Looking for a guide to equalizers as a music producer? This post explains this essential tool for music production in detail.
Music production is a very detailed process that involves many tools and techniques. In the modern world, producers are overwhelmed with all the various tools and quick fixes they find while trying to learn music production online.They don’t take the time to understand their tools.In order to put music production tools to good use a music producer must study these tools in detail.
Equalization is an essential tool for music production, as it allows producers and engineers to adjust the tonal balance of a recording to achieve the desired sound. There are several types of equalizers available, each with its own unique color and history.
Although going to music production schools with detailed music production courses or can help you learn the ins and outs of the craft of music production, you can still use this guide to make more informed decisions in your own work.
This article can serve as a guide to music production for beginners as well as advanced music producers.Let’s explore some of the most common types of equalizers used in music production and their evolution over time.
- Passive EQs are some of the first equalizers used in music production. They are simple circuits that consist of a bunch of filters, each of which is designed to decrease the volume or increase the volume of a specific set of frequencies.They are very easy to use to shape the overall sound of your music. However, they are limited in their use in modern music production.
- Active EQs can do more than passive EQs. They require power to operate. They use amplifiers to increase the volume or decrease the volume of a specific set of frequencies.They are more precise and giveyoumore options for your music production. Active EQs were first introduced in the 1950s. They quickly became popular in professional recording studios and have contributed to many pop hits.They are the most commonly used tool in music production.
- Graphic EQs are a type of active EQ that uses a set of sliders to adjust the loudness of a specific set of frequencies. They are called “graphic” EQs because the sliders are arranged in such a way that shows the overall tonal balance curve of the entire production. Graphic EQs were first introduced in the 1970s and quickly became a staple in the world of live sound.Even music producers find them very user friendly to use in their production.
- Parametric EQs are a more advanced type of active EQ that allows music producers to adjust the tonal balance more precisely. They typically have three controls for each set of frequencies: center frequency, bandwidth, and gain. The center frequency determines the center of the frequency range affected by the filter, while the bandwidth controls the width of the affected range. The gain control adjusts the amount of boost or attenuation applied to the frequency band. Parametric EQs were first introduced in the 1970s and quickly became popular in recording studios and are the bread and butter of music producers worldwide.
- Dynamic EQs are a type of equalizer that combines the features of both EQ and compression. They use a second signal to trigger the equalizer, which adjusts the tonal balance based on the input signal’s loudness. Dynamic EQs are particularly useful for controlling problem frequencies that are present in some parts of the audio signal but not others. They were first introduced in the 1990s and have become increasingly popular in recent years.Music producers often use them in the mixing and mastering stages of their production.
Linear Phase EQ:
- Linear phase EQs are a type of digital equalizer that uses a linear phase filter to adjust the Tonal balance. Unlike other types of EQ, which can introduce phase shift and distortion, linear phase EQs preserve the phase relationship between different frequencies, resulting in a more transparent and natural sound. Linear phase EQs were first introduced in the 1990s and have become increasingly popular in mastering applications.
Each of these types has its palace in a modern music production workflow. Here’s a quick guide on when to use these equalizers:
- Passive EQs are not commonly used in modern music production, but they can still be useful in certain applications. For example, they can be used to add a vintage, analog character to a recording. Passive EQs are also useful for subtractive EQing, where the music producer wants to remove specific frequencies without drastic changes to the sound.
- Active EQs are very versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications. They are commonly used in the mixing and mastering phase of music production to adjust the tonal balance of a recording. They can be used to boost or attenuate specific frequency ranges to emphasize or reduce certain elements of the mix. Active EQs are also useful for fixing problematic frequencies or resonances that may be present in the recording.
- Graphic EQs are commonly used in live sound applications, where the engineer needs to quickly adjust the frequency response of the sound system based on the venue and audience. They are also useful for shaping the tonality of individual instruments in a mix. For example, the music producer may use a graphic EQ to emphasize the low end of a bass guitar or to reduce the harshness of a vocal track.
- Parametric EQs are very precise and can be used to make very subtle adjustments to the frequency response in a dense production. They are commonly used in mixing and mastering to sculpt the tonality of individual elements of the mix. For example, the engineer may use a parametric EQ to emphasize the high end of a cymbal track or to reduce the boxiness of a snare drum.
- Dynamic EQs are particularly useful for controlling problem frequencies that may be present in some parts of the audio signal but not others. For example, a dynamic EQ can be used to reduce the harshness of a vocal track during the chorus, where the singer may be singing more aggressively. They can also be used to tighten up the low end of a bass guitar or to control the resonance of a room or instrument.
Linear Phase EQ:
- Linear phase EQs are very transparent and are commonly used in the mastering phase of music production. They can be used to make very subtle adjustments to the frequency response without introducing any phase shift or distortion. For example, the producer may use a linear phase EQ to gently boost the high end of a mix to add a sense of air and sparkle without making the mix sound harsh or brittle.
There are several types of equalizers available, each with its own unique characteristics and history of development. From the early passive EQs to the advanced linear phase EQs, each type of EQ has contributed to the evolution of music production and has enabled music producers to achieve the desired sound with greater precision and control. Knowing when to use the right tool goes a long way in achieving the desired results for your music.