channel eq causing distortion

The channel EQ causes distortion / clipping at low frequencies.

I’ve notived for a long time that when using the built in channel EQ to boost lows, for example in kick drums, a sort of clipping / distorting / crackling sound is added to the sound. It’s always the same and it’s something that is messed up in the channel EQ.

Try this:

  1. blank project
  2. insert instrument track with Groove Agent One
  3. load Anna Hop kit
  4. draw a midi note on B0 on full velocity (triggers the cell KICK1)
  5. play it for some time and make a note of the sound
  6. enable first band on channel EQ and set it to + 6dB, 50 Hz, parametric 1, q=3
    7a) notice the clicking sound at the end of the kick sound?
    7b) you’re thinking: idiot: it’s the master fader clipping. Nope - lower the channel fader by 10 dB. Same thing.
  7. now diasbla the channel EQ and insert the studio EQ on the first insert slot with the same settings and notice how that doensn’t distort?
  8. bypass the studio EQ - re-enable the first band on the channel EQ and notice how the distortion is now gone?
  9. turn OFF the studio EQ insert and notice how the disortion re-appears?

Note: the insert a plugin in bypass works with some plugins - for example mod machine and mono delay, but NOT with distortion, bit crusher.


lasso - OK, I have to ask you, do you think the two different EQs are really that similar? I have to think that even if you could apply them into the chain the exact same way, that the two are different. And are you thinking that dropping the one EQ into an insert is applying the EQ feature into the channel chain in the same place? I suspect there must be a difference.

Anyway, I think I would trust the distortion of the channel EQ in this circumstance. In other words, given a solid kick drum sound, I can raise the 50 Hz band 6+ db and distort my monitor speakers easily. ?? So I don’t do this of course.

Not to question your abilities to setup your mixroom and monitor setup, but do you think it’s possible that the 50 Hz wave is cancelled out in your room - and you are, in fact, overdriving the monitors but are not able to hear the volume but only the distortion?

Have you tried mixing with quality headphones as a comparison?

With all respect I don’t think you read the test description closely. As mentioned - the distortion happens at any volume. And remember: it goes away with specific plugins inserted in bypass mode. Clearly something’s rotten.

It’s got nothing to do with with my monitors. I’ve got great monitoring, great room treatment, and I double checked with quality headphones. I’m pro.

Have you done the test?

BTW…it happens with 1 dB boosts as well. Just more suble.

Hmm, this sounds indeed not right, will try this out and report back if done.

With bass drums (and bass to a large extent) the general technique is very little eq or even bass reduction. I’m guessing that that bass has been optimised already so any bass eq added may distort if applied generously.

A general mistake is to try to add bass to a bass instrument. Recorded flat there should not be a lot to do as the bass should already be inherent in the sound itself.

Could be a bug though.

Could you be eqing some element at the end of the sample itself that is unheard normally? If so try editing the sample in GA to shorten it or record it to an audio track and shorten it and see if it goes away.
Does it also happen on other bass drums from the other kits?
And are other eq modules not doing this?

I can reproduce.
I tried to export (flat): same problem with audio track.

Simply nonsense. Acoustic kick drums often require generous boost in the low end, especially if recorded inside the shell close to the beater with dynamic microphones. 6 dB boost are nowhere unusual. And with any other eq than the Cubase channel EQ this in NO problem.

You bet it is.

Yes - it happens with other kicks as well. THis one was just to create a reproduceable example.

No - and as mentioned in the post, it even goes away when inserting certain plugins in bypass mode (or on for that matter).

Lasso - Er, no, I can’t test it exactly like you suggest because I don’t use a midi keyboard. What I can do is load the Anna Hop kit, initiate the EQ, choose the first EQ band, select it for 50Hz, and raise that frequency 12db (6 db over what you suggest). At this point, with my channel fader at 00, I can use my mouse to hit the pad ‘Kick 1’.

Everything is fine here, no clipping or distortion to speak of. ?? The meter is maybe 3/4 lit, plenty of headroom. Have you tried using the mouse to initiate the kick? Should this behave differently than the keyboard trigger? If somehow the use of the midi trigger increases the volume of the pad, well, I would not be the guy to say so.

Also you do not say but what C6 version are you using?

You have to listen for it. THe sound itself doesn’t change (apart from then eq of course) but a “snap” or “click” is introduced at the end of the sound.

Try to draw the notes in the piano roll in stead - maybe you’ll hear it clearer then.

Using 6.03 but this has been around for ages. I only just recently discovered what causes it.

Well aside from the general mistake a lot of people make when adding more bass to an already bassy signal, (especially drums ie: does anyone ever gaffer a 17th century cello to make it sound better?) since you’ve answered the rest of my questions satisfactorily I agree with you that this does look bug-like.

I’ll check it when I have time.

I think regarding the remarks 'bout EQing “low source” material like kicks and bass, it all depends on how well it’s recorded. In my experience if it is recorded well boosting will not improve the sound (the oppostie in fact), but not optimal recorded it may be boosted/cut to give the sound it’s signature (then again mostly the signal will to be weak).