Vocal specific EQ?

I’m not even sure this beast exists so I’m posting this here to a) see if it does and b) see what people recommend if so.

In the limited experience I have with vocalists, I’ve noticed that EQ changes can be made but they are note dependent. In other words, the bunching up of frequencies shifts up or down as the vocal lines are being sung.

Is there an EQ that will allow me to set a reference point and then make changes to the bands relative to the reference point? The idea is that, as the singer sings the vocal lines, the EQ changes get applied relative to how the reference point shifts dynamically as a function of time.

This would be immensely helpful, I would imagine, for people like me with a deviated septum whose voice is noticeably impacted by the structure of my nasal cavity. Ditto for people with polyps, etc. because the bunching of frequencies is more prominent and needs to be reduced. Granted, automation could be used to change the bands, but this is cumbersome at best.

Hey Larry,

I’m not sure what you are asking exists, but in the case you present, this is my approach:

With problem vocals that have major tonal differences between notes I see how wide spread it is for approach.

For instance, if the impact is in whole sections, like the singer going from chorus to verse, the difference is noticed in whole section vs whole section, I will process the sections using different tracks with different equal settings.

If it varies line by line and not predictable, the easiest way is to use a dynamic eq. I usually insert a linear multiband, namely uad precision multiband. With that I can keep the sound balanced very transparently. If I want smoother, I will blanket it with a slow character compressor like a la2a.

I recorded a singer that had a piece of shrapnel hit his throat and really did some damage. I don’t remember the whole story, sorry. He had some weird resonances, but where the resonance was in relation to the note was always different. The same goes for most of the other challenging singers I’ve recorded. Are you sure it isn’t a upper resonance that is making you think it is the actual note? Some shifts happen when singers change in range but I’ve haven’t come across what you describe. Maybe I am not following you.

I’m going by what FabFilter Q was showing me in the analysis graph while mixing a song I did a while back.

What is a dynamic EQ? Or, more precisely, how does it work?

OK, I view a dynamic eq as a broths/sister of a multiband compressor. The difference to me is multibands have sharp cutoffs and are plateaus where as a dynamic eq works with nodes. They both have their place.

Look at fab’s pro-mb or hofa’s iq-eq for a node-based dynamic equal
Uad precision multiband and waves c4 for multiband compressors

On the idea level this sound like, in the wrong hands, the result could easily start sounding like you run it through a wah-wah pedal … :laughing:

Hey Larry, that mic you were considering may be the ticket for your voice. I was thinking about it and a smoother sounding mic may wind up working better for you. You should let me know when you are down in the area. I would set up a few microphones, namely Lewilson 247 which is in the same flavor of what you were looking at along with a few others. All you would need is a mix of one of your tracks without any vocals and bring the vocal track you recorded as a benchmark.

If all else fails parallel process with a wahwah and blend to taste! :stuck_out_tongue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GurMDoB55EI (brainworx dynEQ)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOC6xjU6Zho (build your own dynamic EQ from basic principles)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCHHYOJOlvc (3 scenarios - GlissEQ (De-essing … what settings?), Melda.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan08/articles/mixrescue_0108.htm (freeware iq4, towards the end. Not sure, but it might be 32-bit only)


Having said all that, as of now, I just listen for harsh spots, figure out where they are (the old fashioned “boost-and-listen” way, but I might use Curve-Eq and see about that), and then automate EQ notches at those points.

Might trial one of the others (or build my own like in the steinberg forum link) and see if it’s any better …

Re: the build your own option linked to in that Steinberg forum thread in my previous post,

viewtopic.php?p=17234 :

Just to help me understand better … why a band-pass filter, rather than an EQ where you can more sharply notch out the offending frequency (more specifically, send the vocal to a group with an EQ that has the offending frequency gained way up, followed by a gate and then the phase inversion)?

Wouldn’t that be “less blunt” a tool than a bandpass?

