Hearing harsh resonances in your song? Here's a plugin that can smooth them out: DSEQ 3 (Dynamic EQ). Keep reading to learn how.
In the video examples above, some frequencies in the acoustic guitar annoyed me. They were so distracting I couldn't keep mixing the song.
To solve that problem, I had to remove the problematic frequencies. But how to do it without affecting the other frequencies?
Why it's hard to smooth out resonances with regular equalizers
Harsh sounds are often tricky to smoothen with a standard equalizer. You'd have to cut some critical frequencies to that guitar's timbre.
You couldn't just cut the undesired frequencies whenever they happen. You'd have to cut that frequency range for a longer duration than necessary.
Unless you had the time to carefully draw an enormous amount of automation. But who has time these days?
Instead, I have DSEQ3, a dynamic equalizer by TBProAudio.
What's so special about DSEQ3?
Of all the tools I've tried so far, DSEQ3 is the most precise. And it cost me less than a hundred dollars.
That's excellent pricing compared to the alternatives.
This article is not sponsored, though. It's my opinion.
How does DSEQ3 work?
DSEQ3's interface may look overwhelming but it's pretty simple, actually.
On the left side, you have the controls of a typical compressor, except it works spectrally.
So it treats each frequency more or less independently.
How much? It depends on your Selectivity settings.
The more Selectivity, the more DSEQ3 will treat each frequency independently.
That is the secret to targetting only those particular harsh resonances.
The Slope control determines whether DSEQ3 will focus on low or high frequencies. It tilts the emphasis from the left side to the right side of the spectrum.
Attack and Release work like any regular compressor. Except the values don't look like they're measured in milliseconds.
The Threshold is the same as usual. But it doesn't have a Ratio control.
The Gain Reduction Strength control replaced it.
- If you increase it, DSEQ3 will apply more compression to the signal above the Threshold;
- If you decrease it, DSEQ3 will apply less compression, much like the Ratio knob on a compressor.
How to tame harsh resonances with DSEQ3: step-by-step
First, listen to the problematic Audio track in Solo. Figure out where in the frequency spectrum the annoying resonances happen.
If you haven't trained your ears to recognize frequency ranges, try to guess where the issues are.
Then apply an EQ cut. Does it sound better?
If it doesn't, guess again until you find it. That's a tremendous ear-training exercise.
Once you figure that out, delete the equalizer and load DSEQ3 in the channel.
Then use the EQ bands to draw a band-pass filter around the area that needs correcting.
This will make sure DSEQ3 only affects that frequency range.
Once you isolate those frequencies, start adjusting the Compressor settings.
Threshold, Attack, Release, and Gain Reduction until you hear an improvement.
Then turn on the Delta Monitor. It's a fantastic feature that allows you to hear only the frequencies you're getting rid of.
And with Delta Monitor on, make final adjustments.
Fine-tune the compressor settings and the EQ bands range.
Ensure you not affecting nearby frequencies. If they're not problematic, there's no reason to remove them.
In the example, I accidentally cut out some of the strum noise. But that was not my goal. So I had to fine-tune the EQ band to bring it back.
I narrowed the EQ band a little to avoid losing the strumming's transient sound.
Now it's your turn
When you cut the unwanted frequencies and nothing else, the resonance taming task is over.
It's time to mix it with the rest of the instruments.
Now, what if you also need to clean up some drum samples? Maybe your kick drum has weird artifacts on its decay.
And for the whole kit of music production tools, visit my website.