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Equalizers - How do they work?

This has been a item I have never understood. I have used winamp and many other plays in my life, how precisly does an equalizer work. In both playback and recording. Same with my software like Audition CS3 you can choose to work with a 10 band 20 band or 30 band Equalizer...? Thanks to anyone who helps clear this one up for me.




Pro Audio Guest Thu, 06/05/2008 - 22:05
I actually have 5 books I recently picked up on this stuff. The Answers are far more specific to my particular question, and with regards to my goals. The books give very techy answers which are either under explained or over explained. I am not a music creation artist nor have interest in becoming one. I just want to know the basics of recording audio. From there my books can take me deeper into it as I go along.

This site is a fountain of knowledge, I love it.



Pro Audio Guest Thu, 06/05/2008 - 22:31
BKStoltman wrote: This site is a fountain of knowledge, I love it.
The depth of that "fountain" is contained in its search feature. This type of general question is best found by checking the archive of previous pertinent posts.

This is not to say folks won't be nice enough to answer your questions, but I'm sure the suggestion will come up sooner or later.

Kapt.Krunch Fri, 06/06/2008 - 06:42
MOST purely graphic EQ's work by cutting or boosting a range of frequencies that are preset in the design. The more "sliders" it has, the more narrow the range of frequencies it affects. Each frequency may overlap the frequencies on either side to a degree. Look up "constant Q", and "variable Q" to learn more about how they set things on different EQ's. A purely graphic EQ will likely have a "constant Q", while your software package EQ, all parametric EQs, or some mixers may have "variable EQ" sliders or pots. (Or maybe more correctly on mixers, "sweeping Q", where the width may be set, but the frequency range shifts). You'll also learn about "shelving" and "peaking", especially in regards to a lot of software EQs, and maybe mixers' tone controls.

The bass, or "lows" are always to the left, and it continues up through the mids and then the highs to the right.

On Winamp and things like that, it is generally used to adjust the sound to compensate for a poor recording, or lousy playback system.

In recording and mixing, it can be useful for some things, but used improperly, can cause more problems than it solves. It could be used for things like removing low-end rumble that is below the musical frequencies of, say, a guitar.

It's USUALLY best to start out with every slider at "0", then CUT a small amount, if possible. Boosting with a cheap EQ can add more noise and distortion. And, if you move one slider much at all, you MAY need to try to nudge the adjacent sliders on each side a lesser amount to keep that one frequency range from popping in or out too smooth it a bit. I've seen more fried tweeters and blown woofers than I can remember caused by people boosting the low and high end of an EQ through a stereo. The famous "Smiley curve". They thought it added "extra gain", when what it really added was extra distortion. A tiny bit of boost in an area may be OK, but....
Why do they put the "0" in the center of the slider travel, if it may be damaging to boost +15dB? I don't know.

There are charts available that give the frequency ranges of common instruments. I's suggest downloading one of those, studying up on EQ, and experimenting. You cannot learn what anything sounds like by reading any of this.

The other guys are correct that you should be able to find MOUNTAINS of information about this most basic function of sound manipulation. I'm just sitting here bored, so I thought I'd throw you a few bones.

Now, GET CRACKING! :wink: