05 May The Very “Secrets” of Equalizing a Recorded Guitar
After months and months of time spent with my Sonnox Oxford Equalizer, I just bumped into this terrific, super short write up done by Scott Smith at Legendary Tones.
I’m reposting here just the very core of it, worth studying by memory.
This means, practically, that everyone one of you, every single one of you recording their guitars – no matter with what and how – should at least read it 10 times and maybe, print it out and stick it on your monitor. I have 😀
The goal of EQ’ing the guitar is to bring out the best frequencies, and cutting the frequencies that will likely clash with the other instruments on the recording. Make sure you have a strong idea of what kind of sound you want to end up with, so you can better tailor that sound around the other instruments. Note that this is totally subjective based upon what type of music you are playing, and the overall sound you wish to achieve. My best advice is to experiment until you find a good solid tone that doesn’t cancel everyone else out.
Close Microphone EQ Ranges
The frequency ranges of EQ for guitar are consistent no matter if you desire a distorted sound or a clean sound. You will find the bottom end, or ‘growl,’ of the guitar in the space around 100Hz. This frequency when boosted conservatively (2 – 3 decibels (dB)), will give the guitar the warmth, however, it is VERY important to be careful when tinkering around this frequency because at 200Hz you will find a frequency that in too large of an amount will destroy all clarity in a recording and ‘muddy’ it up. The ‘body’ frequencies can be found between 500 and 600Hz, and can be boosted slightly. By slightly, I mean 2 to 5 dB. The frequencies that bring out the psycho acoustics and give the guitar sound its ‘edge’ lie between 3 and 4KHz. Boosted slightly, they can provide a solid, cutting sound, however, used too heavily, they can be piercing and cause headaches. The 5 – 8KHz frequencies bring out the sibilants. A small boost (1-2dB) in this range will give the sound a little bit of ‘sparkle,’ and will bring out the sound of the pick on the strings. Finally, to give the sound some high-frequency clarity, you can boost the 10KHz range (Try 5 – 7dB). This will set the guitar apart from other instruments that may be playing in its register, such as piano.
100Hz Slight boost (2 –3 dB)
200Hz Slight cut (1dB)
5 – 600Hz Slight boost (2 – 5dB)
3 – 4KHz Slight boost (1 – 3dB)
5 – 8KHz Small Boost (1 – 2dB)
10KHz Boost (5 – 7dB)
Distant Microphone EQ Ranges
This mike is much easier to work with, as it depends on the sounds of the room which frequencies will be boosted. The only definites I would recommend are boosting the ‘clarity’ frequencies at 10KHz and up. Try boosting in increments of 3dB up to a maximum of 10dB for best effect, and generally try to keep the 10KHz frequency at about 2/3s that of the 15KHz frequency. The other important frequencies to pay attention to are the 100Hz, which you can slightly boost by about 1.5 – 3 dB, and 200Hz, which I would cut by about 2dB. That will maintain signal clarity while eliminating the ‘muddy’ sound.
After that, I would recommend that you experiment with the frequencies we used on the close microphone. Depending on your particular room, you will have to adjust them accordingly, and results will vary.
This concludes the first installment of THE HOME RECORDING CHRONICLES. Tune in next time for tips on how to record drums effectively without having to worry about microphone phase cancellation. For now, I bid you adieu and happy recording