How To EQ Like A Pro | Ultimate Guide | Alex Huston | Skillshare

How To EQ Like A Pro | Ultimate Guide

Alex Huston, Coach

How To EQ Like A Pro | Ultimate Guide

Alex Huston, Coach

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8 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Intro & Lesson Overview

    • 2. Undestanding EQ: Passive Parametric EQ

    • 3. Understanding EQ: Emulated Parametric EQ

    • 4. Understanding EQ: Graphic EQ

    • 5. EQ Like A Pro: Technique 1

    • 6. EQ Like A Pro: Technique 2

    • 7. EQ Like A Pro: Technique 3

    • 8. Applying EQ To Our Music

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About This Class

Music is an art form and a science. There is a lot that goes into creating a great sounding production. With that being said, there are simple steps we can take as professionals to set our productions up for success.

Equalizing (EQ) is one of the various tools we have to our disposal as creatives and music professionals. Arguably, it is also the most important. That is why this lesson is a deep dive into everything you need to know about EQ. 

What is covered in this lesson:

  • Understanding EQ Parameters and Settings
  • Understanding EQ: Passive Parametric EQ's
  • Understanding EQ: Emulated Parametric EQ's
  • Understanding EQ: Graphic EQ's
  • Using Our Ears To Make EQ Adjustments
  • How To EQ Like A Professional: Using Filtering To Our Advantage
  • How To EQ Like A Professional: Using Subtractive EQ To Shape Our Sound
  • How To EQ Like A Professional: Using Precision Notching To Hunt Out Problem Frequencies
  • How To Apply Masterful EQ Techniques To Your Music

Mastering EQ will ultimately lead you to create more professional productions and music. I look forward to discussing these topics with you in this lesson. Let's create!

Meet Your Teacher

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Alex Huston



Alex is a determined and focused young professional who has developed an array of skills to share over the past 10 years. With primary focuses around digital marketing, eCommerce, music production and various creative software, his knowledge is applicable to several different industries.


His zealous passion and worth ethic stem from a love of learning and application of new skills to the projects and businesses he is involved with.

