Equalization is used in a verity of industries involved with audio, from music production to movies and podcasts. Every piece of audio must be equalized in terms of frequencies in order to sit perfectly in the ear. Generally, equalization is a process of adjusting the balance between frequencies within an electronic signal of audio.
EQ is used to manipulate the frequency content of a sound so that everything is balanced and clear. However, equalization is not just for the sake of balancing a mix but also to emphasize certain elements that are buried beneath other elements and frequencies. Equalization provides a fine level of control over all frequencies. An equalizer gives you the ability to adjust a narrower range of frequencies without affecting neighbouring frequencies. equalizers affect the amplitude of audio signals at particular frequencies, therefore the manipulated frequency is not only emphasized on shape and content but also on the volume as well they not only.
The human ear can identify frequencies from 20 Hz up to 20 kHz
Why use EQ?
There are many reasons why you should definitely EQ your sound, the most important ones are as follows:
Correct problems in a recording
Sometimes due to mistakes during the recording session or due to the nature of the sound, some frequencies are recorded that are not only damaging to the quality of the mix but also to the listeners’ ears, therefore, EQ is used to cut those unwanted frequencies. Also, sometimes the key elements of a sound that makes a sound clear and beautiful are buried under other frequencies, therefore an EQ is used to bring up those key elements and emphasises on them to make them sound more clear and beautiful.
Improve instruments clarity:
Equalization is used to enhance the quality of an instrument’s sound. Using and EQ we can increase or decrease the harmonics of a sound and by doing that we can add colour and saturation or reduce colour and give body to a sound and create a cold and clean sound for a tight mix. we can cut out the dirty frequencies that affect the overall quality of a sound. if an instrument lacks the necessary bass frequencies we boost and emphasize on the bass frequencies to create the overall body of our mix.
Create Room and Balance
An equalizer can be used to create space in the mix by balancing frequencies. And giving each instrument each own specific space. If certain instruments occupy a similar frequency they overlap and inevitably mask each other within a specific area of the audio spectrum which would result in a muddy sound.
Types of EQ
There are several types of EQ which are as follows:
In a shelving EQ, all frequencies above or below a certain point that you choose, are either boosted or cut out at the same amount that you would seem fit for your mix. which is demonstrated by a shelf figure in the frequency spectrum.
Bell equalization boosts or cuts a range of frequencies at a certain point, that point is effected the most than the area around it
Graphic EQ provides a visual of the frequency spectrum which gives you a very intuitive way to work and manipulate the sound whether its and EQ with separate slider controls for different frequencies that are laid out in a way which represents the frequency spectrum or and a full graphic spectrum with unlimited bands.
Parametric EQ uses bell equalization. Each bell is assigned to a knob for each frequency range.
Graphic and parametric equalizers have more flexibility in manipulating the frequency of a sound
To what extend can we hear?
the human ear cannot hear frequencies below 20Hz. in fact, if you go any lowe only Dolphins will be able to hear you and if you go any higher than 20KHz only dogs will be able to hear you because the human ear cannot hear frequencies above 20KHz
However, just because the human ear cannot hear below 20Hz or above 20KHz, doesn’t mean we should ignore anything signal below or above those frequencies. Despite our inability to hear them these frequencies often buildup on each other and not only reduce the quality of the overall mix but also makes them unbearable due to the terrible headache it will give to the listener. sometimes you would be lucky if they don’t even damage your audio system
Hardware or plugins?
Honestly! Whatever you are comfortable with. Yes, the hardware provides you with a more natural and saturated sound, but plugins give you more flexibility, especially the ones that proved a visual demonstration of the spectrum with unlimited bands and these days plugins have become so advanced and modelled after real hardware that you can mimic the sound of real hardware with a plugin (of course it’s not 100% the real deal but maybe 70%). If possible, you can use a hardware EQ to give your sound the character that you desire and use a plugin with a graphical environment to clean up your sound; this is what usually called by producers a hybrid system.