#1
For those people who like to mix their tracks with a big expansive sound do you get most of your width by EQing the individual instruments to take up their certain audio space and work on the size my making sure all the elements stack up well in the audio spectrum? (like having an EQ on every instrument track) Or do you most of your EQing post everything else and fill out the mix that way the most. (Post mixer EQing).

Hopefully that's clear.... it made way more sense in my head. Basically is the size of the mix determined more by individual instrument EQ (ie having your guitars filling out a large mids space, and then your bass expanding the low end). Or does that size come from putting a post mix EQ on the track and stretching the space that way?
#2
I don't think you get size from just EQ as much as a combination of it, proper use of effects, level, and panning. I EQ every track (as needed...) on its own and let mastering worry about EQing the stereo mix.

My approach to EQing is to make every instrument sound how that instrument is supposed to sound on its own. I don't start out by carving space for other instruments to sit as a lot of people seem to do. Once things start adding together, if there's a funky buildup in certain frequencies, I'll go address that where needed, but I never start out doing that.
#3
I record and eq at the same time. Get rid of all unneeded frequencies. As I record more I adjust everything. I usually have an EQ on every track. Once everything is done I adjust everything how I think it should be. Then sometimes I EQ the master a little bit (usually little things like killing everything under 35hz and sometimes boost some top end.)
#5
EQ is corrective -- the best approach is to analyze each instrument or voice and alter their timbre before actually recording the tracks, using as little EQ as possible afterwards. I'm not anywhere near proficient at this, but it is logical. If you have to tweak EQ in any major way to get instruments to fit together, your tracks are suffering from what is called 'masking', where basically the two clashing instruments are trying to take the same frequencies. EQ cannot create harmonics, it can only reduce or boost. So the most natural and arguably best sounding approach is to just eliminate masking at the source.
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#6
Eq can only control or manipulate frequencies within a sound source.

So it can't stretch space per say. I'm now really sure what that means. Use of panning (left to right) reverbs and delay would work alot better to create that sense of depth.

That being said. You could kill some top end of a specific instrument say a backing vocal and in combination with a lower volume. Create the effect of it being further away. But that sort of thing is copying the effect of what happens in real life.

I wouldn't go mental on EQ on the master bus. EQ is funny, changing one thing effects everything thing else. so 2 to 3db on a whole mix will change it alot.

I hope that helped
#7
I would like to know what the OP considers a "big expansive sound" to be? Examples?
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#8
Quote by Wild Hopkins
Eq can only control or manipulate frequencies within a sound source.

So it can't stretch space per say. I'm now really sure what that means. Use of panning (left to right) reverbs and delay would work alot better to create that sense of depth.

That being said. You could kill some top end of a specific instrument say a backing vocal and in combination with a lower volume. Create the effect of it being further away. But that sort of thing is copying the effect of what happens in real life.

I wouldn't go mental on EQ on the master bus. EQ is funny, changing one thing effects everything thing else. so 2 to 3db on a whole mix will change it alot.

I hope that helped


This. EQ is mainly to bring out the certain frequencies that you wish to hear, or not to hear in some cases. It doesn't really do anything to add width to the track. Panning is where depth is really added to the track, and you can even get plug-ins that widen the stereo field, how they do it I don't know, but they are available.
#9
normally i just figure out what sits where and try to keep too much from clashing together. everything gets its space and the excess is cut out, there might be little cuts to kill mud or let something else use that range but everything is usually as is except for the end mix 250hz squelch. my issues always come in the low end b/c i want the bass guitar and kick to take up that 60hz range and i havent sat down to figure out how to parallel compress it all together.
Last edited by z4twenny at Oct 9, 2011,
#10
the big tick hexaline is a great s hyperdimensional big bang stereo space expander^9000 vst plugin
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#11
This thread has seemingly brought out a lot of 'so-so' answers that are on the right track but appear based more on what they have read/been told/think they are 'supposed' to say, as opposed to actually understanding the whole process. I'd like to at least try and debunk a few of the myths from this thread:

1) EQ is not just a corrective process. Anyone who produces/engineers music in a purely corrective way usually creates very boring music, that lacks the ability to hold the listeners' interest. EQ is just as much a creative process, as a corrective one, if not more so. Yes, you can argue about the definition of 'corrective' and 'creative' to try and justify your opinion, but as far as I'm concerned I spend more of my time being 'creative' these days and enjoy mixing a lot more as a result.

Corrective EQ (to me) = HPF'ing out the low end mud/rumble on other tracks, and cutting unwanted frequencies. Altering the tonality by boosting certain areas/cutting other areas is more a case of shaping the sound to what you 'desire to hear' in your head, and is about creating a vision and developing a sound to where you believe it will sound better. If that isn't a creative process, then writing a song would surely also be a corrective process, whereby you start off with a random series of chords/notes and then 'correct' them into what you think is a good song.

