A couple questions about equalization

After having experienced the awe inspiring results of a KNIF equalizer for several hours, I may be taking the plunge and buying my first piece of hardware. I just have not ever seen a single tool so unlike any software plugin give so many mind blowing results in a single session!

I’ve reached out on several other forums and gotten zero help.

…I’ve been eyeballing some hardware units to try and get a super immaculate sounding hardware unit that can be used in cinematic VO. I saw a REQ2 go up for grabs on eBay, but when I looked at the manufacture product description, this junk was way over my head.

The REQ-2.2 equalizer utilises parallel resonant circuits in a clever configuration whereby the bandwidth (Q) of the circuit can be adjusted like an active filter, but without any complex relay switching. The inductor/capacitor resonant “tank” eq circuit runs at a low internal signal level which avoids any inductor saturation effects. The overall result is the sound of real choke based filters with a big open sound, but without the limitation of only a few - or no bandwidth selections as found on traditional choke eq’s.

What is the relationship between the active filter and a relay switch?

Whats a tank circuit?

And whats a choke based filter?

we have included a saturation section that introduces measured amounts of low frequency harmonic distortion via a steel audio transformer driven by a single ended tansistor amplifier. The High Pass Filter is placed in the beginning of the eq chain and the Low Band eq section is placed last in the chain. This layout produces the best overall equalizer coherency.

What the hell is a single ended transistor amplifier? If a transistor amp isn’t single ended…well…what else can it be?? I’m really frickin confused.

Ugh??? How you have HPF -> Low band EQ and also claim the unit is parallel? WTF? Doesn’t that make it NOT parallel by definition?

Help. Please.

what you are reading is a lot of buzz words. The entire point of the product description is to use a bunch of words that people will not understand to make it sound like it’s doing something different. It sounds like it was written by a politician.

Stop reading that crap. Or better yet, stop trying to pull meaning out of it. It’s not meant to have meaning. It’s designed specifically to confuse the reader.

If it sounds good, use it. If it doesn’t, move on to something else.

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Absolutely agree with this! Grew up in a house with an electronic engineer (my dad) and we talked electronics all day. It could be that this description is honest yet dressed up with words that no mortal can understand. Amplifiers take a signal and make it bigger. Transparent ones do it without introducing any artefacts to the signal. Otherwise you add artefacts in the form of distortion. EQ’s themselves are simply circuits designed to selectively boost of cut certain frequencies, and the idea of putting a switch / relay makes no sense to me. Buzz words for people to get confused and part with their money!

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I see how this could be possible, but I’m having a hard time separating fluff from substance. That’s my problem here. Manley does this too…they go in depth about the circuit, but the break it down in a way that a normal sound engineer can understand. Manley, like Crane Song (in my opinion) has a proven track record of making high end gear that brings incredible value to some users. I wondered if that Buzz Audio unit was actually a real good unit, but the guys in that small company just did a terrible job explaining it in a way people could understand.

I think the technical data can help you weed out units that are one of 2 things:
a) not truly unique in their design
b) clearly of lower quality than the excessive price would imply (and that’s a real danger in buying high end gear in my opinion)

So it can’t tell you what the EQ does, but the specs on paper can tell you a think or two about what it CAN’T do.

So people have different comfort levels they need to be at before they buy something. If a manufacturer can’t (or won’t) take the time to explain why a single EQ unit, a microphone, or a converter box is truly worth several thousand dollars, then Boz is right, it really is time to pass on it, but I wanted to give it a fair shake before moving on. I feel information (within reason) really does help the buyer in some cases.

Here we go:

This helped quite a bit. If anyone is curious…

Buzzwords was a poor choice of words on my part. It’s written to be intentionally confusing to the customer, without being inaccurate. It’s not the content itself that is wrong, it’s the purpose behind the content. It’s definitely intentional, and it’s designed to confuse, not inform.

