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Five EQ Tips for Live Sound

While often misunderstood, equalizers are the bread and butter of good sound reinforcement. Knowing the basics of EQing is one of the most critical aspects of running the soundboard. EQ lets you correct problems and enhance the sound, making your mix cohesive. here are five EQ tips that will help you get the most out of your sound.


1. FOCUS ON THE OVERALL MIX Instead of making signals sound good in isolation. Use your EQs to integrate every instrument into the mix. the best way to do this is to EQ your channels without soloing them.


Filtering can clean the mud out of your mix and reclaim a lot of wasted headroom. Use highpass (low-cut) filters on channels that don't need low frequencies. That's usually everything but bass and kick drum. For example, high-passing vocals at 80-120Hz will result in a tighter, punchier mix with better low-end definition.



Many engineers only use boost EQ, primarily because boosts are easier to hear. But this can cause problems if you boost the presence in every channel, then the mix will become harsh. It's easy to overload the EQ gain stage this way, which introduces distortion to your mix.


If you cut out problem frequencies, then you will find that you often don't have to boost anything. Always start by listening problem frequencies and then reducing those.



If your mix includes vocals, then your vocal tone needs to be perfect. Humans, by nature, tune into voices an listen to them predominantly. A small vocal problem will stand out more than a serious flaw elsewhere in the mix. here are suggestions for EQing vocals:

BODY (200-500Hz)

this is the frequency range responsible for warmth. Warmth is good but too much can make vocals boomy or mushy.Small boosts or cuts in this range can make a big difference.

NASAL (1-3kHz)

If your singer sounds like a childish cartoon character, then cut this frequency range. Don't go overboard though, or you will go from cartoon nerd to serious head cold.


Presence is the key ingredient to intelligibility. If your vocals aren't standing out, cut 4kHz in guitars and other instruments. This will make room for vocals in the mix. Adding some 4kHz can add presence, but do it judiciously, since your vocals may end up harsh if you add too much.


Sibilance is the greatest vocal offender. "Esses" and other high-frequency sounds are obnoxious in speech. While desser is the best tool for the job, a prudent cut between 5kHz and 8kHz is often all it takes.

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