Discussion in 'Vocals' started by sammyg, Jun 4, 2004.
was wondering if anyone could offer any "rules of thumb" for eq'ing vocals.
Not really. EQ till it sounds good and fits the mix if you need to EQ at all..subtractive is best to avoid inducing un-necessary phase
Usually don't hurt to use a high pass filter to cut un-necessary low's....
Subtractive for sure. There's often some level of box-like crud between 400 and 600 that needs to be reduced, really cleans up a vocal track. Every voice is different, they all need something unique.
This is the method of using EQ as taught in many recording programs.
First, most sources have a resonant frequency, that is a really ugly sounding peak. It is usually somewher in the low mid range but in some cases, it can be in the mids. The first thing to do is to locate the frequency by turning down the main faders a bit, then boosting on the vocal channel eq, the mid frequency filter with a narrow bandwith (Q). Sweep the mid freq selector until you find something really ugly and louder than everything else. This will be the freq you are looking for. Then use the boost / cut to apply 6dB or more of cut..
For vocals, there is usually only one freq that needs cutting. Boost a little 4 to 6 K for "air" and presence and maybe a little boost atb 120 Hz, for fattness.. and kick in the HPF at 80 Hz or so..
Depends on how thick the track is. If it is a ballad with guitar and voice, I would EQ it different than a pop tune. That said, in most pop, rock type stuff, I might put a high pass anywhere from 250 - 350 depending on the voice. It's all voice specific after that.
One of the better eq's for voice is a good mic that fits the persons voice, a good pre, and for many things, have the vocalist back a bit up from the mic. Proximity effect is cool if that is what you need, but most of the time you can get rid of the mud by standing back a bit. You can also try a pattern between cardiod and omni also.
This is a definate area where a good outboard EQ will leave a plug-in for dead every time.
thanks for the tips guys,
Try this way :
* HPF at 18 dB/oct between 120 and 140 Hz.
* LPF at 18 db/oct between 19 and 17 kHz.
* Bell Q=0.4 +0<x<+2 dB between 2 and 3 kHz.
* Bell Q=2 +x dB between 11 and 12 kHz.
This is the starting point.
After, make your final eq.
My rule of thumb is to patch in and start tweaking a channel of my Manley Massive Passive until I get it right. Sometimes it takes both channels. I can usually get away with and live with the results it gets...
When it comes to anything eq, take away what you don't like first before you start to add in what you do like. Roll off or filter the real low end (<50hz or so). Don't judge the eq when the vocal(s) are soloed, because it is more important how they sound with everything else. Turn them up in volume rather that having them be overly bright or harsh. Don't be afraid to create and blend more than one vocal track each with different eq settings.
Interesting...I had always subscribed to the notion that EQ on a vocal was a last resort fix for errors made during tracking...I try to avoid it, and "EQ" vocal tracks by changing mics....
That said, the few times I have had to EQ, gently subtracting undesirable frequencies seemed to work much better (to me) than adding...(roll off instead of sharp Q, etc)
But there again, that's just me...
I would recommend trying to get the eq right from the get go through experimenting with mic choice, placement, and settings especially if you're recording to digital gear. My preference is adding no eq at all unless it's needed to make the vocal sit better in the mix. If you're using a dull mic like a U87 you may need to add a small bit of presence in the highs. Cheap Chinese mics tend to sound a bit brittle so they may present the opposite problem. Rule 1 is to get good monitors so that you can actually hear what you're doing. You need to know in your head what sound you want and then use whatever is necessary to dial it in. If everyone tells you to use subtractive eq but a boost is needed to get the sound you want then give it a boost. You need to have a vision of what you're after otherwise what's the point?
some cool ideas,
Separate names with a comma.