EQ Fundamentals

Equalization Principles

  • If it sounds muddy, attenuate at around 250Hz
  • If it sounds honky, attenuate at around 500Hz
  • Cut or attenuate to add clarity
  • Boost to make things sound “different”
  • Use a narrow Q / Bandwidth (6 – 10) when cutting
  • Use a wide Q / Bandwidth (0.5 – 2) when boosting
  • To make something stick out, roll off the bottom
    • For example guitars and vocals can really use this. Basically everything that uses a microphone.
    • Bass and kickdrum can use it as well but then only really low bottom under 20 or 30 Hz.
  • To make something blend in, roll off the top

Don’t forget: Less is sometimes more. So use it wisely.

Equalization Fundamental Techniques

Apply the following fundamental techniques for EQing your sounds:

  1. Use substractive frequencies to remove aspects of the sound you do not like. Two ways to do this:
    1. Bring down a frequency to -10db and while the sound plays drag it to lower or higher frequencies until the sound you want to remove is gone (for example nasal sound of a vocal around 1kHz). Once it sounds good, bring the grain up to -1 or -2Db as suited and use Q in that way until sounds good.
    2. Bring up a frequence to +10db and while the sound plays drag it to lower or higher frequencies until you hear the frequency of the sound you wqnt to remove. Once found, bring it down to -1 or -2db and adjust Q until sounds good.
  2. Substractive frequencies removal works best in the below ranges due to proximity effect and the way microphones are build to accentuate certain frequencies which you do not want: presence boost.EQ 1
  3. After substractive frequencies, add some points for improving character of the sound.
  4. Some sparkle as wel in the higher frequencies
  5. And eventually some air to make it feel more real and breathy.EQ 2

Bass EQ

  1. Bring up everything under 120 Hz for the big bottom
  2. Bring up a small point around 700 Hz for more attack of the Bass
  3. Bring up a point around 2.5 Hz for the finger sound on the bass.
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