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EQ GUIDE FOR NEWBIES
Old 15th September 2007
  #1
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EQ GUIDE FOR NEWBIES

This really helped me out when i first started.
Some History
Dating as far back as the 1930's, the equalizer is the oldest and probably the most extensively used signal processing device available to the recording or sound reinforcement engineer. Today there are many types of equalizers available, and these vary greatly in sophistication, from the simple bass and treble tone control of the fifties to advanced equipment like the modern multi-band graphic equalizer and the more complex parametric types. Basically, an equalizer consists of a number of electronic filters which allow frequency response of a sound system or signal chain to be altered. Over the past half century, equalizers design has grown increasingly sophisticated. Designs began with the basic 'shelving filter', but have since evolved to meet the requirements of today's audio industry.


Understanding EQ and its Effects on Signals

There are two areas of equalization that I want to cover. Those two areas are vocals and music. I'd like to discuss the different effects of frequencies within audio signals. What do certain frequencies do for sound and how we understand those sounds. Why are some sound harsh? Why do things sound muddy? Why can't I understand the vocals? I'll try and answer all of these question and hopefully bring some light to the voodoo world of EQ.


Vocals

Roughly speaking, the speech spectrum may be divided into three main frequency bands corresponding to the speech components known as fundamentals, vowels, and consonants.

Speech fundamentals occur over a fairly limited range between about 125Hz and 250Hz. The fundamental region is important in that it allows us to tell who is speaking, and its clear transmission is therefore essential as far as voice quality is concerned.

Vowels essentially contain the maximum energy and power of the voice, occurring over the range of 350Hz to 2000Hz. Consonants occurring over the range of 1500Hz to 4000Hz contain little energy but are essential to intelligibility.

For example, the frequency range from 63 to 500Hz carries 60% of the power of the voice and yet contributes only 5% to the intelligibility. The 500Hz to 1KHz region produces 35% of the intelligibility, while the range from 1 to 8KHz produces just 5% of the power but 60% of the intelligibility.

By rolling off the low frequencies and accentuating the range from 1 to 5KHz, the intelligibility and clarity can be improved.

Here are some of the effect EQ can have in regards to intelligibility. Boosting the low frequencies from 100 to 250Hz makes a vocal boomy or chesty. A cut in the 150 to 500Hz area will make it boxy, hollow, or tube like. Dips around 500 to 1Khz produce hardness, while peaks about 1 and 3Khz produce a hard metallic nasal quality. Dips around 2 to 5KHz reduce intelligibility and make vocals woolly and lifeless. Peaks in the 4 to 10KHz produce sibilance and a gritty quality.


Effects of Equalization on Vocals

For the best control over any audio signal, fully parametric EQ's are the best way to go.


80 to 125
160 to 250
315 to 500

Sense of power in some outstanding bass singers.
Voice fundamentals
Important to voice quality
630 to 1K

Important for a natural sound. Too much boost in the
315 to 1K range produces a honky, telephone-like quality.

1.25 to 4K
5 to 8K
Accentuation of vocals



Important to vocal intelligibility. Too much boost between 2 and 4KHz

can mask certain vocal sounds such as 'm', 'b', 'v'. Too much boost between

1 and 4KHz can produce 'listening fatigue'. Vocals can be highlighted at the 3KHz

area and at the same time dipping the instruments at the same frequency.

Accentuation of vocals:

The range from 1.25 to 8K governs the clarity of vocals. Too much in the area of 5 to 16K can cause sibilance.


Instruments

Mic'ing instruments is an art ... and equalizers can often times be used to help an engineer get the sound he is looking for. Many instruments have complex sounds with radiating patterns that make it almost impossible to capture when close mic'ing. An equalizer can compensate for these imbalances by accenting some frequencies and rolling off others. The goal is to capture the sounds as natural as possible and use equalizers to straighten out any non-linear qualities to the tones.

Clarity of many instruments can be improved by boosting their harmonics. In fact, the ear in many cases actually fills in hard-to-hear fundamental notes of sounds, provided the harmonics are clear. Drums are one instrument that can be effectively lifted and cleaned up simply by rolling off the bass giving way to more harmonic tones.

Here are a few ideas on what different frequencies do to sounds and their effects on our ears.

