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kodebode

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Posts: 1 Member Since: 15/10/2016

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Oct 15 16 6:11 AM

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My ask ? : What software EQ would you recommend for this special(described below) and other general EQ purposes, especially if its free or low cost, which will not color or smear the audio?

I'm a serious hobbyist wanting to hone my skills at home to get to a good standard and hopefully achieve some professional success in the future.

Having done all I can with room treatment, and positioning, I thought it good to augment my monitoring chain with some low shelf cuts, to tame a bit more the very lowest frequencies so when I occasionaly listen loud, the room reflections especially at the low end do not color the sound.

My DAW is Reaper on Windows 10 which I run @ 96Khz.

My monitors are Alesis M1 MK2's Active, which I have blocked ports and placed to "perfection" i.e to get the best quality I can from these. Had them for 14 years so I know them well.

Audio interface is EMU 0404 USB, 

The EQ I have used to attempt this for a while (over a year) is the parametric EQ - ReaEQ, which comes with Reaper, and I insert this in a Monitoring FX Chain, which is only active for "monitoring" and does not get recorded when I mix down.

I recently discovered that from listening intermittently over a few months, I preferred the non EQ version - like the EQ, no matter how subtle the settings I applied - and I was using only one band for a low self at 43 hz, it added what appears to sound like a "chorus" to the stereo track. 

Rather than just tightening up the low end, it added an indistinct smear to the stereo audio track.

Most of the use of my home studio, at this time is as a high quality listening station, listening to CD's or high quality streaming which I "pass" through Reaper.

What software EQ would you recommend for this special and other general EQ purposes, especially if its free or low cost, which will not color or smear the audio?

Please note  I thought the Reaper EQ was a simply digital EQ which did not add any intentional artefacts, like saturation, which I still thik it does not.

But I can clearly hear the smearing that sounds like a "chorus" when I turn on the EQ. I never noticed it before, but recently listening to Norah Jones album - Come Away with Me, every time I apply this EQ, in the listening chain, the single lead voice in the center, takes on a halo of a secondary voice, and becomes not quite as distinct, and I can hear this same "aura" around all other instruments. like a subtle doubling. Not nice.

I've done quite a bit of "blind testing" where I switch the EQ in and out, listening only with ears and not eyes and more consistently than not, I can spot the EQ'd version in my blind test, by the harshness and smearing in upper frequencies, even though I am not doing anything in the EQ to those frequencies. - Weird you may think - but I kid you not, I am reliably hearing these things/artefacts of what should be a clean digital EQ.

Once I turn off the EQ, I'm back to a cohesive single lead voice, in sections where she sings only one lead line. 

What EQ's avoid this time based alteration of the audio? The reason I ask is - if this is what a digital EQ does to audio, and I can hear it, on a single stereo track, I can imagine what it has done to my multitrack recordings where I most likely use it on many tracks, and on the master bus also.

Please recommend a good quality - especially if its free or low cost eq, that I can trust to not smear my audio as described above.

If the post was too long. I apologise. I thought the more info you have, the easier it would be to propose a suitable solution for me. Thanks in advance for responding.
 
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jaykadis

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Posts: 2,391 Member Since:24/01/2011

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Oct 17 16 9:08 PM

Room responses can sometimes be improved using digital room correction, which involves measuring the impulse response of the room and convolving the inverse of that impulse response with the playback signal. The convolution process is essentially a digital filter but not a simple equalizer. It is not perfect and sometimes causes more problems than it fixes but sometimes it works quite well.

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podgorny

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Posts: 2,306 Member Since:27/01/2011

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Oct 18 16 12:18 AM

Hi Kodebode, welcome to the forum.
If you're after simple shelving EQ, the Tokyo Dawn plugins are quite good and free/cheap (http://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-vos-slickeq/).
And while I agree that you won't be able to correct modal problems or ringing with an equalizer, I don't think there is any shame in applying broad equalization to your monitoring chain, if it gets you closer to what you want to hear. And of course, if you're looking to improve your playback chain, perhaps you might want to consider a newer generation interface. I think low-cost converters have improved quite a bit in the last ten years.

