Vocal EQ Cheat Sheet
Music production, much like life, is an intricate dance of balance and subtle manipulation. It requires an ear attuned to the beauty of harmonious coexistence, much like an artist senses the colors that would bring their masterpiece to life. In this endeavor, EQ (Equalization) is your brush, your vocals the canvas. Let’s unravel the subtle art of Vocal EQ and bring out the masterpiece that is lurking within your vocal tracks.
Some more tips for you:
1. Cut the Crap, Literally!
Starting off, just like in life, you have to cut the crap. Anything below 80Hz is pretty much useless in vocals; it’s the equivalent of those annoying people who bring no value to your life. Use a high-pass filter to roll off the low end. No one wants to hear muddled, muddy vocals; it’s like trying to decipher your drunk uncle’s slurred speech at a family reunion.
2. Don’t Lose the Warmth in Search of Perfection
The pursuit of perfection can rob the beauty of authenticity. Between 100Hz and 250Hz, you’ll find the warmth and body of the vocals. Boosting these frequencies gives your vocals a sense of fullness. This is like accepting your quirks and oddities – it’s what makes you human and relatable.
3. Get Rid of the Box, Be Free
Life feels constrained when we trap ourselves in a box. The same goes for vocals. Between 250Hz to 500Hz lies the dreaded “boxy” sound. It’s like being stuck in a rut or a monotonous job. Reduce these frequencies, and suddenly, your vocals breathe free and sound a lot clearer.
4. Show Up, Stand Out
Between 1kHz and 4kHz, your vocals find their presence. A slight boost here and you have vocals that shine through, assertive, like the strong voice that speaks out in a room full of whispers. Just remember, standing out isn’t about being obnoxious. Too much boost and your vocals might come off as abrasive.
5. The Harsh Truth of Sibilance
Ah, the harsh ‘ss’ and ‘sh’ sounds that occur between 5kHz and 8kHz, the sibilance, it’s like that friend who brutally points out your imperfections. They can be a little tough to handle, but you can’t ignore them. Use a de-esser, and you can have the truth without the harshness.
6. Be the Breath of Fresh Air
Life needs moments of freshness, moments that take your breath away. Frequencies above 10kHz add that air and brilliance to your vocals. A subtle boost and your vocals sound fresh, lively, and invigorating.
Final Note: There’s No One-Size-Fits-All
The beauty of life lies in its complexity, its uniqueness. So does the beauty of vocals. Trust your instincts. What works for one track may not work for another. Your ears are the ultimate judge, and every voice deserves its unique treatment.
Vocal EQ is not just about enhancing sounds; it’s about embracing the messiness, the uniqueness, and the human touch that vocals bring. So next time you’re sitting down to mix, remember, it’s not just about frequencies; it’s about the harmony of life that resonates in every human voice.
At Music by Mattie, we understand this subtle art of Vocal EQ. We’re not just about frequencies and decibels; we’re about stories, emotions, and life. Let’s work together to bring out the masterpiece that your music deserves.