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Author Topic: GEQ's Just won't go away......  (Read 1610 times)

Luke Geis

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GEQ's Just won't go away......
« on: October 11, 2017, 01:01:40 pm »

Perhaps I am jaded and I just don't see what others do? Having started my career in sound just before the advent of commercially available digital mixers and when the H3000 was still the king ( still is to many ), I always knew that there was a better way to do the same job. I couldn't wait to rid the HUGE racks of outboard gear and heavy amplifiers. One of the first things I leaned how to utilize well was the venerable GEQ. I also quickly learned that you also love to hate it.

There are several different types of GEQ, but the two most common types are the Constant Q and the Proportional Q filters. The difference between the two is rather large and each actually does a particular function pretty well. Constant Q works great for monitor use while proportional Q is very well suited for FOH use. However not all GEQ's are created equal. Cheap ones can have strange anomalies that it introduces as you tweak the sliders and of course the accuracy of the center frequency may not be very good. So to acquire good performing and accurate GEQ's, you have to spend money; lots of it...... Budget often drives the purchase of a particular unit and it may not be the one you really need, even worse you may not even know it.

So as I started my career I of course made bad purchases that didn't help move me forward. My budget didn't allow for expensive BSS GEQ's and for what I could afford I didn't get a choice between Constant Q, or proportional Q, it was mid tier dbX or bust. If you look at the Spec's now for the dbX 1231 GEQ it doesn't even state if it is proportional Q or constant Q ( it is proportional q though ), so an uneducated user would simply get to learn the hard way; as did I.

Now we are in the digital age and I almost exclusively utilize and see others utilizing digital desks. The classic GEQ's are part of all of them and the characteristics of the GEQ's within the digital desks are exactly the same as their analog counterparts. I gave up on using GEQ's as soon as affordable digital processing allowed! You can find digital units with many bands of Parametric EQ from several manufacturers. I embraced PEQ as soon as I could and never looked back. While I understand the practicality and convenient use of a GEQ, it is simply not as powerful of a tool as PEQ is for me. What I have noticed lately as I provide and tech more systems for more engineers is that almost ALL of them setup and use GEQ's in their insert paths for monitor and main outputs. I can't understand why.

We have spent nearly our entire careers lamenting the GEQ and lauding PEQ's, so why when given the choice are so many still going to the GEQ? We all know that once you move about 6 of the GEQ faders that you are beginning to go into massacre mode with it. Most digital mixers have 6 bands of PEQ on their main bus and of course another 6 in their matrix / mix busses. You can have up to 12 bands of PEQ with a digital desk if you so choose. So why on earth use GEQ and burn an FX / insert slot?

It is pretty well known at this point that what you can do with a GEQ you can do with a PEQ, and then some. I am seeing MANY engineers still making the same mistakes with GEQ's in digital desks as they do with the analog ones.

A. They are likely not even sure if the GEQ is constant or proportional Q

B. They still pull many bands of faders down in groups going for a shape as opposed to only dealing with the problem.

I also find it funny that when visiting BE's walk up to my desks and ask if there is GEQ's inserted, that they are shocked when I tell them no. They almost always ask why. The answer is simple, I have 6 + bands of PEQ, I don't need to waste the slots on a GEQ. I find lately that I rarely even need more than 4 PEQ bands to get the job done in most cases. If I do, then I re-asses my situation and see what I can can do to reduce the need for so many filters. There seems to be this dichotomy with engineers over the different EQ's and their uses. What I find interesting is if you ask an engineer why they want a GEQ, they just use the general vernacular of that is what is used for the application. Why not use the several bands of PEQ that is available? The answer for that is varied, but seems to be either there isn't enough bands of it, its not as easy to adjust as a GEQ, or I am just used to / like the GEQ. It's as if many have no idea about the many flaws of GEQ's, or simply just do with digital what they have no choice to do with analog?

I would like to hear what others think about this so I can gain some insight. Why are GEQ's still so prevalent in use with digital desks? Why are GEQ's still considered over PEQ given the option of both? What did you think about, learn, and then come to know about GEQ's that influenced your current use of them? Finally, what do you think the future holds for GEQ's both in analog and digital use? Will GEQ fade away like the 8 track and cassette, or will it always be a main stay? It also wouldn't hurt to drop some knowledge about GEQ's in general. Things like the different filter designs and phase shifts; you know, stuff that would make this already long post, MUCH longer.
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 01:35:11 pm »

You're not alone. 30 years ago I was fortunate enough to work with racks with combinations of graphic EQs and notch filters on each feed. At that time there were still too many people who would use graphics as low-pass filters, but they were typically senior to us at the time so we stepped back and let them. Those notch filters (AudioArts Model 1500) taught me how much power one could have simply by attacking the actual frequency that needed to be suppressed.