31Hz to 50Hz
These frequencies give music a sense of power. If over emphasized they can make things muddy and dull. Will also cloudy up some harmonic content.
80Hz to 125Hz
Too much in this area produces excessive 'boom'.
160Hz to 250Hz
This is the problem area of a lot of mixes. To much of this area can take away from the power of a mix but is still needed for warmth. 160Hz is a pet-peeve frequency of mine. Also, the fundamental of bass guitar and other bass instruments sit here.
300Hz to 500Hz
Fundamentals of string and percussion instruments.
400Hz to 1K

Fundamentals and harmonics of strings, keyboards and percussion. This is probably the most important area when trying to control or shape to a natural sound. The 'voice' of an instrument is in the mids.
To much in this area can make instruments sound horn-like.
800Hz to 4K
This is a good range to accentuate instruments or warm them up. Too much in this area can produce 'listening fatigue'. Boosts in the 1K to 2K range can make instruments sound tinny.
4K to 10K

Accentuation of percussion, cymbals, and snare drum.
Playing with 5K makes the overall sound more distant or transparent.
8K to 20K
This area is often what defines the quality of a recording or mix. This area can also help define depth and 'air' to mix. Too much can take away from the natural sense of a mix by becoming shrill and brittle.



Here are a few other pin point frequencies to start with for different instruments. In a live sound situation, I might event pre set the console's eq to these frequencies to help save time once the sound check is under way. These aren't the answers to everything... just a place to start at.

Kick Drum:

Besides the usual cuts in the 200Hz to 400 area, some tighter Q cuts at 160Hz, 800Hz and 1.3k may help. The point of these cuts makes for space for the fundamental tones of a bass guitar or stand up. I have also found a high pass filter at 50Hz will help tighten up the kick along with giving your compressor a signal it can deal with musically. 5K to 7K for snap.

Snare Drum:

The snare drum is an instrument that can really be clouded by having too much low end. Frequencies under about 150Hz are really un-usable for modern mixing styles. I would suggest a high pass filter in this case. Most snares are out front enough so a few cuts might be all that is needed. I like to start with 400Hz, 800Hz, and some 1.3K. This are just frequencies to play with. Doesn't mean you will use all. If the snare is too transparent in the mix but I like the level it is at, a cut at 5K can give it a little more distance and that might mean a little boost at 10K to brighten it up.

High Hats:

High hats have very little low end information. I high pass at 200Hz can clean up a lot of un-usable mud in regards to mic bleed. The mid tones are the most important to a high hat. This will mean the 400Hz to 1K area but I've found the 600Hz to 800Hz area to be the most effective. To brighten up high hats, a shelving filter at 12.5K does nicely.

Toms and Floor Toms:

Again, the focus here is control. Most toms could use a cut in the 300Hz to 800Hz area. And there is nothing real usable under 100Hz for a tom... unless you are going for a special effect. Too much low end cloud up harmonics and the natural tones of the instrument. Think color not big low end.

Over Heads:

In my opinion, drum over heads are the most important mics on a drum kit. They are the ones that really define the sound of the drums. That also give the kit some ambience and space. These mics usually need a cut in the 400Hz area and can use a good rolling off at about 150Hz. Again, they are not used for power.... these mics 'are' the color of your drum sound. Roll off anything that will mask harmonic content or make your drums sound dull. Cuts at 800Hz can bring more focus to these mics and a little boost of a shelving filter at 12.5K can bring some air to the tones as well.

Bass Guitar:

Bass guitar puts out all the frequencies that you really don't want on every other instrument. The clarity of bass is defined a lot at 800Hz. Too much low end can mask the clarity of a bass line. I've heard other say that the best way to shape the bass tone is to roll off everything below 150Hz, mold the mids into the tone you are looking for, then slowly roll the low end back in until the power and body is there you are looking for. If the bass isn't defined enough, there is probably too much low end and not enough mid range clarity. Think of sounds in a linear fashion, like on a graph. If there is too much bass and no clarity, you would see a bump in the low end masking the top end. The use of EQ can fix those abnormalities.

