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Well, then, what about EQ?
Old 27th August 2006
Gear Maniac
dtucker's Avatar

Well, then, what about EQ?

You've clearly stated your thoughts on tracking with compression.

What are your thoughts on tracking with EQ?
Old 28th August 2006
Bruce Swedien's Avatar

Do it right in the beginning and you will never regret it.

Originally Posted by dtucker View Post
You've clearly stated your thoughts on tracking with compression.

What are your thoughts on tracking with EQ?
I think EQ is EQ. It is frequency specific volume control. AS WITH COMPRESSION, I don't think of these devices as being used for one specific area of what we do.


To flawlessly reproduce a sound, all frequencies in the audible spectrum must be reproduced with the same intensity in the reproducing system, so that the balance of the spectrum coming from the loudspeaker is the same as the balance of the spectrum going into the system from the microphone.

This means that all the components in the signal path, from the microphone to the loudspeaker, must have a flat frequency response. This is, of course, \not possible in the real world of music recording studios.

The role of the equalizer is to control the gain, or volume, of one or more parts of the audio spectrum while leaving the other parts relatively unchanged. An equalizer is in actuality a frequency selective volume control. To me equalization is purely a matter of personal taste. The tone controls on your home stereo are a good example of using a control to change the tonal balance of music to suit our personal taste.(Or lack of same!)

To me there are really only two groups or catagories of equalization use in music recording.

#1-Corrective equalization.

#2-Creative equalization.

Both can be over-used and can be either helpful or detrimental to the emotional impact of the music involved. The trick is to use as little EQ as possible to achieve the desired result. Extensive use of EQ to correct a bad sound invaribly sounds artificial. Heavy EQ, and/or Filtering, is used to create effects, such as a telephone like voice quality. That is a valid reason for using a lot of EQ. That is a distinct example of creative EQ.

I see many engineers simply reach for the EQ without first really listening to the sound, or thinking about how it might be improved by thinking the situation out first. The real aim of equalization is to either overcome variances in the tonal quality of the sound sources, or to "Hype" the sound to achieve an emotional effect in the music. The real trick with EQ, to me, is to use it "gracefully", to enhance the music and make the sonic image more entertaining.

Equalization is probably the most abused and over-used tool in music recording. It is most often wrongly used in an attempt to correct faulty mike choice or placement. If the sound from an instrument is not pleasing, try changing to another type of microphone. If all else fails, use the equalizer. Don't be afraid to get a bit of exercise in the studio changing mikes.

A truly fine final product can only come from good basic recording. I do not believe in "don't worry, we'll fix that later in the mix-down." Most times you cannot fix it. You can improve it a bit, perhaps, but if it is a really bad track it never will sound right. Do it right in the beginning and you will never regret it.

Bruce Swedien

Old 28th August 2006
Lives for gear
Infernal Device's Avatar

wow. Thank you Bruce. really.
Old 31st August 2006
Gear Maniac
dtucker's Avatar

Sorry for my delay in responding to your answer, but THANKS!

And excellent answer!
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