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How Not To Use an Equalizer

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Eboy87, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    These are the two graphics we had for the four monitor mixes. I wasn't the one who set them, but one guy kept pulling out frequencies, then started complaining when he couldn't get enough volume out of the wedges. I present this photo for your viewing pleasure.

    [​IMG]

    Discuss.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2008
  2. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    :wall: :clap::clap::clap::clap:

    Sheer genius.
     
  3. kovacika

    kovacika Active Member

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    What, you mean it doesn't sound as good with them all down? But that means there will be no feedback right?

    I don't think I'd be able to keep my mouth shut. Was it a guest engineer? Whos gear? You'd think that someone bright enough to buy KT's would know how to use them.
     
  4. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

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    Pure genius there is absolutely no feedback from the monitors even with the mic pointed directly at them. The only downside is that you can't hear anything.
     
  5. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Absolutely RIDICULOUS! I have had similar expirences with guest engineers touring with national acts. It just amazes me.

    ~Dave
     
  6. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Although that looks a bit extreme, I would have to know more about the situation to comment. Having to EQ that much, at least on the top unit, to get an acceptable result indicates they were perhaps trying to fix problems with EQ that are better addressed in other ways but that may have been the only tool available to them.

    As far as using only cuts, many people believe in using cut only EQ, especially for monitor EQ where the primary goal is eliminating feedback frequencies. In fact the DN360 manual actually recommends attenuating peaks rather than boosting dips, there are numerous good reasons for this from the fact that people are more sensitive to peaks in responses than to dips to the DN360 having a clip indicator and gain control only for the input so that any gain in the level due to the EQ applied could cause it to clip internally without any visual indication.

    What many people do forget about the DN360 is that although the outputs are XLR connectors, the standard outputs are unbalanced (transformer balanced outputs are an option) and both the inputs and outputs are Pin 3 positive/hot, not Pin 2 as is typical. So the wiring for the standard output is shield to pin 1 and hot to Pin 3 with no connection to Pin 2, hardly your typical XLR output wiring.
     
  7. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

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    and the range is set to 12dB, no less.
     
  8. audioslavematt

    audioslavematt Active Member

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    Gain reduction through equalization? I thinks so.
     
  9. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    either that or just stupidity, i did that once then i stepped back and said, will i ever really need that large amount of power out of the foldbacks i mean i am FOH and i can hear them over the foh speakers. People do stupid things as long as someone can get a laugh out of it all is good :)
     
  10. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Not that I would ever recommend setting up a geq that way, BUT it looks like the person doing the settings was first of all using the concept that it is not a good idea to BOOST a frequency range with a geq, that coupled with the likely hood that they were dealing with a speaker system that had poor low end and high end response, in essence what they were attempting to do was to boost the low and highs, but accomplish it by bringing down the mids.

    The bottom KT UNIT looks like someone was again using the idea of only reduce don't boost, was trying to eq a system where the overlap in the low end and high end caused a bump in the middle, and was dropping the mids to remove some of that effect.
    Again I would not recommend it but it is probably not so totally off the wall as might be imagined.

    Sharyn
     
  11. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Some more details surrounding this; the wedges being EQ'd were a pair of Martin LE12 per mix. The operator is a student who subscribes to a professor's theory of sacrifice everything to prevent feedback. While I agree, feedback should never be heard, if it means shitty sound, then your speaker/mic placement needs help. These people are taught one way how to do things.

    And Sharyn, I agree that one should always cut on a graphic, never boost. I don't think I've ever boosted a frequency on the house/Mon graphic since I started doing this years ago. However, I still think that hacking away over 50% out of the spectrum, then there is a mic/speaker placement issue. That thought never entered this guy's mind.

    Still, he was fun to work with, so I shouldn't say too many ill things about him.
     
  12. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    I found the comments about monitors sounding poor to be very interesting. Often the goal is not for monitors to sound good by themselves, it is for them to give what the performer wants during a performance. That can mean something like a bass player getting mostly themselves and drums with limited vocals. It can also mean someone not needing much of anything they hear naturally on stage during the performance. So having a monitor mix that does not sound good by itself does not mean that it is a poor mix nor does a monitor mix sounding good by itself necessarily represent a good mix.

    While I agree that the EQ shown likely reflects some other problem, was that necessarily something they could address? And more importantly, since this was a student, did anybody attempt to discuss this with them so they might learn something?
     
