Equalization: The Pathway to Crystal Clear Music

Basic view of an EQ in action.

Basic view of an EQ in action.

EQ (short for Equalization) is the process by which you create a balanced total mix while at the same time, making each individual sound as clean as possible. The are 3 main types of EQ bands: the standard Bell curve, Low or High Shelves, and Low or High Cuts. The standard Bell curve is used to boost or cut a certain range of frequencies by a specific amount. It is the most commonly used band type and is usually used subtly to add or subtract a key set of frequencies determined by the mixing engineer. A shelf (either low or high) is used to boost or cut a large range of frequencies. It is most commonly used to bring a little more shine to the top end of the mix without making the overall high end too sharp to the ear. Last, but certainly not least, is the Cut (once again either high or low). A Cut, not to be confused with cutting of frequencies (as mentioned in the bell and shelf curves), is placed at a certain frequency and cuts all frequencies either above or below the Cut, depending on if it’s a high or low cut. This technique is used to get rid of any unnecessary low frequencies which results more headroom for the rest of the mix and an overall cleaner sound. By mastering EQ, one can turn a plain, stagnant sound into an exciting, clean element of the mix.

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