One of the cool things about digital consoles is that you can save stuff you need to use again. Sometimes, we take this too far, and simply recall last week’s mix and call it good. That’s not really the right way to do things, as so much has changed from last week. Even if the band is the same, a lot of other things have changed, and it’s a good idea to double check everything and continue to mix just like you would if you had to start from scratch each week.
On the other hand, when we break things down into smaller chunks and recall those chunks as needed, the true power of digital consoles comes out. A great example of this is the EQ library. In our case, we have a few different people who speak regularly with 2 different mics; a DPA 4088 and a Countryman e6. Even with the same speaker, those two mics sound quite a bit different. Add in different voices and it’s pretty clear that we can’t use the same EQ curve for everyone.
That’s when we turn to the library. Over the last few months, we’ve built EQ curves for all our speakers and their mics. We normally start with one that’s close (eg. the same mic) and tweak for their voice. Once we’re happy, we save it–labeling it with their name and the type of mic (eg. Craig e6). What’s brilliant about this is the next time Craig speaks with an e6, we load that EQ curve and we’re 95% there. Because little things like temperature, humidity and how much water the speaker has had to drink affect the sound, we tweak a little bit. But the base curve is really close.
If we find ourselves making larger changes, we may re-save the preset. Sometimes it’s in response to a tweaked room curve. Other times, we just got closer to a really good sound. We’ve been in the habit of saving everyone’s EQ curves, even if we don’t think they’ll be back. The 01V stores 200 EQ curves and it will be a while before we fill them all. And if you’re using Yamaha Studio Manager, you can effectively store an infinite number of settings by changing settings files.
You could also use EQ libraries to store settings for guitars, basses and pretty much anything else you EQ on a regular basis. Just keep in mind that the EQ setting is not a holy grail. You still need to tweak based on current events. However, a good EQ library will help you get more done in less time. It can also really help out a volunteer base. Rather than starting from scratch, a volunteer engineer can recall a curve that worked in the past. And if they start tweaking and get too far off, they can simply re-recall it. It’s what I like to call a win-win-win.