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1. Intro & Lesson Overview: thanks for coming back for another lesson here. We're gonna talk today about how to eek you like a pro. We're gonna go through all the things you need to know about queuing, really understanding what we're looking at in our equaliser, all the different functions. And then we will also go over the best practices and strategies that, um that you can implement in your music that you're gonna find all the professionals are using. Um and we'll start from there. So if you haven't already make sure that you're on headphones or blood into some speakers, so you can get a nice sound. You can hear what we're doing on Let's tap into the computer gas. 2. Undestanding EQ: Passive Parametric EQ: Alright, guys. So we're in pro tools now. We've got some awesome guitar tracks loaded up that we're gonna play with here. Teoh, apply all the techniques we have. Yeah, Before we do that, we're gonna dive into really what we're looking at with different cues here. So the 1st 2 that we're gonna pull up is gonna be a pretty standard parametric EQ to this is this equalizer is gonna be mainly found. And pretty much in all your data is actually pretty much every dog that you can purchase Our our work in will have its own stock. Parametric eq You with logic able to in pro tools were in pro tools. So this is the standard seven band uh, Parametric EQ you. That means we've got five different frequency ranges that we can that we can manipulate and also to filters. So seven different parameters that we can we can use to effect the wiki spectrum here on the great thing about a parametric EQ, you could get very precise with it. Um, every parametric eq you that you're gonna use is gonna be It is not gonna simulate any type of sound. So there's a lot of a lot of plug ins that will simulate the actual sound of a piece of outboard gear Parametric you's gonna put Put a signal through it and it's it's not gonna add any harmonic saturation or overtones to it. So it's gonna be a really precision bass waited to affect your signal. So let's dive in right here. The first thing that we're gonna see in this country accuse we're gonna have our input level in our output level, our signal coming in and our signal going out. So we want to make sure that we're not gonna click on this. If we're doing a lot of boosting, we're gonna want to put down our output levels so that you don't clip our output of the plug in and at digital distortion. A great trip to do is after you affect anything with a plug in, is the by. Pass it and make sure that your audio signals at the same level. And if it's not, usually you should pull back that put so that you could get a good gain stage on on your plug chain here. Next thing we're gonna see is over here. It's gonna be ours are zero the slash Through it, that's our phase. So if we're affecting, um, or if we're queueing an instrument that has more than one microphone on it, we're gonna want to make sure that those two microphones are in phase with each other. Otherwise, we're gonna get some frequency cancellation of Don't want. Do we have that option to talk about that on and off here again? Our input, output control. And the next thing we have is our high pass filter. Uh, we've got two different two different selections that we can use. We can either use about, um or sorry, not more of a notch form where we can say yeah, but we can notch out a certain level of frequencies or we can use, uh, a low cut, which will be anything below. Anything below this line will get cut out and so great. The great thing about high pass filters is you can get get rid of a lot of your money, this and your next there. Um, so I recommend using a high pass l journal a lot of your instruments that don't really require the low end being in them. So here we've got our Q which is affected by decibel in boxes. You go between six 12 18 24 and that's really just gonna change the slope of this line. Anything really above 12 begins to sound a little unnatural to my ear. Depending on the acute you're using, you can get away with it on some of the other accused. Like anything about 12. Just It sounds a little too abrasive and kind of catch. Catch it. The next thing is gonna be our our frequency range. So anywhere we set this high pass filter, too. So we said it 250 hertz than anything under 150 Hertz is gonna be cut out from the signal we're not gonna here on. We've got our toggled in and out switch so automatically these filters are not on. I need the same thing for the other side are called low pass filter, which will allow the low frequencies that passed through a low pass filter and sweep out any high frequencies that I want. The next thing we're gonna see here is gonna be our low frequencies again. We have five frequency bands in this one that we can affect. We're gonna have low frequencies, blow mid frequencies, made frequencies high mid frequencies and high frequencies. And they're color coded, which is great. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue. And our Q is gonna be, uh let's actually put this into a bell for a second. So with the highs and with the low frequencies, we've got two options either to do a bell curve that will let, like such an effect the frequency spectrum in that in that manner. Or we could do a shelf which will look like that on affect anything in that shelf in that show form. So typically, we're gonna use a shell from on the low frequencies. In my experience, on our cue is again gonna be how How slow that IHS So ah, higher q's gonna be more steeper folk lower que more gradual again We'll have our you can see selector We can choose what frequencies will want effect and our game is how much we are boosting or cutting It was frequencies. Okay, The next is our low mids from loan. It's the high maids. Mulligan. Explain this once could itself be the same. We're only gonna have a Bell option here, it's available, will look like such and again I Q. Is gonna either tighten that bell curve and affect a smaller range of frequencies or a lower Q is gonna make that a bigger bell curve and a larger, uh, amount of frequencies that we can select and move through those as well. 3. Understanding EQ: Emulated Parametric EQ: Okay, So the next thing we're gonna look at is, um Parametric que, uh but it's gonna be emulated from a piece of gear. So very standard piece of gear is the SSL Andi. There's tons of great plug ins from waves or universal audio that you can use the emulate thes pieces of year. And it's gonna be very similar to what we just saw with our digital version. But it's gonna have a level of harmonic saturation on. It's gonna have characters that characteristics that these pieces of gear naturally have with them when you pass audio through them. That's what all