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Deep Deep EQ
Old 1 week ago
  #31
Gear Nut
 
Benoit D's Avatar
 
What you describe (this feeling of extended low-end) is exactly why I have a Summit EQP-200 in my rig. Most of the time, when a mix comes with a well balanced low-end, just a touch of EQP make it lower than low ! It creates a fantastic depth/fullness without compromising the balance.

For the record, this « trick » doesn’t work if the low-end is not right on the mix. That’s why mastering engineer need great mixing engineer like you !

Last edited by Benoit D; 1 week ago at 01:15 PM.. Reason: Correction
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #32
Gear Head
 
hilljam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone ➡️
I think it's more a feel thing that you develop with experience. In simple terms, you just get a feeling that the audio wants to be a certain way and you also have a sense of which tool or adjustment will get it there based on past experience of what that tool or those settings can sound like.

Blending colours is a good analogy: there are multiple ways of making something appear more blue, depending on what you're starting with and the colours you have available to blend.

So as we've said above, if something feels like it wants to be deeper, there's a number of ways produce that effect. It might be simply to boost the subs. But the suggestion above to cut the upper lows (or both boost and cut with a pultec style curve) also works because the change in spectral balance gives the perception of deeper lows in relation to the rest of spectrum. And then of course, adding harmonics always gives the impression of enhancing the sounds or fundamental frequencies they relate to without actually boosting those sounds/frequencies at all. [Edit: we also know that the ear/brain can fill in low fundamentals that aren't there based on harmonics.]

Kick drums are a good example. Often it's the level and tone of the beater part of the sound in the upper mids and the 'knock' in 100-200Hz range that can help the ear perceive depth and you only need enough sub to feel it in your body on a full range system.

Another example is when a vocal feels a bit buried in a mix. My experience is that cutting the lows a touch in mastering (or the bass instrument in mixing) can give the best bang for buck in achieving that, without ever having to make adjustments that relate directly to the vocal.

A common example in mastering is when a track wants to feel more open. A boost in the upper mids and a cut in the lower mids can both create that impression.

The right choice is the one that gets the result while creating the best overall balance.


So I don't know if I've answered HOW you work in this way other than it just develops the more you work with audio and the more familiar you get with your tools. But I think there are some things you can do:

1) Start to pay attention to how different things affect your own perception of how things sound, especially the things that are surprising or not what you expected.

2) Let go of the rules a bit and think outside the box.

3) Focus on the feeling and ask yourself, "which one of these knobs will get it to feel the way it wants to?"
> "which one of these knobs will get it to feel the way it wants to?"

I appreciate so much the intentionality in how this was phrased. Not "the way *I want it* to" ... "the way *it wants to*." The music will tell you every single thing you need to know, if you're willing to get still and listen until you hear what you need to hear.
Old 1 week ago
  #33
Lives for gear
 
SmoothTone's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 5 years
Thanks @ hilljam . I like "get still and listen."
Old 1 week ago
  #34
Lives for gear
 
Trakworx's Avatar
 
Verified Member
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
It's nice to see other engineers who, with enough years under their belts, get to the point where they 'mind-meld' with the music, so the line between their intention vs the music's intention disappears. Yeah. Cool.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #35
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone ➡️
I think it's more a feel thing that you develop with experience. In simple terms, you just get a feeling that the audio wants to be a certain way and you also have a sense of which tool or adjustment will get it there based on past experience of what that tool or those settings can sound like.

....

So I don't know if I've answered HOW you work in this way other than it just develops the more you work with audio and the more familiar you get with your tools. But I think there are some things you can do:

1) Start to pay attention to how different things affect your own perception of how things sound, especially the things that are surprising or not what you expected.

2) Let go of the rules a bit and think outside the box.

3) Focus on the feeling and ask yourself, "which one of these knobs will get it to feel the way it wants to?"
@ SmoothTone : Extremely well said!

This is how I feel about ALL parts of the process. Composing, Arranging, Recording, Mixing and Mastering! One needs to listen to whatever the "universe" wants it to be. What fits the emotional impact of the piece of art being created.

