EQualise

05/27/2015

5 Comments

 
The term 'Equalisation' is a throwback to the days of needing filters to correct the tonal changes of audio sent along telephone wires.
These days EQ refers to any filter device that targets and manipulates specific frequencies within the audio spectrum.
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In this article we will come to terms with the basics of how to use EQ musically, and discuss a few pieces of 'Good Practice' advice.

  • Filter Types 
  • Cut vs Boost
  • Sweeping
  • Mirror EQ


Types of Filters
There are a few basic types of filters that you need to get your head around. Notice in the examples below that there is a lot of 'boosting' (increasing the level of a frequency) going on. These are exaggerated in order to demonstrate what they look like and aren't necessarily good EQ moves. Here are some rules of thumb that you can use as a guideline.

Cut Before Boost - The temptation is to boost first. This is because the effects are much more audibly noticeable and you feel like you are getting somewhere. In reality, every boost your make is adding more noise to your mixing and reducing your headroom. It takes discipline but know that cutting out frequencies in order to 'reveal 'the ones you want to stand out is better for your mix than simply boosting the ones you want to hear.

Use Your Ears - After a while you might start to think you know what a good vocal or snare drum looks like. Think about it for a second and you will see how ridiculous this is. Trust your ears over your eyes always. This is one reason some engineers prefer using outboard gear or plugins that don't have a visual representation of the EQ moves. People have been known to close their eyes or even turn their computer monitors of so they are not temped to look too hard.
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High/Low Pass Filters

A Pass Filter (High or Low) allows frequencies beyond (above or below) a defined threshold past, while blocking or 'cutting' the rest.
Pictured is a High Pass filter as it is 'letting the high's passed'.


A High Pass Filter (HPF) is probably the most common of the filters and often can be engaged on gear at the source such as a condenser mic or preamp.
In effect, it takes out the mostly unusable low end that in most cases (barring kick drum and bass guitar) is only rumble and unwanted noise. Vigilant use of an HPF in recording and mixing can be a great head-start to a cleaner mix with more headroom.
Notice how it forms a smooth curve rather than an abrupt cliff. This is because in EQ smooth and gradual curves sound more natural that sharp 'notches'.


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Shelf Filter
Next on the list is the Shelf Filter.
As demonstrated in the picture this type of filter engages at a set frequency then create's a plateau or 'shelf' for the remaining frequencies above or below the initial.
A shelf filter like this is the most practical for a natural sounding boost or cut, often used to add 'sparkle' or 'air' in the high end (similar to what is pictured).

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Band Pass Filters
The final main filter type is the 'Band Pass' or 'Bell Curve' which can be used to cut or boost in a bell shape all across the mid-range. The size and shape of the 'Bell' is called the 'Q' and can be adjusted to suit your need.
The Band Pass filter is where you will get all your surgery (if needed) done, specifically notching out unpleasant frequencies.


A Clean Sweep
Sweeping is an extremely useful (if not essential) technique using a Band Pass filter. As shown above, you grab a narrow 'Q' band, exaggerate a boost, and slowly sweep back and forth, listening for any frequencies that are nasty sounding or muddying up your track. Once found you can 'notch' that frequency out (I recommend working in 3db chunks). Lots of little cuts like this might not sound super obvious in isolation but will add up to a much cleaner mix with more headroom.

Mirror EQ
Mirror EQ is a technique where you take two or more tracks and 'carve' them out their own space in the mix.
When you open a single EQ window and look at the background, you can think of that as your total amount of space for all the frequencies in your song. That means that all of your tracks need to share that same space. By making conscience decisions about which instruments should sit where and taking out frequencies of one track to allow another to use that space will go a long way toward having nice separation and minima; 'masking' in your overall mix


 


Comments

04/28/2016 1:39am

Equaling record has a separate value in our society. Every individual has separate practical work for the human being as well. So we can say that the record is most important for the practical work as well.

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01/27/2017 12:19am

Equalizer makes the music more enticing. It gives a perfect rhythm in your ears. An equal combination of bass and treble. When the sound has equalizer it makes me feel the music even more realistic and enjoyable. I've been to rave parties that I always admire the music. Even in music festivals, the sound system is really good. It's a great thing that inventors enhance the art of music.

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What filters do you use when mixing a music?

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11/04/2016 12:27am

I'm always using EG when I'm listening to music! Unreal listed to it without EQ!

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12/14/2016 11:08pm

Okay, I will use your experience in the future. It's a good and informative article.

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