Then manufacturers finally started putting PEQs on channel strips on live consoles. Oh boy! I could finally begin to flirt with the idea of shaping tone to fit the mix. Still stuck with GEQs on the outputs, because that's what the BEs specified. But with the PEQ experience and the notch filters I rarely touched a graphic if the system had decent processors on it.

Then came digital consoles. I was in heaven. I never needed to worry about GEQs again. If some BE needed them, fine, there they were. But I didn't need them getting in the way on my scenes, not with things like Yamaha's 8 band PEQ around as a tool to attack the worst resonance problems. As someone who has been doing pops orchestra work and pushing GBF to the limit for years, finally having appropriate tools is glorious.

I don't know why anyone still uses GEQs. Maybe they just aren't comfortable with change. Maybe they are so accustomed to the audible phase damage a GEQ causes that using them is the only way to get to achieve their mixing goals. I know in monitor land they can be faster for some people, but I've gotten too used to precision to want to chase feedback that way.

I don't know why anyone would still want a manual transmission in a daily driven vehicle either. So there we go.
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Steven Eudaly

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 01:45:43 pm »

I still keep them inserted on my outputs, but they stay flat unless some problem frequency pops up mid show and it's the easiest place for me to take care of the issue quickly. System tuning is done with PEQ in the system dsp. I don't think they are going anywhere soon. As long as manufacturers can tout the built in GEQ as another "feature," they'll still include it.

I will say I also see the GEQ abuse from touring BE's all of the time. They'll ask me (as the system tech) where the system is crossed over then they'll go into their output graphics and start making a big slope down and up to 100Hz or wherever said crossover point is, even though it's already being done in the dsp. Also have seen plenty of guys start hacking at the EQ before ever hearing the system at all.

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 02:22:22 pm »

Perhaps I am jaded and I just don't see what others do? Having started my career in sound just before the advent of commercially available digital mixers and when the H3000 was still the king ( still is to many ), I always knew that there was a better way to do the same job. I couldn't wait to rid the HUGE racks of outboard gear and heavy amplifiers. One of the first things I leaned how to utilize well was the venerable GEQ. I also quickly learned that you also love to hate it.

There are several different types of GEQ, but the two most common types are the Constant Q and the Proportional Q filters. The difference between the two is rather large and each actually does a particular function pretty well. Constant Q works great for monitor use while proportional Q is very well suited for FOH use. However not all GEQ's are created equal. Cheap ones can have strange anomalies that it introduces as you tweak the sliders and of course the accuracy of the center frequency may not be very good. So to acquire good performing and accurate GEQ's, you have to spend money; lots of it...... Budget often drives the purchase of a particular unit and it may not be the one you really need, even worse you may not even know it.
GEQ are for fast and dirty EQ

I gave up trying to get AES to settle on a definition for Q in boost/cut EQ.....there are apparently several definitions.
Quote

So as I started my career I of course made bad purchases that didn't help move me forward. My budget didn't allow for expensive BSS GEQ's and for what I could afford I didn't get a choice between Constant Q, or proportional Q, it was mid tier dbX or bust. If you look at the Spec's now for the dbX 1231 GEQ it doesn't even state if it is proportional Q or constant Q ( it is proportional q though ), so an uneducated user would simply get to learn the hard way; as did I.

Now we are in the digital age and I almost exclusively utilize and see others utilizing digital desks. The classic GEQ's are part of all of them and the characteristics of the GEQ's within the digital desks are exactly the same as their analog counterparts. I gave up on using GEQ's as soon as affordable digital processing allowed! You can find digital units with many bands of Parametric EQ from several manufacturers. I embraced PEQ as soon as I could and never looked back. While I understand the practicality and convenient use of a GEQ, it is simply not as powerful of a tool as PEQ is for me. What I have noticed lately as I provide and tech more systems for more engineers is that almost ALL of them setup and use GEQ's in their insert paths for monitor and main outputs. I can't understand why.

We have spent nearly our entire careers lamenting the GEQ and lauding PEQ's, so why when given the choice are so many still going to the GEQ? We all know that once you move about 6 of the GEQ faders that you are beginning to go into massacre mode with it. Most digital mixers have 6 bands of PEQ on their main bus and of course another 6 in their matrix / mix busses. You can have up to 12 bands of PEQ with a digital desk if you so choose. So why on earth use GEQ and burn an FX / insert slot?

It is pretty well known at this point that what you can do with a GEQ you can do with a PEQ, and then some. I am seeing MANY engineers still making the same mistakes with GEQ's in digital desks as they do with the analog ones.

