Thanks for the replies.
Thank you, though I believe the article confirms what I said: Audacity only allows real-time Phaser, SC4 and Wahwah - not EQ. So if you want EQ, you have to go and find some third party plugin and hope you get lucky.
Now obviously I have done that, and I am happily using Audacity, and like it very much. It is a fantastic program and very helpful for many uses. I am indebted to its developers, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. So I’m not trying to be negative here.
But my point was that Audacity currently lacks what I consider an essential music production feature, so even though it has many powerful and excellent features, I was just not thinking of it as a serious music production tool. Perhaps I’m wrong, but that is how I feel, based on the way I make music. Let me give an illustration to express my feelings…
An illustration to explain the importance of EQ
Let’s suppose you had a photo editing application which had sliders you could drag to adjust the photos’ brightness and contrast. But imagine that the program didn’t show you in real time how your changes would affect the photo - you just had to guess where the sliders should be positioned, then hit “Preview”, then the photo would vanish for a few moments and re-appear with the changes made, then after a few seconds, it would disappear again, leaving you with nothing to look at, and you had to “remember” which version was better - before or after! Would anyone consider that a serious photo editing tool? Probably not.
So if I’m trying to do serious photo editing, working with many photos, then I absolutely need the application to show me a live preview of how bright it is while I drag the “brightness” slider. If a photo is even just a tiny bit too light or too dark, the whole photo looks wrong, and I’ve done a second-rate job of retouching it.
The same is true of audio. Putting a piece of music together may involve making hundreds of careful adjustments to the EQ of all the tracks and all the sections of the song. If an audio track is not perfectly and precisely EQ’d, it sounds awful. So I need the application to give me a live preview of how it sounds while I’m dragging the curve around, so I can hear what I’m doing.
Let me be clear: I don’t require an EQ preview to be “instant” - I can handle having to wait a brief moment - what really matters to me is that the sound is uninterrupted: that I can hear my selection playing looped constantly, and that I make changes just by moving my mouse up and down - instead of having to click on a “Preview” button, then clicking “Stop” then clicking “Preview” again to hear it again, and so on. The periods of silence between hearing adjustments totally kills the ability to perceive subtle differences. I want to be able to press a button to toggle the changes on and off, to hear an uninterrupted comparison of before and after.
Please don’t think I’m just moaning about Audacity here. No, I am hopeful and confident that Audacity will continue to improve, and all such issues will be ironed out, but as it stands now, in my humble opinion, the EQ control is not up to scratch for serious music production.
For me, EQ, is at the top of the list of importance. In fact, other than reverb and stereo positioning, I can’t think of any function more critical to producing music. Give me those three functions alone and I can produce decent music - they are the bread and butter of music production. (Perhaps others would disagree, but that is just the way I work personally.)
Yes thank you. The reason I have not taken this to the suggestions forum long ago is that I presume this has already been discussed/requested a million times. Indeed, a quick search of the forums gives me the impression that there is always someone asking for live EQ, but they are usually directed down the third party route. I don’t like to start unnecessary threads, but perhaps I will post a suggestion there shortly?