How to set my equalizer for best sound

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How to set my equalizer for best sound
Parametric equalisers are not complicated and offer sound control options. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

An equaliser is a piece of audio equipment that lets you filter out or enhance certain frequencies. In a typical application, you plug an audio source, such as a microphone or guitar, into the equaliser and \manually set the frequency parameters, depending on your needs. There are two types of equalisers; graphic and parametric. A graphic equaliser has a series of slider dials that you move to upward to increase the selected frequency, and a parametric equaliser has a series of rotary dials that you turn clockwise or counterclockwise. Some graphic equalisers are integrated into an audio unit, such as some hi-fi systems that have a built-in equaliser.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Phono cables
  • Instrument cables
  • RCA jack cables

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Connect an audio source to the equaliser. The equaliser must be integrated into the signal chain between the source sound and the recipient unit. If you are equalising a microphone, connect an XLR cable to the bottom of the microphone, and plug the other end of the cable into the XLR socket on the equaliser, which is a circular, three-pin socket typically situated on the back panel. If you are connecting a guitar to an equaliser pedal, use a standard 1/4-inch instrument jack.

  2. 2

    Route the equaliser to the recipient unit, which typically is either a mixing console for recording or an amplifier for broadcast.Connect a suitable cable to the output jack on the rear of the equaliser to the input jack on the mixer or amp. The make and model of the recipient device determines the type of cable required, but it usually is a 1/4-inch jack cable, phono cable or RCA cable.

  3. 3

    Normalise the parameters. Move each slider dial to the centre or set each dial to "12 o'clock" position. Graphic equalisers have between 10 and 20 slider dials, depending on the complexity of the unit. The dials boost or dip the gain of their respective frequency band. The lowest band is located farthest left, and each subsequent slider governs a higher band. The bands are organised into hertz. For example, the 32Hz band is farthest left, and 16KHz is located farthest right. Setting each dial to the centre provides a neutral starting point.

  4. 4

    Tweak each frequency band. If you are using an integrated stereo equaliser, play a CD. For vocal tweaks, sing into the microphone, or if you are equalising a guitar signal, play the guitar. Start with the lowest frequency band and gradually increase and then decrease the frequency by moving the slider or turning the dial. If the sound improves when you boost the frequency, continue to boost it. Once you find a "sweet spot" for the frequency that complements the source sound, move on to the next dial and repeat.

Tips and warnings

  • Once you've set each dial, start again and fine tune the settings. Moving the 16 kHz dial may influence the adjustment made to the 250Hz dial.
  • Turn the volume down on all external audio devices before turning on the power.

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