This tutorial has been requested a lot by my blog readers so today I’ll finally show you guys how to EQ vocals (might not work for vocal samples and effects). You’ll learn how to find problem frequencies and remove them to help the vocals sound more clean, profession and sit well in a mix.
Here’s one question I get a lot: “is it possible to do the same on fl studio…” or “can I do this on garageband?..”
The answer is always a big YES, what I teach are concise guides, which means the techniques can be applied in pro tools, cubase, ableton, logic or any other software, using your preferred plugins.
With that covered, let’s get into the tutorial.
Vocal EQ Settings
One thing to remember when you equalize a vocal is that the settings will be different in every project. So in the video below, I’m going to show you the right technique you should use to make sure you get the best settings for that particular vocal.
This will also depend on a lot of factors such as the type of microphone, singers position, mic technique, room and a whole lot of other things. So use the eq chart as guide, not as a magic formula.
Low-end: You need to cut everything below 80Hz, this area is just noise floor and it will create rumble and mud in your mix so cut it out you don’t need it. Especially if the vocalist keeps dancing and kicking the mic stand.
Boominess: This is mostly found around the 100Hz to 350Hz. Avoid boosting this area because it will make your vocals sound boomy and it will not sit well in a mix. Most of the time you’ll need to cut it out, especially on a male vocalist or if the vocals are recorded in a small room.
Mud & Boxiness: The muddy area can be found around the 350Hz to 500Hz frequency range. But be careful with your cut in this area because it might make your vocals sound hollow. Zero it down to the exact problem frequency and use a medium to narrow Q factor.
Nasal & Honkiness: The area around 800Hz to 1.5kHz is mostly honky and has a metallic sound. You will need to cut that out to avoid any nasal quality.
Clarity & Presence: After cutting out all the problem frequencies your vocals should sound more clear and present. But if you feel like you need to add more clarity and presence then make a boost in the 5kHz to 9kHz range. Be careful not to add too much sibilance or plosive sounds.
Breath & Air: To help the vocals cut through the mix, make a bandpass filter boost around 10kHz to 16kHz.
Remember to use a narrow Q factor when you’re cutting frequencies and use a wide Q factor when boosting. But rules can be broken, just as long as it sounds good. Your ears should always be the judge these are just guidelines.
To have a better understanding and to see this in action, watch the video below. Feel free to leave any comments below, don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to my channel.