Reply To: Ringing Out The Room – Channel or Overall PEQ?

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Dick Rees


It’s difficult if not impossible to do Internet sound triage without a whole host of pertinent information Sometimes the needed info is not presented because the poster is unaware of a particular issue or somehow believes that it doesn’t matter. Not saying that you’re doing this, just observing a general trend which makes things difficult. That said…

It appears to me that you’re trying to use EQ to solve a problem which is not amenable to using EQ as a solution. No matter what we tell you and what you try, you’re apparently having the same problem over and over. This in itself should tell you that perhaps you should be looking somewhere other than EQ. A medical analogy would be complaining that a bandage just won’t stop the bleeding no matter how it is applied when the proper solution is to sew up the gaping wound with stitches. IOW, work as far “upstream” as possible.

Here’s a quick check list:

1. Check your mains speakers for any variations in response, either some “hot bumps” or some response dips. You can do a cursory evaluation using pink noise and the built in RTA. Do your testing outdoors in free space. Set your test mic half way between the speakers and as far out from them as they are apart.

2. Disengage all compression, EQ, gating, reverb…ANYTHING processing or affecting the signal. Do this before running any testing or evaluation.

3. Check your microphones to make sure that their patterns are as they should be. Mics can “go omni”. In your case, I’d be very suspicious of the off-brand mic the other vocalist is using until it is proven to have a solid polar pattern and reasonable frequency response, lo to hi. You can check the mics by playing any sound source, then listening to the mic in your headphones and rotating it through 360 degrees to evaluate the polar pattern by ear. Listen in particular for the null spot(s) where the maximum rejection of the sound source is located.

4. No matter how it offends your aesthetic sense, get your mains off the stage. Get them up at least 7′ to the bottom of the cabinet if you can and aim both speakers at the mid-point of the rear wall. This is just a general rule. Some exceptions may apply in oddly shaped or very deep rooms. When using the “boost to identify” method with the mic in the middle of the room, do not attempt to deal with anything over 350hz. Neither should you set more than 4 PEQ filters. You’re dealing SOLELY with room resonances/standing waves…nothing more…no “feedback”…NOTHING.

5. When mixing, use dynamic processing only for a specific reason, not just because it’s available or someone else does it for some unknown reason. Until you can set up your system properly from step one, NEVER put compression on the mains bus. NEVER.
You’ll hear people talk about using mains bus compression to “glue the mix together”. This is studio stuff in the main and has no place for someone trying to simply set up their system for maximum response and stability.

Again: find the wound, stitch it up and stop trying to apply EQ “band-aids”. That’s not the way this works.

Sincerely offered with best wishes.