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In this installment of the Foundations of Audio series, author Brian Lee White shows producers and audio engineers how to properly apply equalization (EQ) and improve the sound of their mixes. The course covers the use of parametric and graphic EQs—and filters such as the high/low pass filters and shelf filters—in a variety of musical settings. These principles can be applied to any digital audio workstation platform, including Logic and Pro Tools, as well as analog workflows.
Now that we have a grasp of frequency, gain, and Q, we can easily understand one of the most common types of EQ filters, known as parametric EQ. A parametric EQ, sometimes referred to as a peaking filter, uses all three controls to boost or cut a signal's frequency range. Generally broken into multiple bands where an EQ includes more than one parametric filter, the amplitude of each band can be controlled, the center frequency can be shifted, and the bandwidth or Q can be widened or narrowed.
Think of a parametric filter as a mountain of boost or valley of cut across the frequency plane. The boost or cut is centered at the middle of the mountain or valley; therefore the center or target frequency receives the most change, while frequencies around the center taper off based on the Q value. George Massenburg developed and introduced the parametric EQ in 1972, and today parametric filtering is found in at least one band of most plug-in, console, and hardware equalizers on the market.
Parametric EQ is by far the most flexible type of EQ because of the ability to control the center frequency as well as the Q width. As we'll learn in the next few videos, not all types of EQ have this ability. Parametric EQ is both useful in fixing frequency problems, like removing nasty resonance from improper mic placement or poor room acoustics, as well as subtle tonal shaping, like improving the clarity and presence of a vocal or bite of a guitar.
Listen as I use a Parametric EQ to remove the main points of resonance from this vocal and then add some presence to increase intelligibility. (music playing) Because of their flexibility and control, I think you'll find parametric EQs will quickly become one of the most-used tools in your recording and mixing workflow.
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