2) While EQ does indeed only affect frequencies present in a recorded audio signal, there is a lot that can be said about boosting other areas for their psycho-acoustic (read: in the mind) effect on other aspects. I'm not talking about cutting part of one instrument, and then another instrument suddenly shines through without being EQ'd; I'm talking about boosting different harmonics by different amounts to trick the ear into hearing a lower root note that isn't actually very audible (or in the digital realm with synths, something that isn't even there!). Ever seen a 'bass enhancer' or 'exciter'? They work on the principle that the ear hears a series of harmonics in approximate ratios, from a sound source, to perceive the tone and pitch of an instrument. If you boost the appropriate harmonics at the right ratio, you can convince the ear that it should be hearing extra harmonics (like an ultra-low root bass note) so it will fill in some of the missing information.

3) Stereo widening tools typically work by playing with the phase relationship of different elements of a stereo source - I don't know enough about it to explain it in more detail, but a lot of mid-side processing plug-ins now exist, and by boosting the side signal in relation to the middle signal you can give the impression of widening a signal, though it is more often used in mastering to bring out elements from either the side or the middle a bit more.


Edit: But the first two answers in the thread were probably the best, especially...

Quote by sandyman323
I don't think you get size from just EQ as much as a combination of it, proper use of effects, level, and panning. I EQ every track (as needed...) on its own and let mastering worry about EQing the stereo mix.

My approach to EQing is to make every instrument sound how that instrument is supposed to sound on its own. I don't start out by carving space for other instruments to sit as a lot of people seem to do. Once things start adding together, if there's a funky buildup in certain frequencies, I'll go address that where needed, but I never start out doing that.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Oct 9, 2011,
#12
what you're looking for is more automated panning for that "big" sound. moving out for choruses, making it tighter during verses and more intimate parts.

automating SP too. sometimes the chorus needs different eq/comp/verb whatever than the verse.
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#13
DisarmGoliath, while sometimes EQ may be applied as a special effect such as a filter sweep or a telephone effect, shaping should be precisely and exhaustively exacted within the recorded signal path. Microphones, preamps, compressors, and rooms are instruments too. Sometimes a small Vox amp with a semi-hollowbody doesn't cut it for a heavy rock sound, if you know what I mean.
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#14
Quote by muso_catolico
DisarmGoliath, while sometimes EQ may be applied as a special effect such as a filter sweep or a telephone effect, shaping should be precisely and exhaustively exacted within the recorded signal path. Microphones, preamps, compressors, and rooms are instruments too. Sometimes a small Vox amp with a semi-hollowbody doesn't cut it for a heavy rock sound, if you know what I mean.

In an ideal world - yes; but we both know that the world is far from ideal, and unless you own a 'megabucks studio' you will not possibly be able to afford to account for every flaw in the signal chain before reaching a digital EQ plug-in. For instance, I would tend to HPF most tracks to reduce unwanted low-end energy - I can't do that at the source on most microphones, many interfaces lack that option, and unless you own fancy outboard gear you have nowhere else to do it but post-production. Sure, that's corrective, but it applies to other things too, for instance I might want to get a nice punchy low end, scooped low-mids, boosted high mids and a rolled off treble for a heavy metal guitar track - if the amp can't quite get there (most likely in the low end, and not being able to scoop the low mids while boosting the uppers, without having something like a Sonic Maximizer rack unit), and the rest of the signal chain can't account for it (in this case, room treatment and mic positioning will also not get you all the way) the only solution is to EQ this creative decision in post-production.


Anyway, this is all very far from the original point of the thread, let's not argue over something trivial
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#15
Quote by ebon00
I would like to know what the OP considers a "big expansive sound" to be? Examples?


Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm new to the whole producing side of things so all these opinions and tips are really helpful.

As far as the expansive vs non expansive sound I am referring to. I present these two songs for comparison.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaFeG6vLbR0

In this song I feel like it is clear that there was a good deal of time spent getting the mix very solid and "wide" feeling. When I say wide I mean that it feels like your entire head is "filled" with sound from the low spectrum to the high. As if your entire head is dunked in water as opposed to just your face. Even on shitty speakers you can clearly hear all the instruments and frequencies cutting through together and the mix just sounds bigger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVifw7Atg2Y&feature=related

This mix feels the opposite to me. Like "just my face is in the water"

On reflection, I guess a lot of this probably does have to do with panning as some replies have suggested. Clearly the bodom song is panned very straight forwardly while the red seas fire has many more layers taking up 80|20% R and L splits and such.

Again thanks for the responses!
#16
Both of the example songs are panned very wide and frankly the COB song covers more of the frequency spectrum; the RSF song doesn't have as much clarity on the top as the COB. Just check two similar sections. The instrumental parts at 2:16 of the COB song and 0:45 of the RSF. The rhythm guitars of COB have a lot more bite in the high mids but overall seems to accent the lows and highs while RSF are a bit more prominent in the mids.

Granted, COB has more instruments and parts going on, the synth parts especially cover the highs, but overall I think the panning and width of the mixes are similar. COB seems "tilted" slightly to the left, possibly because of the slight frequency disparity between the rhythm guitars. I suggest listening to both wearing headphones and adjusting for the difference in volume.
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