A Logic Pro X Channel EQ Tutorial
As you probably know, when Logic Pro X 10.0.5 came out, both the Channel EQ and the Linear Phase EQ plug-in were updated with a new graphical user interface and new functionality. Most notably, both EQ plug-ins now have Mid/Side processing capabilities enabling you to independently apply equalization to the Mid and Side signals of your audio. I’ll use the new Channel EQ plug-in and take a look at how that works, and what it’s like to work with the new user interface. And actually have fun!
Logic Pro X Channel EQ – Using the New Interface
With the new graphical user interface, there are several ways to adjust the center Frequency, Gain and Q factor (resonance) of a specific band. Hovering over a band will highlight it. By doing so, and afterwards clicking and dragging up and down or left and right, you can already adjust the band’s Gain and center Frequency respectively. See below.
By grabbing the dot (green, in this case), you can adjust Gain by dragging up and down, and adjust center Frequency by dragging left and right. Dragging up and down while holding down ⌥+⌘ enables you to adjust the Q factor.
As you can see in the above picture, the interface changes considerably (note the horizontal line on top of the curve) but it does only after you’ve made your first EQ adjustment – by dragging the dot. I think this is a bit counter-intuitive. Yet now, there are even more ways to adjust the EQ’s parameters with your mouse.
Hovering over the horizontal line enables you to drag up and down to adjust Gain:
Hovering over the left- or right side of the highlighted area lets you adjust the center Frequency by dragging left and right:
Hovering over the intersection of the horizontal line and either side of the highlighted area allows for yet another way to adjust Gain and center Frequency at the same time, by draggin up and down, or left and right:
Lastly, on some occasions, I’ve experienced some loss in functionality of the GUI. Closing and reopening the Channel EQ plug-in window helped. I am currently on version 10.0.6.
Logic Pro X Channel EQ – M/S Processing
Along with the left and right channels, the new Logic Pro X Channel EQ enables you to adjust specific frequencies for the Mid and Side signals of your audio individually.
To quickly illustrate what that sounds like, here’s a random unprocessed Drummer drumloop:
The same loop with a 7.0 dB boost at 2Khz on the Mid signal:
The same loop with a 7.0 dB boost at 2Khz on the Side signal:
Logic Pro X Channel EQ – Limitations
The new interface allows for quick switching between Stereo, Left, Right, Mid and Side processing modes. Unfortunately, these processing modes cannot be combined in a single instance of the Channel EQ plug-in. So, you can’t cut the Mid signal at 300 Hz while boosting the Side signal at 7Khz, for example. To work around this limitation, you could insert two instances of the Channel EQ plug-in into your Channel Strip in series, using one instance of the plug-in for each processing mode.
Note that by using the Channel Eq’s Gain slider, you can make full-range adjustments to the Mid and Side signal levels of your audio. Below, I’ve practically removed all Mid information from the audio by turning the slider all the way down.
Channel EQ’s in Series and Smart Control
One last tip. If you’re happy with using the Channel EQ plug-in in series for Mid/Side processing purposes, learn how to use Smart Controls.
Have a look at my Channel Strip, with the Channel EQ inserted twice, in series:
Why the muted Tape Delay plug-in? I picked it at random. It was the only way I could think of to get access to the Smart Control I needed (if you can think up a smarter way, please comment, and I’ll buy you a beer one day. Promise.). See below, and note the ‘Peak 4 Gain’ knob.
Below, the Channel EQ parameters that knob is assigned to. Note that I checked the ‘Invert’ checkbox for the second assignment:
With one knob, I get to control the Gain on Peak band 4, on two separate instances of the Channel EQ plug-in at the same time. One Channel EQ is set to Mid processing mode, the other to Side processing mode. Now, when I turn my knob clockwise, this happens:
As you can see, I’m cutting the Mid levels, and boosting the Side levels at 2.5Khz at the same time. You should know by now that I am a One Knob Fanboy, and that I have a weak spot for knobs that control multiple things.
What I think is really cool, is that a setup like this allows for easy tweaks to the balance between your Mid and Side levels, and this approach – by using Smart Controls – makes it even easier to make those tweaks part of your arrangement.
The frequency I used in the example is irrelevant. You’ll have to find the Mid/Side sweet spots on your own. But do try it on your vocals bus, your synth bus, drums bus, perhaps even the mix bus. You’ll likely be doing this once your mix is nearly finished. I bet you’ll be in doubt and come back at the tiniest of changes. You’ll find that subtle edits like these can have a huge impact on the feel of your song as it progresses. Mixing engineering stuff, sure. But this is the icing on the cake, and a very 2014 thing to be doing.
Keep at it.