Guitar/piano/ etc.:

These instruments all have fundamentals in the mid range. Rolling off low end that is not needed or usable is a good idea. Even if you feel you can't really hear the low end, it still is doing something to the mix. Low end on these instruments give what I call support. The tone is in the mids. 400Hz and 800Hz are usually a point of interest as are the upper mids or 1K to 5K. Anything above that just adds brightness. Remember to look at perspective though. Is a kick brighter than a vocal? Is a piano bright than a vocal? Is a cymbal brighter than a vocal?


In Closing

Equalizers are one of the most over looked and mis-used pieces of gear in the audio industry. By understanding equalizers better, an engineer can control and get the results he or she is looking for. The key to EQ'ing is knowing how to get the results you are looking for. Also, knowing if its a mic character or mic placement problem. EQ can't fix everything. It can only change what signal its working with. Equalizers are also a lot more effective taking away things in the signal than replacing what was never there.
Old 15th September 2007
  #2
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Thread Starter
here is more

EQ (equalization) is probably the most important effect at your disposal as a audio engineer. EQ, compression, and reverb make up the basic effects of virtually any modern mix. Of the three, EQ is probably the most misunderstood and most misused. This tutorial will help you understand how to use EQ effectively, and apply it to virtually any situation. If you are looking for info about XO Wave's built in EQ, or you have never used an EQ before, you may want to read our Article on XO Wave's EQ, which not describes the basic types of EQ and their most common uses.
General EQ Tips

There are no hard and fast rules of EQ except that practice makes perfect, but these tips should help you avoid some common pitfalls, and give you a starting point for virtually all your EQing needs. Although later sections give some specific tips for specific instruments, most of that information is simply a matter of applying these tips.
  • Use your ears: You may read or hear that some engineer always adds a certain amount of a certain frequency to a certain instrument. This may work if the enginner is always recording the same song on the same instruments the same way all the time, but in the real world, you have to use your ears before and while you are adjusting the EQ. While it can be very useful to know what 400 Hz sounds like, don't bother memorizing frequency/instrument combinations that some people claim they use. Sure, maybe you often find yourself boosting or cutting a certain frequency, and maybe that's a good starting place if you happen to know that the particular instrument you're working with has a particular sonic defect, but it never hurts to take a second and listen the the track flat (ie without EQ) in the context of the rest of the mix before you start turning knobs.
  • Less is More: Most people, when they start using EQ, tend to use it to increase frequencies to bring out certain aspects of a sound. While this type of EQ certainly has its place, it is usually the wrong way to go about working with EQ. The temptation to have more of whatever it is (e.g., more bass, more presence, etc) is often reinforced by the fact that increasing the EQ level increases the volume of the track. The trouble is that after adding a little here and a little there, a mix can end up sounding dull and muddy. Each track may sound great on its own, but doesn't necessarily work well with the mix as a whole. Rather than adding EQ, try and think about what you can take away, instead. For example, if your guitar needs to be more present in the mix, try reducing the bass with a shelving filter instead of adding a "presence peak" with a Boost/Cut filter. Another trick, which we'll say more about in a minute, is to think about other instruments that are competing with the guitar and try and reduce some of the competing frequencies in the other instrument.
  • Listen to the mix: If you are EQ'ing one track in a mix, it can be helpful to solo the track to find the right frequencies. If you do this, however, be sure to always listen to the track in the mix before committing to any particular settings. This will ensure that your settings work not just in isolation, but also in the context of the song. Remember, your job as audio engineer is not to make any particular instrument sound as good as possible, but to make the song sound as good as possible.
  • It's all about balance: In a complex pop mix, it is common to have many instruments competing for the listener's attention. A good pop arrangement typically only has one instrument that demands the listeners attention at one time, so it's important to focus on that. Instead of cranking the volume or EQ of the lead instrument, try using EQ to cut some of the other instruments out. With your other instruments, make sure that each track occupies a distinct frequency range. For example, The kick and the bass often compete for the low frequencies, and can sound very "muddy" together. A solution to this problem is to have one of them occupy the extremely low frequencies, say, below 80 Hz, and the other to occupy a slightly higher range, say from 100 to 220 Hz. This gives each instrument a distinct "space" for it to be heard in, and results in a much more pleasing overall sound than trying to get the instruments to mesh by trying to balance the volumes.
  • Give and take: If you do end up boosting a certain frequency range in one track, it is a very good idea to think about what other instruments might already be occupying that frequency range, and reduce those frequencies, so that the first track has less competition, and, therefore, requires less EQ.
  • Buzz Words: Many engineers, producers and musicians use terms like "thud", "thwap" and "air" to refer to certain aspects of sound. This may sound absurd to outsiders, but terms such as "shimmer" often have very specific meanings between people who are familiar with each other and share terminology. While there are widely accepted and used definitions of these terms, they are not really standardized and often misunderstood, so it's wise to be careful with them. That said, such terms are necessary for describing audio characteristics which normal English isn't equipped for -- just remember that your idea of "chunky" may be different from someone else's.
  • Compensating for problems: EQ can be used to compensate for a variety of problems. For example, you can use a band-stop filter to eliminate narrow-band noise or even a bad echo. Sometimes, you may be stuck with a poorly recorded track and no option for re-recording. EQ can be a real God-send at these times for solving all kinds of problems. As with other EQ techniques, be careful, use your ears and listen to the track in the context of other tracks. When trying to eliminate a problem in a particular frequency range, use a Boost/Cut filter. Start with the level set all the way up and then move the frequency slider around until the problem gets worse. Then move the level slider back down so that that you are eliminating the "bad stuff."
EQing Vocals (and Other Lead Instruments)

