Vocal EQ - Quick Guide

Vocal EQ - Quick Guide

Written By: Eric “Realistic” Michael

Here's a useful guide to help you know what to listen for, but none of these is absolutes.

The following areas are ballpark numbers & you will have to search somewhere between these areas. Some vocals may have these same issues, but at even lower or higher frequencies; each vocal is different. You won’t always need to cut every area either. Some vocals may need a cut in a certain area while some are best left alone in another area.

Every vocal is different so, you may find that you cut a certain frequency on one vocal & may even boost that exact frequency on a completely different vocal.

A guide like this is best for giving you a reference of what to listen for, rather than just boosting & cutting these areas every time.

Each vocal is different and requires different cuts & boots!

What To Cut

0Hz-150Hz - Low-end rumble & unwanted room noise. A high pass filter is usually used to remove these frequencies. You’ll want to filter out everything from 100Hz & below. Sometimes even up to 150Hz & below.

150Hz-200Hz - Boominess & low-end resonance buildup.

200Hz-600Hz - Heavy buildup, boxiness, muffled tone. Removing frequencies in this area will increase clarity.

700Hz-900Hz -  Nasal tone⁣⁣⁣⁣. You won’t have to cut here unless the vocalist has a really nasally voice.

2,000Hz-4,000Hz - Harshness⁣⁣⁣⁣ & vocal resonance. This area is usually worth looking at & if the vocal sounds too harsh or has loud piercing sounds, this is probably the area to find those issues.

4,000Hz-9,000Hz - Sibilance⁣⁣⁣⁣. This is the sound we hear from harsh “T” & “S” sounds. Be careful putting too much in this area, because there may be some important frequencies we need to cut through the mix.

12,000Hz and above - Air, hissing, & other high-end artifacts⁣⁣⁣⁣.

What to cut

What To Boost

100Hz-180Hz - Warmth, fullness, & body.

600Hz-800Hz - The character & soul of the vocal can be found here. This area can enhance how we feel the vocal emotionally. Be careful boosting too much in this area, because it’s also where some of the boxiness resides.

800Hz-1.9kHz - Vocal clarity⁣⁣⁣⁣. This area is usually the part of the vocal that should dominate the mix in this frequency range. The vocal can really cut through in this area.

3,000Hz-6,000Hz - Presence & open vocal⁣⁣⁣⁣. This is where we can add some bite & aggression to the vocal.

9,000-10,000Hz - Brightness⁣⁣⁣⁣ & sizzle.

10kHz and above - Air⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣.

What to BoostFor more details & further explanation, read the caption below.Checkout our Vocal Mixing Course for more Vocal Tips

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Realistic is a Producer/Engineer located in Atlanta, GA specializing in Hip-Hop, R&B & Pop music. Realistic has been involved in the music industry for over 15 years. He has worked on projects for Talib Kweli, Just Blaze, Musiq Soulchild, Pharoahe Monch, NBA 2k, Skyzoo, BJ The Chicago Kid, Madlib, Ayo-N-Keyz, Billboard Hitmakers, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Rhymesayers, Hamburger Helper, & LoveOfPharaoh.

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