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You might be tempted to reach for the EQ when something doesn't sound right while recording, but as you see later in the course, there are much better ways to adjust the sound. That said, equalization can be a very powerful tool during recording under the right circumstances. Let's look at how that's done. First of all, for a complete explanation of all the various parameter controls and general EQ setup, check out my Audio Mixing Boot camp course or Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters on the lynda.com online training library.
Now let's say that what you're recording still doesn't sound right after moving the mics, changing mics, and altering the signal path. Now it's time to try some equalization. The first thing to try is to cut a few dB from around 200 to 500 hertz. This is because it's one of the areas that will get a proximity effect boost when a mic is placed closely to an instrument or amp. If there is a frequency that seems to be sharp and piercing, set the boost cut control to a moderate level of cut. 8 or 10 dB should work. Sweep to the frequencies until you find the frequency area that really leaps out above all others, that's the frequency to cut.
Adjust the amount of cut to taste, be aware that too cut makes the instrument sound thinner. Sometimes you want to be sure that the instrument has a lot of definition. To do that you can go a few steps further, add some points to the sound by adding a slight amount of up or midrange from 1K to 4 kilohertz. Start with only a couple of dB, then add more to taste. If required, add some sparkle to the sound by adding a slight amount of high frequencies from 5K to 10 kilohertz.
If required add some air to the sound by adding a slight amount of the brilliance frequencies from 10K to 15K. Remember that it's best not to use any EQ while you are recording until you get a lot of experience and then a very few dB is all it should take. You can't undo it later when you add something during recording, so it's usually best to play it safe and record it flat, then improve the sound with equalization when you mix. In closing, if you must use EQ start by subtracting in the 200 to 500 hertz area.
Cut by about 10 dB and sweep the mid-frequencies of a sound that's sharp and piercing. Add some definition by adding a bit of point at 1 to 4K, some sparkle of 5 to 10K, and some air at 10 to 15 kilohertz.
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