6.4 Equalization 101

In the last sub-module, we talked about compression. We talked about how compression was a way that we can control dynamics and help instruments to sit better in a mix. In essence, compression is just volume control of a specific sources.

Equalization or ‘EQ’ is exactly the same.
It can control volume, but it is a way we can control the volume of specific frequencies within a source.

First we need to understand the frequency spectrum.

Here we have a graph of a common frequency spectrum. The main thing I want you to focus on for now are the numbers at the bottom.
You’ll see that we have a range starting at 20Hz on the bottom left, up to 20k on the bottom right. This is the commonly stated range for human hearing.

The 20Hz number represents the lowest frequency and the 20k or (20,000 Hertz) number represents the highest frequency of human hearing.
How high or low a person can hear is dependent on the individual and of course there are many variables that account for this.

Every sound that we hear daily falls somewhere into this graph. Whether it’s the low rumble of a car engine, or the high pitch squealing of an alarm. Every sound has a set of frequencies that make up its tone.

With EQ, we have the ability to adjust these frequencies within a recording. We can either eliminate certain frequencies that may sound harsh or brittle or bring out other frequencies that make sources sound bigger or give them clarity.

We will discuss how to use EQ in the DAW module.

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