  13. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Sir, while I understand where you're coming from, I have done this before, and understand how to do this for a living. The word "good" has many different meanings, and in this case, I use it in this way:

    When I run mons, I try to make the mixes (and wedges) as clear as possible so the talent can hear what the hell's going on, and to make it cut through the rest of the stage. With this EQ curve, the wedges had no definition. Some of my dog's farts have more clarity than these wedges (my apologies for those with sensitive ears) did with that EQ'ing. And yes, I do realize that not every instrument goes through every wedge. I've found that a good way to gauge how long of a day it's going to be is to ask the band what they want in their wedges. If they say "Give me a bit of everything," you have your work cut out for you. Keep in mind we're talking appropriately powered Martin wedges outdoors.

    As for discussing with the student their method, I'd have a better chance of teaching my dog to speak the Queen's English. Keep in mind (and I don't think I should go too far into this in public) that Jack Alexander is the head of our department. He teaches his way, and some of the kids take that as the only way to do things. While that's fine and dandy, it doesn't always work. This student was (is) one of his disciples, and a huge audiophile at that. I think I've said enough to not get myself in trouble.

    I apologize if I come off condescendingly, but I'm tired of people second-guessing my opinion on things. I realize you're trying to help, and while I enjoy reading some of your posts, please don't assume that everyone is a complete newb to this business.

    Thank you, drive through please.
     
  14. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    There was more than one reference to the sound quality, which is why it stuck out to me. Since there wasn't really any question asked, then if the point of starting this thread was not to potentially have others learn from the specific example, what was the point?
     
  15. gpforet

    gpforet Active Member

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    Hmmm.

    Here was a thread started by posting a picture of an EQ curve with the intention of making fun of the person who set it. I think the title was "How not to use an EQ."

    Well, for most of us, this is exactly how we use an EQ. While the curve is extreme, not one of us was given a glimpse into how the system sounded in the environment.

    So, someone says, "Hey, we often cut using this (and most EQs)", and pointed out that without hearing the rig in the actual application, that it would be hard to judge whether it was appropriate or not.

    Now, the person who started the post get defensive and says "I'm tired of people second guessing my opinion."

    Welcome the world of pro sound, dude.

    One thing I've learned about this business (after being in it for 20+ years), is that there is most always more than one way to to achieve a result.

    Regarding monitors, it is not my job to determine what the talent wants to hear, or how they want to hear it. I've worked with singers who was for monitors to be EQed with such extreme curves I could only imagine how bad it sounded on stage. But that's what the artist wanted. And it's mu job to give them what they want, not what I think they should have.

    Bottom line, whether or not the EQ curve is appropriate cannot be determined by looking at the EQ, which, I believe, is what is being said.

    Kinda like looking at a board and making a judgement on whether gain structure is correct or not, simply looking at sliders without a signal passing thru the board. I can't count the time young engineers have begun tweaking trim pots before knowing what kind of signal will be on that channel.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is this. Live sound is a dynamic environment. Something can be right in one application and wrong in another. It is always important to follow valid engineering principles, but the final analysis is done with the ears, not with the eyes. And further, when providing services for paying customer, what they want is what they get. Whether it sounds good to me or not is irrelevant. Monitors are for the artist. If I'm mixing FOH, I'll mix to what I think sounds good. If the artist, or manager wants it changed, I'll change it. If I'm working with a BE, then I'll try to help him or her acheive what they're trying to get. What sounds good to me might suck to them. Or vice-versa.
     
  16. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Ok, look, I didn't mean to get whiney and defensive. Allow me to further explain my position. I've been known to have a short fuse at times, and I dislike it when people make assumptions about me. Now, I posted the photograph because I found it amusing, but I guess why I find it amusing is an inside joke between a few others and me.

    Perhaps I should've explained the sound better. More than likely, since there are many factors involved here that didn't make it into the picture, I should never have posted it to begin with.

    EDIT: Let me put it like this. Yes, I understand fully well that such drastic EQ curves are necessary some times. I've found, in my experience (which isn't as long as some of you, I'll admit), drastic EQ'ing is indicative of an underlying acoustic problem. My point is in this case, there was an underlying acoustic problem, but my immediate superior disagreed. So the EQ curve stayed, and my opinion on the matter was dismissed.

