This blog was written for primeloops.com – check them out for some ace samples and to see my blogs 2 months earlier!
One of the hardest things for a new producer is to figure out how to EQ – it takes a lot of trial and error and years of experience…
…or you could just follow the suggestions on this list.
1. Kick Drums – As with all items on this list, it’ll depend on the exact sound you’ve got, but as a general rule if you boost around 100hz for the punchy low end and around 2.5khz for the clicky attack of the kick.
2. Snare Drums – 100hz again gives a nice punchy low end, but the main part of the punch will usually come from around 250hz. Increase around 6khz for a high clicky attack on the snare.
3. Bass - Roll off below about 70hz so it doesn’t sound too flabby in the low end (These descriptive terms are so much fun to come up with), unless it’s a sub-bass – in which case, boost away! Then boost around 200hz for punch and around 3khz for presence
4. Piano – Cut around 350hz gently to reduce muddiness and boost above 1khz for clarity (it’ll obviously depend on what’s being played – piano has a massive range of frequencies!) and around 150-250hz for the bassy notes.
5. Distorted Guitar - Here’s a nightmarish one, this can vary so much, but again – general rules of thumb, cut around 400hz to reduce muddiness (this can help make the tone really heavy), boost around 5khz to make it cut through nicely, then boost at 200hz to add punch to the low end (sounds painful, right?)
6. Strings – boost above 6khz to add an airy texture to the strings, and then boost a small band of frequencies at a sweet spot (which will depend, much like piano, on the notes being played) – you’ll know it when you find it, since boosting it will make the sound MUCH louder than boosting other frequencies.
7. Acoustic guitar - Pretty simple, boost above 5khz for airiness and presence and boost around 250hz for punch and body.
8. Vocals - Add a gentle boost to about 300hz for warmth (you might prefer to cut this if you want it to be clearer) and for presence then boost a bit at around 6khz. Sibilance occurs around 7khz though, so be careful with that!
9. Hi-Hats – Another difficult one, roll off below about 400hz to keep them airy and add presence at 3khz if they need it – just make sure they aren’t swamping the track as a result!
10. Brass - 100hz gives a nice punchy body to the tone, and boosting over 3khz can really make them nice and bright.