Author Topic: Drone/pad EQ-ing.  (Read 2477 times)

animapara

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« on: October 22, 2017, 02:11:40 PM »
Guys ...

Stuck with drone/pad sounds :(

What is the basic concept in EQ-ing drone/pad sounds? Removing resonances and/or various unpleasant whistle frequencies with notch-filter? Of course, some LP/HP filtering - but it's matter of personal taste.

Yeah, i know .. some say "I don't do any eq on drones trying to carefully select source sounds" - but it's not my case. I believe in some EQ-ing
when making drones. 

Is removing resonances all i need to take care about drone/pad/any sustained sound? As i understand, traditional cutting low-mids area trying to clean up
sound is not a way when we talk about drones.

Please, tell what you usually do with EQ when making drones ...

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

APK

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2594
    • View Profile
    • DataObscura
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 08:05:39 AM »
Hey there.
I think you are onto the main problem, which is resonance, a sharp build up at a particular frequency. I'm always notch EQing them down because they will remain annoying otherwise. A dynamic EQ can be useful, but regular notch works of course. Beyond that, how I would EQ a drone depends what is sitting with it, and where it is good to leave some space for other sounds. For which there is no real formula. Drones and pads can vary greatly, so it is more a case by case issue. One good trick is to turn the thing up loud. Does it still sound balanced and listenable.

Often I will EQ a drone to shape its spectrum. Lower some frequencies and bring up others ... maybe to add a bit of brightness to the high end or cut the boominess in the lows. But as I say, on a case by case basic.

As you say, getting it right when selecting initial sounds and layers is very important. But in my experience some EQ will usually be needed to balance things later on. EQ is such an important weapon.

Because our ears and mind get tired and a bit untrustworthy, I will always park a finished piece for a week or so, then come back and listen it more objectively, as though it were someone else's piece. And listen for anything annoying. Then try to correct it. This will primarily be an EQ job, and some related volume balancing.

Conclusion :  For me there is no one way a drone (or pad) is made or should sound. But there are technicalities and aesthetics of music that should be observed. Which means: It should sound good. If it doesn't it needs work !  :)
www.dataobscura.com
http://dataobscura.bandcamp.com
The Circular Ruins / Lammergeyer / Nunc Stans

Castleview

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 427
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 08:11:32 AM »
Cutting mids is fine as long as you don't overdo it. Too many mids can muddy the sound very quickly.

Removing resonances isn't really a must but it can help. I do it quite often but there's no rule saying you can never use resonance when filtering your drone textures. There aren't too many rules to making drones except for the basics like monitoring the frequencies and like APK said, making it sound good.
http://castleview.bandcamp.com/
New album, Elemental Wave, available now on Black Dingo Records:
https://duffegan.bandcamp.com/album/elemental-wave

animapara

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 07:41:00 PM »
APK, Castleview ... thank you very much for your answers.

I've attached one example of drone i'm aiming to recreate: https://www.dropbox.com/s/a6jbxb8zbafurtx/Sound%201.mp3?dl=0 It's excerpt of a track from Alio Die album "They Grow Layers of Life Within". This type of drones i call "lightweighted" (it's usual for drones that Stefano does) because it hasn't too much of low-end. If you look in spectro analyzer it has rarely something below 100-120 Hz.

My problem is that after i carved all resonances and unpleasant frequencies, my drone starting to sound "soft and weak" comparing to Alio Die's drone. I'm loosing some kind of sound "edge" and become more "amorphic" and shapless. And i don't know what to do to reinforce the shape and get the edge back :(

animapara

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2017, 02:33:27 PM »
Also ... about drones

I heard a lot from various ambient musicians that they do not apply any compression on drone sounds in mixing. But ... in mastering stage? Does drone ambient need a touch of compression in final mastering?

Thanks.

