Automatic EQ Opinions

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Mustang Martigan
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Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by Mustang Martigan » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:11 pm

I've been noticing more and more automatic EQ's being released. I hope I'm using the right term, but to my understanding, and automatic EQ is one that listens to and learns a segment of audio and then makes subtle boosts/cuts to unwanted frequencies and resonances, as well as boosting/cutting frequencies to complement the EQ changes implemented by the user. So products like Sonible frei:raum, iZotope Neutron, HOFA IQ-EQ and I'm sure I'm forgetting several others.

I've seen products like these scoffed at by pro engineers, anyone that's put in their 10,000 hours.. even I'm a bit reluctant to try them and I have alot to learn, which brings me to the reason for this post. Can these auto EQs act as a teaching aide of sorts? Giving you starting points and showing how certain frequencies interact with others, both in a positive and negative way?

I'm planning on demoing a few of these and I'm just looking for suggestions on which ones work the best and will help me down the line with EQ.

Thanks,
-Adam

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by kslight » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:08 am

I think Neutron is a great plugin for beginners and advanced users, whether or not you use the automatic features.


I have used it manually and automatically, as well as the somewhat related Ozone (also has automatic facilities).


You do get a visual representation so you can also see what it’s doing. Simply having good visuals I personally find useful, even if you still “use your ears.” Automatic can sometimes give you a good starting point, but I wouldn’t confuse it with say having a pro engineer give you their notes or whatever. It’s more just a different tool in the box.

I recommend giving it a demo and trying it for yourself. Lately I use Neutron on almost everything, usually in manual mode but it’s a great sounding, modern plugin with a lot of shaping power.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by Mustang Martigan » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:43 am

kslight wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:08 am
I recommend giving it a demo and trying it for yourself. Lately I use Neutron on almost everything, usually in manual mode but it’s a great sounding, modern plugin with a lot of shaping power.
That's definitely the plan.. trying them for myself. There just seem to be so many out there now; it's like a new one pops up overnight. I was hoping (with this post) to find out about some auto EQs that I haven't heard of. I really haven't done any research on auto EQ, I just know it exists. I'd assume that all of these auto EQs, while similar, go about it in different ways. Would this be correct?

Are these EQ's smart enough to analyze an entire mix or are they designed to work on a track to track basis? This is what I'm most curious about. I prefer EQing with the entire mix playing, instead of just one instrument soloed. Well, atleast the majority of the time.. there will always be exceptions.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by permanent hearing damage » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:58 am

kslight wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:08 am
I think Neutron is a great plugin for beginners and advanced users, whether or not you use the automatic features.


I have used it manually and automatically, as well as the somewhat related Ozone (also has automatic facilities).
Same here. More often than not, I use the track assistant in Neutron and then either tweak or change what it does, as it doesn't always help. I have a good amount of hours, having done this for 20ish years, but I don't always know that there is some buildup in the 600-900 Hz area. It definitely can help carve out problem frequencies that aren't obvious sometimes.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by kslight » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:08 am

Mustang Martigan wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:43 am
kslight wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:08 am
I recommend giving it a demo and trying it for yourself. Lately I use Neutron on almost everything, usually in manual mode but it’s a great sounding, modern plugin with a lot of shaping power.
That's definitely the plan.. trying them for myself. There just seem to be so many out there now; it's like a new one pops up overnight. I was hoping (with this post) to find out about some auto EQs that I haven't heard of. I really haven't done any research on auto EQ, I just know it exists. I'd assume that all of these auto EQs, while similar, go about it in different ways. Would this be correct?

Are these EQ's smart enough to analyze an entire mix or are they designed to work on a track to track basis? This is what I'm most curious about. I prefer EQing with the entire mix playing, instead of just one instrument soloed. Well, atleast the majority of the time.. there will always be exceptions.
Yes you can put them on a Buss or the master.

They are designed to work on a track by track basis also so they can talk to each other with the masking feature. And I honestly use it on a lot of stuff in place of Waves or other channel strips. It’s very good.

I think it’s smart enough to at least be in the ballpark most of the time. Sometimes it does things that I normally would not do, for better or for worse.

The companion mastering app Ozone also is based on the same tech and they can kind of talk to each other.

