Equalization, also known as EQ, is a popular audio processing trick used in music production. It lets you adjust the volume of different frequencies in a sound to smooth out imperfections. You can cut out unwanted frequencies or boost others to get the perfect mix and make everything sound awesome together!
The EQing process begins by reducing undesired frequencies and enhancing pleasing ones to achieve a harmonious blend of sounds in the mix. When using EQ, we focus on the range of human hearing, which spans approximately 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Engineers usually divide these frequencies into various audio spectrum ranges during EQ adjustments:
Sub Bass (20-60Hz) – These extremely low frequencies are the lowest audible sounds to humans. They are commonly found in sub-bass or very deep bass drums. Sub-bass tones are highly potent and require careful handling. Without subwoofers, it’s challenging for our ears to detect these frequencies on regular speakers. If you choose to equalize them on your system, ensure you can actually hear them.
Low-Mids (60-250Hz) – The low-mids contribute warmth and fullness to a mix. This range encompasses the bass and kick, as well as lower frequencies in guitars, vocals, synths, and keyboards. It plays a crucial role in creating a substantial mix, but controlling any muddiness is essential.
Mids (250Hz-1.5kHz) – These frequencies sit in the centre of human hearing and can add presence to instruments when boosted. However, excessive boosting in this range may overwhelm the listener.
Upper Mids (1.5-6.6kHz) – Enhancing instruments in the upper mids can provide clarity and presence. But similar to the mids, it requires caution to avoid making the track too harsh or fatiguing.
Highs (6.6-20kHz) – The high frequencies contain brilliance and air. Boosting treble frequencies can make acoustic guitars shimmer or vocals stand out in the mix. However, it’s worth noting that this range also holds a lot of high-frequency noise, particularly in electric guitars, which can sound harsh when overly boosted.
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