Seren

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1164
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2017, 08:12:33 AM »
I suppose I play around with a sound until it is how I want it to sound - whether that is EQ or anything else.
I have used comb and other filters and set the parameters slightly differently for left and right channels.
I have filtered out unwanted prominent frequencies - but also filtered out frequencies until the sound left is seesawing on the edge of pleasant - depends on what I want the music to do. Fractured has some pretty intense/harsh sounds in.
Sometimes I copy the tracks and do notch passes - and then mix them back together - so the end sound has most of the original, but somehow faded, like an old manuscript.....

stargazer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2017, 10:36:20 PM »
I've attached one example of drone i'm aiming to recreate: https://www.dropbox.com/s/a6jbxb8zbafurtx/Sound%201.mp3?dl=0 It's excerpt of a track from Alio Die album "They Grow Layers of Life Within". This type of drones i call "lightweighted" (it's usual for drones that Stefano does) because it hasn't too much of low-end. If you look in spectro analyzer it has rarely something below 100-120 Hz.

My problem is that after i carved all resonances and unpleasant frequencies, my drone starting to sound "soft and weak" comparing to Alio Die's drone. I'm loosing some kind of sound "edge" and become more "amorphic" and shapless. And i don't know what to do to reinforce the shape and get the edge back :(

To keep the shape, you have to work at the source. Not after the reverb with a drone or pad. Drones and Pad sounds often have effects, then work on the source sound first.

Also ... about drones

I heard a lot from various ambient musicians that they do not apply any compression on drone sounds in mixing. But ... in mastering stage? Does drone ambient need a touch of compression in final mastering?

Thanks.

I never use compression, but that's my style, not a general formula. I just recommend not overdoing it. Especially Ambient is so quiet that too much compression becomes audible. I have heard a lot of ambient that was compressed too hard in the mastering process, not nice!

animapara

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2017, 01:44:23 PM »

To keep the shape, you have to work at the source. Not after the reverb with a drone or pad. Drones and Pad sounds often have effects, then work on the source sound first.


It's not that easy to me ...

Well, i want to do a drone with "flat low end" (means that the drone doesn't have too much of low freq below 120 Hz) I apply a filter which cuts high end and low end below 120 Hz. And now my drone starts to sound weak and losing its "sharpness" and "edge" ... then i boost mid freq to compensate it - and i got unnaturaly "plastic-like" sounding drone :(  That's my problem ... when i cut lows - i got weak, shapless sound ... when i add mid freq - i got plastic :( I don't know where lies a "balance".

In other words i trying to make drone with "flat-bottom" but with no-plastic mid frequencies.


Maybe my problems lies in wrong using of notes (i mean in wrong octaves, maybe too low octaves). I'm using chords, not a single note ... i can even call it "pads" not "drones" where many atonal sounds could be.

 





stargazer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2017, 09:16:14 AM »

To keep the shape, you have to work at the source. Not after the reverb with a drone or pad. Drones and Pad sounds often have effects, then work on the source sound first.


It's not that easy to me ...

Well, i want to do a drone with "flat low end" (means that the drone doesn't have too much of low freq below 120 Hz) I apply a filter which cuts high end and low end below 120 Hz. And now my drone starts to sound weak and losing its "sharpness" and "edge" ... then i boost mid freq to compensate it - and i got unnaturaly "plastic-like" sounding drone :(  That's my problem ... when i cut lows - i got weak, shapless sound ... when i add mid freq - i got plastic :( I don't know where lies a "balance".

In other words i trying to make drone with "flat-bottom" but with no-plastic mid frequencies.


Maybe my problems lies in wrong using of notes (i mean in wrong octaves, maybe too low octaves). I'm using chords, not a single note ... i can even call it "pads" not "drones" where many atonal sounds could be.


Please check if you have a pure sound or if effects used already.
Bypass those effects and listen to the pure sound and single notes and then try equalizing.
Maybe the source sound you use sounds plastic depending on the used sample/wave form.

Good luck!  :)

Seren

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1164
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2017, 01:25:19 AM »
drones can have a range of frequencies, but if choosing a particular range you may have to consider how you use the resulting sound.
you have to ask yourself what am I wanting to create with this sound.
Bass drones are very good for creating an open expansive foundation on which to layer other sounds.
higher pitch drones can be very grating on the ear if too continuous, unless you are adding other textures or effects to the sound - including panning and volume movements...
I created some drones using a wine glass as source - very limited in frequency - but did a variety of things with the result rather than leave it as a bald glass sound - even so, some found the result unpleasant.

animapara

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2018, 03:12:18 PM »
I found shimmer reverb sits very well with drones ... probably, the best type of reverb to use with drone sounds. -12 semitones down (and maybe another delay with +12 up) with plate or spring reverb gives the infinity :)

You can also record only shimmer sends (delay+reverb) without direct dry signal ... nice impression of wet big space.