I haven’t used everything but I’ve used a lot of plugins. I think if you are looking for modern channel strips as opposed to “emulations of classics” Neutron 2 Advanced is one of if not the best.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by Mustang Martigan » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:42 am

kslight wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:08 am

I haven’t used everything but I’ve used a lot of plugins. I think if you are looking for modern channel strips as opposed to “emulations of classics” Neutron 2 Advanced is one of if not the best.
Seems like Neutron is where it's at for Auto EQ, and unfortunately WAY outta my price range. I've been reluctant to demo it, as well as a variety of expensive plugins.. I'm afraid that I'll fall in love with them and create a void for myself once the trial period ends.

However, splice.com offers a rent to buy deal $20 for 25 months for Neutron Advanced and $10 for Standard. Is the Advanced version really worth the extra $200? If all these plugin companies had rent to buy options; I'd be all over 'em.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by Mustang Martigan » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:48 am

kslight wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:08 am

I haven’t used everything but I’ve used a lot of plugins. I think if you are looking for modern channel strips as opposed to “emulations of classics” Neutron 2 Advanced is one of if not the best.
Seems like Neutron 2 is where it's at for Auto EQ. Is Ozone 8 nessacary if you're not mastering, just mixing? Or do they work hand in hand, even in the mixing stage?

splice.com offers a rent to buy deal $20 for 25 months for Neutron 2 Advanced and $10 for Standard. Is the Advanced version really worth the extra $200? If all these plugin companies had rent to buy options; I'd be all over 'em.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by kslight » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:49 am

Mustang Martigan wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:48 am
kslight wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:08 am

I haven’t used everything but I’ve used a lot of plugins. I think if you are looking for modern channel strips as opposed to “emulations of classics” Neutron 2 Advanced is one of if not the best.
Seems like Neutron 2 is where it's at for Auto EQ. Is Ozone 8 nessacary if you're not mastering, just mixing? Or do they work hand in hand, even in the mixing stage?

splice.com offers a rent to buy deal $20 for 25 months for Neutron 2 Advanced and $10 for Standard. Is the Advanced version really worth the extra $200? If all these plugin companies had rent to buy options; I'd be all over 'em.

Izotope has a pretty good rundown comparison chart, but I just briefly looked at it and you probably are fine with Standard.

Ozone is not necessary unless you are mastering. I think it’s the best sounding “mastering” tool I’ve used (read: sometimes I just have to make things loud for clients, I am not a mastering engineer). This can do loud and doesn’t sound like crap doing it, and it has a very useful reference mix mode.

I believe the bundle I have is the Music Production Suite. I have gotten this stuff on sale, especially around Black Friday, I didn’t pay anywhere close to the list prices.

Yes, Neutron is a little expensive. But for me, it replaces all kinds of other standalone EQs/dynamics I also own. So if you compared it to like buying a dozen good quality plugins, it is worth it.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by Mustang Martigan » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:34 am

kslight wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:49 am
Izotope has a pretty good rundown comparison chart, but I just briefly looked at it and you probably are fine with Standard.

Ozone is not necessary unless you are mastering. I think it’s the best sounding “mastering” tool I’ve used (read: sometimes I just have to make things loud for clients, I am not a mastering engineer). This can do loud and doesn’t sound like crap doing it, and it has a very useful reference mix mode.
Ya, I was looking at that chart as well, which is what made me ask the question about Neutron and Ozone working together. The chart shows Ozone to have some cool features that Neutron doesn't. I was just looking for the comparison chart to list the features that stood out to me, but I can't seem to find the page. Reference mix mode was definitely one of the things that popped off the page. I have no idea what it does, but it sounds amazing!

I might have already mentioned this, but I was watching one of Sonible's promo vids for Smart EQ+, and it had one really cool feature where the guy was manipulating a bell curve and the plugin was making cut/boost adjustments on the fly. Does Neutron also do this? I guess I just have to read the manuals (which, unfortunately, is not one of my strong suites) and demo the plugins to really get an understanding of how they work.

