Beards & Bass Studio about the iZotope Pro Audio Essentials EQ lessons. See how it works and how you can benefit from it.
Intro with iZotope videos
iZotope provides a some videos focusing on equalization. Here you can find EQ basics, the theory about frequencies and amplitudes, knowledge about different EQ’s and much more. Seems to be a good introduction tot he topic. Furthermore you find the ‚iZotope Musical frequency Chart‘ serving a good orientation along the frequency spectrum.
4 songs in different styles to practice
There are 4 songs in 4 genres available in the EQ lesson. Namely ‘I can’t get no boy‘ by Shea Rose (Soul/Funk/HipHop), ‚House of Empty Rooms‘ by Callie Huber (Pop), ‚For the Money and the Fame‘ by Tuscan & Salda (HipHop) and ‚Urgency‘ by ‚The Dahus (Alternative/Rock). A good and varied choice if you ask me.
Learn more in ‚Explore’
Here you can check out the iZotope EQ and learn how to use the controllers. You can find 4 of them at 100Hz, 300Hz, 3kHz and 10kHz. The EQ is divided in different sectors like ‚Thumb’ in the bass, ‚Mud’ in the mid-range and ‚Sibilance’ in the high-range horizontally. Vertically you find ‚Warm’ and ‚Thin’ plus ‚Bright’ and ‚Dark’. A successful representation for me.
Furthermore the controllers are marked with typical instruments. This should give users an overview and orientation. That’s not bad, but please be careful with that. The main frequency of a ride-cymbal for example could be found at 300Hz. So a boost at this position in the master track could also influence cymbals, not only the mentioned Git/Vocals/Keys. But basically it’s a good overview.
A good practice for those who haven’t acquired experience in using EQ’s, yet.
The iZotope EQ Challenge
Let’s get down to work now. The Challenge consists of 4 levels. In each level you can earn 2 badges. One after completing 3 EQ tests and the other one for passing the master test. After collecting all badges you will be rewarded with the Master Badge. All exercises use the above-named songs randomly. You could also practice every lesson before starting them.
Level 1 – Listen for EQ
Here you have to find out which file differs from the original. In the middle you can listen to the original sound file. Below are two other files A and B. One of them has been EQ’ed, the other one hasn’t. In this lesson you have to answer 5 questions correctly within 1 minute. Did it at the first try.. Yeah! Next one, please…
Level2 – Qualities of EQ
This level follows the same principle as level 1 does. However, iZotope is asking for an exact change here, for example which version has a boost at 300Hz? Pretty nice exercise for beginners to get a feeling for the different frequencies. First try again and I decided to pop my first beer if anything continues that way. It turned out that I had to wait some more for that…
Level 3 – EQ Matching
This level becomes more different. Again you find 2 files – A and B. However, you have to make the one file sound like the other this time. In this case A has been EQ’ed and B hasn’t. you can switch between them, analyze the frequencies and pick the right answer from a pre-defined selection. During this test the possible selections are getting more extensive which makes the whole thing more complicated. I had to try out a bit more to hear the differences. I was happy that I haven’t already had my first beer and to be in possession of studio monitors at this time. 5 questions in 1,5 minutes can be pretty hard here.
Level 4 – Psychic EQ
This one is similar to the previous level. The difference in level 3 is that you could hear the changes you’ve selected, compare it to the original and make your decision. In level 4 you have to choose which frequency has been boosted or reduced without hearing the difference by choosing the answer. You only hear the two different tracks. The possible selections are getting more extensive here, too.
In the end i was able to master all levels and gain the master badge – Yeah!
I have to acknowledge that iZotope did a good job here. A very intuitive and playful tool. It has been fun! It does not replace an education of course and gives you all you need to know about equalization. There is a lot of more to know about like phase shifts occurring every time using an EQ. Not at least that topic takes more than a couple of videos. It is also recommended to use the trick of reducing frequencies instead of boosting them. For example when you have a loud guitar and thin vocals in the mix that should be more present, try to reduce the relevant frequencies of the guitar instead of increasing them on the vocals.
But I think that iZotope created a very good introduction tot he issue of equalization. In particular, I’m a fan of their visualization. And I think it’s for everyone. Audio engineers can test their skills and hobbyists can increase them. In the end, the best way to train your ears is to listen and try out. For me it was a very useful exercise. Towards the end the test led me to sweat as time was running out. Seems that this tools does not only train your ears, but also your efficiency.
All in all it is a very useful tool which I can recommend to everyone. I’m looking forward to the compression tool which will be published soon.
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