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Ableton Mixing Tips and Tricks: EQing Vocals by Rafael

EQing Vocals Tutorial
Typical starting point for a pop vocal.

And finally the single most difficult element to EQ: the human voice. One thing is for sure, you may wanna filter everything below 100 Hz. Somewhere between 125 Hz and 250 Hz is the fundamental, and between 2 kHz and 4 kHz are the consonant sounds, which, if you boost them will make the vocal seem a little closer to the listener. Sometimes that’s what you want, sometimes, not.

Sibilance is something you might wanna get rid of, so, attenuating somewhere between 4 kHz to 7 kHz (or even 8 kHz) will make the trick. And above 10 kHz, is the air of the voice. I find that boosting a little bit up there for pop music, helps a lot, specially on female vocals. Take in consideration that some vocal mics, might already have some boost in their own frequency response curves at about 12 kHz.

This are just starting points, not magical solutions, because every instrument, every vocal, every mic and every recording chain, sounds different, but, this is a good way for you to create your own presets for a starting point in your favorite EQ plugin.

Always remember is better to attenuate than to emphasise, and when you have to boost, is better to use wide Q and boost a small amount of dB. The more instruments you have in your mix, the more you’ll have to attenuate and filter, and viceversa. And of course, don’t try to emphasise something that’s just not there.

Now, when you solo the EQed instrument, it just might sound awful… Well, luckily enough, no one except you will ever listen to it in isolation…

Remember, EQing is the best way to make room for everybody to fit in the mix!

Also read my other articles about equalization: How To EQ Drums, How To EQ Guitars, How To EQ Pianos.

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