Before releasing a song, it is mastered by a group of audio engineers. Here the job role of the audio engineer is to optimize the sounds of the track so that you can play it on numerous devices as much as possible. People who get hold of the soundtrack will be able to listen to it on speakers or headphones in a variety of settings. They want to make sure that the best equalizer settings are achieved at all times to deliver a perfect outcome regardless of the situation.
Let’s deep dive and understand how they are achieving the best equalizer settings. If you want to master a track on your own, it is essential to have this understanding. Only then you will be able to secure ending up with perfect experiences out of the track that you have. So just keep reading.
What Exactly Is An Equalizer?
Let’s start with the basics. Equalization, which is also known as EQ, is the name given for the process, where a person is adjusting the balance that exists between the different frequency components within an electric signal. This definition is quite vague, especially due to the presence of the word balance in it. In simple terms, good equalization is about determining the perfect balance that exists between the different frequencies that you can discover in an audio track. Along with that, you will be able to manipulate that balance and end up with what you want to achieve at the end of the day.
If you have used a piece of audio equipment, you will have a basic overall understanding of how the EQ looks like. You can easily spot that from the treble or bass knobs that can be found in the speakers. You can discover it in your car audio system as well. In fact, bass and treble are the basic dials that you can find in an EQ.
When you take a look at the audio receivers and recording equipment, the controls that you can discover in the EQ will get a bit more complicated. They are in a position to help you control the output to any available frequency range. While doing that, you will be able to tweak the sound that you are generating from the equipment as well.
Why Do You Need To Use An EQ?
You will not always be able to listen to music in perfect environmental conditions. For example, some of us tend to listen to music while we are working out or commuting. And, this applies to a lot of people around us. On the other hand, ambient noise and the shape of your room can also create an impact on the sounds that you can hear while listening to a track. If you still want to achieve the perfect sounds regardless of the environmental conditions, you need to think about seeking the assistance of an EQ. It can offer much-needed support and assistance to you, and you will never have to worry about anything at all.
Even if the file format has altered the sound, you will be able to overcome it with the help of an EQ. Likewise, we may have different preferences while we are listening to sound. If you want to get a perfect outcome from the soundtrack and make it match perfectly well with the requirements that you have, you will be able to use an EQ. For example, some of us are interested in listening to sounds where there is a high bass. If you have similar preferences, you will be able to use the EQ and improve bass. It can offer the support that you need to make the soundtrack look perfect.
Imagine that you go ahead and purchase a pair of bass-heavy headphones. While you are listening to the track on that headphone, you will come across the need to tone down as well. And, there are many cases when you are actually in need of that. The functionality offered by the EQ will be your savior in such a situation. Regardless of the conditions, EQ will help you to dial in the sounds that match perfectly well with your preferences. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about anything while you are moving forward.
How Does An EQ Work?
Now you have a basic understanding of an EQ. Let’s understand how and EQ works as well. When you take a look at an EQ, you will be able to discover two different parts. They include the bandwidth and center frequency.
Out of these two, the center frequency might look like something complicated. However, it is all about picking the specific frequency that you need to adjust and take control of. On the other hand, people tend to call bandwidth as Q. It represents the narrow selection that is available for you to go ahead and make adjustments.
When you take a look at the treble and bass knobs in the car, you will notice that there is a broad bandwidth. In fact, you will notice that there is a small hill while you are adjusting it. However, when you are targeting a specific frequency range, the narrow Q will provide you with the chance to achieve perfect results. On a graph, it would look pretty much similar to a needle.
When you take a look at the EQ, you will be able to discover different presets as well. Some of the most common and popular presets that you can discover in the EQ include concert, jazz, and rock. These are pre-designed to align the sound output to an appropriate output. Therefore, you can quickly adjust the sound output with the help of those pre-defined equalizer presets.
In a typical EQ, you will be able to discover how control is offered over different sound registers. You will be able to control them and end up with a refined output at the end of the day. If you can use the EQ effectively, you will be able to smoothen the overall soundtrack and achieve a perfect touch as well. This is something that you will fall in love with. And I am dam sure about that.
Most of the EQ that you can find out there in the world are graphical. In other words, they can provide you with graphical user interfaces, which will help you to achieve the best equalizer settings. You will be able to find decibels on one axis and frequencies on the other. And, you can also discover a slider that goes from left to right. You will be able to adjust the frequency band accordingly on the decibel scale. Usually, the bass frequencies are shown to your left. Then you can find the midrange frequencies. On the right, you can discover the treble frequencies. This is quite similar to what you can find in a piano.
While trying to achieve the best equalizer settings, you need to have a better understanding of frequencies as well. If you don’t have a sound understanding of that, you may have a hard time to have that level of settings. All the sounds that you hear are vibrations. These vibrations are of different frequencies. That’s why you will be able to hear different variations in sounds.
If the wave is moving at a higher pace, the pitch will be high. Treble frequencies are a perfect example of such fast-moving waves. On the other hand, the bass frequencies are moving at a slow pace.