A. They are likely not even sure if the GEQ is constant or proportional Q

B. They still pull many bands of faders down in groups going for a shape as opposed to only dealing with the problem.

I also find it funny that when visiting BE's walk up to my desks and ask if there is GEQ's inserted, that they are shocked when I tell them no. They almost always ask why. The answer is simple, I have 6 + bands of PEQ, I don't need to waste the slots on a GEQ. I find lately that I rarely even need more than 4 PEQ bands to get the job done in most cases. If I do, then I re-asses my situation and see what I can can do to reduce the need for so many filters. There seems to be this dichotomy with engineers over the different EQ's and their uses. What I find interesting is if you ask an engineer why they want a GEQ, they just use the general vernacular of that is what is used for the application. Why not use the several bands of PEQ that is available? The answer for that is varied, but seems to be either there isn't enough bands of it, its not as easy to adjust as a GEQ, or I am just used to / like the GEQ. It's as if many have no idea about the many flaws of GEQ's, or simply just do with digital what they have no choice to do with analog?

I would like to hear what others think about this so I can gain some insight. Why are GEQ's still so prevalent in use with digital desks? Why are GEQ's still considered over PEQ given the option of both? What did you think about, learn, and then come to know about GEQ's that influenced your current use of them? Finally, what do you think the future holds for GEQ's both in analog and digital use? Will GEQ fade away like the 8 track and cassette, or will it always be a main stay? It also wouldn't hurt to drop some knowledge about GEQ's in general. Things like the different filter designs and phase shifts; you know, stuff that would make this already long post, MUCH longer.
I am still waiting for EQ to target results instead of boost/cut this much here....   Make this sound like that.  8)

Still waiting.

JR
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lindsay Dean

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 02:25:54 pm »

They usually start hacking the eq because like one BE told me
"it just don't look right".
                      It aint how it looks, it's how it sounds
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Josh Millward

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 03:38:03 pm »

Perhaps I am jaded and I just don't see what others do? Having started my career in sound just before the advent of commercially available digital mixers and when the H3000 was still the king ( still is to many ), I always knew that there was a better way to do the same job. I couldn't wait to rid the HUGE racks of outboard gear and heavy amplifiers. One of the first things I leaned how to utilize well was the venerable GEQ. I also quickly learned that you also love to hate it.

There are several different types of GEQ, but the two most common types are the Constant Q and the Proportional Q filters. The difference between the two is rather large and each actually does a particular function pretty well. Constant Q works great for monitor use while proportional Q is very well suited for FOH use. However not all GEQ's are created equal. Cheap ones can have strange anomalies that it introduces as you tweak the sliders and of course the accuracy of the center frequency may not be very good. So to acquire good performing and accurate GEQ's, you have to spend money; lots of it...... Budget often drives the purchase of a particular unit and it may not be the one you really need, even worse you may not even know it.

So as I started my career I of course made bad purchases that didn't help move me forward. My budget didn't allow for expensive BSS GEQ's and for what I could afford I didn't get a choice between Constant Q, or proportional Q, it was mid tier dbX or bust. If you look at the Spec's now for the dbX 1231 GEQ it doesn't even state if it is proportional Q or constant Q ( it is proportional q though ), so an uneducated user would simply get to learn the hard way; as did I.

Now we are in the digital age and I almost exclusively utilize and see others utilizing digital desks. The classic GEQ's are part of all of them and the characteristics of the GEQ's within the digital desks are exactly the same as their analog counterparts. I gave up on using GEQ's as soon as affordable digital processing allowed! You can find digital units with many bands of Parametric EQ from several manufacturers. I embraced PEQ as soon as I could and never looked back. While I understand the practicality and convenient use of a GEQ, it is simply not as powerful of a tool as PEQ is for me. What I have noticed lately as I provide and tech more systems for more engineers is that almost ALL of them setup and use GEQ's in their insert paths for monitor and main outputs. I can't understand why.

We have spent nearly our entire careers lamenting the GEQ and lauding PEQ's, so why when given the choice are so many still going to the GEQ? We all know that once you move about 6 of the GEQ faders that you are beginning to go into massacre mode with it. Most digital mixers have 6 bands of PEQ on their main bus and of course another 6 in their matrix / mix busses. You can have up to 12 bands of PEQ with a digital desk if you so choose. So why on earth use GEQ and burn an FX / insert slot?

It is pretty well known at this point that what you can do with a GEQ you can do with a PEQ, and then some. I am seeing MANY engineers still making the same mistakes with GEQ's in digital desks as they do with the analog ones.

