Equalizer Guide & Tutorial für Audio Mixing und Mastering

Equalizer Guide & Tutorial for Audio Mixing and Mastering

Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of equalizers - the secret behind the perfect sounds in music production and audio post production. Find out what you should pay attention to when buying and discover recommendations for first-class equalizer plugins that will take your mix and workflow to a new level.

MPW - The portal for musicians & producers

If you've ever wondered what tools the pros use to perfect their sound, then you've come to the right place. In this blog post we delve deep into the world of equalizers and show you why they are a crucial tool for mixing, mastering in audio post production and music production.

What is an equalizer?

An equalizer, or EQ for short, is an essential tool in audio editing that allows you to modify the frequencies in an audio signal. Whether you want to emphasize your bass or bring out the brilliance of your vocals, an equalizer is key.

What types of equalizer are there?

There are a few different types of equalizers, each with their own specific advantages, but the two most common are graphic EQs, which are often used for live use, and parametric EQs, which allow you to make specific changes to parameters.

What is an equalizer plugin?

An equalizer plugin is the digital version of the classic equalizer. It can be loaded into your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) as a VST, AU, or AAX plugin and allows precise settings for each frequency. But the question arises: Do you really have to buy an equalizer plugin to make good music?

Do you have to buy an equalizer plugin if you want to make music?

The answer is no, because almost every DAW has an equalizer plugin (so-called stock plugins) , but there are good reasons why many professionals swear by third-party equalizer plugins . First, let's take a look at how equalizers actually work.

How is an equalizer constructed?

An equalizer consists of various parameters that make it possible to specifically intervene in the frequency range of an audio signal.


MPW - The portal for musicians & producers - Equalizer parameters frequency

The frequency, measured in Hertz (Hz), usually ranges from 0 Hz to 20 kHz and is approximately what the human ear can perceive. Some equalizers even go up to 40 kHz. Train your hearing to be able to specifically recognize frequency ranges.


MPW - The portal for musicians & producers - Equalizer Parameter Gain

The gain control allows you to increase or decrease the volume of the selected frequency range and is one of the most important parameters of an equalizer.

Filter quality (Q)

MPW - The portal for musicians & producers - Equalizer parameters filter quality Q

The filter quality, also known as the Q factor, determines the width of the frequency range affected. A higher Q value means a narrower bandwidth, while a lower value affects a wider range.

What equalizer filter types are there?

The most common equalizer filter types at a quick overview:

Peak EQ (also Bell or bells called EQ)

Increases or decreases specific frequencies by the set value.

High-pass filter (also called low-cut)

Only allows frequencies above a certain point to pass through and attenuates everything below.

Low-pass filter (also called high-cut)

Reverse to the high-pass filter - only allows frequencies below a certain point to pass.

High shelf filter

Emphasizes or attenuates all frequencies above a certain limit.

Low shelf filter

Same effect as the high-shelf filter, but for frequencies below a limit.

How do you use an equalizer plugin?

Now that you know the basics, it's time to use an equalizer plugin effectively. Here are some general tips:

  1. Listen solo and in context: Before making changes, listen to the isolated element and the entire mix to identify problems.

  2. Try dynamic settings: Experiment with dynamic settings to make your mix sound more lively and interesting.

  3. Listen to individual frequency bands solo: To target problem areas, listen to each frequency band individually.

  4. Use M/S settings: Advanced engineers and professionals can use M/S (short for mid/side or middle/side) settings to specifically place elements in the mix and make it sound cleaner.

  5. Use oversampling: If your EQ plugin supports oversampling and your system's processing power is sufficient, then use the oversampling function to get unwanted artifacts in the mix.

Tips for using equalizer plugins:

  • Vocals and rap

    • Male voices :
      • Emphasize 200 Hz, 650 Hz, 2 kHz and 6 kHz
      • Reduce approximately 400 Hz
    • Women's voices
      • Emphasize 300 Hz, 800 Hz, 2.5 kHz and 5 kHz
      • Reduce approximately 450 Hz
  • Melodies such as guitars, piano, string instruments or synthesizers

    • Emphasize the characteristic frequencies of each instrument and carefully reduce unnecessary frequencies to keep the mix clean
  • Drums such as bass, kick, snare, hi hat or percussions

    • Kick drum
      • Emphasize 80 Hz and 2 kHz with the EQ
      • Reduce approximately 500 Hz
    • Snare
      • Emphasize 100 Hz, 1 kHz and 4 kHz
      • Reduce approximately 300 Hz
      • Remove anything below 50 Hz with a low cut
    • Hi hat
      • Emphasize 400 Hz and 2k Hz with the EQ
      • Reduce approximately 600 Hz

Why should you buy equalizer plugins?

Investing in high-quality equalizer plugins Third-party software can make a significant difference in your workflow as well as your sound. High-quality EQ plugins not only usually offer detailed control, but also advanced functions such as dynamic settings, M/S editing, oversampling or advanced graphical displays.

You can test many equalizer plugins before purchasing and download a free demo. A small repertoire of different plugins can't hurt - find the plugins that suit you.

You can find more equalizer plugin recommendations here: The best EQ plugins 2024 for mixing & mastering

What should you pay attention to when buying?

When buying an equalizer plugin, you should pay attention to the functions, user-friendliness and your budget - only buy the tools that are currently helping you advance your development. Also consider whether you need a technical or more coloring equalizer in your collection.

Which equalizer plugins can we recommend?

Some of the top equalizer plugins on the market are FabFilter Pro-Q , the new SSL Native X-EQ 2 , iZotope Neutron and Waves SSL EQ . These offer an impressive combination of ease of use and impressive features.

You can find more equalizer plugin recommendations here: The best EQ plugins 2024 for mixing & mastering

Where can you buy equalizer plugins?

You can usually purchase equalizer plugins directly from the manufacturer's website, in some online music stores or on platforms such as Plugin Boutique or Splice. Don't forget to keep an eye out for special offers and discounts to get the most out of your budget!

Shop with coupons and discounts at Plugin Boutique

How to redeem Virtual Cash Coupons at Plugin Boutique:

Get free sample packs with Rewards+ Tokens

With Plugin Boutique 's Rewards+ program, you collect valuable points with every purchase, which you can redeem for discounts or free sample packs and extensions.

When you spend £50 / €60 / $75 or more you will receive 1 Rewards+ token, which you can exchange for free sample packs. The sample packs are royalty-free, like all sample packs available on Plugin Boutique .

Would you rather save money with coupon codes?

Rewards+ tokens can also be exchanged for Plugin Boutique Coupon Codes. Select your desired voucher code and redeem it in the shopping cart.

Cash Back: Collect Virtual Cash for free products

The so-called Virtual Cash (or VC) is Plugin Boutique 's cash-back program . For every product you purchase, you will receive 5% back as virtual cash, which you can have credited towards your next purchase.

You can also exchange Rewards+ Tokens for Virtual Cash! A Rewards+ token is worth £1.25 / €1.50 / $1.50 and can easily be converted into Virtual Cash at the checkout.

The perfect control

Proper use of equalizers is the key to perfecting your mix. From the basics to advanced tips, hopefully this guide has helped you understand how equalizers work. Experiment with the different filter types and try out different functions and equalizer plugins. Have fun mixing and producing!

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