What does it mean to "eq" a recording?
December 11, 2003 12:27 PM   Subscribe

When a musician or sound engineer refers to "eq'ing" a recording, what's he or she talking about?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Writing & Language (11 answers total)
"Equalizing" -- that is, adjusting (through filtering and amplifaction) the various frequency components of the sound.
posted by majick at 12:34 PM on December 11, 2003

And boy is it necessary. Sound engineers are unsung heroes.
posted by konolia at 12:36 PM on December 11, 2003

You can tell when they're not paying attention, I tell you what.

I dabbled for a while, helping out my dad's band. The band was lame, but I was proud in making stuff sound pretty tolerable by monkeying with the board. It's amazing how clean some stuff sounds in headphones while it sounds like mud in the real world. Acoustics are interesting things to play with.

Okay, I'll shut up now.
posted by ajpresto at 12:38 PM on December 11, 2003

A less technical explanation would be something like "Fiddling with that big row of slidey-up-and-down controls until it sounds less cruddy."
posted by majick at 12:43 PM on December 11, 2003

So then what's the difference between that and "mastering?"
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:54 PM on December 11, 2003

"Mastering" is the act of creation of the very first Real Live Final Copy of the recording, after mixing, edits, postprocessing, and all the other slidey-up-and-down stuff is done. The end result of the mastering process is, unsurprisingly, a "master copy," from which all others are derived.
posted by majick at 12:59 PM on December 11, 2003

(Crikey, how do I even know this stuff? I've never worked in the audio or music industries nor have I studied them closely... unless I was a board jockey in a past life, maybe it's best if everyone assumes I'm talking out my ass at this point.)
posted by majick at 1:01 PM on December 11, 2003

But more eq is done during mastering, I think.
posted by crunchburger at 1:02 PM on December 11, 2003

this article might help you understand some of the intricacies and goals of EQing.
posted by edlundart at 1:37 PM on December 11, 2003

Mastering may include EQ, compression, and other audio processing, usually to make all the songs on an album sound like they are of a piece. But individual songs (and individual tracks within these songs) can also be EQ'd, and usually are, during the recording and mixing process.

The slidey-up-and-down type of equalizer is called a graphic EQ, because the sliders make a "graph" of the frequency boosts and cuts. The more bands, the more precise control you have.

There's another type of equalizer called a parametric EQ. It typically only has a few bands (sometimes as few as one) but the frequency and width of each band is adjustable, rather than being fixed like the bands on a graphic EQ. These are really handy for live sound because every room has different resonant frequencies, which you'll want to cut so they match the rest of the audio spectrum, and you can't do that very precisely with a graphic EQ. (They also can be used to reduce feedback and for fine-tuning sound in the studio.)
posted by kindall at 1:40 PM on December 11, 2003

Except now, mainly mastering is used to make CD's louder.
posted by drezdn at 11:51 PM on December 17, 2003

« Older How can I find the meaning to life?   |   IMAP Email display Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.