In general, vocals are the most important and most prominent instrument on any given audio project, and even when that's not the case, whatever is the most prominent instrument should usually be treated with the same care as vocals. Unfortunately, it's very easy to ruin a complex instrument like the human voice with improperly used EQ. Because of it's prominence, any mistake you make in the vocal track will stick out like a sore thumb. The best way to EQ vocals is usually to EQ them as little as possible.
If you start with a great vocal recording you will usually not need to do much. If you think you have to use EQ anyway, either because it was poorly recorded or doesn't work well in the mix for some other reason, stop and think about the tips above. For example, many engineers try to get more vocal presence by adding some mid frequencies to the vocal track. Sure, now the vocal is more prominent, but it probably sounds harsher, too, which may not be what the song called for. Instead, try decreasing that frequency range in other instruments (such as guitar or snare) or, as a last resort, try shelving off some of the low frequencies in the vocals can often accomplish the same goal with less harshness.
Two special considerations with vocals are sibilance and popping. Sibilance is an exaggerated high frequency sound (especially on the letters "s", and "f"). Although Sibilance should be minimized during tracking, sometimes it isn't and very often processing such as compression, EQ, or reverb can make it quite serious, even if the original track was well recorded. Sibilance would not be handled with traditional EQ. Instead, use a de-esser, which is a special setting on a compressor, which uses EQ to make the compressor more sensitive to high frequencies. Popping sounds can and should be dealt with entirely during tracking, but if it's already too late, you can usually use a combination of compression, EQ (usually a high pass filter), and volume automation to eliminate the problem.
EQing Acoustic Instruments

Much of what applies to vocals and lead instruments applies to acoustic instruments. The general rule is that the best recordings are made when the original tracking sounds great. If you find yourself needing lots of EQ, consider, instead, re-recording the track.
If you are recording an acoustic singer songwriter or duet, their instruments and arrangements will (hopefully!) be chosen to complement one another rather than to compete, but if you have a nasally sounding guitar and a nasally sounding singer, you'll need to do some EQ -- in this case, you'll probably want to take out the nasally-ness of the guitar, but some experimentation may be needed.
If the instruments were close-miked, they may have too much bass, which can muddy the mix. By rolling off a little bass, you can compensate for this, which can help tighten up the entire mix. It can also be helpful to roll off the bass to reduce stage rumble.
If your recording is hissy, from ventilation or other noise, you might be tempted to reduce the high frequencies as well. Unfortunately, you'll probably find that doing so kills the spaciousness and detail of the recording. Generally speaking, acoustic instruments have high-frequency components that are so important to how they sound that you really want to keep them. If the noise is bad, the best solution will depend on the mix: you may want to use volume automation, a noise-gate, or even broad-band noise reduction tackle the problem.
EQing Drums and Percussion

