How to use eq on sound mixers

Written by drew beatty
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How to use eq on sound mixers
Knobs are generally used for EQ control on a mixing board. (mixing console image by sasha from Fotolia.com)

Using the equalisation, or EQ, settings on your sound mixer will help you achieve the best possible sound. Having a high-quality mixing board can help you greatly, whether you play in a band and want to record your practices, or you are interested in podcasting from home. Setting the proper EQ will allow you to boost or remove specific frequencies, such as high treble or low bass tones, in your recording.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Mixing board
  • Headphones

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Listen to your track to decide what you need to adjust. If your track sounds muddy, you should cut, or lower, the bass (low-pitched) frequencies and boost the treble (high-pitched) frequencies. If it is too tinny- or scratchy-sounding, cut the treble and boost the bass.

  2. 2

    Locate the EQ controls on your mixer. Most mixers, including computer mixing software, use knobs (also called pots) instead of sliders. The knobs that control a specific track will run in a straight line vertically on the mixer. Often the higher knobs control the treble frequencies, while the lower knobs control the bass frequencies. These are generally labelled "High", "Mid" and "Low".

  3. 3

    Set all of your knobs to the centre position. This is the starting point, often marked with a "0" or "U". This will let you hear the recorded sound exactly as it is, with no changes.

  4. 4

    Play the track. If you would like to boost the bass frequencies, find the knob marked "Low". As you listen to the track, slowly and carefully turn the knob to the right. The bass frequencies of the track will become more prominent. To decrease the bass frequencies, turn the knob to the left.

  5. 5

    Repeat the process for the mid and high levels, usually indicated with "Mid" and "High" labels. Turning them to the right will boost the frequencies, while turning them to the left will cut the frequencies. Experiment with them to find settings that make your track sound bright and clean.

Tips and warnings

  • Write down the specific combination of settings that sound good to you. This is handy if you need to go back while recording or editing multiple sessions.
  • Aim for a natural sound. You don't need to over process your track, you are just trying to compensate for the changes your recording environment brought to the track.

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