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which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

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which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby DonGoliath » Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:41 pm

i have the following issue: when mastering and A/Bing my master with my reference tracks i often find that my high mids and top end are not as present as in the reference tracks. but when i boost the respective high mid/top end frequency range(s) (i can hear the frequency ranges are the right ones and can also clearly identify them visually in a frequency spectrum analyzer) i always find that my master will sound (too) harsh. i think my stock EQ is the culpid and therefor wanted to ask you if you can recommand an EQ plugin with a really silky/not harsh high mids/top end sound?
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby desmond » Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:43 pm

What EQ are you using, out of interest?
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby DonGoliath » Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:47 pm

desmond wrote:What EQ are you using, out of interest?

reaper stock eq
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:56 pm

Inductor-based EQs are often said to sound 'silkier' than 'other' types.... and using shelf rather than bell curves tends to sound less harsh IMHO.

But I usually find that adding overall EQ -- especially adding a lot of HF boost -- to a finished mix is prone to harshness regardless of the EQ type being used. I think it's much better to build the required brightness into the mix at source, on individual tracks that need that brightness, where possible.
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:01 pm

Discussions of plug-in EQs with a silky top end invariably get mentions of the Maag EQ4 (and EQ2 to a lesser extent), so you may like to try the freeware Luftikus from lkjb, which sounds remarkably similar:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B8g-pMrsxI

Just don't go overboard on any air boosts - it's tempting to adds loads, but you'll probably find you overdo it at first and decide later on that it does indeed sound harsh. I've rarely used more than 5dB boost at the 10kHz setting, and mostly 3 or 4dB max, and as Hugh says, preferably on individual tracks (acoustic guitar for instance, where the sheen can be beneficial) rather than overall on the mix buss.


Good luck!


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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:34 pm

I'd echo Hugh's advice to try shelving rather than bell curves. It is also worth playing around with the bandwidth in ReaEq - I often use a narrower shelf than the default. It my also be worth downloading ReEq which apparently fixes a few issues with ReaEq when it gets close to the Nyquist frequency.
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby Humble Bee » Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:56 pm

Pity you missed the deal on Soundtoys Sie-Q last week at $29.

Famous high end:

https://www.soundtoys.com/product/sie-q/

:thumbup:
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:00 pm

The best tip I heard for sorting out harsh high end issues is not to boost at all, if possible, but to cut the top end off most of your tracks, certainly all the ones that don't need it. So the high content comes from just a few tracks that really need it. Try it, you may be very pleasantly surprised.
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:01 pm

Echoing the general message here; it's worth bearing in mind that EQ alone won't really add anything that isn't already there, only boost/cut that which is.

On some occasions where re-recording isn't an option, I've used an exciter to sparkle up things a bit at the top end but the ear tends to rather like it and it's easy to go overboard resulting in an artificial 'overly processed' sound when listened to cold at a later date so if you go that route then exercise restraint.
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:39 pm

When I'm asked to look at a 'harsh' mix it's invariably the upper mids that haven't been tamed in the sources that require it.

You will likely find that all the lovely, crisp highs that you're looking for are already there, but swamped under competing sounds. Search out the nasties in every source and get busy with the EQ cuts.
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby Darren Lynch » Fri Nov 06, 2020 1:50 pm

I recall a post by Mike Senior in which he said the ability of SonEQ Pro's ability to add an appealing, open sounding sheen to a mix convinced him to issue a rare recommendation for a plugin. The LF on the SonEQ Pro also copies the Pultec cut/boost arrangement. There's a demo version to try. I don't have any affiliation with Sonimus (sitting in Lockdown London, I don't have much of anything!). But I did buy the Sonimus Sweetone EQ, which is lovely.
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Nov 06, 2020 9:08 pm

Even the free SonEQFree EQ plug-in is mighty good in my opinion, offering some real Neve-style warmth from its Drive section, while its high-end is also good.

I haven't yet bought the Pro version, but I suspect the high-end won't be that much different.


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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Nov 08, 2020 7:02 am

I think there is much more to this high end brightness than just equalizing the master.

It seems to me that many recordings artificially brighten each recorded track before mixing. For example, in order to copy the sound of a certain nice sounding Herbie Hancock mix, I have to really boost the highs on the piano, then also boost the highs on the horns and drums, and even bass. Every part has to be made brighter by itself. Really unnaturally bright.

Then after all the parts have been 'widened' in frequency response, you can mix these tracks and then apply EQ cuts to separate them. But since there is so much more content for each part, there is more ways to separate them in the mix.

The other place the silkiness and sizzle seems to come from is the reverb. It sounds to me like reverbs are getting pushed up higher than the original part. That way you can hear the reverb, but it is not stepping on the next note of the track.

If you just try to boost the highs on the master it doesn't do anything to separate out the tracks and in fact seems to merge things together - gets more cluttered, which I guess is harshness.

To boost the high frequency content of each track before mixing, the Waves Vitamin track is really good. https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/waves-vitamin.
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Re: which EQ has the "silkiest" high mids/top end?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:49 am

Long time Reaper user here, and I’ve never liked the plug-ins, especially the EQ and compression, it’s hardware all the way, if you want anything really nice.
But, as always, nice doesn’t come cheap, and Neve springs to mind, take a listen to their Master Buss Processor, makes everything sound wonderful, rich and silky in bucket loads, but as Hugh said, I’d be looking at individual track EQ, and sometimes our sources aren’t good, for various reasons, and as they say, you can’t polish a turd, Neve or no Neve.
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