    Dave, I think it's safe to delete this thread if you so wish.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  17. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    Nope, I'm letting this thread stand. Yes, there was some defensiveness and I understand that the parties involved have made their peace offline. However, and why I am letting this stand, is that this post has many valuable nuggets of wisdom here. Let's look at them point by point (I may miss a few, but I'll do my best)
    • The EQ's pictured were seriously overdone at first glance
    • EBoy's point that this can indicate over-compensation for a basic configuration error (speaker/mic placement, for instance) is perfectly valid and shows a working knowledge of the whole system path and how to diagnose issues.
    • MuseAV's point that monitor mixes are very specific for each performer is also very valid and has it's place as well.
    • MuseAV's question about whether or not someone attempted to teach the student a different methodology is, at it's essence, the core purpose of this site. Questions should be asked, and good answers should be given and everybody gets to learn more about their craft.
    • Bringing up Eboy's problem with the head of his department. Not as uncommon as many would hope, a student is taught according to the method that the teacher was taught. This is where you, the students, have to constantly re-evaluate and truly learn the fundamentals of your craft, not take anything for granted and create new knowledge based on the building blocks of what you've been taught. You may find a better way, and it doesn't hurt to get a second opinion which get you some additional insight into solving your issue.
    • MuseAV's point that you will, in a sound career, heck any career! be second-guessed. Instead of taking it personally, step back, see if you can learn something from the suggestion, and then -if appropriate- take the opportunity to show and teach someone why you did what you did. NOTE: don't do this with performers.. if they want their mix with crazy curves... that's what you give them. You are mixing for them or your client. It's better to keep the paymaster happy than your ears. But, that's no excuse to slack off.
     
  18. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Not to jump in at the end of a discussion but a few things to consider

    First is try to realize that opinions are just that and by definition if you voice them the rest of the audience is either going to directly or indirectly second guess them. In my experience, forums such as this are of major value because everyone's opinion is second guessed. WE ALL CAN LEARN.

    Back to the techincai
    How monitors sound is a very personal thing, for instance I have worked with blue grass bands that basically use one or two mics and they use position to alter the levels and tonal quality of their performance So they need the monitors to work incombination with ambient sound from the foh as heard on the stage to be augmented so that it is a close a possible to what the audience hears. THIS leads to some very odd eq curves AND the monitors on their own sounding quite odd, BUT again during the performance on the stage (a positon that not all that many SE get the opportunity to experience) the monitors allow the artist to have a quite realistic example of what the audience is hearing in the audience space.

    In other bands sometimes they really only want to hear a very strong bass line to keep everyone on the beat, and could care less about the actual sound so again clarity is not a factor only the driving beat.

    I have worked with some quite famous artists who during performance use a lot more Antares Pitch correction than they would like to admit. working with extensive voice processing makes for a very interesting challenge to an artist, since psychologically if you allow them to hear the corrected sound they start chasing the correction and in some cases things can get quite wierd.

    Lastly, many monitors are quite strong in the mids, designed for a sound that punched thru the on stage "noise" Sometimes in a situation where you use these monitors for a more acoustic artist,you want to bring down the mid range and have a more balanced sound, I have seen eq curves that look somewhat like the ones shown in the picture.

    TYPICALLY the sign of the inexperienced user is not a setup like the pictures but rather an setting that looks like a series of saw tooth settings with sliders up and down all over the place as someone has been attempting to cut frequencies dramatically as they feed back and keep jumping from offending frequency to offending frequency instead of looking at monitor placement.

    But then again this is just my opinion, and anone is free to second guess ;-))

    Sharyn
     
  19. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    Another of the common wisdoms with which I agree is that if you need to touch more than 4 or 5 bands ( and more than two of these bands are adjacent to each other), you are doing something wrong or you are just trying to get them TFL.

    Another common problem is compensating for the mics' proximity effect and presence peak on the graphic instead of on the console.
     
  20. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    came across this, good for learners i think

    notice how he eliminates the freq completly then pushes it back up a bit

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBeV2BL-aRo[/media]
    and i like the end part "you cut too many and it won't sound musical"

    edit: i have been away from this thread and was unaware of issues but i thought this video clip would be good in no way am i attempting to add salt to any wounds here i am just trying to submit content that would be of an educational nature to anyone who comes across this thread later down the track. if there is a wiki post about eq'ing i will add that youtube link also.
     

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