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Cubase: Frequency 2’s Dynamic EQ

Steinberg Cubase Pro Tips & Techniques By John Walden
Published September 2021

Screen 1. Frequency 2 combines powerful EQ and dynamics control in a single processor.Screen 1. Frequency 2 combines powerful EQ and dynamics control in a single processor.

In Frequency 2, Cubase 11 Pro has a powerful dynamic EQ.

Version 11 of Cubase Pro added dynamic functionality to the already excellent bundled Frequency EQ plug‑in, and in this workshop I’ll take you through some examples that demonstrate what you might look to achieve with it in your mixes. If you’ve not yet upgraded to v11, or aren’t a Pro version user, don’t worry: you can still follow the examples using a freebie dynamic EQ such as Tokyo Dawn Labs Nova and perhaps upgrade later. You’ll also find some accompanying audio examples on the SOS website: https://sosm.ag/cubase-0921 or download the ZIP file below.

Package icon cubase-dynamic-eq.zip

Control Freq

Let’s start with a simple example: an acoustic guitar track, whose lower‑mids we wish to ensure don’t get out of control. In Screen 1 above, I’ve toggled on Frequency 2’s SING (single‑band) view, so all controls for the selected band are visible. I’ve selected a Peak filter and, in the EQ section (on the left), applied a 12dB cut at 200Hz, with a Q (which dictates how wide the filter is) of 2. I’ve left the band in the default Stereo processing mode; there are also Left/Right and Mid/Sides options, but I’ll cover them another time.

Such EQ settings ought to remove some lower‑mid mud but a traditional static EQ cut also risks leaving the guitar sounding thin when the arrangement leaves it more exposed. By making this EQ band dynamic we can avoid that unwanted side effect. To do so, enable the Dynamics section in the middle, which will automatically enable the Side‑chain section in Internal mode and with Auto engaged. For reasons that will become clear, this is a good starting point generally and ideal for this example.

The Dynamics section offers the user a typical compressor’s control set (Threshold, Ratio, Attack and Release) alongside a less familiar Start knob. Leaving Start at 0dB for now, the Ratio control will influence the amount of gain reduction, lowering the Threshold will then eventually make some gain reduction occur, and the speed of the compressor’s response can be adjusted using the Attack and Release controls.

There are three key differences compared with a conventional compressor, though. First, the automatic gain reduction is frequency‑specific. Second, the Gain setting...

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