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Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

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Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby dred2009 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:59 pm

I want to EQ the sound before it is recorded. I know I could just record the sound and then eq it, and I know that probably this option is the best. However, I wanted to use an "eternal eq" that would be applied right after the sound being received by the input and before the DAW receive it. This doubt is in my mind because I thought this would be useful for podcasts and things like this.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:06 pm

What gear and DAW are you using?

I use Reaper and it's called "Track Input Chain" in the menu accessed by right clicking the input selection box on the channel.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:01 pm

Some preamps have EQ built in, or you could use an external preamp, followed by an external EQ, followed by your interface, so your signal chain would look like this: microphone > preamp > EQ > interface.

If proximity effect is the issue many preamps and interfaces have Low Cut filters on them.

UAD interfaces allow you to insert EQ into a channel before its recorded.

But also experiment with mic positioning, which gives you lots if EQ options too.

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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Watchmaker » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:03 pm

In Studio One, you can insert a plug in on the input and it will record wet. If you insert the same plug in on the channel, it will record dry.

If you want to EQ using hardware there are several ways depending on the gear. Bob's got you covered there.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby CS70 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:35 pm

dred2009 wrote:I want to EQ the sound before it is recorded. I know I could just record the sound and then eq it, and I know that probably this option is the best. However, I wanted to use an "eternal eq" that would be applied right after the sound being received by the input and before the DAW receive it. This doubt is in my mind because I thought this would be useful for podcasts and things like this.

This is how actually things were most often done before DAWs: mic,, preamp, EQ, compressor and then to output (for example a recorder).

The easiest way to do it is to use a "channel strip" - which is supposed to mimic a console channel and provides a preamp, on board EQ and sometimes compression or limiting. For example I have a wonderful (but hopelessly old) SafeSound P1 which does exactly that and it's a joy to use. Alternatively of course you can chain separate boxes - just like in old times.

The only cons are cost and space used - and of course that if you make a mistake with the settings, there's no way back.

As you say tough, nowadays most people record clean and apply effects afterwards (including EQ) and for a good reason: in almost all circumstances it doesn't make much difference at all, but it allows to recover from mistakes, takes no space and cost nothing or little. And with 24bit digital recording the technical reasons for EQing and compressing on the way in have disappeared.. if anything, any EQ boost could lead to converter overload, which isn't nice at all.

For a podcast, I really wouldn't imagine where the advantage would be. If you really want, you can always run the signal back into an hardware chain after recording. May you want to elaborate on why you think it could be useful?
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby dred2009 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:14 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:What gear and DAW are you using?

Mixcraft 7 and a regular microphone plugged to the microphone input of the pc.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby dred2009 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:37 pm

CS70 wrote:
dred2009 wrote:For a podcast, I really wouldn't imagine where the advantage would be. If you really want, you can always run the signal back into a hardware chain after recording. May you want to elaborate on why you think it could be useful?

Sorry for the bad English (non native speaker), took me a while to try to be clear here.

I thought it would be useful because of one problem: last time I recorded my voice outside my DAW, I was podcasting in a streaming site, so I needed a way to equalize the audio before it was recorded since it would be heard before any editing. Since this is a forum that has people which know a lot of plugins and sound editing programs, I thought someone would know how to do that - don't know if I posted this question in the right place, I'm new here.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Wonks » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:29 pm

dred2009 wrote:I thought it would be useful because of one problem: last time I recorded my voice outside my DAW, I was podcasting in a streaming site, so I needed a way to equalize the audio before it was recorded since it would be heard before any editing.

In that instance, a hardware solution would seem to be the best choice. If you are going to use different podcasting facilities in the future, you can't guarantee that they will be using software that allows you to EQ before streaming.

The lowest cost and most portable option is probably going to be a small mixer and just use one channel of it.

The Behringer Xenyx 502 http://www.musictribe.com/Categories/Behringer/Mixers/Analog/502/p/P0576# is about the lowest cost mixer you can get. It's only got one mic input, so it's fine for just yourself. It has limited EQ in just having treble and bass controls, but that's better than nothing. You's take a signal from a main output and feed it into a line input (not a mic input) on the interface you are using for podcasting.

The Behringer 802 is the next step up, and that has treble mid and bass EQ. It also has two mic inputs, so if there are two of you, you can have a mic each and each EQ how you like your voice to sound. It is that bit bigger, but still fairly portable.

You can get a channel strip as mentioned above, but these are normally far more expensive and 19" rack mounting devices, so not as compact as a small mixer. this two channel Behringer unit is about the cheapest I could find. http://www.musictribe.com/Categories/Behringer/Signal-Processors/Microphone-Preamplifiers/MIC2200/p/P0054
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:07 am

OK cool :thumbup: The built in mic input is likely to be a limiting factor, as is the kind of mic you can use into it (what. specifically, is your mic?). A modest USB audio interface and a similarly modest 'professional' (though if it says that it isn't really) capacitor 'studio' microphone or a half decent USB mic (which combines the two in one package) like a Rode Podcaster (though there are cheaper USB mics too) will do a much better job from the outset. Your DAW is one I'm not familiar with but will almost certainly offer a way to record via an eq plug in if you still need to do so. As you rightly say, these days most recordings are done 'RAW' with any eq and fx added later. While that approach does have a few downsides the benefits usually outweigh them with complete control over the tracks at mix down.