A band pass filter only lets what is passed through. A full range signal with a bell, then reversed will attenuate the entire sprectum.

Yeah, sorry, thanks for that, I was a bit confused.

How tight can band pass filters be made … tight enough to notch out a narrow vocal resonance (or three) that only occur when they sing loud … or not that tight, and so a fair amount of the vocal gets processed that didn’t need to … ?

I don’t think you can pass multiple bands in one eq. I know i can bandpass dicerent regions in my sonitus multiband and uad prescision multiband by soloing sections. You would have to see what you can do with what you have. If there are multiple notches, I would lean toward a dynamic eq that uses nodes. Band pass subtraction as described here I have used to make space for another instrument. For instance, I would bandpass subtract a bass, just the lows where a kick punch would be to keep the remainder of a the bass.

Thanks again, Woodcrest Studio. I’ll look some more at Dynamic EQs. GlissEq, Sonalksis … anyone like any others (not too expensive … just looking at something with this function, not a whole Fab kitchen sink EQ type of package …)?

Glisseq gets really good reviews. If money is a concern, start there. I really think fab’s promb looks flipping stellar.

Will do, thanks. Crazy thing is that a I can’t find a youtube where they are using it to do that dynamic notching, even though I know I’ve read it’s one of its main uses! Will keep looking, just started yesterday.

The Melda dynamic EQ is used in the 3rd youtube in linked to in my post of yesterday.

GlissEQ Review: http://youtu.be/P8OLIE8vGHE

Gets into the dynamic eq usage.

Nice one, thanks Woodcrest Studio!

I’m comparing some now on-line, I’d be happy if the Voxengo GlissEQ turned out to be the winner. It’s interesting, the guy in the video you linkedto said it wasn’t “surgical”, at least not enough to even do de-essing; but the guy in my 3rd linked video shows a de-essing example (though he’s not clear about what settings he made). Also noticed the GlissEQ has M/S, and a nice curve display/spectrum analyzer, no side chain control. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3LOfQz0DT4

Others I’m looking at are Melda MDynamicEQ (about the same price, $90 or so), has side chain but no M/S or linear phase EQ. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07Df5kDC9xY . [EDIT: It does have M/S processing, that was an error to say it does not.]

And also Sonalksis DQ1, about twice as expensive because it comes bundled with a multiband comp. I’m not able to tell by reading the manual whether it has M/S, linear phase EQ, or even a spectrum analyzer. https://www.sonalksis.com/dq1.htm

Looks like brainworx dynEQ V2 is overkill (has a billion things it can do, maybe not linear phase eq though) http://www.brainworx-music.de/en/plugins/bx_dyneq_v2 , but amazingly enough until the 1st of the year was on sale for the same price as the other guys ($99) someone said. I’d probably pass on it even with all it’s functionality … actually because of all its functionality … I just want a dynamic EQ, and it would take me forever going through the manual to get past all the other stuff to get there!

Anyway, thanks again for your help, I left tracks here for someone else if they come behind, foolomon are you making any headweigh in your search?

Melda looks cool! Love the filter sweep ability.

Pro-MB may be the way to go since I use FabFilter Pro-Q, Pro-C, and Pro-L already.

Just learning about all this (in a very transparent and humbling manner on this very thread …!), I couldn’t tell by the reading the product description that the Pro-MB had a Dynamic EQ function in with everything else it did. Of course I don’t know what your specific results need to be, but did someone mention up top that it was more of a Dynamic EQ than a multi-band comp?

Anyway, if I’m confused about that, someone please set me straight - thanks!


Amazingly in-depth review of Melda dynamic eq.

Only thing I see it is missing is linear phase eq. Voxengo’s GlissEQ has that. Tbh, I don’t know how necessary that is for this process. The other advantage of GlissEQ that may be there is the simultaneous display of multiple track spectra simultaneously … maybe that’s not so important since CurveEQ is included in Cubase.

Any thoughts welcome!