these plugging them any emulation is try to try to do is add that, uh, sonic quality to your signal. So if you like the way yes SL sounds, you can do this. And I pulled up both the channel that also has some gate and compressions and dynamics to it, and just the standard Q. So you can see what this looks like again. We're gonna have our filters up here, which is gonna be our We are low pass filter here that we can sweep and our high pass filter here as well on if we just pull these down automatically out, UH, then have our high frequencies, which is red. And we can either choose this to be a bell or a shelf, if that's not if that's not clicked, and it's just automatically be a shelf, because we can select our frequency range here and select our gain as well. So on the high frequencies and the low frequencies down here don't notice we don't have a que option. There's a setting queue for for some of these pieces of gear that you just have to work with and you can see with our high kind of frequencies are low, low, mid frequencies. We actually do have a que option. It's represented by this little slope on again. A bigger Q is gonna be a tighter slope and sit here, and a smaller Q is gonna be a larger, larger slope. Bigger bell curve on. Same thing here, guys, we can choose our game and we can choose our frequencies to effect. Um, and over here, this is just the exact same thing. It's just laid out a Z, just the cue itself, not channels for So I love using these because it forces user here a little bit or with the other. You have. You have a graphic representation of what you're affecting on the other additional parametric eq you, which is really great if you're looking a search for certain frequencies. But stuff like this forces you to use your ear a little bit more, which is really what we're gonna be doing here with Q. Anyway, you know, mixing is individual things. That is something that you with your year so you could You could make a record without looking at a screen. It's a really important here. 4. Understanding EQ: Graphic EQ: the last one we're gonna look at, which will then have us covered. Pretty much a majority of the issues that we're gonna run into is gonna be a graphic. EQ. You were looking at the guy 5 60 Equalizer emulated. Plug in here from ways, and it's very straightforward. We have our frequency ranges here from low to high. So 31 heard 63 hertz 125 to fifty, five hundred one k two k four k eight k 16. Okay, on we have these little sliders, which is a game and effectively we remove a lot of the controls and allow the piece of gear to do what it's gonna do. Thank you's are already set eso We can affect the range of the spectrum that we're affecting at that beach at that frequency point. And we really only have control over what frequency frequency, frequency ranges we choose based on what the equalizer gives us. Eso It is a little limited in that fashion, but there are great uses for this, especially if you want to hit something very specific. I love to use you like this. If I'm looking to just do something on the low end would just do something on the really high end to get that nice flavor out that it's not gonna have a lot of precision in it. So that's why I don't typically use these a lot. A lot of things, but still great to know. Still great Teoh. Understand what it's feeling again that he was fixed and we really only have control over the game over starts over pretty determined frequency selection. So that's what this is gonna look like. Um, and and this will cover a majority of the issues that will run into everything is gonna look a little different. But for the most part, the settings of the controls and the way the Q functions is gonna be the same. 5. EQ Like A Pro: Technique 1: Okay, so the next thing we're gonna talk about is really the main approach to eat queuing that we're gonna take in in our music. I'm gonna go or three techniques here. I'm gonna show you on the computer what they look like with one of my favorite accuse back filter the pro Que tu Um So the first the first thing we're gonna talk about is a filtering . I think this is really important that gets overlooked. You know, we talked about how the filters work when we were discussing me que But let's take a look at really importance of it boosts. So, um, right away here, I went ahead and did a low cut Or also Menas as a high pass filter is again, we're letting the high frequencies passed through the filter and we're cutting willows. Don't get too confused by that. Those names there. I think it's really important to incorporate some type of filtering on a majority of the tracks that you're working on on the individual failures on the individual tracks each production because a lot of those frequencies aren't gonna be needed. You know, a senior production is gonna have Drummond percussive elements throughout all his owners of music drumming, passive elements, some type of base element, some type of auxiliary element, whether it's keyboard, synthesizers, piano or guitars, and then also all the vocals. If you're not doing instrumental music and I think pretty much all of that could have filtering even on elements like the Kick Drum and the Bass Elements again, whether it's a bass guitar or a basic sense of synthesizer, I was still filter out low and on there. And what this allows us to do is create a massive definition. If you're low end in our mix and overall, get a better production to the way I like to approach Filtering is, I will put some type of basically que across all of my tracks. Either the pro Que or I'll come into pro tools, and I'll load up this one as well. But after a quick see, see it, keep band, it's just a one band EQ you. So all you can do is one e que movement with it. And let's actually look at this for the time being for filtering with this one, I'll go over cheese, my little pass, and for each element, all solo it and all. I'll sweep this band until I hear where it really starts to change the element of the instrument, some typically on kick drums and bass drums bass on. It's all filter up to 35 votes because anything under that we're not really here. I don't really need a lot of those those frequencies in my next. So any any kind of base element all filter 35% lower on then, as we start to get into like keyboards and guitars will certainly do this up. Teoh around 102 100 to 50 at seeing with vocals because there's gonna be a lot of just low in residence there that's just gonna muddy it up. And if we just get rid of it, we're gonna find massive definition. So filtering is a big, big piece of of your queuing of all elements in production to make sure you're playing this across following tracks, listen, find it, find it where you don't want to change the characteristic unless unless you're doing something creative. But if you have a vocal and it's a female vocal, you could probably filter up to about 160 hertz. Because anything anything under 160 hertz is gonna mess with your base elements is gonna mess with with your kick drums. And you don't You don't want that masking happen. You don't want that money Just happen. You don't really need to hear that low, low, low end in a vocal. Um, so let's make sure that we're filtering across all our tracks. It's really important. It's gonna bring a nice definition to our to our bases. 