For your direct/live streaming setup a better mic and USB interface or a decent USB mic may be all you need to get the job done.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:14 am

I don't know the DAW you use, but most will let you record a signal to more than one track.
While you are learning you could do this and record one track with eq on the way in and a duplicate with no effects.
Then you can listen to the difference and you still have a clean track in reserve.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:44 am

Mixcraft 7 Pro user here... :wave:

Send me a Personal Message (PM) if you need any help... BUT I always record out of the box and then mix in the box so I won't be much use on the recording side of things. However, I'll try and look through the manual tomorrow for some help and guidance.

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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:02 am

dred2009 wrote:
CS70 wrote:
dred2009 wrote:For a podcast, I really wouldn't imagine where the advantage would be. If you really want, you can always run the signal back into a hardware chain after recording. May you want to elaborate on why you think it could be useful?

Sorry for the bad English (non native speaker), took me a while to try to be clear here.

I thought it would be useful because of one problem: last time I recorded my voice outside my DAW, I was podcasting in a streaming site, so I needed a way to equalize the audio before it was recorded since it would be heard before any editing. Since this is a forum that has people which know a lot of plugins and sound editing programs, I thought someone would know how to do that - don't know if I posted this question in the right place, I'm new here.

No worries, it was very clear what u wanted, just wondered why, Makes sense.
A channel strip will work fine - there's a lot of them, at different price points so you really can pick and choose. However, EQ is something that you get what you pay for, so you may better off looking for some second hand piece of kit. On the cheaper end, the ART Pro Channel II isn't half bad. On the expensive end... well, suffice to say that you can spend a lot of money!
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Dave B » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:26 am

It sounds like you want a channel strip that you can just set up and leave which is fine. There are loads out there that are used that do the job just great and yet are selling for peanuts. I used to have a dbx 286a which was pretty much designed for vocals - mic pre, good eq, simple compressor and a great sound. IIRC, I ended up giving mine away!

There are others as well - check a few out. :)
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Wonks » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:37 am

Dave B wrote:I used to have a dbx 286a which was pretty much designed for vocals - mic pre, good eq, simple compressor and a great sound. IIRC.

The dbx 286a doesn't have any what I'd call 'standard' EQ. There's a LF Enhancer control which is a boost at 80Hz and cut at 180Hz, whilst the HF Enhancer is a program dependent shelving EQ boost of up to 15dB.

Whilst it might provide what the OP wants, there's no way to reduce brightness or adjust the mids, so there's a chance it won't. It has some nice features that would be useful for podcasting like the de-esser, but I feel that it doesn't cover the EQ requirement that well.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:03 am

Currently, I think, the OP is using his laptop mic input so he probably needs something with a USB interface
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Wonks » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:26 am

Very true.

Which makes everything more complicated if the OP want to use the EQ device on other people's computers. Which makes having a USB device complicated, as it would then have to be the main audio input/output device if (as I suspect) it's being connected to a Windows computer, and that could be very unwanted (or impractical) by the owners of the other computer.

The other computer(s) may or may not have a line-in port, which means all that's needed is an adapter from a1/4" TRS or XLR to 3.5mm jack. If not, then a passive DI box would take a line output down to a mic input and again, you'd only need an adapter cable from 1/4" to 3.5mm jack.

But then if multiple mics are being used in the live streaming situations, there must be either an audio interface with several mic pres being used, or a mixer, which should have EQ on.

It would help a lot if dred2009 could explain in detail the number of mics used at the live stream events, and how they are connected to the computer. Is there an external audio interface or a mixer being used? Or is it still just one mic plugged directly into the computer's own soundcard?
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:15 pm

OK; I've had a rootle around in the 'Mixcraft 'Help' pages, the video tutorials and just Googling in general.

Can't find anything related to Mixcraft 7 Pro that talks about applying EQ on the way in... so as this thread has indicated it's probable that the EQ will have to be adjusted externally before the audio gets to the DAW.

But as has been stated, we need more detail about the elements in the recording chain and how they're connected to each other.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:30 pm

Ah, that scuppers my suggestion then.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby dred2009 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:34 am

Thanks, everyone. It's hard to find a so active music/sound engineering forum like this one.
so far I have been well informed about this subject thanks to you all. I think a channel strip or a third party software would be the best option in these cases because I aim to find a way to eq right after the computer receive the audio. Thus, I would be able to use the microphone EQ audio for purposes not only musical - like the podcast example that I already mentioned.
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Re: Is it possible to EQ a microphone before recording its sound?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:21 am

The easiest really would be to have an external channel strip and use a regular microphone (not usb) if you aren’t already doing that. Strips usually have all the facilities you need in one box, and a decent mic which works well with podcasts doesn’t need to be expensive at all (taker the Audio-Technica AT2020 for example). Also, if you’ll need an audio interface if you don’t have one already but again a one or two channel interface with a line input isn’t a big cost at all, especially if you look at the used market.
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