I'm hoping that these Auto EQ's act as a teacher of sorts, and give me a better understanding of how to use EQ. Not, oh damn, finally a plugin that'll do all the work for me.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by kslight » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 am

Mustang Martigan wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:34 am
kslight wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:49 am
Izotope has a pretty good rundown comparison chart, but I just briefly looked at it and you probably are fine with Standard.

Ozone is not necessary unless you are mastering. I think it’s the best sounding “mastering” tool I’ve used (read: sometimes I just have to make things loud for clients, I am not a mastering engineer). This can do loud and doesn’t sound like crap doing it, and it has a very useful reference mix mode.
Ya, I was looking at that chart as well, which is what made me ask the question about Neutron and Ozone working together. The chart shows Ozone to have some cool features that Neutron doesn't. I was just looking for the comparison chart to list the features that stood out to me, but I can't seem to find the page. Reference mix mode was definitely one of the things that popped off the page. I have no idea what it does, but it sounds amazing!

I might have already mentioned this, but I was watching one of Sonible's promo vids for Smart EQ+, and it had one really cool feature where the guy was manipulating a bell curve and the plugin was making cut/boost adjustments on the fly. Does Neutron also do this? I guess I just have to read the manuals (which, unfortunately, is not one of my strong suites) and demo the plugins to really get an understanding of how they work.

I'm hoping that these Auto EQ's act as a teacher of sorts, and give me a better understanding of how to use EQ. Not, oh damn, finally a plugin that'll do all the work for me.

So reference mix mode you basically import a song into Ozone and it automatically cuts it up into manageable sections that can loop (so you can reference the chorus by itself, etc) and switch back and forth between the reference and your mix with a click of a button.

There’s also a mode to real-time preview different compression codecs, so you can guess what your mix will sound like on YouTube.


I’m not sure exactly what you mean on the Plugin making boost and cut adjustments on the fly. Neutron can do dynamic EQ, if that’s what you mean.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by Mustang Martigan » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:52 am

kslight wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 am
So reference mix mode you basically import a song into Ozone and it automatically cuts it up into manageable sections that can loop (so you can reference the chorus by itself, etc) and switch back and forth between the reference and your mix with a click of a button.
I've never tried mixing with a reference track. When learning about this technique, my first impulse was that it's pretty unoriginal.. just trying to copy the sound of a cool mix that already exists. However, there must be something to it, cuz it seems as tho it's standard practice; everyone, from somebodies to nobodies, seems to be doing it.
kslight wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 am
There’s also a mode to real-time preview different compression codecs, so you can guess what your mix will sound like on YouTube.
That's a cool feature, but why not just put the song on YouTube as a private video and listen straight from the source?
kslight wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 am
I’m not sure exactly what you mean on the Plugin making boost and cut adjustments on the fly. Neutron can do dynamic EQ, if that’s what you mean.
I tried to find the video I was watching, to post the link, but didn't have any luck. If I remember correctly, a random (or desired) frequency was selected and was then dragged both up and down using a wide bell curve. Smart Eq then made boost/cut adjustments throughout the frequency spectrum.. kinda of like carving holes to give the main adjust (where the bell curve was dragged) some room to breathe.

I'm curious how the software makes these decisions. When it's in "learn" mode, is it factoring in all the other tracks or just focusing on the one track being edited. If it's the latter, wouldn't the whole thing be counterproductive? Couldn't it be compared to EQing a track on solo instead of within the context of the mix?

I do remember watching a Neutron video where a guy was comparing two tracks that he couldn't get to sit properly in the mix, and it helped it get it to work.

I've been recording/mixing for years now. I've definitely improved during this time, but I still don't know how the effects work under the hood. I rely WAY too heavily on presets, and reading thru manuals feels like penance. I'm the same way with my guitar. All self taught, really wanting to learn music theory, scales and the like, but my brain just wonders off.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by kslight » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:31 am

