Equalizer also known as Eq is one of the most important tools. It is a method of attenuating/amplifying, and to use it you have to understand frequency. It needs a lot of practice and experience to master Eq. Using it wrong might not only ruin your song but it can also damage your ears, so be very careful when using this effect.
Sounds that are audible to the human ear range from 20MHz to 20Khz and are found in the frequency spectrum (Eq). There are sounds that the human ear can’t hear, and there are sounds you just feel but can’t hear at all, on this music production lessons I won’t go in to detail with that, I’ll stick to those we can here.
An Equalizer has got 4 bands: The low frequencies, low mid frequencies, high mid frequencies and high frequencies. The low frequencies is where your bass will be dominant, and below 80Hz that’s where you will mostly find the punch of your kick drum and sub frequencies of your bass.
When should I cut or When Should I boost? That’s the frequently asked questions by newbies. You must Eq with a valid reason as to why you need to equalize and how will it benefit the sound. It’s always better to cut than to boost frequency and less is more.
Cutting too much can also make your sound thin and flat. When you cut use a short Q factor (bandwidth) and when you boost use a wide Q but with a small boost.
I mostly use equalizer during mixing to create space in the mix. During mixing use it while the whole track is playing, mixing is all about the whole track not one sound. Instruments should blend together while giving space for each other in a mix so use the Equalizer to benefit the whole song.
Your instruments might fight for space in the frequency spectrum, that's when the Eq tool comes handy. For instance, you can cut the low frequencies of a piano to make space for the bass or a guitar can be cut at around 1Khz to 3Khz to give space for the vocals.
Cutting the low frequencies of instruments help reduce low frequency rumble. You just have to sweep through the frequency spectrum to find out which instruments are clashing, but sometimes you may find that panning one to the left and the other to the right may solve the problem.
So play around with Eq and familiarize yourself with it, it’s really a powerful tool in your effects chain. These tips are not a silver bullet for the Eq tool, you need to train your ears to know why you are pushing the buttons, so use this guideline as reference.
Here is a video from Fab Dupont showing the Sonnox Oxford EQ. Enjoy And Stay Creative!!!
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