6. EQ Like A Pro: Technique 2: The next technique that we're gonna talk about is gonna be subtracted V. Q. I think, um, what you'll find is you start to get progressively more advanced at queuing and creating. Creating great sounding productions is that you're gonna be doing a lot more removing then adding with your with your cue efforts, and what you'll find is the kind of kind of the, uh, the analogy I like to use is, you know, when a sculptor looks at a brick a barbell, they're not adding anything. They see what's in there already. They see what's what what good pieces of marble or in there already. And they take away what's not needed to show and build sculpture. So they're actually removing everything and what's great. And I think that's that's something applied to how we you a lot of tracks here. And so I pulled up Ikea that have on one of these guitar tracks and conceived do a level of filter and duck out around through 60 around, Uh, I think 200 um, there's really no additive using their so subtracted. Choose a big thing in trying to find what you like about the sound and trying to find we don't like about sound and then just removing. You don't like 7. EQ Like A Pro: Technique 3: Okay, The final method that we're gonna talk about is the seek and destroy method. And this is gonna be very precision based queuing. And we're gonna we're gonna find ourselves doing this probably with a parametric e to that doesn't really have any harmonic additive or isn't an emulation of some piece of gear. So again, I pulled up the fact filter pro you. And basically, what the this season destroy method is is you'll create a man and you'll loose it and you'll make the key really small. And what you'll do is you'll sweep through and you'll listen to your source sound and hear what frequencies you don't like when they're boosted and then you'll duck those out. So say we have, ah, guitar track that's coming through. And we really just hate the sound. At 272,000 7 2000 and 75 Hertz And we hate how that sounds. We're just gonna cut that out. Were to sweep it out. Ecstasy can destroy. Think The great thing about the fact filter is they've got this little at phone icon, and when you click that you'll actually what it will do is it'll solo out on Lee that frequency. Um, that you're your e que belle is affecting, so you can hear only that frequency. Uh, and so this is again a great trick to just get those little, tiny, tiny, tiny things that are gonna bug us on, get rid of them. And again, you can see that this is a subtracted method. It's not gonna be a boosting method or message track these frequencies that we don't like. So we collected the frequencies that do, like, come from 8. Applying EQ To Our Music: All right. So we've got some guitar tracks loaded up here, and we're gonna go through on apply some of these techniques that we just talked about. We're gonna do some filtering. We're gonna do some attractive Q and we're also going to do some seek and destroy. So let's take a listen to what we got these air guitar tracks that's actually sounded pretty good. So far, the first thing we're gonna want to do is we've got six different guitar tracks. We got a lot going on here. We're gonna go ahead and we filter each one of these. But he was the 1st 1 beginning. There is a lot of low in that we don't really need. So it's get rid of that. Say, probably up. 260 hertz. It's actually up to about 200 hertz. We're gonna filter out, and so I'm gonna copy this. Over were double, um, way had a double track on the on the right side left side. So I just copied the key. Starting over. That sounded pretty good. Let's go to the next part. I'm gonna go to 200 hertz again here and copy that will double here again. It's a lot cleaner. There's a lot of low end that we're getting rid of getting rid of their. But it's OK that you've got a bass instrument that's gonna feel and it's going are finally track. And so I think for this this guitar track really cut a little bit more at the low end. The way that we recorded these guitars is recording a single note of each chord and layering it all together and make one big court on. This is the highest note, so we don't really need a lot of low in there, So we're gonna cut out more low in here up to 350. Sounds pretty good to me. So I'm not talking about over your double here. This is without Mrs with our filter. That's already sound pretty good. It's getting a lot clear. We're getting a lot more definitional. The car tracks next level you that we're gonna do is I bust all these out to a stereo auxiliary. They're all coming through this single bus here and we're going to use a master yet you over everything we're gonna do about five decibel cut around to 75 get a lot of that low and boxing this out of their. You know, our snare drum is really in a punch around that area that those low level made frequencies You don't need a lot of the guitar tones there. Not for this song. So I cut out a lot of those. They work for a lot of the other elements of Miss Let's Go, Let's go through and see if there's anything really funky sticking out to us on individual channels that we might want to destroy. But you see, uh, as I mentioned, we're using this very sharp key high booze to find the premises just just kind of make us friends a little bit. And we're using this nice little function. In fact, two Pro Key, where you can isolate that out. Around 7 50 Hertz. I got four. Somebody click here lies for three looks that's already sounding really good here. Do comparison. Take off all this. Q. This is without all the UK we did with all the heart. That sounds nice, but it's just a little bit muddy. There's a really big bass part in there that we want to put through. So that filter and it's really help us there. Put you back on here with sound. That sounds way better, you guys. So I hope this was helpful again. We went through all of the different types of accusers. Si Wei also went through three main tricks that we want to use. Roy was a lot of filtering, attractive eq. You want some seeking destroy again, pulling away what we don't like leaving what we do instead of adding to what's already there. That's good. So hopefully hopefully this was helpful guys. Any questions? Feel free to reach out. To see the next one is 609 12 13 14.