Copyright to each post is owned respectively by the author and issueing website.
all music feeds | all tech feeds
If I there's one plug-in that's the audio equivalent to a Swiss Army knife, it would have to be the EQ plug-in. From subtle corrections to drastic sound design changes, you can use an EQ plug-in for an almost infinite list of tasks. In this tutorial, I will show you one such technique, called Sweeping the Frequencies, that can give you surgical-like precision when EQing and notch filtering a sound source to better fit in your mix.
Looking at the Sound
When using an EQ—which is short for Equalizer—you are essentially given control over a sound source’s volume. But instead of having an overall global affect, like when using the master gain on a channel strip, you can turn the volume up or down on specific frequency bands independent of the other frequencies.
You can quite literally filter which frequency bands you want to turn up or down and affect only the ones you want, which is where the term filter comes from. Most DAWs will come with at least one EQ plug-in, and most commonly a type of EQ called a Parametric EQ.
To use the frequency sweep technique you will need to use a Parametric EQ plug-in, because this specific type of EQ haves three features that are needed:
Parametric EQs have at least one sweepable frequency control that you can use to select any frequency in the EQ's frequency range; typically from 20Hz up to 20kHz, which happens to be the normal range of human hearing.
Parametric EQs also have a control to select how much of the adjacent frequencies to the selected range are affected, commonly called The Q Factor—Q for short— or Resonance. If you adjust the Q, you can see the EQ curve widening or narrowing to affect more or less of the surrounding frequencies.
- Finally, parametric EQs typically have an analyzer option that lets you view the frequency curve of the incoming audio signal.
There are other features unique to Parametric EQs that make them very versatile, but it is these three features that let you perform the frequency sweeping technique.
How and Why It Works
Before performing this technique, it is a good idea to have an understanding of what you are doing so you can know what to look for. You can think of this technique as using an EQ like a magnifying glass for your audio, exaggerating and magnifying individual frequency bands almost on a harmonic level for you to be able to have a closer inspection audibly.
This technique is useful for locating problem frequencies that are in need of adjustment; typically by turning them down. Notch filtering is when you remove a very narrow band of frequencies.
If you've ever heard anybody say something to the effect of, “There is a loud Bb in there,” referring to almost any type of sound when producing, this is a case when you would want to sweep the frequencies to locate and “notch out” said unwanted harmonic.
Sweeping the Frequency Spectrum
Sweeping the frequencies of an audio source is a deceptively simple technique, but once it's usefulness is realized in your day-to-day workflow, it will be a welcome but of production knowledge.
- First you want to insert a parametric EQ on the channel you want to analyze and enable the EQ’s analyzer function. This feature is not absolutely necessary, but it makes this technique more intuitive.
- Next, select one of the sweepable parameters of the EQ. It doesn't matter which band you use, as long as it can be set anywhere in the frequency range. If you are going to be using more than one band of a single EQ plug-in, it can be good to select the bands in succession for organizational purposes.
- Then you want to set the gain very high, and the Q so that there are no adjacent frequencies being affected. Finally, set the frequency selection to as high as it will go. This is the beginning point of the sweep.
Tip: Make sure your volume is at a safe level. This is a technical technique more so than a creative one. You want to be able to comfortably hear the audio without fatiguing you're ears.
Once you have the EQ set, start audio playback and begin to slowly move the frequency selection back and forth in a sweeping motion. What you want to listen for are any frequencies that when passed over are way too loud. Alternatively, if you hear a frequency that you want to remove or otherwise adjust, but are not sure which, listen for the problem frequency to become very noticeable when sweeping over.
Once you have located the frequencies in need of adjusting, you can notch them out as much or as little as you deem necessary. The great thing about most parametric plug-ins is they have multiple sweepable parameters, so you can use a single instance to make multiple corrections.
This audio example is a bit extreme. It's from a piano passage of a song I produced. The keys are played in quick succession, which causes the harmonics to build up over time.
You can noticeably hear the frequencies, but unless you have perfect pitch hearing, you may not know exactly where these frequencies are, making this a good candidate for sweeping to reduce some of the buildup.
Piano before EQing:
Piano after EQing:
This audio example is a drum groove that I programmed using two layered snare samples—one of an acoustic snare, and the other a digital noise type snare. The acoustic snare sample has a high C to C# overtone that is sticking out and distracting from the rest of the groove, so I want to remove it.
Drum groove before EQing:
Drum groove after EQing:
The Central Executives aren’t advertising their real names or anything but I want to bet they have something to do with Whatever We Want Records and the No Ordinary Monkey party. A Walk in the Dark is as successfully anarchic as those projects, referencing all sorts of strange proto-house and disco offshoots. The actual lede here is that I apparently listened to A1, “High Roads,” 22 times before I made it to the second track. It’s like Dinosaur L’s “Clean On Your Bean” crossed with La Perversita’s “I Love You S…,” or maybe something by Love of Life Orchestra, with a lady seductively talking about roads on top. Its groove is gentle, suave, narcotized, and I want to say timeless, or at least out-of-time.
