Vocal EQ Tips: Music Recording Tips

Setting the equalizer correctly will improve the audio sound.

When a recording is made, some of the natural reverberation will be removed in the mastering process. To restore vocal music settings, your equalizer must be set to the appropriate levels. Poor equalizer settings can make an otherwise excellent recording sound dull and lifeless. Making a few basic adjustments to vocal music ensures the clarity and resonance of the music comes through. When audio engineers speak of EQ they are referring to equalizer settings.

High-pass Filters

A high-pass filter removes frequencies below a specified range of frequencies. When editing vocal audio files, remove anything below 60 hertz. This eliminates the range in which you generally find hissing and humming. Most hums are generally found at 50 hertz, but it doesn't hurt to use the filter to attenuate anything below 60 hertz. This simple setting helps improve the equalization of your audio and reduces the noise that so commonly occurs in this range. On a mixer, this is achieved by pressing the high-pass filter button. This button allows you to you reduce all frequencies below the indicated range. Most commonly, the filter will cut anything below 80 hertz.

Narrow Bandwidth

Look for the equalizer setting that has a setting somewhere in the vicinity of 2.5 to 4 kilohertz. You will have to experiment to find the best setting on your system, but this is the next point in the process that you will want to adjust. Start with the slider for the 2.5 to 4 kilohertz frequency range and then slowly lower it until the vocals obtain a smooth, balanced tone. There is no standard level to which you can set this frequency; you will have to listen carefully and adjust it downward until you find the right setting.

Bandpass Filter

The bandpass filter is used to reduce harshness and increase brightness. Harshness occurs when the music sounds grainy or unclear. Bright music has a clarity of sound and comes through clear and strong. Use the bandpass filter that has a frequency higher than 6 kilohertz. Start at the lowest setting and gradually increase it until the vocals have an increased brightness. Don't adjust it so high that the music starts to become too harsh. If you have a computer application to adjust the equalizer, make sure to save your changes. Each song may need slightly different settings to get the best results.


The bass helps add foundation and support to the rest of the music. Add some bass in the 200 to 400 hertz range by adjusting the slider upward to increase the lower bass frequencies. This setting helps to create more prominent bass sounds and provides the resonance necessary to interact with the vocals in an appropriate manner. This modification only takes a few seconds to adjust, but it can make the difference between a full and rich sound, and a thin and narrow vocal experience.


"Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio"; Mike Senior; 2011


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