A. They are likely not even sure if the GEQ is constant or proportional Q

B. They still pull many bands of faders down in groups going for a shape as opposed to only dealing with the problem.

I also find it funny that when visiting BE's walk up to my desks and ask if there is GEQ's inserted, that they are shocked when I tell them no. They almost always ask why. The answer is simple, I have 6 + bands of PEQ, I don't need to waste the slots on a GEQ. I find lately that I rarely even need more than 4 PEQ bands to get the job done in most cases. If I do, then I re-asses my situation and see what I can can do to reduce the need for so many filters. There seems to be this dichotomy with engineers over the different EQ's and their uses. What I find interesting is if you ask an engineer why they want a GEQ, they just use the general vernacular of that is what is used for the application. Why not use the several bands of PEQ that is available? The answer for that is varied, but seems to be either there isn't enough bands of it, its not as easy to adjust as a GEQ, or I am just used to / like the GEQ. It's as if many have no idea about the many flaws of GEQ's, or simply just do with digital what they have no choice to do with analog?

I would like to hear what others think about this so I can gain some insight. Why are GEQ's still so prevalent in use with digital desks? Why are GEQ's still considered over PEQ given the option of both? What did you think about, learn, and then come to know about GEQ's that influenced your current use of them? Finally, what do you think the future holds for GEQ's both in analog and digital use? Will GEQ fade away like the 8 track and cassette, or will it always be a main stay? It also wouldn't hurt to drop some knowledge about GEQ's in general. Things like the different filter designs and phase shifts; you know, stuff that would make this already long post, MUCH longer.

I'm right there with you Luke.

The Crest Audio X-Monitor analog console has a stack of parametric EQ's on the mix outputs. When I am using this console I always unplug the sends to the outboard GEQ racks. Much finger pointing and gnashing of teeth later I have explained that I don't need those silly things and the wedges will sound better because of it.

The loudspeaker processing is being handled by the PEQ's in the processor, the input EQ's are being handled by the PEQ's on the input strips, so the mix EQ shall also be handled by PEQ's on the mix outputs.

I always strongly prefer using PEQ's in place of GEQ's whenever possible. I do not chastise people who want to use GEQ's, but I always wonder in the back of my mind why they are wasting their time with those when a parametric is so much more powerful.
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John Chiara

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 03:59:33 pm »

I'm right there with you Luke.

The Crest Audio X-Monitor analog console has a stack of parametric EQ's on the mix outputs. When I am using this console I always unplug the sends to the outboard GEQ racks. Much finger pointing and gnashing of teeth later I have explained that I don't need those silly things and the wedges will sound better because of it.

The loudspeaker processing is being handled by the PEQ's in the processor, the input EQ's are being handled by the PEQ's on the input strips, so the mix EQ shall also be handled by PEQ's on the mix outputs.

I always strongly prefer using PEQ's in place of GEQ's whenever possible. I do not chastise people who want to use GEQ's, but I always wonder in the back of my mind why they are wasting their time with those when a parametric is so much more powerful.

lol! I still have an X monitor in the warehouse but same thing...never needed a GEQ. I haven't used one in years, and always chuckle when X/M 32 users have no free FX slots and have 4-6 channels of GEQ inserted.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 05:42:06 pm by John Chiara »
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2017, 04:10:37 pm »

So glad to move from GEQ to PEQ years ago, and never looked back.  A holdover from a bygone era.

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2017, 04:39:10 pm »

You're not alone. 30 years ago I was fortunate enough to work with racks with combinations of graphic EQs and notch filters on each feed. At that time there were still too many people who would use graphics as low-pass filters, but they were typically senior to us at the time so we stepped back and let them. Those notch filters (AudioArts Model 1500) taught me how much power one could have simply by attacking the actual frequency that needed to be suppressed.

Then manufacturers finally started putting PEQs on channel strips on live consoles. Oh boy! I could finally begin to flirt with the idea of shaping tone to fit the mix. Still stuck with GEQs on the outputs, because that's what the BEs specified. But with the PEQ experience and the notch filters I rarely touched a graphic if the system had decent processors on it.

Then came digital consoles. I was in heaven. I never needed to worry about GEQs again. If some BE needed them, fine, there they were. But I didn't need them getting in the way on my scenes, not with things like Yamaha's 8 band PEQ around as a tool to attack the worst resonance problems. As someone who has been doing pops orchestra work and pushing GBF to the limit for years, finally having appropriate tools is glorious.

I don't know why anyone still uses GEQs. Maybe they just aren't comfortable with change. Maybe they are so accustomed to the audible phase damage a GEQ causes that using them is the only way to get to achieve their mixing goals. I know in monitor land they can be faster for some people, but I've gotten too used to precision to want to chase feedback that way.

I don't know why anyone would still want a manual transmission in a daily driven vehicle either. So there we go.

^ This ^^ Right ^^^ Here

My experience, time line and applications, Milt.  Same outcome.  The new technology allowed us to do a better job for our clients.
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Dave Bednarski

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Re: GEQ's Just won't go away......
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 05:25:49 pm »

I've noticed the guys I work with at a local venue that has mostly Avid Profiles are all GEQ junkies!  They insert them on everything.  The employee manual says play Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer and season to taste.  It's given me a complex lately.
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