Nowadays, drums are often individually close-miked. While this gives a certain amount of flexibility, and reduces the need for an acoustically balanced drum room, it can sound unnatural in a variety of ways, and, as a result, drums generally require a lot of processing to get them to sound natural (assuming that's the goal). I usually start with the kick, which I EQ at the same time as the bass to ensure that they don't compete for the same frequency range. From there, I work on the snare, trying to get it to sound generally correct, and then I add the rest and EQ some more.
Because the drums cover such a broad range of frequencies, and because the kick and snare often contribute significantly to the sonic "signature" of the song, I often find myself going back to the drums throughout the mix process. Producers are picky about the snare and kick, so be sure to give them your full attention, but also remember that you have other tools at your disposal, such as compression and reverb.
EQing Bass Guitar

EQing Bass can be a great opportunity to get creative. Often, Bass is recorded "direct" without going through an amp, and it often sounds limp or flat without the analog processing a good bass amp can offer. However, a great parametric EQ (and imagination) can result in a great sounding bass, just remember not to compete with other instruments, especially the kick drum.
If, on the other hand, the bass was recorded with a miked amp or amp simulator, you may not have much work to do aside from balancing the bass and kick, but don't forget that the bass guitar has a lot of harmonics that may also compete with other instruments including the guitars and vocals.
In general, don't forget what the bass is there for: bass. Be sure to make it strong in the low frequencies, and just strong enough in the high frequencies to be as present as is needed.
Electric Guitar


Generally, guitarists are the most conscious of their sound and will create the sound they want with the settings on their guitar, effects pedals and amp. Unless you have reason to second-guess them, you generally want to respect that sound. So while you may change the general low/mid/high balance of their sound, you don't want to do anything too extreme. The most common exception is when the guitar competes with vocals. In this case, nine times out of ten, you want to cut the mid frequencies in the guitar to let the vocals breath. Some people try and solve the guitar/vocal competition problem by using lots of compression, or with some trick like stereo panning. This may work to a point, but it often doesn't translate well into the real world, where small mono speakers are the norm. One trick that does work well, however, is to use automation to change the EQ settings on the guitar so that there is less mid-range sound when the vocalist is singing, and more when they aren't.
Conclusion

EQ is probably the most important effect at your disposal as an audio engineer. It can be used to solve problems, to create special effects, and, perhaps most importantly, to help instruments blend together correctly. If you remember to always listen and are willing to experiment, you will master the subtle art of EQ!
-- Bjorn Roche
Old 15th September 2007
  #3
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Thread Starter
AND MORE

Our last step in mixing vocals in Pro Tools is EQing. Listen to both the piano and the vocal track together. You'll notice two things. One, you can hear a lot of extra low-end information in the vocals. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it's just a solo performer. But since this is a rock-style recording, we don't really want that. You'll also notice that, when next to the piano recording, there's a little bit of intelligibility lost. Let's fix that with equalizing - or EQing.

When EQing, there's two types of EQ. One is subtractive, where you're removing a frequency to help others stand out better, and then there's additive EQ, where you boost frequencies to help the overall mix. Personally, I prefer relying on subtractive EQ for the lower frequencies, since additive EQ on the lower end tends to color the other frequencies in a way that's not too pleasing to the ear.

Insert a simple EQ plug-in on the vocal channel. Let's remove that low-end noise by putting a gentle slope on the low end, around 40 Hz. Then, let's add a little bit of air to the vocals by adding about .5db of 6 Khz to the mix.

Now it's time to fix the intelligibility issue. Most human speech, including singing, is centered around the middle frequencies, and area between, say, 500 Hz and 10 Khz. Let's add a gentle, wide boost to 2 Khz. Now listen -- sounds much better, doesn't it?

Now bring up the piano to where it sounds right, and there you go! Vocals mixed perfectly.

Of course, you could add some reverb (try a short reverb at 90% dry, 10% wet signal), or a tap-tempo delay if you can find one. Your options are limitless!..




