My ears are shit.

Discussion in 'Production' started by smoothassilk, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Something I've noticed when watching yt tutorials is that pro producers will explain exactly what they've done, but not why they've done it or how they know what to do.

    For example EQ: some people who have been producing ages can just know where to boost and cut so it sounds epic and they can get exactly the effect they want. Whenever I bring up an EQ, put on a high Q and sweep to try and find good/ bad frequencies to cut or boost, all I can hear are frequencies: I can't tell if they're good or bad or not, just high or low. Tbh, I can barely hear EQ anyway, it's so subtle that I can't hear much difference.

    The same with layering: I can tell my layered drums aren't as good as the ones I'm referencing against, but I don't know why: they'll just somehow sound tighter.

    Is there anything I can do except keep on blindly doing stuff and kind of hoping it'll all come together?
     
  2. ApeCat

    ApeCat Human Dubplate

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    Blindly do stuff and listen to the results b2b tutorials, on youtube and proper written down ones.

    When you watch super big shot pro producers on youtube they're going over stuff that they know by heart and they've done a million times and aren't really getting into any details, it's all "So yeah like I chucked an EQ on it, boosted a couple of frequencies and did some cutting here and there because you don't want that and the I just ran it through two anna half hardwares and compressed it twice.." while randomly bringing different effects modules to the screen, circling faders and things with their mouse and dropping cigarette ash into their keyboards.

    If you read some theory you're actually being explained what you're doing and why. Even though the book / article / blog post hasn't been written by Noisia b2b Taxman ft. Calyx & Teebee and remixed by Spor, you'll probably learn a lot more about making a banger than watching their tutorials if you don't understand the basics of what they're doing in the first place.
     
  3. Sultanare

    Sultanare Active Member

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    this perfectly describes every producer masterclass ever, gratz
     
  4. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    there is a quick and simple way to train your ears up...best done on a sound which is quite complex (eg a big reese or multi-saw sound for practice, but it works for any sound)


    Notch Sweeping to find big resonant frequencies in a sound


    1. Add a parametric EQ to your channel

    2. Select one EQ point

    3. Set the EQ point to 20,000Hz, or whatever the highest frequency is on the EQ

    4. Set the Q, or Width, of the EQ to its highest value (high Q = narrow width, low Q = wide)

    5. Set the EQ point to its highest possible boost, +18db or something, whatever is hieghest

    6. Make sure that you are NOT using headphones, and your speakers are not very loud

    7. Grab the EQ point with your mouse, and very slowly move the point along the frequency spectrum (careful not to alter the db boost or Q at the same time)


    As you slowly move the EQ along the frequency spectrum, you will notice that diffrent parts of the spectrum ''ring out'' with a long constant ringing sound of a single frequency, keep going along the frequency spectrum, all the way to the bottom, and back up again, make a mental note of where the sound ''rings out'' most

    the points which ring out will give you a good idea of how the sound is made up, what the biggest frequency spikes are and where it is lacking volume

    the mix may benefit from reducing the frequencies which ring out, if you are having trouble getting a mixdown nice and tight, and conversely, areas without allot of ringing may offer a little space for a boost


    It takes time to train your ears up, there is no way around it, but the more you practice, the better your hearing will get :)


    eventually you will hear straight away where those resonant points are, and how the spectrum is being filled by the sound....thats how producers can say, it needs XXXhz cutting and XXXXhz boosting, within a few seconds of listening and without having to notch sweep the sound
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  5. groelle

    groelle Well-Known Member

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    listen to miszt ^^^ he knows better than i do.

    dont forget to bypass your eq after youve done any altering, and try to do so with your eyes closed. alternate between bypassing and eq on effect and decide if its better to be left out.

    sometimes you eq for the sake of eqing, or you just flat out eq wrongly..
     
  6. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Thanks for good advice. It's nice to have some method to follow, even if it does take ages to do every EQ.
    What about other subtle things, like different types of saturation and distortion? Loads of people go on about different distortion plugins, they all sound the same to me....
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  7. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    What's 'good or bad' frequencies anyway? That's subjective and depends on the context. There is only 'frequencies' (high,low or in between) so I wouldn't worry about that.
    You decide what is good or bad for your own reasons and then you apply the eq. So if you have introduced a pad sound to fill out the mid frequencies you might cut all the highs off it so it doesn't mask the hi-hats etc etc. Using a frequency analyser all the time on every sound helped me to eventually understand (or start to) what I was hearing (rumble, bit crusher artifacts, resonant mids etc etc)
    I don't see how it's something you can learn without just doing it for hours and hours and hours.

    Same goes (100 times more so I reckon) for subtle saturation and subtle compression, that's hard to hear blind as a newb. Just experience again, but you can still learn the science behind it and use it that way.
     
  8. ApeCat

    ApeCat Human Dubplate

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    'I think "bad" frequencies in this context means resonance spikes, which really are bad, if left untended they just get progressively worse as you process the sound.
     
  9. Mania

    Mania i fukin wot m8

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    This, really helps you understand how EQing works. A/B'ing is also great for learning compression.
    Also guys resonant peaks are usually alright it they are harmonic (the same note as the fundamental), mainly with snares and synths.
     
  10. ApeCat

    ApeCat Human Dubplate

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    Thinking more along the lines of distorted ringing sounds in stretched samples, hats and live breaks, those usually suck. Once I got into surgical EQ I just went freaking nuts about it and threw three to five EQ's on everything, searching for spikes, now I just hunt for very obviously "bad" shit that's sitcking out.
     
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  11. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    it depends, its most often the resonant points which over lap with other sounds, which need to be dealt with using EQ - certainly you wouldnt take out a snares main freq hit @ around 200hz, but by sweeping thru all your other sounds and finding and removing the resonant points at the same freqz, you can give your snare allot more space by then taking them out (thats one that most people know already, but it applies to all sounds)

    the important thing is to not over EQ, so work out which part of the sound you want, and EQ other sounds to give it space, being careful to EQ areas of the sound with ''less important'' freqz as much as possible

    big resonant spikes can be tamed with gentle compression and carefull mixdown, if they are an important part of the sound (for eg EQing the spikes out of a bell, will fuck the bell), then careful compression is a better option that lots of EQ

    - - - Updated - - -

    that all comes down to taste really - if they all sound the same to you, then you are probably pushing them all to hard and to wet, try a gentle gain and 5%-20% wet, also play around with any tone or EQ settings, getting the distortion on just for eg 5000hz, will give a very different affect (and is oftem more useful) than having it on the full bandwidth

    also worth bearing in mind that distortion layers can be a fantastic tool, for eg, overdrive @ 5khz and 5% wet, then a chorus plugin, then a saturation plugin @ 5%...etc etc
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
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  12. Dugg Funnie

    Dugg Funnie Well-Known Member

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    Ya this can happen, I've been more and more gentle even with surgical EQ cuts lately; only cutting the really obvious resonance events and instead of just slamming the EQ parameter all the way down I just do it progressively until the peak is a non-issue. Too many times I've EQ'd and wound up than a sound that's just dead because of all the EQ cutting out the airy bits that make the sample breath.
     
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  13. Interruptor

    Interruptor Member

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    ^ This indeed, for example the 250hz muddiness in a kick sample... Cutting a bit = yes, cutting too much = no power, no punch, phase problems and an overall pffff.