Year by year, we are witnessing the progress of audio engineering technologies. New mixing tricks and new recording options are only getting better, and the effort we once invested in getting to the desired goal in the processing of drums, guitar, or full mix significantly decreased. Therefore, in the next tutorial, we will present to you one such tool, which is a hybrid of multiple effects, a Hybrid Equalizer.
As usual, we will start by listening to a previously made sequence (containing all the elements of the full mix) in the SoundBridge: DAW.
~Full Mix – Unprocessed
HQ-2 by Audio Assault – A Hybrid Equalizer
As we can hear from the audio example above, the mix sounds pretty decent. But we feel it lacks a bit more presence in mid and high frequencies. To achieve this, let’s move to the effect we mentioned in the intro of this tutorial. We’ll add it to the master channel of our track. There are other alternatives, but for the sake of this tutorial, we have chosen a plugin called HQ-2 designed by Audio Assault. In its essence, HQ-2 is a hybrid equalizer which is a ten band multiband compressor, designed with the intuitive workflow of a graphic equalizer.
Glue the Elements
The HQ-2 is built around ten bands of RMS compression, which is useful for compressing the average level of a signal rather than the peak level. The result is transparent compression that can bring quiet details up in the mix while achieving consistency in the tone of the dynamic source material. This makes the HQ-2 ideal for instrument busses and the mix bus, where it can help glue your mix together. However, given the ten mix bands of multi-band compression and the graphic equalizer workflow, the HQ-2 is also perfect for a wide range of individual sources.
To the right of the ten bands is the global compression control. This allows you to set the attack, release, and ratio for the RMS compressor. Attack sets the attack time of the RMS compression effect, while Release sets the release time of the RMS compression effect. The ratio sets the amount of gain reduction. When set to zero, there will be no compression. This can be treated as a “strength” knob. Dial-in the eq balance you want using the ten bands, then adjust the strength of the compression effect with the ratio control. Start at zero and turn it up until you have the desired amount of compression.
Single Instruments Application
The HQ-2 offers some great uses on single instruments such as bass guitar and acoustic guitar, for example. You can use it on bass guitar to even out the strength of the low end, adding consistency to bass lines that play at various octaves and preventing the low end from getting thin when higher notes are played. Also, on acoustic guitar, where you can use it to bring up the low-level information in the sustain, helping thicken up the acoustic guitar in your mix, while shaping the spectral response to suit the needs of your mix.
After a brief introduction of the HQ-2 interface and possibilities, we can move on to practical examples. In this case, we have added it to the master bus chain just before the limiter, as you can see from the picture above. Let’s hear the difference between unprocessed full mix and then processed with HQ-2.
~Full Mix – Unprocessed
~Full Mix – Processed With HQ-2
Feel free to download the project file here.