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more... SoftwarePremier BlogHow-TosRecording TipsMixingThe Recording GuitaristSeptember 2014

The Recording Guitarist: The ABCs of EQ


A typical EQ plug-in. The recording guitarist can choose from a vast array of hardware and software equalizers. But for all their variation, most provide the same basic functionality. I use the EQ plug-in from Apple’s Logic Pro as my example here (Photo 1), but you’ll find similar features on many equalizers.

This particular plug-in is an 8-band EQ, which means it offers eight independently adjustable filters, though you seldom need that many. Note the three rows of numbers below each color-coded band. The top one is the active frequency in Hz. The middle is the amount of boost or cut in dB. And the lowest number represents bandwidth.

Let’s check out the effect they have on the sound of a distorted guitar track. Ex. 1 has no EQ — it’s the sound from the amp as heard by the mic.

In Ex. 2, I’ve activated the leftmost band, a high-pass filter that chops everything below a specific frequency. Here, set to 150 Hz (Photo 2), it thins out the sound in a big way.

The rightmost band is a low-pass filter that works the opposite way. Set to cut everything above 1.1 kHz (Photo 3), it makes the guitar sound dark and dull.

Bands 2 and 7 are shelving filters. They too affect everything above or below a particular frequency, but they can boost levels as well as cut them. Cranking the lows as in Photo 4 creates a rumbling, bottom-heavy sound.

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