EQ'ing Guide

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by LeviathanKiller, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. LeviathanKiller

    LeviathanKiller Knee-shooting Archer

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    Aug 24, 2010
    Deep Southeast
    Found this on my computer. It's not my guide but I thought I'd share it here. I don't think the original exists any longer. Some of you have probably seen this before but there's plenty that hasn't. Just a general guide. Every mix is unique so sometimes certain things don't apply. Hope this helps someone!


    EQ Guide

    Note: EQ BEFORE compressing.

    Increase to add more fullness to lowest frequency instruments like bass drums, toms, and the bass. Reduce to decrease the boominess of the bass and will increase overtones and the recognition of bass line in the mix. This is most often used on loud bass lines like rock.

    Increase to add a harder bass sound to lowest frequency instruments. Increase to add warmth to piano and horns. Reduce to remove boom on guitars & increase clarity.

    Increase to add fullness to vocals. Increase to add fullness to snare and guitar Reduce to decrease muddiness of vocals or mid-range instruments. Reduce to decrease gong sound of cymbals.

    Increase to add clarity to bass lines especially when speakers are at low volume. Reduce to decrease boxy sound of lower drums like bass drums and toms.

    Increase for clarity and "punch" of bass. Reduce to remove "cheap" sound of guitars.

    1.5Khz / 1500hz
    Increase for clearer, cleaner bass. Reduce to remove dullness of guitars.

    3Khz / 3000hz
    Increase for more attack of guitars. Increase for more attack on low piano parts. Increase for more clarity on voice. Increase for more attack on the snare or other drums. Reduce to increase breathy, soft sound on background vocals. Reduce to disguise out-of-tune vocals and guitars.

    5Khz / 5000hz
    Increase for vocal presence. Increase low frequency drum attack. Increase attack of piano, acoustic guitar and brightness on guitars. Reduce to soften thin or tinny guitar

    7Khz / 7000hz
    Increase to add attack to percussion instruments. Reduce to decrease sibilance or that annoying ssss sound on singers.

    10Khz / 10000hz
    Increase to brighten vocals. Increase for slight brightness in acoustic guitar and piano. Increase for hardness on cymbals. Reduce also to reduce sibilance

    15Khz / 15000hz
    Increase this will pretty much brighten anything, but use sparingly as hiss and other nasties are here.

    When a Q control is available, play with it to see what widths will give you the best results. Remember, these are just general starting points, and by all means do not overdo it! It is always better to cut to achieve the results you are after.

    Points of clarification for those who might not know. Since this is the Beginners section.

    Q Control
    Q control (or commonly labeled as "Q") is what allows you to widen or narrow the range of frequencies effected using the frequency you choose as the center point. This is normally measured in octaves. Also not all EQ's will have it labeled as such. Some may have it labeled something completely different. So just keep that in mind, and look for whatever setting allows you to widen or narrow the area effected. Also not all EQ's allow for the same amount of change.

    EQ before compressing
    The guide says to do this, but it may not always be true. It all depends on WHY, and WHEN. If you don't know/understand why that would matter then ignore this. It is still a great point, but just not always necessary. Again, if you don't know WHY, or WHEN matter ignore this.
  2. Tactical Tiger

    Tactical Tiger Audio Engineer

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    Sep 20, 2016
    Cape Coral, FL
    thanks for sharing!
    LeviathanKiller likes this.
  3. fob

    fob SS.org Regular

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    May 24, 2017
    Greenville, SC
    This is great!
    LeviathanKiller likes this.
  4. alekosh

    alekosh SS.org Regular

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    Jan 20, 2015
    Limassol, Cyprus
    LeviathanKiller likes this.
  5. IbanezIsLife

    IbanezIsLife Hogg

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    May 28, 2017
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  6. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Feb 22, 2008
    It's an alright guide but still trust your ears and sweep frequencies to find trouble spots. A rookie mistake is over-EQ'ing. I know I've been guilty of it but you learn from your mistakes.

    Something to try if you're struggling with EQ work... Get your track levels under control before touching EQ's. You'd be surprised how often EQ cuts aren't necessary once you realize certain elements are louder than they should be.

    Also, filters seem to be the bee's knees right now. Don't underestimate shelves. Of course low end rumble is worth chopping but don't go too high otherwise the balls are no longer attached. Shelves will give you the chance to tuck high and low frequencies out of the way instead of completely throwing them to the curb.

    Boosting isn't cheating but excessive boosting should raise red flags about the original source. Whether you're using samples or recorded audio, if you find yourself boosting often then you may want to revisit the source to replace or start from scratch. Try to capture the best sound possible when recording. That may sound so basic but it can really save you a lot of time. Since we're on a guitar forum, I'll use guitars as example. You really shouldn't need to touch the mid range with an EQ. If you are, you're better off adjusting your amp settings or mic placement to get the best possible mid range.
    alekosh and LeviathanKiller like this.
  7. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    Mar 16, 2010
    Vantaa, Finland
    I found that when boosting with parametric eq's it sounds better when you're using wider q-value, otherwise explained; boosting wider spectrum of frequencies from that area. Qutting unpleasant fizz, hiss, or mud is more like surgical work, because you don't want to cut all the good freq's that help cut through the mix. Just regarding to my own guitar tones with this.
    LeviathanKiller likes this.

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