While this track feels like it could have arrived in the early 80s, there are moments where modern touches are more apparent, as on the rigidly funky “Shut Ya Face,” or “Power Point,” with its typing clap sound; both remind of DC Recordings or Maurice Fulton in their playfulness. Others are more subtle, with their age primarily distinguished by the fatness of their kickdrums. I’m not sure if this album is actually top-heavy, but it’s very easy to get stuck on the first few tracks. “Loveray 79″ interpolates a little Harry Nilsson (“people keep talking to me…”) atop a busily strutting arrangement, and then “Waveform Reform” has a guy scatting and a vibraphone solo. Perhaps the best way to describe the album is to say that if you spend too much time listening to deep house, there are a lot of potentially ugly parts. There’s such a spectrum of instruments here, but, possibly because of how great the first track is, this madcap energy feels excusable, if not totally natural. More often than not, elements like the scatting or lounge jazz vocals work seamlessly with the more “tasteful” bits, like the rigid electro bass line that makes sultry closer “Take You Home” boom. A Walk in the Dark may inhabit an offbeat, not-very-salable zone, but its eclecticism, apart from “High Roads,” is also its strongest asset.
For three days every May, thousands upon thousands of electronic music’s most enthusiastic gravitate from around the globe to Detroit, where they seek asylum in the safe haven of Hart Plaza. It’s safe to say that, in many a mind, Movement is married to its location. The festival wouldn’t feel quite right anywhere but the riverfront venue, its landmarks and layout an integral component of the event itself. Host to myriad other annual events, including the Detroit International Jazz Festival and the African World Festival, there even exist those who believe Hart Plaza to be a bona fide portal to the cosmos, rich in symbolism and with palpable energy pulsing through it. Every Memorial Day weekend, the electrifying essence of the city itself, and the music’s anchor to its ancestry, make Detroit unmatched for those who submerge themselves in the deep sea of electronic sounds.
The heart of Hart Plaza, this stainless steal structure subsists in the center. Built by the Japanese American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi in 1981, it serves as a prime place to connect with your crew, or to sit in solitude while you watch the colorful people pass by. Noguchi is quoted as saying of his creation, which looks like a cosmic craft, “I wanted to make a fountain, a fountain which represents our times and our relationship to outerspace.” Talk about a techno-centric sci-fi fantasy.
Inspired by the double helix of DNA, this sculpture stands 120 feet-tall at the entrance to Hart Plaza. It was also made by the Japanese American Noguchi, as a cosmic companion to Dodge fountain. He says, “It relates to the atmosphere, wind, to space flight and all aspirations we have today.”
Although erected to pay homage to Michigan’s contributions to the Labor Movement, the two steel arcs known as Transcending, meant to be “spiritual and geometric,” take on a new meaning during this time. The plaza’s tectonics make it possible to reach transcendence through techno, sending revelers reeling through realms otherwise unobtainable.
Located near the beloved but bygone Beatport Stage (last year it was the Electric Forest Stage, this year is still TBA) when it’s time to take a breather and give your feet a break, the grassy knoll is the place to go. In addition to the fountain (and other spots you’re sure to stake out) the ‘grassy knoll’ is a good place to meet up with your mates, as well as make new ones. Wedged between the river and a [usually] more minimal/ambient stage, the breeze and beats here will wash over you, leaving you refreshed and ready to rock. Just beware security (most years distinguishable by their bright red shirts), as they prowl here during the day for deviants, so be discreet.
Having gained popularity at parties held in Detroit’s warehouses and abandoned buildings in the 90′s, techno still feels most at home surrounded by concrete and covered in darkness. Pitted so as to shun the sun, this unique stage offers a subterraneous setting for the stylings of artists like DVS1, Nicole Moudaber and Gregor Tresher. All three played the festival last year.
Made in Detroit
With a lineup of nothing but Detroit natives for the entirety of the event, the Made in Detroit Stage is a point of pride for locals, and a frequently-cited favorite for out-of-towners. Detroit’s electronic artists have earned their esteem in the global arena, and the city deserves this opportunity to puff out its chest and show off its pedigree.
Although ‘The Pyramid Stage’ has gone through several sponsors over the last few years (from 2009-2012 it was the Red Bull Music Academy Stage, last year it became the Beatport Stage) the enjoyment of this feature remains steadfast. When facing the stage, attendees look directly onto the Detroit River and the Ontario skyline to the South. Its deep concrete steps offers people, especially those who may be shorter in stature, unobstructed views and ample room to dance.
With wide steps that descend toward the center, the amphitheater envelops listeners, who come here to enjoy the sounds of the weekend’s biggest names. Boasting amazing acoustics, everyone from Todd Terje to Carl Cox to Cassy have thrown the festival into a frenzy from this focal point.
Get your ticket now and come see what all the fuss is about.
Diynamic boss Solomun is back with a fantastic new two track EP, Samson. It follows on from hugely successful reworks of The Foals and Audion & Tiga, continues in the Croats tradition of big hitting club tracks and is sure to be heard on dancefloors everywhere as the sun starts to come out across Europe. First track Medea is deep trippy peaktime monster with twist of house and techno. The rubbery, bobbling bassline underpins slick percussion, rolling claps and sweeps of dramatic white noise that really elevates you to another level. A bittersweet melody is dirty and tumultuous and comes in stabs and skewed slurs and will truly send hands in the air. Samson is a slower and deeper cut layered up with plenty of serene and widescreen pads. The main melody jumps up and down the scale in dazzling disco style as minor chords and subtle strings bring a sadness to the track. The epic breakdown is what really stands this track apart though, and when it kicks again you can really see dancefloors going off. A teary eyed and super emotive strings only version complete with choral singing is also included and rounds out what is sure to be one of Solomun and Diynamics biggest releases yet.
Title: Samson EP
Catalog No.: DIYNAMIC070