THIS IS A PRO TOOLS TUTORIAL BUT THE SAME CONCEPT APPLIES ANYWHERE
Old 16th September 2007
  #4
Gear Addict
 

STICKY
Old 17th September 2007
  #5
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Thread Starter
Does every one agree

Or have you worked with a major producer who has shown you a different way or technique.
Have you discovered a more productive way of going about eq. if so let us know.
do you have a problem with eq and need some help.....just ask
Old 17th September 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 

nice guidelines if you'r recording and mixing 'live' instruments.

how useful are they when you know a lot of cats onhere mess with samples and modules a lot?

for example, i pitch drums a lot. does this make your kick cut hints useless?
Old 17th September 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
well

the guidlines are more hints for vocals..... i threw in the bits of instruments to kiinda give people a idea of where the instrument might lie in the spectrum. same goes for synths and what not. after you find out what area the shine in its up to you to low pas, high pass, notch or cater that eq around that area to really make it shine. if your looking for specific answers, thyere are none. its just practice. but try going to goodgle and type in how to eq drums for hip hop beats and try a couple different searches wording it different. if you dont find answers you will at least find some one who might have found a cool tech.
this is just very basic stuff they taught me in school
Old 17th September 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 

that's what i'm saying.
i tune my kicks so i know where to cut boost whatever.
it's just that these tips hint whatever i keep reading are very relative.
a 'how to start' with big picture knowledge not related to any instruments or freqs would be much handier for newbs.
thanks.
Old 17th September 2007
  #9
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Thread Starter
i wiss see if i can find some

i will ask around at school and see if i can find you something
Old 18th September 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
the problem with guides like this is that they are written for 'traditional' styles, usually rock. hip hop engineering throws a lot of these concepts out of the window and i don't think you can teach that.
Old 18th September 2007
  #11
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by earwolf View Post
the problem with guides like this is that they are written for 'traditional' styles, usually rock. hip hop engineering throws a lot of these concepts out of the window and i don't think you can teach that.
I disagree. Understanding these principles will improve your mixes regardless of the genre or style.
Old 18th September 2007
  #12
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
I disagree. Understanding these principles will improve your mixes regardless of the genre or style.
AMEN
Old 24th June 2009
  #13
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bump
Old 24th June 2009
  #14
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ORyan87's Avatar
Good Bummp......
Old 24th June 2009
  #15
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+1 for a sticky
Old 24th June 2009
  #16
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Storyville's Avatar
I agree that this is a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with equalizing. But once you get into it, remember that frequency bands will carry much greater nuance - and variations about those bands will have unique tonal effects. On top of that, each instrument will have a unique location for its bands. The only similarity is that there is usually an identifiable set of characteristics for each type of instrument.
Old 24th June 2009
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by earwolf View Post
the problem with guides like this is that they are written for 'traditional' styles, usually rock. hip hop engineering throws a lot of these concepts out of the window and i don't think you can teach that.
I agree, too traditional. When you start doing electro-House for example, all of that goes out the window.
Old 24th June 2009
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago View Post
I agree, too traditional. When you start doing electro-House for example, all of that goes out the window.
I dunno... gotta know know where you come from to know where you're going.
Old 16th October 2014
  #19
Gear interested
 

there is some great info in this post and the replies. My questions are about how to get the right EQ settings for karaoke. I have an EQ on my computer, an eq in the software i use to play the music, an eq on my board for each mic and audio input, and a 3 band eq on my active powered speakers. which one or ones do I use?
Old 17th October 2014
  #20
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Jody View Post
there is some great info in this post and the replies. My questions are about how to get the right EQ settings for karaoke. I have an EQ on my computer, an eq in the software i use to play the music, an eq on my board for each mic and audio input, and a 3 band eq on my active powered speakers. which one or ones do I use?

that is insane.

Each eq in your setup is for a specific purpose. It depends on what you want to do. If you're a DJ playing music in a venue I wouldn't mess with the computer EQ, depending on the setup it's probably disabled anyway. It's just an OS setting for if you're using cheap internal speakers and they need to be tweaked for watching YouTube or gaming.

Not sure what you need exactly for karaoke but I would set all EQs to default and it should be okay for people singing over instrumentals.
Old 18th October 2014
  #21
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Old 20th October 2014
  #22
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Old 13th December 2014
  #23
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If I could add my two cents to this, I have recently begun doing YouTube tutorials. The following I feel could be relevant as it's theme is being limited to using stock pluginsto EQ a drum kit. I go through the way in which it should be basically EQ'd with a clear laid out session. Any help to improve for future tutorials would be appreciated but newbies could also learn how EQ looks for the different elements of a drum kit too. My blog post covers it all here:
Mixing without any 'Fancy' or 'Overpriced' Plugins - Adam Mark Music
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