Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

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GillyDJ
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Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by GillyDJ » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:45 pm

I've heard that you shouldn't really boost using digital EQs but you should instead cut the frequencies that you don't need and then raise the gain to bring the volume back up.

However, is this really an issue if your track's volume is only at for example -18db. If you boost by +3db at 100Hz say, surely all you are doing is increasing that track's volume to -15db and you are not peaking over 0db.

Please could someone explain?

Thanks.

3dot...
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by 3dot... » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:06 pm

there shouldn't be a difference imo..
it's all about relations..
I do tend to cut more than boost..
but I think it's only a perception..
I see a digital eq as a means to surgically remove/attenuate undesired freqs..
maybe slightly boost wide ranges..as contrast..
mainly because it's "static"..(which can be a good thing sometimes)
if I need "color" or boosts..I tend to use other stuff..
in this order ..
cut (digital parametric eq)..
then boost for emphasis..(some nice gear emulation or saturation/distotion..or if you have nice outboard gear)

keep in mind that especially in eq.. less is more..
the boosting part is not always needed..(or at least can be compensated for in mastering)
the cutting part almost always is!
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Vios
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by Vios » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:56 pm

In general, it's good practice to have the audio coming in and going out of your equalizer (and any other effect for that matter) to be the same apparent volume (ie sounds the same volume level, not necessary be the same on VU meters). That way you can quickly tell if the effect you're applying is having a positive effect on your audio, by switching it on and off. The reason you want the apparent volume to be the same is that louder will almost always sound better, so if you don't control for it, you'll always end up boosting versus cutting.

I would say it's good practice to cut more than you boost when equalizing. However there are definitely times it's good to boost. I think a 2:1 ratio of cutting to boosting works as a good rough guideline. Boosting in general adds a lot more character to your sound and typically your goal isn't at that stage to add character. Typically the main goals with equalization are to make the track sound better, and especially make the track mix well with the other tracks in your song.

Something I run into, is I'll have a track that isn't fitting well within a mix: it's not popping out like it should. There are two things I can do to help it stick out in the mix - boost frequencies in the track I want to pop, or cut frequencies in other tracks to "get out of the way". I usually do a bit of booth, but I do more cutting. Let's say I have a piano part whose "core frequencies" are 750-2000KHz (the frequencies that really contain the bulk of the information or sound of a part). I would go to my piano track and boost by 1-2dB at that frequency range. Then I would go to my other parts and cut the same range by maybe 3-4dB.

Hope this offers help,
-V

Tone Deft
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:27 pm

^good stuff.

all the way to 2 MHz? that's some intense signals you're processing. :wink:
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

jasinski
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by jasinski » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:01 pm

Some general EQ advice I read or heard once that has stuck with me:
Cut to sound better, boost to sound different.
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Tarekith
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by Tarekith » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:09 am

In general our ears are slightly more biased towards hearing boosts in frequencies versus cuts. It's a small difference for most people, but cutting the stuff you don't want can usually be less noticeable than boosting what you do want. And I don't mean cutting it all with steep filters, just bringing down the stuff you don't want 4dB or so.

Khazul
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by Khazul » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:29 am

A cut doesnt add anything to the signal (yes - obvious you say, but the the point is - cut is not always the opposite of boost)
Some EQ add a bit to more the sound than just a frequency boost - some tiny amount of resonance - like a synth filter when the Q is > 0.5 - EQ3 for eg has a fixed Q of about 0.6 I think, so it always colours the sound.

You can get around this by cutting and summing with a phase inverted version to get a transparent boost if required. Notch filter mode using this inversion trick is a good way of making a very clean band isolator as well out of EQ8.

Because of the resonance when you boost, then boosts tend to sound more transparent with a low Q (<0.5).
Cuts on the other hand can generally be steep as you like.
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GillyDJ
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by GillyDJ » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:59 am

Thanks for the EQ cut/boost and gain staging responses but nobody has actually answered the question...

If you load an EQ8 in Live or a Channel EQ in Logic, they both flatline at 0db, but I am assuming this is inside the device of the EQ so is reletive to the signal coming in then out.

Example;

If the volume coming in is 0db and you raise the gain across the spectrum by 3db, then the volume coming out will be +3db, right? I know you can gain stage back down to 0db by lowering the output gain but technically it is said it is not supposed to be good to ever let an EQ go over 0db. Why? what is the theory behind this???

If the input volume was -3db and you boosted by 3db, then the output volume would be 0db. Is this ok because you never go over 0db in the chain or is this still frowned upon because you let the EQ itself go over 0db inside the device?

Some might say it is a silly question because if this was the case then digital EQs would be built with a 0db ceiling.

I just need to understand WHY people say you should not boost above 0db with a DIGITAL EQ.


Thanks

Tarekith
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by Tarekith » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:22 pm

I have no idea, I've never heard anyone say don't boost an Eq above 0dB.

GillyDJ
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by GillyDJ » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:36 pm

Timothy Allan said it in his Groove3 videos and so did Olav Basoski in his MacProVideo videos.

I read it somewhere else too, something about 'phase shift'.

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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by Tarekith » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:55 pm

Let's see if Tim chimes in here then and can explain himself :)

Vios
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by Vios » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:04 pm

Tone Deft wrote:^good stuff.

all the way to 2 MHz? that's some intense signals you're processing. :wink:
That's right. My tracks are so intense they produce medium frequency radio waves. :lol:

fx23
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by fx23 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:33 pm

in a float32 system with headroom such as live eq8 you can go above 0 . 0 is no more the limit, exept for some vst that fixed limit to 0 on input
if dealing with vst you should stay under 0. but with live native eq8 it's easy to try it by yourself, entering @0db, boosting of +3db will indeeded boost of 3db, but the signal still won't be cliped if ie behind you relevel down of -3db and master is under 0, you will clearly hear that the signal wasn't distorted/cliped during process. foget the last two rulez this and the -18db thing cause you aren't concerned by this.

Tone Deft
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:50 pm

Vios wrote:
Tone Deft wrote:^good stuff.

all the way to 2 MHz? that's some intense signals you're processing. :wink:
That's right. My tracks are so intense they produce medium frequency radio waves. :lol:
production straight to the airwaves!

don't even know the last time I turned on a radio. I think it was in a San Diego rental car in December.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

dtrue17
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Re: Boosting above 0db using digital EQs i.e. EQ8 in Live

Post by dtrue17 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:45 pm

Tone Deft wrote: production straight to the airwaves!

don't even know the last time I turned on a radio. I think it was in a San Diego rental car in December.
haha, last time I listened to the actual radio (not online) was in San Diego in a rental car last June... Jazz 88.3!
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