Every single pitch that is associated with a musical instrument is linked with a core frequency. This frequency will be measured by a parameter called Hertz or Hz. You can use this to measure the speed of the frequency of the waveform. In fact, Hertz refers to the number of waves that are completed within a given second. If 60 different waves are completing cycles within a second, the frequency associated with that wave would be 60Hz. Human beings can hear the waves that have a wave rate between 20Hz and 20,000Hz. This would vary depending on your age. However, most of the sounds that we hear will be around 15,000Hz.
Decibel is the measurement unit that is being used to express loudness of the level of volume. When you are moving the slider up and down to achieve the best equalizer settings, you will be basically controlling the loudness associated with the frequency. You need to understand that all the small decibel adjustments that you make are in a position to create a massive impact on the sound output you will get at the end of the day. Hence, you should deal with these equalizer settings carefully.
You are encouraged to begin with small changes of 1dB or 2dB. That’s because the decibels are based upon a logarithmic scale. Hence, changes of around 5dB can create a massive impact on the final outcome that you will end up with.
How To Achieve The Best Equalizer Settings?
Now you have all the background information and knowledge that you need to have in order to go ahead and achieve the best EQ settings. Hence, you will be able to go ahead and play with it and achieve the perfect results at the end of the day. All the changes that you do on the equalizer would be informed changes. And everything will be totally perfect. That’s because you have a background understanding of why these changes are happening and what you will be able to achieve at the end of the day.
To get the beginning, let’s see how the frequency spectrum would look like. Then you will be able to end up with specific adjustments at the end of the day.
Best Equalizer Settings: Sub-bass (Between 20 Hz and 50 Hz)
As mentioned earlier, the lowest frequency that human beings can hear is 20Hz. Sub-bass starts from that frequency and goes up to 50Hz. Most of these frequencies control more gut, and they are less cerebral. You will often be able to hear these sounds in sci-fi movies, especially when the deep space scenes are playing. In fact, sounds in this frequency range can introduce severe and unearthly power. If you want to get more clarity out of your sounds, you need to move the equalizer away from this frequency range.
Best Equalizer Settings: Bass (Between 50 Hz and 200 Hz)
Bass, which you can hear in the sounds, are in between this frequency range. When you take a look at a hip-hop soundtrack, you will notice that the bass is sitting at around 60Hz. This sound is often generated by the heavy punches of the kick drum. In addition to that, bass guitars are capable of delivering this sound. When you move the equalizer to around 200Hz, you will be able to hear the lowest boom that is given out by the acoustic guitars, vocals, pianos, strings, and lower brass. If your music is darn heavy, this frequency range will be able to assist you. Even if the music is not heavy enough, you just need to get to this frequency range.
Best Equalizer Settings: Lower midrange bass or upper bass (Between 200 Hz and 800 Hz)
You will be achieving upper bass when you are surpassing the 200Hz level. This will be the region where the meatier body of a musical instrument would be. When you are coming to this range in your EQ, you will notice that you hear richer tones. In other words, you will be able to hear the lower ends of the vocals as well as deeper notes that are coming out from the synthesizers. This is the sound that you can often get out of pianos and low brass musical instruments.
In some of the instances, acoustic guitars can also provide sounds below this range. Lowering the sounds in this frequency range will help you to clear up space and open up your sounds. But when you are reaching the 800Hz level, you will be creating an impact on the body of the musical instruments. In here, you will be lighting the load while adding more weight.
Best Equalizer Settings: Midrange (Between 800 Hz and 2 kHz)
The midrange is a touchy range. That’s because there is a high possibility for the sounds to change quickly. Due to the same reason, you need to go ahead and apply brakes in this region while you are changing the EQ to achieve the best equalizer settings. If you are reaching the top end, you will notice that you are getting a metallic touch with the output. It would wear down the ears. Hence, you need to be mindful of it and act accordingly.Best Equalizer Settings: The upper-middle-range (Between 2 kHz and 4 kHz)
Your ears will try to get lots of focus when the sound is in between this range. When you are trying to add or subtract frequency here, you will be raising or lowering the instrumentation at a rapid pace. Due to the same reason, there is a possibility for the sound given out by trumpet, brash blare, or snare to be impacted. On the other hand, the sounds given out by vocals can also get distracted here.
Presence register (Between 4 kHz and 7 kHz)
This frequency range is often called as the presence frequency range. This will be the highest frequency range where the natural musical instruments can produce sound. If you can stick to the lower end of this region, you will be able to make the sounds look more forward. In other words, the sounds will easily come to your ears. While you are moving to the upper end of this region, you will be able to hear a sharp hissing of the “S” vocals. This process is called as sibilance.
Brilliance register (Between 7 kHz and 12 kHz)
When you are reaching the upper end of the lower end of this registry, you will be able to introduce some clarity and vibrancy into the soundtrack. Therefore, people who want to achieve a pure sound will be able to pick this as the best equalizer settings. When the output is too sharp, it will be painful to hear for an extended duration of time. You need to be mindful of it as well.
Open air (Between 12 kHz and 16 kHz)
When you come to this region, the sounds will become subjective. That’s because the bottom registers are in a position to create an impact on the higher overtones. When you are going up in the frequency range, it will become more spacious. Most of the seniors will not be able to listen to the sounds that belong to this frequency range as well.