Sunday, May 6, 2012


Hello and welcome to this week's article! Today we're going to talk about how to copy the equalization of an instrument (for example an electric guitar) from a commercial song, and apply it on your mix.
First off you will need a dedicated plugin (there are many around, although not freeware; among the others: Voxengo Curve Eq, Izotope OzoneSteinberg Free Filter, or Elevayta FreeEq); these kind of plugins works more or less the same way (except for Ozone: this is a mastering suite, the spectrum copy section is just a small part of the whole package), so today we'll take a look to Voxengo CurveEq, but the same method can be applied to the others fellows too.

What do we need? A song that we like, from where it's possible to hear the single, isolated sound we want to copy, for example if we want to copy the curve of a guitar, first we import the song on a new track on our DAW, then it's important that we find the guitar alone, without bass or drums, because their sound will affect the curve; the ideal is to find the part and put it on loop, so that we can hear it repeatedly.
Once the part is selected, it's time to load the Plugin on the track, and press "Copy" (which is the "C" button on Voxengo CurveEq, or "Learn" on Steinberg Freefilter), and the plugin will copy the equalization of what's playing; remember: the more seconds this function will be active, the more accurate will be the capturing. Once the curve shown on the window is stable, we press "S" ("Save Captured Spectrum", on Voxengo CurveEq), and the spectrum is saved. Now we can save the preset naming it for example "Metallica Guitars".

Now we go on the track with our own sound, we open another instance of  the same plugin, load the preset we just saved and press "Match" (or equivalent, for the other plugins), and choose the 60 bands eq, if requested, in order to have the most accurate spectrum reproduction possible. We can also do some correction to the eq in this phase, if we feel that the sound could be improved. Once we played our track until the curve is stable (obviously we are talking about the same single instrument, played alone), we press "S" (save captured spectrum), and the program will apply the preset we sampled from the original song to our own track.
It is possible to use single instances of this kind of plugins for virtually every instrument on our mix, copying for example the equalization of the snare of an album, the guitars from another, and the vocals from another one; it is even possible to use it on the master buss in order to copy the curve of a whole mix, if you need it.

Have fun with the many creative uses this kind of plugins have to offer, and share with the community the curves that you sample!

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