The Basic Concepts of EQ


I wanted to write about EQ because I think many don’t know how to use it properly. This is not a detailed how to use EQ post. It’s a article covering the basics but it should help you on your quest for sonic perfection. With the plethora of software and cheap computers, average Joes have the opportunity to do professional quality songs at home. Gone are the days of spending money on studio time. Many opt for the comforts of home recording in their pajamas on the couch. I am one of them. I’m spoiled with all the plugin gizmos and controllers. Many are thrown a glob of plugins and daws but have no clue how to use them.


EQ is on the top of the list. You can get EQ charts and things to give you clues where instruments sit in the frequency range but who needs that when you have your ears. A chart will give you a reference if you need it but I don’t think it’s necessary. Many need to know the concept of Frequencies and how instruments interact in the stereo field. The key to this is to know how to use an Equalizer. The equalizer has at least gain, frequency and Q. If you know those three things right there, you can use EQ and get everything you want from it.


There is more to EQ than that but if you can get this basic concept for the tool, you will be able to evolve to more advanced levels. Another concept to learn is cutting. Cutting is lowering the gain of particular frequency. You will do this the most with EQ. Many use the EQ as a boosting tool because you can add gain to frequency ranges. Boosting(raising gain) can be used but you must be careful with it. Cutting is what you should gravitate to. Two different instruments hitting the same frequencies always clash. Cutting will help with this cause you can cut one of the instruments so they can exist together.

I learned how to do this working on my first album at a studio called EV Productions in Evanston Il. The studio is long gone now but what I’ve learned was invaluable. You can’t get this knowledge out of a book. You have to just do it and go for it. I suggest you book studio time at a big studio and look around and ask questions. You will learn better this way. Plus there tons of examples on Youtube but many are not good. I can’t suggest books because I never learned this in a book. Maybe sometime in the future I will give video tutorials on it from a hip hop perspective.



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