Better Your iLife (Part 2)

Better Your iLife (Part 2)

3. Beef Up The Bass. Click the Details triangle in the Visual EQ window to display parameters for each EQ band (Bass, Low Mid, High Mid, and Treble). The top parameter displays the target frequency, while the bottom parameter shows the level (in decibels). By default, all frequencies are centered in their respective bands with levels set at 0 dB. With the song playing, click in the Low Mid band, drag the slider down to lower the frequency level, and listen. To change the affected frequency, click anywhere within the same band and drag right to select a higher frequency, or left for a lower one. Experiment to hear how your movements affect the tone, and find a frequency and reduction level that best reveals the bottom end. Try cutting in the High Mid band, too. Toggle the EQ on and off to compare your efforts, and solo the track (click the headphones icon) to hear the bass on its own.


Like art, sound is subjective - this is how we set the Visual EQ on our bass track.


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4. Separate the Siblings. Now stop the rhythm guitar from drowning out the keyboard. Mute all tracks except for Big Stack (rhythm guitar) and Electric Piano by clicking each track’s mute button (the speaker icon), and then play the song. Rather than EQ both tracks, we’re going to leave the keyboard track as-is and improve the rhythm guitar track to give the keyboard some room. Select the Big Stack track, open the Visual EQ and Analyzer, and play the song. To lessen the competition with the bass, cut out the bass frequencies by applying what you learned to the Bass band. To separate the guitar tone from the keyboard, notch down around the 1 kHz frequency range to lessen the midrange tone. Again, experiment to find what sounds good to you. Then unmute the other tracks to make sure everything blends together.


By cutting 6 dB at 980 Hz on the Big Stack track, we could finally hear the electric piano part with the rhythm guitar.


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Enhancing Sounds with Additive EQ

With additive EQ, you’re “adding,” or boosting, frequencies. When you crank up the bass in your car, you’re boosting the low frequencies. In mixing, you’ll generally get better results with subtractive EQ, but additive EQ has its place. Use it to enhance (not fix) sounds, strengthen anemic sounds, accentuate one aspect of a sound, or change a sound’s character. For this example, we’ll use the same Magic GarageBand setup we used in the subtractive EQ how-to.


1. Get a Kick Out of This. Play the song and focus on the drums. While you can hear each instrument in the kit, the kick drum lacks thunk, so let’s boost its bass frequencies. Select the drum track (Head Bobbing), open the Visual EQ and Analyzer, start playing the song, click in the Bass band, and then drag upward to boost the low frequencies. Drag left and right to hear how your bass boost sounds at different targeted frequencies and choose one.


We boosted our drum track’s bass frequencies around the point where the bottom end rolled off.


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2. Sweeten Sounds. You can bring out characteristics in sounds by boosting certain frequencies. For example, to bring out the breathiness in a female vocal, boost frequencies above 10 kHz. Our lead guitar track (Ripping) doesn’t quite live up to its name; it needs a bit more bite. For most electric guitars, that “bite” is somewhere in the 2.5KHz to 3KHz range. Play the Ripping track, and in the Visual EQ and Analyzer, click in the High Mid band and drag upward to boost the frequency. Then drag right to target frequencies in that “bite” range, and use your ears find one that puts a snarl in your sound.


We liked the lead guitar tone after we added a boost just under 3KHz.


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3. Boost or Cut Volumes. When you cut and boost frequencies, you’re effectively cutting and boosting volume levels, so you may need to do a little volume fine-tuning afterward to make sure everything balances optimally. For example, to compensate for the frequencies that you cut on your bass track, you may need to bring up its volume. Likewise, if your lead guitar track is snarling a little too viciously due to the frequency boost, notch its volume slider down a bit.


To compensate for your EQ cuts and boosts, fine-tune the track volumes.






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