Using the DP32sd Three Band EQ in the mixing/mastering process

Discussion in '2488 and DP-24/32 Digital Portastudios' started by JP Illes, May 16, 2021.

  1. JP Illes

    JP Illes Member

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    My goal in purchasing and using the DP32sd was to go as much DAWless as I could when recording, mixing and mastering my songs. I would also like to avoid using external processors if I can. In that quest I have had to find effects workarounds for a number of issues. I am going to stick with EQ for the purposes of this discussion. As we all know the DP32sd (DP32) comes with a three band EQ. High and Low Shelving EQ and a single parametric EQ. What is missing in my opinion is a High and Low Pass Filter. As I have come to understand the High Pass Filter is used by many recording engineers to eliminate low end noise from a recording. The High Pass Filter option is not available if we are to go with the EQ effects available to us on the DP32. The workaround that I have used is to set the Low Shelving EQ at the low end of the fundamental frequencies for my guitars, and vocal tracks, to reduce the dB level by about -6. I will use my guitar tracks as an example. The fundamental frequency range of acoustic and electric guitars, as I understand, is between 82 Hz and 1.2 kHz. This covers the Low, Low Mid and part of the High Mid frequencies. Above 1.2 kHz are the overtones for those instruments. What I have done, to mimic the High Pass Filter, is to set my Low Shelf frequency to 82Hz and then reduce the level by -6dB. I do a similar thing for all my Vocal tracks, I set the Low Shelf to between 100 and 130 Hz and reduce the level by -6dB. My hope is to do two things, first, is to reduce some of the Low End Noise that might exist, and second, is to increase the sonic space for my bass and kick drum. Is what I am doing a relevant workaround? I open this up to discussion. Thank you...
  2. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the high and low bands for all practical purposes are high-pass and low-pass filters with the luxury of selecting where the cut-off starts (can be swept to identify the correct frequency) rather than being set at a fixed frequency; and the ability to control the depth of the shelf by +/- 12dB.

    Your method/approach is a typical application of the tool to make room in the mix for various instruments and voices and to clean up the mix. Let your ears be the judge of when it sounds "right".
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  3. JP Illes

    JP Illes Member

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    Thanks Mark, I have had a couple of recording engineers tell me that the only thing I should do is to record my tracks on the DP32 and then export my tracks to a DAW for mixing and mastering... I do own Reaper and Audacity so I could do exactly that... In fact on my first recording I did exactly that with my drum tracks. I used Reaper to compress my kick, and snare. Since I use EZDrummer I didn’t mess with the EQ. I used Dr. Phil’s method shown in his video 14A for rerouting through the send effect back to an input channel so that I could use the Dynamic Compressor effect on my other tracks. Anyway, I’m getting off the EQ topic..I am really curious to hear what others use to EQ their tracks.. I haven’t done this yet, but if I felt that I needed an extra parametric EQ I could use the same Send Effect that I used when compressing my other tracks to pick up the input 3 band EQ.
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  4. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    JP, when using only my DP-24 to track, mix and master, I've never had the need to use outboard gear for equalizing.

    Yes.
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  5. JP Illes

    JP Illes Member

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    Now that you have confirmed my process of using the Low Shelf EQ as a High Pass Filter, I see how the existing three band EQ of my DP32sd will work for me... Should I feel the need for additional EQ settings I can use the Input EQ when I use a Send Eff loop back through the Input to pick up the Dynamic Compression effect that I like to use on my other tracks...Say that twice quickly...
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
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  6. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    @JP Illes if one is using that much EQ, there are other issues. Be very careful of using "EQ by the numbers" instead of your ears. When you say things like this:

    You may be quoting a scientific source, but that is not how I hear acoustic guitar at all. There is a ton of stuff going on between 1.2k and 6k with an acoustic guitar. But the question is, does your guitar track need to be messed with? Normally I record acoustic guitar flat with the possibility of adding a high pass at something like 40 Hz if necessary.

    In the Mastering process 1dB of EQ is normal. 3dB or more is considered excessive. The approach between Mixing and Mastering is practically backwards.
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  7. JP Illes

    JP Illes Member

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    I agree with you 100%, there is a lot going on above 1.2kHz, I lumped it all in by just saying “overtones.” There may be something useful stuff below 82 Hz, that’s why I don’t cut all the way down to the 12dB maximum. I was just trying to emulate a High Pass filter, which I don’t have on the DP32sd.. Cutting around 40 Hz may be a bit more reasonable than what I have done. Remember I have only done one song on the DP32sd. I will experiment, maybe, for my guitars, it is more reasonable to move my shelf point down to 40 or 50 Hz and do the full 12 dB cut... That might work better, all I am trying to do is punch a hole for my kick and bass, along with cutting out low end noise. It is a balancing act... MJK, this is the kind of feedback I was looking for, I hope others will jump in on this...
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
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  8. JP Illes

    JP Illes Member

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    Actually my source was from another recording engineer. I have watched many of David Wills videos, most recently his “Masterclass on EQ.” He put out a cheat sheet on EQ, along with the video, and that’s were I picked it up from.. I may have misunderstood what he was saying, it does make sense what you have said...
  9. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    JP, IMO audio engineers who mix and master "by the numbers" are like musicians who can only play their instrument if there's sheet music in front of them. :rolleyes:

    You've made a really good first mix/master. Try different things. Trust your ears.;)
  10. JP Illes

    JP Illes Member

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    Understood, however, Wills is a musician in his own right...
  11. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't dissing Wills. Some "audio engineers" believe there are "magic" numbers that when dialed in will result in a professional product. All technician, no heart.

    OK. found his "cheat sheet". Understand where he's coming from. It's a chart of frequency ranges for instruments and voice. That's good, useful information.

    Here's a similar chart. This one was interactive and really cool, but the web site that had it no longer exists.
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  12. JP Illes

    JP Illes Member

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    That’s a very similar chart.. You can see where I got the 82 Hz from. But what you are saying is that there are guitar tones below 82 Hz that may add to the fullness of the instrument, maybe similar to what the overtones may add on the high end of the spectrum.. I get it use your ears...
  13. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    No.

    The purpose of those charts is to guide you in using EQ to create space in the mix so instruments don't step on each other and the vocals; and to help identify which parts of the spectrum to focus on to fix audio problems.

    These are complex interactions. That's why you have to rely on your ears, in particular when mastering a stereo mix,
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  14. JP Illes

    JP Illes Member

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  15. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    You can't really second guess those interactions until you get everything up in the mix. The EQ used in recording should be for the purpose of capturing a clean, full bodied recording that will give you what you need to work with in the mix to get the end results. Use your ears.