I hope what I said didn’t come across like this. To explain in words why an EQ might be worth $1000 is almost impossible. BS superiority tactics in marketing can be seen on products of all quality levels. It’s not an indicator of a good or bad product, it’s just an indicator of salesmen being salesmen. If it sounds good and fits your budget, I see no reason not to buy it. But nothing in that description indicates whether it’s good or bad.

To quote the guy in the other thread who gave a good response

“The difference is more ascetic than anything else. So, don’t fall into the trap of tying to determine which type of EQ is better, they can all be excellent or crap. Listening to them is the only real arbiter.”

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Oh…you’re good. It didn’t. I’m having a bit of trouble communicating my thought. Let me try and rephrase.

I’d expect to see some kind of legitimate reason a certain EQ is priced at $6k. I leave the responsibilities of communicating that part to the manufacturer in the shopping process. I think its reasonable to attempt to understand what the product designer thinks is so good about it that product that it warrants it price tag. I’m not trying to evaluate the sonic characteristics of an EQ based on what it looks like on paper.

Please understand that I’m not trying to complicate things beyond gathering information. Namely looking at what they say its ‘supposed’ to do, then deciding based on that if its even in the ballpark of what I’m after. But as of yesterday, I really didn’t even understand THAT.

That’s because you aren’t the target audience that the description was written for. 95% of people who are buying an EQ don’t know what that means. And the truth is that none of it means anything in terms of quality. It’s an ad disguised as technical description. And in the end it’s meaningless because none of the description is in any way indicative of quality, either good or bad.

It could be that it takes a lot of manual labor to make. It could be that the parts are really expensive. It could be that pricing it that high makes it more desirable. It could be that that’s the price that they have found provides the highest profit. I suspect a bit of all of those.

If it sounds good to you, then none of those reasons matter.

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I understand that it can be interesting to geek out on the way things work, but really, at the end of the day either you like how it sounds or you don’t. If you like how it sounds, and it makes things faster, or makes your life easier, then it seems like a great tool to implement. But I can assure you, as much as I miss mixing with analog gear, there is nothing that stops me from making a killer record using plugin EQs. And yeah, whenever I get into Echo Mountain to produce an act, and whenever I end up getting in the way of my engineer to turn the API EQ or the Neve 8068 EQ, I can’t help but marvel at how nice they sound. But then I go back to dealing with performance issues at hand, since that will have everything to do with how the record comes off. The EQ is irrelevant.

Enjoy, Mixerman

Amen brother.

Eric, I’m trying to narrow some of them down by what they look like on paper… at least weed out the ones that aren’t even in the ballpark because they were designed to do different stuff.

I’m throwing in the towel on this whole thing. Had a quick chat with the director of sound engineering at Park Road Studios. He talked me out of it. And he’s not the only major name engineer who has insisted that EQ’s shouldn’t ever be used while tracking. He’s totally right. I’ve never thought about it like this, but he pointed out that under no circumstances is it ever possible for a tracking engineer to make an informed decision about how EQ should be applied. I was thinking that if I could make corrective moves at the tracking stage, it would save time later (like music recordists do), but it doesn’t work like this. The reason is that the tracking engineer can’t possibly know what types of creative decisions the RRM’s (that stands for re-recording mixer) will make down the road. Diegetics (for those of you who don’t know those are sound sources that are directly accounted for by an event happening within he cue), scores, room tones/ambiences, music submixes, foley, and surround implementation…all this changes the EQ choices. The ADR/dialogue department rarely has access to this stuff. Its just not their job to manage EQ details. The RRM’s are much better positioned to make all decisions regarding EQ. Thought you’d find that interesting.

…but I did gain some fascinating information from inquiring about those EQ boxes!!


I’m glad tracking engineers arent allowed to do anything at all with eq now, as I was getting worried that they might get ideas above their station, they are just glorified tape ops anyway…

…said the mix engineer. :wink:

I see this as a good thing if it prevents messing things up for the RRM’s that are billing the clients between $4000-$6000 pr day depending on what country the studio is located in

We’re doing a lot more than that. A lot of this comes down to file management for enormous size sessions, timecode spotting, managing cue sheets, and formatting deliverables. Someone’s gotta do this stuff dude. And if the dialogue guys start dropping the ball, the entire audio end of the film can turn into an epic shit show overnight.

nobody ever paid me 4$k a day to record anything so i’d guess you have a pretty specialist gig right there, eq or no eq.