LNerell

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 768
    • View Profile
    • Personal website
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2018, 11:05:11 AM »
Drones with "knife in ear" frequencies I always notch out with EQ using vary narrow bands of Q to just effect those frequencies that are annoying. And yes, try this before applying effects, especially reverb.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Scott M2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 746
    • View Profile
    • dreamSTATE
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2018, 12:46:17 PM »
After the notching, a good stereo chorus with a very slow sweep (ideally with different speeds on each side) can add some subtle motion to drones before they enter the reverb bath.

Castleview

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 427
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2018, 08:46:48 PM »
Drones with "knife in ear" frequencies I always notch out with EQ using vary narrow bands of Q to just effect those frequencies that are annoying. And yes, try this before applying effects, especially reverb.

This is something I need to try more often. I have a habit of just applying EQ at the end of my chains.
http://castleview.bandcamp.com/
New album, Elemental Wave, available now on Black Dingo Records:
https://duffegan.bandcamp.com/album/elemental-wave

animapara

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2018, 01:38:59 PM »
Quote
And yes, try this before applying effects, especially reverb.

hmm ... can someone explain please, whats benefits of doing EQ before reverb? Does it sound more clean, transparent .. or maybe more professional?

stargazer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2018, 02:47:32 PM »
Quote
And yes, try this before applying effects, especially reverb.

hmm ... can someone explain please, whats benefits of doing EQ before reverb? Does it sound more clean, transparent .. or maybe more professional?

This is easy. A reverb multiplies and extents sounds. It does the same with any unwanted frequency.
If you then EQ the sum of the sound and the reverb, you probably will notch lots of the good sounds too.

Seren

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1164
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2018, 12:58:03 AM »
Jaja's answer is short and to the point.
Applying reverb just to the sounds you want is much easier than trying to EQ out the sounds you don't want later.

But you can experiment with both and choose which you prefer - sometimes sounds develop a life of their own when something is 'left to chance'.....

Some of the sounds in my music started off in other projects. They did not fit what I was working on at the time, but were inspiration in themselves.

animapara

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2018, 12:20:19 PM »
This is easy. A reverb multiplies and extents sounds. It does the same with any unwanted frequency.
If you then EQ the sum of the sound and the reverb, you probably will notch lots of the good sounds too.

Thanks.

Sometimes i feel that some ambient artists mostly use delay instead of reverb ... or add reverb in very small portions so i can't clearly hear the "reverb sound".



stargazer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
    • View Profile
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2018, 01:28:17 PM »
This is easy. A reverb multiplies and extents sounds. It does the same with any unwanted frequency.
If you then EQ the sum of the sound and the reverb, you probably will notch lots of the good sounds too.

Thanks.

Sometimes i feel that some ambient artists mostly use delay instead of reverb ... or add reverb in very small portions so i can't clearly hear the "reverb sound".

I think delay and reverb is a nice combination. It always happens to me that I have an echo that comes out of the sound interaction. You can imitate an echo sound by playing delayed notes. Also you have predelay within the reverb. It is all a sound reflection. It is all sound. This is the nicest thing about reverb.

Julio Di Benedetto

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1090
    • View Profile
    • Digtalvoices
Re: Drone/pad EQ-ing.
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2018, 10:21:12 PM »
The best that you have is your ears...if they don't know....they will learn.  Get in there and mess around,...totally screw it up and it will open portals for you.

Theres great advice here but this is ambient where normal studio decorum often has little sway so have fun and explore. If you are new to this enjoy the journey as there are no short cuts. If anyone offers them to you dont take them. ;)

« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 10:25:39 PM by Julio Di Benedetto »
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

http://digitalvoices.bandcamp.com/
http://databloem.com