Review: Hoser XT EQ from Boz Digital
So, Dave Bendeth and Boz Digital, they sent me over a brand new EQ that they’re about to release. It’s called The Hoser XT. They wanted to get my thoughts on it, and I love it. I’ve had it for about two weeks, and it’s easily my favorite character EQ in the box at this point. I’ve got some really great hardware EQs that I like to use, but this one’s been showing up on everything from bass, to vocals, to pads, to guitars, to just everything, basically.
Instead of gushing about it, I’m just going to play this record. This has no effects on it at all, and then I’m going to give you some examples of the EQ, how I would use it, maybe throw in a couple of tips there as well. So check it out.
Okay, so obviously, all I’m doing right now is just simply disengaging the bypass. That’s it. There’s no EQ that’s actually on. There’s no filters on any of these. It’s all set to completely flat. So, there’s obviously some tonal change that occurs, and I’ve put it on every track so we can really hear what’s happening.
To my ear, what’s going on is a little bit of the very high end is rolling off a touch, and the lower mid-range is becoming a little bit accentuated, particularly that sort of warm fuzzy lower mid that’s maybe around about 300-400 Hz, and also a little bit of that 800Hz range is becoming a little bit more forward as well.
The other thing that I’m hearing is that there is a bit of rounding out of the transients, and there is also sort of this saturation quality that’s adding a sense of harmonic to the overall sound. Now, do I think that all of that means that this is a good EQ or a bad EQ? I think it just means it’s doing what it’s intended to do, which is to have a printed sound and give it character.
Now, if you don’t want that character, then you might not want to throw that EQ on, but I think most of the time, we’re going to want to hear the EQ. On this mix in particular, the only thing that I raised an eyebrow about is the snare, and it’s because it’s sort of a unique snare. I think that just bypassing the snare will make it sound better.
So on the one hand, the snare becomes a little thinner when I remove the EQ, but it also becomes a little bit more sharp and pointed, and I think for this record, having that extra sharp pointed snare is going to be important, because everything else is taking so well to having that sort of warmer, thicker, more rounded kind of sound.
Now, for everything else like the vocals for example…
I think that the vocal sits into the track much better immediately when I put the EQ on. Yes, the upper mid-range does recede a little bit, but I don’t think that there’s any dearth of upper mid-range in this vocal. I think it’s going to be really easy to make this vocal present, and what I’m more concerned with is having it blend, and having it have a vibe, and that kind of a sensibility.
I think as far as things like the choir pad or whatever, that’s obviously a win right off the bat.
I mean, that just puts the choir where it needs to be immediately. So, now let’s examine the relationship between the vocals and the choir, and I’ll show you an application of EQ that I discuss in my mixing with EQ tutorial. It’s a pretty cool concept, and basically, the idea is this.
Let’s say that I want the choir to sound bigger. Well, if I start turning it up, it’s just going to start getting in the way of the vocal, and let’s do that right now.
[mix, bringing up choir pad]
Now, if I take the frequency area where the vocal presence is really positive, say, the upper mid-range, like maybe about 1.5kHz, then I can take some of that out of the choir, and I can make the choir effectively bigger, without it making the vocal seem quieter.
So let’s give that a shot. Let’s find the conflicting frequency and remove some of it.
Right. So I think we got it. It’s 1.8kHz, between 1500 and 2kHz. I’m using a fairly wide band, because I don’t think that we just want to cut that one little tiny area, it’s a pretty broad sense of where the presence of the rapper’s vocal is, but let’s before and after this real quick.
And I want you guys to listen – obviously the choir becomes a lot bigger, but also listen to the rapper’s vocals, and how they sit relative to the choir.
The vocal doesn’t really become any quieter, and in a way, it almost sounds bigger, simply because I’m filling out the lower mid-range a little bit more. I’m giving an overall bigger sense of space, and I think I might want to etch out maybe just a tiny, tiny bit of say, like, around 500Hz on this. Let’s find that.
Yeah, there we go. So now I have a really big choir sound, but I’m not getting in the way of the vocals. So here’s how it sounds all together.
That in turn ends up making the entire record bigger. Now, what I can do is go into the vocal…
There we go. Now let’s hear how that sounds.
Yeah, sounds good. But yeah, it’s a really smooth EQ. One of the things that I’m going to point out before I end this little demo here is the top end is really stellar. It’s the thing that I first immediately picked up on, is you can just pump so much top end into this EQ that the fact that it rolls it off slightly, not even really a concern. Check this out.
So, that’s 11dB of gain right there, and quite honestly, I don’t think that it sounds bad. The only thing that I don’t like at this point is that some of the spikes of the esses is becoming a little shrill and icy, but I could throw a de-esser on that and not even be concerned about it, and maybe just the vocal in general is just a little out of balance with this much high end pumped into it, but like, I don’t hear any kind of hashiness, any kind of brittle edginess going on, I don’t hear any weird aliasing stuff happening… It’s just super smooth in the top end.
It’s very smooth everywhere else, too. It’s really a very nice character EQ. The low range is fantastic on this particular rapper’s voice. His name is Random or Mega Ran, sometimes. His like, 140, 150Hz area is like, really special to his voice, and this is the best EQ on his voice, and I’m talking about hardware, software, anything that I’ve ever used, and I’ve been working with him for over a decade. Literally, over ten years using all sorts of EQs, and nothing has really complimented the low end of his voice in particular quite as well as this EQ, so I mean, if I’m raving a little bit, it’s just because I think this is fantastic, and if you need a character EQ piece, this is where you need to go.