If it was me, Id buy the Knif just for the cue mix, lol.

Ha! The RRM’s aren’t getting $4000 - $6000 pr day - that’s the total lease price of the room.

That’s hilarious. $10k into an equalizer so your clients can have mid/side EQ on their headphones. ROFL

Interesting. I am by no means that heavily involved with film. In my opinion, anyone who decides where a mic goes is, in effect, making eq and possibly compression decisions. From the perspective that some mic’s, like tube mics, can have natural compression etc. Anyone who has ever placed a mic knows that they are making frequency decisions. How do you separate eq vs mic placement decisions? The two are inherently linked.

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Absolutely. That’s a great question. The mic decision itself can be considered an EQ decision in that regard. The objective is to start with the most transparent un-colored signal chain you can possibly achieve. That’s why 9 out of 10 times you’ll see U87’s in booths. And it’ll be the new U87, not a vintage one.

My initial thought was that if an outboard EQ helps you capture the ‘naturalness’ of the VO actor, then why not use it? If I hear a bothersome spike at 250 or 400, why simply EQ it out on the spot? The line of reasoning stems from 2 premises: you don’t spend someone else payroll fixing something unless its broke. And you should never have to use an EQ on a VO actor. Never compression either. If you’re dealing with an out-of-control dynamics situation, you set up 3 mics and gain stage them separately. I know. Its different. This surprised me as I’ve learned more about this process because of how dissimilar they are to the music recording process.

Its also not the engineers job to coach the performance out of the actor, and you can get yourself in trouble for overstepping here. This is another area its really different than music. You don’t really ‘collaborate’ with your VO artists in the sense you do when you’re engineering a music project. I think the biggest difference of mindset a dialogue recordist has to adopt is that they’re really NOT part of the creative process in the way an engineer is. Its much more of a mechanical and organizational roll in a film or video game. Think of this job being like a court reporter or a medical transcriptionist. Capture the data, that’s it. As I’m starting to understand that part better, I guess it makes sense why you wouldn’t EQ anything.

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Ive read that too about not EQ during Tracking.

I know from experience, maybe the worst thing I did for 10yrs was EQ not only during Tracking but during Tracking as a home recordist hobbyist wearing closed back shit headphones…and every time the play back through speakers would be depressing and horrific.

then one day I had hi-speed internet hooked up and all this recording knowledge was at my finger tips, around 2003-4… and I recall arguing with some guy about using headphones for mixing, assuming everyone was a doofus like me online with a HR bedroom studio, then I looked up his credentials and he was a hi-end, studio dude trying to help the doofus beginners out…and Mixing and setting tones up using crap closed back headphones was well explained.

the credibility came when all my stuff was garbage can treble crap sounds and his was polished pro sounds…so who do I believe and listen to myself or his recordings? lol…

Im just saying… Home Solo Hobbyists start out screwed as they cant be on both sides of the glass at the same time, one with closed back headphones on and the other side of the glass with monitors deciding the position of the mics and etc…

these days with great plug-ins and DAW’s… good mics and preamps… try your best for the room or a cool location that might have some vibe… mic positions can be like EQ but its more natural…
Ive read this enough too.

no eq, no compression…just mic & preamp to the DAW and let the mixing stage do the rest.
even the compression is better left off or at some invisible 2:1 setting it seems.

personally in general I think people have just gotten really really lazy and would rather run the world from a keyboard than get up and move a microphone, add a plugin instead of adding room treatment, use autotuned instead of practicing, use superior drummer instead of a live room hassle that never sounds as good as the pro’s…

but perfection gets boring too doesn’t it? or maybe that’s the skill of a Pro they don’t get bored or lazy as easily and continue the painful process to achieve better results?

coffee’s kicking… hell yes…