5 Essential Tips for Perfectly Equalizing Vocals in Your Music Production

Equalizing vocals is an important aspect of music production, as it helps to create a balanced and professional-sounding mix. Equalization, or EQ for short, is the process of adjusting the frequency content of an audio signal to achieve a desired tonal balance.

When it comes to vocals, EQ can be used to bring out the best qualities of a singer’s voice and to eliminate any unwanted frequencies that may be detracting from the overall sound. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and techniques for equalizing vocals.

  1. Start with a good recording

The first step to achieving great sounding vocals is to start with a good recording. This means using a high-quality microphone, recording in a quiet environment, and ensuring that the levels are set correctly. A clean and well-recorded vocal track will make the equalization process much easier and more effective.

  1. Use a high-pass filter

One of the most common issues with vocal recordings is the presence of low-frequency rumble or noise. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as the proximity of the microphone to the singer or the ambient noise in the recording environment.

To remove this unwanted noise, use a high-pass filter. This will cut out frequencies below a certain point, typically around 100Hz or so. This will clean up the low-end of the vocal track and make it easier to EQ the remaining frequencies.

  1. Identify problem frequencies

Before you start EQing, it’s important to identify any problem frequencies that may be present in the vocal track. This can be done by sweeping a narrow band EQ across the frequency spectrum and listening for any frequencies that sound harsh or unpleasant.

Once you’ve identified these problem frequencies, you can use a parametric EQ to reduce them. Start by making a narrow cut in the frequency range of the offending frequency, then adjust the depth of the cut until the frequency sounds more natural and balanced.

  1. Boost the presence frequencies

The presence frequencies, typically around 2kHz to 5kHz, are important for adding clarity and definition to the vocal track. By boosting these frequencies, you can make the vocals more intelligible and cut through the mix.

However, it’s important not to overdo it, as too much presence can make the vocals sound harsh or sibilant. Start with a small boost and listen carefully to how it affects the overall sound. You may need to make adjustments to other frequencies to maintain a balanced and natural sound.

  1. Use a de-esser

Sibilance, or the sharp “s” and “t” sounds that some singers produce, can be a problem in vocal recordings. This can be addressed using a de-esser, which is a type of dynamic EQ that reduces the level of these problem frequencies only when they become too loud.

A de-esser can be set to target specific frequencies, typically around 5kHz to 8kHz, and can be adjusted to suit the needs of the particular vocal track.

In conclusion, equalizing vocals is an important part of music production that can help to create a polished and professional sound. By using techniques such as high-pass filtering, identifying problem frequencies, boosting the presence frequencies, and using a de-esser, you can achieve a well-balanced and natural-sounding vocal track.