- by Kevin Deal
An equalizer is used to manipulate sound frequencies to so that the audio will suit the kind of environment you will listen it to. For example, if you are in a place where the noise proves to give a bad effect to the sound, you can tone the bass a bit, pull the treble up, etc.
Most audio devices used in recording usually have EQ presets like Concert, Pop, Jazz already. However, if you want to achieve a more refined result, then it is best if you manually play around the EQ effects manually. It will take longer time and effort, but you’ll have an audio that will give you better satisfaction. To guide you in doing so, here are top EQ tips you can use in retouching your audio.
Listen to the sound carefully
Many people like to use EQ as they create space between instruments and make smoother sounds. However, before you start applying it, be sure to listen to the sound carefully. Does the audio need an EQ retouch? If the instrument or vocal sounds good already, then it’s better if you let it be. Having the chance to edit an audio does not mean you should always do it. You will only end up ruining a good audio if you insist on editing it. However, if you can hear muddy sounds, then proceed with using EQ.
Get a grip on graphic EQ
A graphic equalizer is often installed in an audio equipment already. With the right software, you can edit audio at home with your computer. You can tell it’s a graphic equalizer when you see two axes – the frequency on one side and decibels on the other side. You will also see sliders which you can use to adjust the audio frequency along the decibel scale. The dB units on the left side (starting at 20) denotes bass, while on the right side (ending at 16k) denotes treble. The mid is from 400 to 1.6 k.
To start operating, you have to set all EQ bands to 0 first. This naturalizes the sound. Then, listen to the audio carefully, using speakers or your headphones. Adjust EQ effects according to the needs of the audio. Finally, turn the volume to the level necessary to get the exact frequency you want.
Dive into parametric EQ
Unlike graphic EQ, this one is more difficult. Parametric EQs are perfect for tone shaping. It allows you to apply precision when selecting the frequency cut or boost. You can find this on your amps, mixing boards, or in an audio editing software.
To get started, cut unwanted high or low harmonics by using hi-pass or low-pass filter. Then, determine the frequency and bandwidth. Adjust both very carefully. It’s better if you raise of lower the number one at a time to be able to determine the perfect sound. Finally, you can gain the function on parametric EQ by cutting the band. Lower the gain to a negative or boost it up to something above zero. Adjust to get the desired sound.
Remember EQ’s Golden Rules
There are golden rules that should be followed if ever you decide to try using equalizers. First, if the audio sounds muddy, then you need to cut it to about 250 Hz. If it’s honky, then you must cut it to 500 Hz. Secondly, cut if you want the audio to sound clearer, but boost if you want it to sound different. Lastly, you can not boost something that is not there so don’t get yourself confused.
Reset when necessary
If you notice that everything you applied on the audio has made it worst, then you can reset the changes you made. If you have boosted all EQ channels, then you are merely increasing the volume and not really refining the sound. Once you’ve realized such mistake, reset to the neutral settings.
If the next time you listen to an audio tells you that there’s a need to refine it, then equalizers are what you should turn to. However, if used incorrectly, you may not get the desired quality. Therefore, you should experiment and practice more so you can master EQ.