6 Quick Tips on EQ-ing Vocals (With Audio Examples)

Some will say compress and then EQ, others the opposite. Just like with anything else in sound editing this is mainly up to preference and quality of the sounds you have. I have done it both ways and probably prefer doing EQ first, although there isn’t one better. Just like with what DAW you use, yamean?

Straight to the point. There are many general rules for applying EQ but most importantly you need to use your ears and eyes. Use an equalizer with a frequency analyzer for best results. A couple of common rules that you should always apply:

  1. Cut anything below around 100hz - some go a little lower, but always do around a hundred. You don’t need this in your vocals as it can only add muddiness and reduce clarity. Many microphones have a switch button that allows you to low-cut anything below around 75hz.

  1. Monitor the area around 300hz - this area is another frequency range which often adds dullness to the sound. I would always boost through starting at 200hz and going up to around 370hz seeking boomy sounding frequencies (they are generally boomy so you need to pay extra attention). I would suggest using a narrow Q. Once you find something pretty noticeable and unwanted reduce it. I typically go very low with a very narrow Q.

Vocal - No cut (Raw)

Vocal - 335hz Cut

  1. Less is more - always use a narrow Q, you don’t want losing the natural sound of the vocal, but rather cut here and there to make the most out of the sound. As important, always try to reduce and not add to the frequency space of the vocals you are working with.

  1. Thickness - boosting around the area of 150hz is what is genereally suggested for adding extra character to the vocal. It can suitable for both male and female vocals, but you should play a bit with the EQ there to make sure it fits your vocal.

Vocal - No boost

Vocal - 150hz boost

  1. Adding clarity - 2k to 5k - you can improve the presence of the vocal by boosting around this frequency area. Use a medium to narrow Q and swipe through this frequency range to find frequency you like and boost it 1-2 db. Do not go too high. Less is more...oh I have said that already.

Vocal - No boost

Vocal - 2.5k boost

  1. Sibilance - These are the unwanted harsh sounding ‘Ss’s and ‘Ps’s, so using an equalizer is one way to fight those. They can start from anything around 6k and go up to probably above 10k. Use a narrow Q equalizer boost to swipe around this frequency range, find harsh sounds and carefully cut those down.
      1. Extra sauce - I have seen many people doing and I have done it myself. Boosting above 10k hz is a good way to add extra character and presence to the vocal. Like that whatever sauce you like on your pizza. It should be done with care as you might get problems with ‘sibilance’. Never-ending loop. A GIF GIF TO SHARE

      Vocal - No boost (Raw)

      Vocal - 20k Boost


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