Q1 2020

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Ewan McGregor in "Doctor Sleep." P H O T O : J E S S I C A M I G L I O / W A R N E R B R O S . McDSP's Channel G: Great headroom, slight color. 59 S P R I N G Q 1 I S S U E T E C H N O L O G Y A h, the ubiquitous EQ. It's an es- sential audio tool that's been around since the dawn of sound recording, performing the all-important task of boosting and attenuating speci- fied bands of frequencies. Today's EQ, or "equalization," options — whether they're outboard, plug-in, or built into the console — are unequiv- ocally more sophisticated than their predecessors, as the tech continues to improve and companies regularly release new versions. But, wow, there really are tons of EQs out there. No matter the DAW, there's at least one EQ that comes with it. In fact, you get two with Avid's free Pro Tools|First. W hy a re t h e re s o m a ny d i f fe re n t EQs? Are they really so different? Does one EQ work better for a given task than another? What would make an EQ not right for a job? I've posed these questions to f ive All Things Being EQ SOUND PROS WEIGH IN ON THE BEST EQUALIZATION TOOLS FOR THE JOB sound pros with different areas of exper- tise, hoping to get a better sense of how to choose the right EQ for what you do. Michael Babcock is a man of many sound talents. He was a sound designer on "Thor" (2011), supervising sound ed- itor/sound designer/re-recording mixer on "This is the End" and "The Interview," effects re-recording mixer on "Doctor Sleep," and dialogue/music re-recording mixer on the new "See" series for Apple TV+. (He was also featured in October 2019 in CineMontage's What Our Mem- bers Do). Fo r B a b c o c k , " E Q s a r e l i k e f i n e wines. Wait, that's probably reverbs," he joked. "EQs are like bottled water — the differences seem very slight but once you're paying attention it's easily one of the most important choices you can make as a mixer." Sometimes a colorless, transparent EQ is needed — one that won't impart harmonics, saturation, phasing, or other artifacts. But other times, adding color can help add to or enhance tonal char- acter. "For music, it's fun to play with the 'modeled' plugs of old, those from Neve, API, and the like. For years, I used McDSP's Channel G because of the great headroom and slight color it has. I still use it on Master stem faders and during sound design creation," Babcock said. Dialogue/music re-recording mixer Tom Ozanich — who earned an Oscar nom for his mix on "A Star is Born" last year and is in the Oscar race for mixing this year's "Joker" — also explores color By Jennifer Walden

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