It is a common sight in recording studios to see sound engineers, recording artists and producers adjusting the sliders and nobs, trying to get the perfect sound. In the past, the equalizer (EQ) was adjusted by making use of component-style graphic EQs. Today, equalizing can be done digitally thanks to modern technology that allows for EQ settings to be fitted in almost everything. From wireless speakers and phones, to streaming services such as Spotify, you can practice your equalizing skills with no rush.
Grasping how an EQ works is not as easy as it seems. In order to get closer to achieving the sound that you want, you need to learn how to operate an EQ properly. Discussed below are some important things you need to know about equalizer settings.
What Does an Equalizer Do?
An equalizer manipulates frequencies to achieve an end result that sounds appealing to the listener. Effects like echo and reverb, as well as presets like “Jazz” and “Rock”, are commonly associated with a basic EQ. The graphical EQ, which is one of the most common EQs, features a graph that has decibels on one axis and frequencies on the other. Sliders on each end of the axis, allow you to adjust frequency bands along the decibels scale. Just like a piano, the bass frequencies start on the left, the midrange frequencies are in the middle and the treble frequencies are on the right.
Sounds are vibrations that are visualized as waves that move up and down at various speeds, or frequencies. The faster the movement of the waves, the higher the pitch produced. Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz).
Decibel is a unit of measurement used to express volume level of loudness or volume. Moving a slider up and down on an EQ increases or decreases the frequency of that specific frequency. You should be careful when adjusting the decibel as even a small change can have a huge impact on the sound produced.
How to Use Your EQ
After mastering how frequencies and decibels work, it is time to get started with equalizing. The first thing you could do is reduce the level of a frequency, instead of increasing others around. When you expand too many frequencies, the music sound becomes muddy. This can be fixed by shifting a bit and playing around with the frequencies to achieve the sound that you desire.
It might take some time to hear the result after making an adjustment so do not be in a rush. You may also be required to increase the overall volume after decreasing any frequencies. Pulling down the midrange sliders then boosting the volume, significantly gives you more treble and bass.
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