Scott covers default EQ settings on production tracks. He goes through which frequency voice ranges exist and how to exploit them to fix problem areas on production tracks.
- [Instructor] Let's talk about equalization for dialogue this week. We'll start by examining what goes on in the critical frequency bands for the human voice. I'm going to use this multi-band compressor here to demonstrate because it allows me to solo up certain frequency bands so that we can listen to them. We'll start with the low end, 80 hertz and below. It's all pretty much unusable rumble. You're only going to hear things like trucks going by, rumbling down there unless you have a really, really low male voice most of the stuff can be taken care of with a high-pass filter.
Just for fun let's listen to what goes on in this range. Almost imperceptible, but you hear a little bit of low rumble so you can effectively get rid of all that since there's not a lot of voice going on down there. Let's talk about 80 to 200 hertz the next band up from that. Here's where you'll find the fullness in the bottom end of a male voice and also a female voice. You can emphasize these frequencies to make a male vocal more robust in the higher end of this area to add weight to a thinner female voice.
Let's take a listen to that range. (low rumbling) That's for the male and here's for the female. (low rumbling) So it's the real low end of the voice. Now, moving up from about 200 hertz to about one kilohertz, or 1,000 hertz. We have an area here that typically showcases the boominess in a recording space or even the muddiness of a vocal that can build up with other elements in the mix. If you're hearing too much of these frequencies, you can try gently scooping them with an EQ.
On the other hand, if your vocals sound too thin or tinny, you can increase this area to get more warmth and body. Let's hear this range soloed up. - [Woman] I had lunch the other day with a well known physicist. A man of vision but also of practice. - [Instructor] Okay, that's for the female, and for the male we have. - [Man] When the Vitaphone was in its laboratory space, a man had to beg for it, fairly kidnap me to get me down to hear it. - [Instructor] Okay, now we're going to go up to the next range. This is a very critical range in the human voice and there's a little bit of overlap. The top end of it's around two kilohertz, so I'm going to move that up.
And the bottom end is around 800, so I'll move this up to about 800 hertz. And this is about the middle range of the voice. This is what we call the nasaly area, sometimes it's called the honky range 'cause it kind of sounds like a car honk. And our ears are most sensitive to this range. So we want to be gentle here, but I find that Lavalier microphones tend to be pretty heavy in these frequencies. So if a voice seems to be poking through the mix from a Lavalier mic, you can attenuate this range between about 800 to about two kilohertz very gently with an EQ.
And this is what that range sounds like. - [Man] When the Vitaphone was in its laboratory space, a man had to be me, fairly kidnap me to get me. - That's for the male, and for the female we have. - [Woman] We'll have animation, sound, color, and depth. And there will be-- - [Instructor] Okay, so moving up from about 3K to about 6K, so this is getting into the higher range of the voice, that's what we call our presence area of the human voice. So I'm going to move this up to three. And we'll hear in this range, this is where you get the clarity and some of the definition in a lot of the voice.
So if you're having a hard time making out syllables or anything like that, you can go into this presence area and you can do a gentle boost here with a wide Q and you can bring out some of the intelligibility. You have to be careful here though because some mics have already factored in this kind of boost and too much of these frequencies will sound really tinny and brash. Here's what that range sounds like on its own soloed out. - [Woman] I had lunch the other day with a well known physicist. A man of vision, but also of practice. - [Instructor] Okay for the female and for the male. - [Man] This is completely sold in the theory that the picture was all in all, had no limitations.
- [Instructor] Okay, so moving them above to the highest band above 6K, we have the air and the sparkle band, I call it. If you want to put a shiny coat on the voice, so to speak, you can try a high shelf boost from 6K and up. But be aware, this is where a lot of hiss and other production noise like sound from lights lives as well. So this is what it sounds like from 6K and up. - [Man] It had no limitations. I was greatly impressed. - [Instructor] It's also where a lot of the sibilance of a voice live. - [Woman] We'll have animation, sound, color, and depth.
- [Instructor] Okay, so let me go ahead and close this and let's take a look at some real world examples. Over here for the C in the film, we've got a boom track and a lav track. So we'll take a look at the boom mic first, and I used a Renaissance EQ by waves to do some EQ moves in some of those bands we just discussed. So what I've done, as you can see here, is I brought out a little bit of the low end, that's going to be around 150, so that's that lower range of the voice, just needed a little more reinforcement there.
And then I've gone ahead scooped out some of the muddiness around 360 and then I've added some high-end presence around 7,000 or about 7K, 8K up in there. We just needed a little bit more top end. And those are some of the ranges we just spoke of. So I'll go ahead and play it without the EQ first so you can hear what it sounds like naturally. - [Man] It's crazy, I see the resemblance. We are very excited about it. - [Instructor] Okay, and then here's with EQ. It's pretty subtle, but you can hear a little bit more clarity. - [Man] Oh, man, it's crazy, I see the resemblance.
We are be excited about her. - [Man] Yeah, me too. - [Instructor] Okay, and let's take a look, listen to the lav, so the lav mic, I've got a different EQ using the same type of EQ, but I've got a different shape here, more attuned to what's going on with the lav. So again, without the lav we have this. - [Man] Oh man, that's crazy, I see the resemblance. We are very excited about her. - [Instructor] Okay, so I hear a little bit of that, again, nasaly quality around 900. I've scooped that out a little bit, about a three decibel dip right there. I've also taken a little bit of the muddiness out around 120, and then I've added some top end.
I'm using a high shelf filter above 3K. And with the EQ it now sounds like this. - [Man] Oh man, that's crazy, I see the resemblance. - [Instructor] Just a little bit more clarity. - [Man] I'm very excited about her. - [Man] Yeah, me too. - [Instructor] Okay, so that's an idea of how you can use an EQ to emphasize or deemphasize some of those frequency bands and equalization is really your best friend when it comes to optimizing the clarity of dialog tracks in your film video or multimedia project.