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Thread: EQing vocals

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    EQing vocals

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    Hey, this might sound dumb to ask, sorry for that, but how many eqs should we do to process the vocals? I have akg p170 and Steinberg UR242 (thanks for the excelent advice on this btw!). First I record then I filter the noise and I apply an eq to remove low frequencies and boost high frequencies. After processing the vocals (applying fades, removing breathes and reducing 's' sounds) and correcting some pitch issues I pass it through a compressor, After the compressor I do some frequency sweeping in order to remove unwanted room tones. After all this I still notice that the recording is a bit muddy and not 'professional'. I mean I don't think it's hardware issues, but after this eqing and removing the low frequencies again it sounds brighter and better. Am I forgetting something? Or is it normal to eq the voice again in mixing stage?

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    I rarely use more than one EQ on a channel, but that doesn't mean you can't, and I'm not going to say I never did... Once you start applying other FX, even if they're supposed to be corrective, they're going to impact the EQ of the track, and a compressor is often very obvious in that respect. "Muddy" often means LF content, and it could be there's just too much from all the tracks (assuming there are more than just the vocal), so sometimes EQ on the master is sufficient, but it's worth listening carefully to identify where the mud is coming from, and see if you can fix it with a little touch in the existing EQ, i.e., before it hits the other stuff, or whether the EQ should actually come after something like the edits, sibilance removal, et al.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    I suspect you overdid the processing - probably the compression. Your stages seem a bit 'separate' - you speak of applying 'an eq', so are you doing some boost and cut, to filter the noise (not quite sure what this noise would be?) then doing more eq to remove the bottom and boost top, then doing your fades and editing out breath sounds and then the 's' sounds - is this more eq? THEN you stick it through compressor then you do more eq to remove room tones. I'm not surprised it sounds horrible. My workflow is to do the editing first - zapping or reducing the breath noises and fixing the pitch. Then if needed, but not automatically, add some gentle compression. I rarely have to remove 'room tones' because my mic positioning normally gets these under control to a large degree. Then I listen carefully and at this point I'll do my eq - removing some LF if it's unwanted, leaving it if it doesn't cause issues. Unless the singer has a real impediment, the 'ss' noises can be controlled at this point too. I'll also have a pretty good static mix by this point so I can adjust the compression and the eq, as these two things seem to interact in the balance. I usually also add reverb at this point because that too can be influenced by the eq. I'll err on too much reverb, because removing it a little usually brightens and crisper the vocal. So I have ONE EQ curve to look at and listen too. if I have had to use a d-esser because the singer sounds nasty, I might have to delve into that, but mic technique normally gets sibilance under control. I certainly never EQ twice, that's always destructive. Just do it once, properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfpd View Post
    Or is it normal to eq the voice again in mixing stage?
    It's a decision to make. Sometimes it's made through taste, like adding salt, and sometimes it's made because you have no choice.
    In your description you don't talk about choice, taste, or preference; You talk about noise and removing unwanted sounds.

    A lot of us have to deal with less-than-ideal environments so, in that case, is just however many it takes to get the job done.

    In the ideal world you remove the source of noise, whatever that is, and treat the room such that there are no ugly ringing frequencies, then choose a microphone that gives the sound you want,
    and maybe then you don't need an eq at all? Maybe one for very minor adjustments, once the mix gets going?

    It's not always possible but if you always have a voice in the back of your head asking how you can make the recording better before you start
    it'll pay for itself in the long run vs asking how you can make it better once its recorded.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    Thank you for the answers, my studio isn't treated, it's a 3meters by ~2meters room, where my mic is in the middle of the room in the "3 meters" direction. I always record a litle room noise to subtract it from the audio. After that I do a straight away eq filtering low end and amplifying high end. I'm definitely overdoing the compressor after this, and I guess basically messing up with the first eq. After that I sweep the spectrum to remove buzz frequencies. So what are the steps you suggest?

    Recording->Remove room tone->Process pitch and breathes->compressor->sweep eq-> final eq

    Like so?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfpd View Post
    Thank you for the answers, my studio isn't treated, it's a 3meters by ~2meters room, where my mic is in the middle of the room in the "3 meters" direction.
    Lots of people work in small rooms in their houses and, sure, it's not ideal but a store-bought reflection filter or (better yet) a pair of DIY rockwool panels can go a long way.
    That takes out one stage of 'fix it later'.

    What is this noise you're having to sample and suppress? And where are buzzes coming from?

    You're asking for the best way to fix worst case scenario but often it's possible to just make the scenario better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    Lots of people work in small rooms in their houses and, sure, it's not ideal but a store-bought reflection filter or (better yet) a pair of DIY rockwool panels can go a long way.
    That takes out one stage of 'fix it later'.

    What is this noise you're having to sample and suppress? And where are buzzes coming from?

    You're asking for the best way to fix worst case scenario but often it's possible to just make the scenario better.
    It's not a problematic noise, I usually have to max out the audio to hear it, it's the normal low end hissing that I always like to remove. I saw a video on youtube about sweeping frequencies in order to improve the audio quality, and when I hear weird buzzes not the low end vocals or boxy vocals, just weird buzzes from a single frequency. I mean my mic shouldn't be much problematic since it only records forwards. The buzzes aren't 'audible' per se, but when removed the audio quality improves, it gets less muddy. Do you recomend this:

    https://www.fnac.pt/Painel-Acustico-...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

    (I'm portuguese )


    My equipment it's the one I mentioned and I've already done podcasts with it, it doesn't have noise, it's just an habit to record a noise profile and subtract it from the audio. I might try to record it again and apply only eq in the end.

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    If you can post some clips of your audio that'd be great but, in general, the less you can do to the signal the better.
    There'll pretty much always be some amount of background hiss from preamps/microphones but if it's so low that you can't hear it while audio is playing I'd just leave it there.
    No matter how good a noise reduction algorithm is, it's always going to be removing something you don't want it to.

    For the other sounds that you're scanning for, it sounds like maybe that's build ups of reflections at certain frequencies, from your room.
    If that's the case then a reflection filter or rockwool panels would certainly help with that.

    In the ideal world you want to be able to record and have it sound good before doing anything in the digital realm. (if possible...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    If you can post some clips of your audio that'd be great but, in general, the less you can do to the signal the better.
    There'll pretty much always be some amount of background hiss from preamps/microphones but if it's so low that you can't hear it while audio is playing I'd just leave it there.
    No matter how good a noise reduction algorithm is, it's always going to be removing something you don't want it to.

    For the other sounds that you're scanning for, it sounds like maybe that's build ups of reflections at certain frequencies, from your room.
    If that's the case then a reflection filter or rockwool panels would certainly help with that.

    In the ideal world you want to be able to record and have it sound good before doing anything in the digital realm. (if possible...)
    Sure thing! Thanks for the help! I'll do that as soon as I get home in a 3 or 4 hours!

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    Yes, post a clip with no processing at all and perhaps one with all your processing.

    Your description sounds like a lot more than I would do, but I do generally have better spaces to record in. Normally I'll have an eq with one to three (sometimes up to five) filters active followed by compression.

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