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Mozex

My Questions about making music

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I made a new topic where I will put all my questions about making music. I hope its in the right category. I am not gonna make a different topic about every questions and just put them all here if I have any.

First up:

So I am watching tutorials now and its about EQing the drums. They talk about cleaning up the low frequencies but then when they show the difference I do not hear it? It sounds the same to me? Could this be a headphones problem? Or is the change really so minimal that I do not even hear it? Is it possible my headphones just do not pick up those frequencies because they are too low?

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Yes, you probably can hear it bc of your headphones. Which one do you have?

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I can hear it when they do it on a lead, I can hear the difference then but not on the hihat, it sounds pretty much the same to me...
I have headphones I bought in the second hand shop I volunteer at, someone brought them in and since mine were broken I bought them. I searched on the internet, they seem to be 25€. Bought them for 5€.
I think it are these ones: https://www.amazon.com/Headset-Earphone ... B017VD0KDA

I just want to see if the problem lays with me or the headphones...

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I think the problem is both you and your headphones. First of all, those headphones do not work for mixing. Second of all, it takes practice to register small changes in EQing and being able to tell where to cut or boost.

I think the cheapest way forward is to get some Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (250 Ohm). I've done a fair amount of mixing using those but I 100% prefer mixing using my studio monitors.

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They look dodgy. Not because of the price, you can make music on Portapros of the same price, but because it's a tacky gamer headset with focus on everything but the drivers. Also, leads are in the range of speech, and your ears are sensitive to speech. It takes time to learn to hear small differences in other regions. But yeah, probably the headset. 

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Okay I understand.

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You know what I might recommend you try while you're waiting to get some new headphones? Using your EQ on some white noise instead of drums, just to train your ears. White noise is pretty unpleasant to listen to, especially at high volumes, but almost any EQ you do on it will be more obvious than on any other source.

So what I think you should do, and only at low volumes and for a short amount of time, is fire up some white noise and apply your EQ to it. Then just gently and slowly play with the controls - try turning the gain up and down, adjusting the frequency, adjusting the bandwidth. Keep in mind some frequencies are going to be painful, especially in the high range. You might not be able to hear all the details with your headphones yet, but you'll get kind of an idea of what they do, you'll get their kind of behavior and shape in your head. Maybe note some frequencies that are interesting to you.

After you do that for a minute or so, try making the same changes with the same EQ on a drum sample or something. You'll start to get a feeling of "hearing through" the source material, like the EQ is the audio equivalent of tinted glass that you can change the color and thickness of. Hopefully that will give you a more intuitive idea of what the EQ does and allow you to follow your nose a bit.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Mozex said:

I made a new topic where I will put all my questions about making music. I hope its in the right category. I am not gonna make a different topic about every questions and just put them all here if I have any.

First up:

So I am watching tutorials now and its about EQing the drums. They talk about cleaning up the low frequencies but then when they show the difference I do not hear it? It sounds the same to me? Could this be a headphones problem? Or is the change really so minimal that I do not even hear it? Is it possible my headphones just do not pick up those frequencies because they are too low?

A really cool trick I recently learned with eq'ing drums is to make two identical tracks for your drums: have one in the 40-90hz range for the sub-bass and the other one for the rest of the frequencies. For the sub-bass track, use a lowpass filter to cut off the higher frequencies and just do minor eq cuts or transpose your song so that the sub-bass stays mostly within that low range (it can bleed over or under the range a bit so it doesn't have to be an exact science.) then compress it*. After that, you can fuck around with the second drum track as much as you want without having to worry about the lower frequencies being a problem.

*If your bass is predominantly in the lower end you may not even want to compress it.

Also youtube videos are awful for training yourself on eq'ing because the youtube codec butchers a frequencies regardless of video quality level. I can't tell the difference either when they're contrasting examples. You can try to ask if they have a link to the pcm wav's of the examples they're using so you can have a better listen.

Edited by Entorwellian
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Watmm really needs a wiki page or something so we can have a non-ironic posting version of Productions Tops. I'd love to contribute.

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6 hours ago, Entorwellian said:

A really cool trick I recently learned with eq'ing drums is to make two identical tracks for your drums: have one in the 40-90hz range for the sub-bass and the other one for the rest of the frequencies. For the sub-bass track, use a lowpass filter to cut off the higher frequencies and just do minor eq cuts or transpose your song so that the sub-bass stays mostly within that low range (it can bleed over or under the range a bit so it doesn't have to be an exact science.) then compress it*. After that, you can fuck around with the second drum track as much as you want without having to worry about the lower frequencies being a problem.

*If your bass is predominantly in the lower end you may not even want to compress it.

Also youtube videos are awful for training yourself on eq'ing because the youtube codec butchers a frequencies regardless of video quality level. I can't tell the difference either when they're contrasting examples. You can try to ask if they have a link to the pcm wav's of the examples they're using so you can have a better listen.

I did not watch a youtube video but a digital slate video, I do not think they use the youtube service but I am not sure. I did learn what you told me.

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What DAW do you use? If you use Ableton you should try and isolate the frequencies you're listening to by clicking the tiny headphone button on the EQ. It lets you listen to the band you're moving around. FabFilter's Q, Q2, and Q3 has the exact same feature and it's super helpful to quickly figure out what needs to go away and what needs to be boosted.

 

Screenshot 2020-03-24 at 09.47.32.pngScreenshot 2020-03-24 at 09.46.58.png

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4 hours ago, Squee said:

What DAW do you use? If you use Ableton you should try and isolate the frequencies you're listening to by clicking the tiny headphone button on the EQ. It lets you listen to the band you're moving around. FabFilter's Q, Q2, and Q3 has the exact same feature and it's super helpful to quickly figure out what needs to go away and what needs to be boosted.

 

Screenshot 2020-03-24 at 09.47.32.pngScreenshot 2020-03-24 at 09.46.58.png

Yes, this feature is really handy. Someone made an EQ for Reaper that does this too - https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=213501

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I am still waiting with the EQ...

This is what I did so far:

 

I only put reverb on some instruments and some filters to hi pass (?) some sounds like snares and percussion for instance. I then started to make sure everything is under -6db. It is not fun work. I hope I got some of it right. Will start EQ after this but now I will take a break for a bit I think...

Can you let me know if I did it right? And if something could be improved, what it could be? I did not do EQ or mastering yet so please keep that in mind...

 

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Ok bass 1 was to silent, I changed that and put the break instruments a bit down to stay on master beneath -6db. Any other problems you see or hear?

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5 hours ago, Squee said:

What DAW do you use? If you use Ableton you should try and isolate the frequencies you're listening to by clicking the tiny headphone button on the EQ. It lets you listen to the band you're moving around. FabFilter's Q, Q2, and Q3 has the exact same feature and it's super helpful to quickly figure out what needs to go away and what needs to be boosted.

 

Screenshot 2020-03-24 at 09.47.32.pngScreenshot 2020-03-24 at 09.46.58.png

Hey Squee I was looking at the Fabfilter line of things but holy crap are they a lot of money. What package would you recommend for a producer?

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50 minutes ago, Entorwellian said:

Hey Squee I was looking at the Fabfilter line of things but holy crap are they a lot of money. What package would you recommend for a producer?

That's tough because they leave out a good plugin no matter which package you pick - unless you pick the total bundle. If you don't want to buy that I would go for the Pro and if not that then the mixing or mastering bundle. But in the mixing bundle you don't get their limiter, so it's a tough pick.

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