EQ can be a complex and time-consuming process, particularly when dealing with multiple tracks or complex audio signals.
Enter the automatic EQ.
Today we will delve into the world of automatic equalizers, exploring their benefits, drawbacks, and different types available on the market.
Can this take your mixing game to the next level?
Exploring Automatic Equalizer Plugins
Automatic equalizers are software plugins that can make equalization adjustments to an audio signal automatically, without the need for manual adjustment.
These plugins use sophisticated algorithms to analyze any sound and suggest EQ settings that can be a good starting point for further tweaking by the user.
- Time-saving: When working with complex audio tracks or multiple tracks, the EQ suggestions provided by the plugin can be a good starting point for tweaking the settings further, which helps speed up the process.
- Consistency: Automatic equalizers can ensure consistency in the frequency balance of a mix. This is essential when mixing and mastering an album or EP, as it can be challenging to maintain a consistent tonal balance across all tracks without the use of automation.
- Precision: These plugins offer highly precise EQ adjustments that can be difficult to achieve with manual EQ settings. This is especially true when working with narrow frequency ranges that require precise adjustments.
- Intelligent analysis: This can help identify problematic frequencies, resulting in a more balanced and polished mix.
- Learning and adaptation: Some use machine learning algorithms that can adapt to and learn from the user's mixing decisions over time, which often leads to more accurate EQ suggestions and a more personalized mixing experience.
- Lack of control: Although they provide a good starting point, they may not always provide the desired result. This can limit the user's ability to make manual adjustments and fully customize the EQ settings to their liking.
- Artificial sound: Some usually produce an artificial sound due to the nature of the algorithm used for EQ recommendations. This is mostly noticeable on acoustic instruments, where a more natural sound is desired.
- Limited compatibility: Certain automatic EQs may not be compatible with other DAWs or operating systems, which can limit their usefulness for some users.
- Higher CPU usage: They tend to be more CPU-intensive than manual EQ, which often causes issues with performance on older or less powerful computers.
- Cost: Automatic equalizers can be more expensive than traditional EQ plugins, which can be a barrier for some users.
Types of Automatic Equalizers
There are several types of automatic equalizers available on the market, including:
- Machine learning-based equalizers: A plugin like this can adapt and learn over time about the user's mixing decisions, making EQ suggestions more accurate.
- Spectral analysis-based equalizers: They are particularly useful for identifying problematic frequencies.
- Hybrid equalizers: These equalizers combine machine learning and spectral analysis techniques to provide EQ recommendations that are based on both the spectral content of the track and the user's mixing decisions.
Gullfoss, Sonible Smart EQ, and MAutoEqualizer are some of the most popular automatic EQ plugins that use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyze your tracks and make adjustments to the frequency balance in real-time.
These tools are designed to simplify the process of equalization by automatically identifying problematic frequencies and making adjustments accordingly.
Gullfoss, for example, uses a proprietary algorithm called "Computational Auditory Perception Model" (CAPM) to analyze tracks and determine which frequencies need to be boosted or cut.
CAPM is based on research into the way that humans perceive sound, and it takes into account factors such as loudness, masking, and timbre to make intelligent EQ decisions.
Similarly, Sonible Smart EQ uses an artificial intelligence algorithm called "smart:engine."
The smart:engine algorithm is based on machine learning models that have been trained on a large dataset of audio recordings.
MAutoEqualizer is another example of an intelligent EQ plugin that uses a machine learning algorithm.
MAutoEqualizer is designed to be highly customizable, allowing users to fine-tune the EQ settings to achieve the desired tonal balance.
iZotope Sculptor is another popular automatic equalizer that offers a variety of presets, each designed to enhance a specific instrument or voice, such as guitar, bass, piano, or drums.
The plugin uses an intuitive interface that allows users to adjust the intensity of the processing applied to the signal, as well as the overall tonality.
Sculptor is designed to work in real-time, making it ideal for use during live performances or recording sessions. It can also be used as a mixing tool to quickly balance the frequency content of multiple tracks.
With some practice, these plugins allow producers and engineers to achieve a more polished and professional sound with less effort.
Difference Between an Automatic EQ and a Dynamic EQ
An automatic equalizer and a dynamic equalizer are two different types of EQ plugins that serve different purposes. An automatic equalizer, as the name suggests, automatically adjusts the EQ settings based on an analysis of the sound.
The analysis can be done in various ways, including using machine learning algorithms, spectral analysis, or other signal processing techniques.
The goal is to provide a starting point for EQ adjustments that are based on the specific characteristics of your tracks.
A dynamic equalizer, on the other hand, is an EQ plugin that applies EQ settings only when the audio signal exceeds a certain threshold.
The threshold can be set based on the amplitude of the track, the frequency content of the audio, or a combination of both.
A dynamic equalizer affects an audio signal when certain frequencies are too loud or too quiet. Additionally, a dynamic equalizer is typically used for more surgical EQ settings that target a narrow frequency range.
An automatic equalizer is often used for broader EQ moves that affect the overall tonal balance.
In summary, while both are useful tools, they serve different purposes and are used for different types of EQ adjustments.