Working the Air Band with Equalisation

Equalisation techniques to control and process the Air Band.

Dynamic Processors

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Working the Air Band with Equalisation is a video tutorial that explains how to use an equaliser to process the much desired air band.

One of the areas that is important when using equalisation to process mixes is that of the air band.

Air Band

The air band is a range that loosely lies between 4 kHz – 20 kHz. This is the area of the spectrum that displays detail and clarity for the top end of many sounds. I find that using shelves to boost the air band range yields far better results than using peaking bell-shaped filters. However, you can make the bell filters work for you instead of against you as there are frequencies that are in the upper-frequency spectrum that we cannot hear so using a shelf to boost this particular area yields no usable results.

The first process with any equalisation task is to perform what we term as corrective equalisation.

Corrective or Compensatory eq

Actually the first ever instances of equalisation was in the communications industry. EQ was used to counteract some of the problems in telephone systems. It then transgressed into the broadcasting industry.

Tone controls were created and used to compensate technical inaccuracies in the recording chain, more notably, compensating for microphone colouration and room acoustics. EQ was used as a means of controlling the gain of a range of frequencies.

This form of equalisation is termed as ‘corrective or compensatory’ EQ.

We use the same principles when using equalisation to remove problematic or redundant frequencies and the filter type we use to perform corrective processing on any sound is band-pass equalisation.

Band-pass filtering

I always start by inserting hi pass and low pass filters at either end of the spectrum. In effect I am using band-pass filtering/equalisation.

linear phase versus minimum phase screen displaying an eq response

A filter that passes frequencies between two limits is known as a band-pass filter.

A band-pass filter attenuates frequencies below and above the cut-off and leaves the frequencies at the cut-off. It is, in effect, a low-pass and a hi-pass together. The cool thing about this filter is that you can eliminate the lower and higher frequencies and be left with a band of frequencies that you can then process without the worry of redundant frequencies creeping up on you and summing gains and tripping compressors.

A filter that adjusts the levels of frequencies between a pair of values is known as a peaking filter.

Once I have the two filters in place I start to move them around until I have cut all the frequencies not needed.

Once we have tidied up the frequency spectrum of the sound we can start to work on the air band.

In the Working the Air Band with Equalisation video I explain what a bandpass filter is, how it works and how best to use it for cleaning audio channels. I show you the industry techniques we use to clean any piece of audio fast and effectively. I explain how to process the air band using different types of filters and demonstrate the process using a mix example.

Plugins used in this video:

FabFilter Pro Q2

Nugen Mastercheck Pro

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Equalisation techniques to master the Air Band
  • What is the Air Band
  • Filters and Processing
  • Using Metering for Referencing
  • Splitting Bands
  • Slopes and Responses
  • EQ Settings
  • Dynamic and Static
  • Linear Phase versus Minimum Phase
  • Understanding Headroom
  • Peaking Splits

If this tutorial was of help maybe these will also be of benefit:

What is an equaliser and how does it work

Eq Filters and Slopes/Responses

Dynamic EQ – what is it and how do you use it

Linear Phase Eq versus Minimum Phase Eq

MixBus – Urban Pre Mastering

MixBus – House Pre Mastering

MixBus-Transparent Pre Mastering

Mastering Demos with EQ

Mastering EQ – Air Band Processing

MixBus Strategies

EQ Masterclass

EQ Uncovered – (second edition)