Mustang Martigan wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:52 am
kslight wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 am
So reference mix mode you basically import a song into Ozone and it automatically cuts it up into manageable sections that can loop (so you can reference the chorus by itself, etc) and switch back and forth between the reference and your mix with a click of a button.
I've never tried mixing with a reference track. When learning about this technique, my first impulse was that it's pretty unoriginal.. just trying to copy the sound of a cool mix that already exists. However, there must be something to it, cuz it seems as tho it's standard practice; everyone, from somebodies to nobodies, seems to be doing it.
kslight wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 am
There’s also a mode to real-time preview different compression codecs, so you can guess what your mix will sound like on YouTube.
That's a cool feature, but why not just put the song on YouTube as a private video and listen straight from the source?
kslight wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 am
I’m not sure exactly what you mean on the Plugin making boost and cut adjustments on the fly. Neutron can do dynamic EQ, if that’s what you mean.
I tried to find the video I was watching, to post the link, but didn't have any luck. If I remember correctly, a random (or desired) frequency was selected and was then dragged both up and down using a wide bell curve. Smart Eq then made boost/cut adjustments throughout the frequency spectrum.. kinda of like carving holes to give the main adjust (where the bell curve was dragged) some room to breathe.

I'm curious how the software makes these decisions. When it's in "learn" mode, is it factoring in all the other tracks or just focusing on the one track being edited. If it's the latter, wouldn't the whole thing be counterproductive? Couldn't it be compared to EQing a track on solo instead of within the context of the mix?

I do remember watching a Neutron video where a guy was comparing two tracks that he couldn't get to sit properly in the mix, and it helped it get it to work.

I've been recording/mixing for years now. I've definitely improved during this time, but I still don't know how the effects work under the hood. I rely WAY too heavily on presets, and reading thru manuals feels like penance. I'm the same way with my guitar. All self taught, really wanting to learn music theory, scales and the like, but my brain just wonders off.

1. Ozone is a mastering Plugin primarily so for sorting out consistent volumes/etc between different tracks quickly I find it useful. It isn’t about aping someone else’s mix but if you want to make sure your master feels as loud as your commercial reference (or even the same project reference) it’s helpful. Mixing with references is not a crutch, it is quite useful to approximate how other engineers are achieving their mixes, whether or not you choose to utilize their styles.

2. You certainly could but within Ozone you know you are listening with the same gain, through the same sound system/interface, with proper metering, in real time, and you can make adjustments accordingly without making a separate upload...I can make adjustments back and forth immediately instead of wasting 10-15 minutes or more.


The emphasis with the above two points is not that you “need” a Plugin to address these situations but that this provides a much faster and more consistent way to make real time A B decisions. If you get paid to do this, it wouldn’t take much going back and reworking for consistent volume levels and correcting clipping that often happens when something is converted into an MP3 but not a WAV before you have made up your investment.

3. Izotope claims to use some kind of machine learning/AI technology. You’d have to ask them for specifics.

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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by vvv » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:20 pm

You know, and I'm switched into my arsehole-arrogant-knowitall-MyWayAin'tYersMebbeButItIsBest mode:

I kind of think of the latest Pro-Tools or whatever vs. my Cool Edit,
of lauded vintage gear vs. my newer and even pro-sumer,
of plug-ins vs. auto- gear vs. things like listening and adjusting whatever ... ,

well ... ,

it's kinda just another way to get there, mebbe easier, faster, mebbe with objectively different results or not, ...

not guaranteed better, ...

or more bang-for-buck, ...

or even aesthetically superior ...

Fun, though!

I need another cuppa coffee. :twisted:
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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by logancircle » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:34 am

Ozone...
Thoughts about this? --> I sat in the control room at a very expensive studio with diamond-encrusted monitors, and watched this ace ripping through Ozone. Here's what he did:

- Set the Maximizer to a ballpark level, then set it to Gain Matching...
- He swept through the spectrum in Surgical Mode, finding places where sounds seemed to be gathering during all parts of the song, then cutting a 0.5 to 1 dB from each of those areas.
- Cranked the Maximizer super hard, finding a limiter speed.
- Chose the dither...
- Export...
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Re: Automatic EQ Opinions

Post by vvv » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:02 am

"He swept through the spectrum in Surgical Mode, finding places where sounds seemed to be gathering during all parts of the song, then cutting a 0.5 to 1 dB from each of those areas."

Can you elaborate on this a little more? He was doing it visually (like, with an FFT "spectrum" display)?

I'm not an Ozone user ...

Or doya just mean he "swept through" the frequencies, listening closely at various parts of the song?
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