Equalizers Part 1

December 2, 2014

This post is going to cover the basics for understanding eq.  This is another one 

of the essential mixing controls, right up there with compression.  Keep in mind

that great mixes start with great recordings.  So, you can make an ok recording 

sound a little better with a lot of work, or you can make a great recording sound

amazing.

 

Eq is an audio signal processor unit that allows you to change audio frequencies.

  This is done by boosting or cutting selected frequencies.  Note that cuts are 

more natural sounding and can make more room in your mix for other instruments to

 fill that frequency.  Another thing to keep in mind is that every boost or cut 

is summed together.  So, let's say you boost two different tracks at the 1kHz 

frequency with 2dBs of boost.  That is summed together in your mix for a boost 

of 4dB at 1dB.  Check the eq post part 2 for ways to get around this.

 

Let's look at some of the different controls on an eq processor.  High pass filters

 allow you to remove a larger area of low end, thus creating a section for high

 end frequencies to pass through.  Low pass filters do the opposite by 

eliminating high end.  Shelving eq features allow you to boost or cut the 

end of the frequency spectrum.  This can let you boost something like all 

the frequencies above 6kHz.  A peaking eq can be helpful when altering 

specific frequency spots.  With this, you can cut something like 200Hz from

 a boomy guitar track.  The Q control or bandwith control allows you to 

specify how big of an area around the selected frequency that will be boosted or cut.

  So, you can really dial in the frequency of one instrument while leaving room

 to alter the frequency beside that one on another instrument.

 

 Having gone through this, you can pull up that eq plug-in in your mixing

software and bring out the cool tones of the instruments that you've recorded.  

Remember, the eq is an accentuating tool, not a crutch.  Make more cuts than boosts

and don't alter too many tracks at the same frequency, and you'll have some 

pretty killer mixes.  Check back for part 2 on using eq for more specific frequency

altering techniques.

 

 

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