Kyle Mann :: www.kylemann.com

Last Edited By: podgorny Oct 18 16 12:20 AM. Edited 1 time.

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burp182

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Posts: 309 Member Since:03/03/2011

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Oct 21 16 12:01 PM

I tried very hard not to buy the Sonarworks software package, as I had tried several "fix your room" panaceas previously.None left the music sounding right. A little compressed, oddly phase-shifted high end...it was always something that stopped me from being comfortable. So I downloaded the Sonarworks trial not expecting too much.

Damn them.
It made a real difference in what I heard. No odd artifacts, a solid bottom end and a greatly improved center image. Of course, no two situations are the same. I started with exceptional speakers and it made things better. But I've also suggested that two friends with less extensive setups try it and they both felt the results were noteworthy. As always, YMMV.
I'd suggest getting their package that includes the calibrated mic. I think the whole thing is around $300.00. (I did my analysis using a DPA 4006 and it worked very well, but it was markedly improved when I did it the second time after entering the B&K calibrated sweep included with the mic. This is unnecessary when using their microphone. It's serialized and the software simply "calls home" and enters the individual calibration curve for that mic.)
The result is then simply inserted as an AU/VST plugin on your master. Couldn't be much simpler. Takes about 15 minutes for the analysis.
Certainly worth a try, in my opinion. The trial is free and if you have a mic with a proper calibration sweep, you'll get a pretty clear picture of what's possible.

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weedywet

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Posts: 5,770 Member Since:20/01/2011

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Jan 2 17 2:16 PM

the fact that my friend Russ Hughes is a Sonarworks enthusiast goes a long way toward making me consider it... although I'm on the whole against the concept of fixing acoustic problems 'electrically' unless they're minor tweaks to an already excellent monitor environment.

http://www.pro-tools-expert.com/home-page/2016/12/6/my-most-used-studio-product-of-2016-sonarworks?rq=sonarworks

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John Eppstein

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Posts: 1,150 Member Since:31/05/2015

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Jan 2 17 7:56 PM

I answered thjs thread when it was first post but LeFora ate my answer, so....

You CANNOT fix acoustical problems with electronic equalization. You just can't, it's contrary to the laws of physics/acoustics. It there's a peak at one place in the room that means there's a trough at another, that's just the way resonance works. In some cases the peaks and troughs might be inches apart. That means that even equalizing to a "sweet spot" and mixing with your head in a clamp won't really work.

There are SOMEdigital solutions that can do better to a more or less limited degree but they are not equalizers in any normal sense, as they incorporate alterations in the time and phase domains. Even so, they're of limited use.

Electronic equalization is somewhat useful for dealing with problems in your monitoring chain, but not in your listening environment.

Last Edited By: John Eppstein Jan 2 17 8:00 PM. Edited 1 time.

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weedywet

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Posts: 5,770 Member Since:20/01/2011

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Jan 4 17 1:33 PM

well, you can "fix it" in a very distinct, fixed, listening spot, at least to the degree that it can be helpful... but, again, this only 'works' (to the extent that it does), in my experience, in a beautifully designed control room with great monitors matched to the room design which already sound nearly perfect... then little bits of EQ to tweak the response can be a more reasonable choice than spending tens of thousands more to perfect further.

most of the best sounding rooms I've worked in (including all of the Hidley rooms) had some EQ... but often no more than a dB in any given 1/6th octave band.

but like with tissues on the tweeters, or Primacoustic Recoils, or any other monitor "tweak" (I think the trendy word 'hack' is stupid in most contexts), you can try to do some mixes and see if the modification helps, or hurts or has no effect, on your mix translation or ease of work.

Last Edited By: weedywet Jan 5 17 1:27 PM. Edited 1 time.

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