This is why there is always a difference between absolute beginners and more experienced people, throughout all of these tasks.

It's like a band that has just formed, all great talents within their own expertise and instruments, but with virtually zero experience playing together in a band. It'll take time for the sounds and the emotional impact of the music to "gel" and become a complete thing. It usually happens when the musicians start to think outside of themselves and really start listening to each other and how their part affects the whole.

It is exactly what one needs to do as a recording/mixing/mastering engineer too. For most of us there are no shortcuts to this as far as I am aware. It comes intuitively with experience.

This is also why simply following a basic youtube tutorial called "10 steps to become a great <insert subject here>!!" doesn't work. It can be a great place to start but people are getting sold on instant gratification way too often. These things take time, patience and lots of trial and error.


It is also where actual born-with-talent comes into play. Some people just have the uncanny ability in certain areas of art (and sports, literature, mathematics etc) to just "get it" from the get-go. Boy do I sometimes envy those people!

Still, I'm an absolute believer in hard work and that it pays off. Pretty much anybody can become great at these things but it takes time, critical self-analysis (aka letting go of the ego!) and practice.
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #36
Lives for gear
 
engmix's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone ➡️

1) Start to pay attention to how different things affect your own perception of how things sound, especially the things that are surprising or not what you expected.
Coming from a mixers standpoint, and I'm sure this also pertains to mastering, I think your point on perception is where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

The walls in my studio are stark white, and acoustic treatment is white as well. I find that even the mildest of color in a studio will skew my perception of what I'm hearing. The gear and furniture in my room is enough eye candy as it is. One of the reasons I had custom outboard racks built where so that my outboard gear is slanted at a particular angle and the lights aren't distracting my attention. The gear directly in front of me is black, just kinda blurs into the background. What I find I'm left with, is the sound of the music. If I feel like my perception is becoming fatigued, I'll even turn off my monitor screen while doing some tweaks on my analog chains. I often will leave my phone off to avoid that very obvious distraction. A very famous writer said in an interview that distraction is the biggest creative buzzkill there is. I tend to agree. I even think hyper focusing can be a distraction. Hence the need for short breaks. Even 30 seconds away from the music can be enough to readjust one's perception.

One of the things I have not liked about modern plugin design are the intensely informative GUI's. Luckily a few of the ones that I lean on you can turn off the graphs or have an eyes only mode. Even listening to what you're working on with people in the room will skew one's perspective, and I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way.

In my opinion perception / balance of the elements that make up a record is half the gig, so to speak. This informs the listener on how you want them to perceive the music. And this is why in my opinion hiring a mastering engineer is so important. That extreme clarity of perception. Literally hearing something for the first time is a massive indicator on how a record truly feels and sounds. And to have someone who's job in the production is to have that type of perception is such a huge benefit to the process of making a record. I've had records where the mastering engineer barley did anything. I'm all good with that end result as well. Just the knowledge of what I'm doing is on point is worth the price of the session.
Old 2 days ago
  #37
Maintain a 2 hz low end bandwidth and then there is no phase shift at 20 hz. Then it's tight and all harmonics line up correctly.
Old 19 hours ago | Show parent
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx ➡️
It's nice to see other engineers who, with enough years under their belts, get to the point where they 'mind-meld' with the music, so the line between their intention vs the music's intention disappears. Yeah. Cool.
Yes Indeed,

at One with the Music.

Cheers, JT
Old 9 hours ago | Show parent
  #39
Lives for gear
 
kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
Maintain a 2 hz low end bandwidth and then there is no phase shift at 20 hz. Then it's tight and all harmonics line up correctly.
This is a great philosophy for recording where you have plenty of headroom and don't need to worry about problems from unwanted subsonics. This is a terrible philosophy for release where people will complain their woofer cones are slowly moving in and out with the air currents in the room.

The difference between what is great for recording and what is great for release is why we have mastering engineers.
--scott
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