What is E.Q.?

WHAT IS EQ?
EQ stands for Equalizer or Equalizing. An equalizer is a device which allows someone to equal out the tonal characteristics of a sound. They were originally conceived to help get a flat response down telephone lines, and to make up for the deficiencies in low end HiFi equipment.
These days however, EQ’s  are used much more creatively to boost certain frequencies and alter the relative balance of others in order to produce tonal effects within a recording.
The Equalizer has the ability to cut or boost the amplitude in specific frequency ranges by using filter circuits. (A filter is an electronic device designed to reduce a signal’s energy at a specific frequency.)
Good EQ’ing is a skill which is learnt over time and can be the most important tool in a recording or mix engineers bag.
At the recording stage, good use of EQ can make instruments or voices ‘cut through’ better leaving less to do at mix down, and at mix down good EQ’ing can be used in place of volume boosting to improve a tracks definition within the mix.

Here are a list of frequencies that are useful to remember when recording or mixing down.

BASS GUITAR, CELLO, UPRIGHT BASS
To reduce the “boom” of the bass, BOOST at 50 Hz.
To “un-bury” overtones, BOOST at 50 Hz.
To increase the bass line in a final mix, BOOST at 50 Hz.
To increase loud rock bass lines, BOOST at 50 Hz.
To add a harder bass sound to lowest frequency instruments, BOOST at 100 Hz.
To add more “power” to lowest frequency instruments, BOOST at 100 Hz.
For increased clarity of bass guitar, cello, or upright bass; BOOST at 800 Hz
For increased clarity of bass guitar, cello, or upright bass; BOOST at 1.5 kHz.
For punchier bass guitar, cello, or upright bass; BOOST at 800 Hz or at 1.5 kHz.
For more “pluck” of bass, BOOST at 3 kHz.
For more “finger sound” on bass, BOOST at 5 kHz or at 7 kHz.
DRUMS
To add more fullness to kick, floor tom, and bass drum, BOOST at 50 Hz
To add fullness to snare, BOOST at 100 Hz.
To add fullness to snare for a harder sound, BOOST at 200 Hz.
To reduce gong sound of cymbals, CUT at 200 Hz.
To reduce “cardboard” sound of lowpitched drums and toms, CUT at 400 Hz.
To reduce ambiance on cymbals, CUT at 400 Hz.
For greater attack on low frequency drums, BOOST at 5 kHz.
For greater attack on floor or rack toms, BOOST at 5 kHz.
To add attack on low frequency drums a more metallic sound, BOOST at 7 kHz.
To give snares a more metallic sound, BOOST at 7 kHz.
To add attack to percussion instruments, BOOST at 7 kHz.
For added hardness on cymbals, BOOST at 10 kHz.
To brighten cymbals, BOOST at 15 kHz.
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ECHO AND REVERB
To prevent reverb or echo from muddying the mix, CUT at 100, 125, 150, 200 or even 300
Hz.
To create a “cave sound”, BOOST at 100 Hz.
To emphasize reverb or echo, BOOST at 3 kHz or 5 kHz
To get “Elvis” style echo, BOOST using a broad parametric EQ “bell” centered at 300 or
500 Hz.
GENERAL
To reduce muddiness of mid-range instruments, CUT at 200 Hz.
To add clarity to bass lines, especially when speakers are at low volume, BOOST at 400
Hz.
To bring a part forward, BOOST using a broad parametric EQ “bell” centered at 2 kHz.
To send a part backward, CUT using a broad parametric EQ “bell” centered at 2 kHz.
To make background parts more distant, CUT at 5 kHz.
GUITAR AND STRINGS
To add fullness to guitars, BOOST at 100 Hz.
To remove boom on guitars, CUT at 100 Hz.
To add clarity to guitars, CUT at 100 Hz.
To add fullness to guitar for a harder sound, BOOST at 200 Hz.
To make “cheap” sounding guitars sound less cheap, CUT at 800 Hz.
To remove dullness of guitars, BOOST at 1.5 kHz.
For more attack of electric or acoustic guitar, BOOST at 3 kHz.
To disguise out-of-tune guitars, CUT at 3 kHz.
To accentuate the attack of acoustic guitar, BOOST at 5 kHz.
To add brightness to guitars, especially rock guitars, BOOST at 5 kHz.
To soften “thin” guitar, CUT at 5 kHz.
To add sharpness to rock guitar or acoustic guitar, BOOST at 7 kHz.
To brighten string instruments, BOOST at 15 kHz.
To add “light brightness” in acoustic guitar, BOOST at 10 kHz.
HORNS AND WOODWINDS
To add warmth to horns, BOOST at 100 Hz.
To reduce shrillness of horns, CUT at 5 kHz or at 7 kHz.
To brighten flutes and woodwinds, BOOST at 15 kHz.
KEYBOARDS AND PIANO
To add warmth to piano, BOOST at 100 Hz.
For more attack on low piano parts, BOOST at 3 kHz.
To accentuate the attack of piano, BOOST at 5 kHz.
To add sharpness to synthesizers and piano, BOOST at 7 kHz.
To make sampled synthesizer sound more real, BOOST at 15 kHz.
To add “light brightness” for a piano, BOOST at 10 kHz.
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VOCALS
To add fullness to vocals, BOOST at 200 Hz.
To reduce muddiness of vocals, CUT at 200 Hz.
For more clarity or hardness on voice, BOOST at 3 kHz.
Reduce to breathiness, or to reduce “soft sounds” of background vocals, CUT at 3 kHz
To disguise out-of-tune vocals, CUT at 3 kHz.
For greater vocal presence, BOOST at 5 kHz.
To brighten a dull singer, BOOST at 7 kHz, or send them to college.
To brighten vocals, BOOST at 10 kHz.
To reduce sibilance, which is the “s” sound, on singers, CUT at 7 kHz or at 10 kHz.
To brighten vocals by emphasizing breath sound, BOOST at 15 kHz.

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