be going back to do some tweaking in the mix.
Start comparing to some good reference material. That should set your ears to begin challenging your mix decisions. Be prepared to re-think your approach from the ground up and see what works and doesn't work for you.
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Re: Help with my EQ Target in diy Master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:46 pm

You just have to chant under your breath:

Every day,
In every way,
I'm getting
better and better!


:lol: :bouncy:

The joy of this hobby/job/career is that you never stop learning and honing your skills and understanding...
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