Category: How to
You simply can't listen to raw vocals that easily. Of course, you will need to EQ vocals in order for them to run smooth, sound smooth, and pitch smoothly. All this EQing process is done so that the audience can listen to vocals with proper interest and without any boredom.
However, there are many people who are unaware of how to EQ vocals properly. They just need to learn this art, because, without it, the vocals are not as good as you will expect them to be.
As a professional musician, I am here to guide you step by step that how can you EQ the vocals with efficiency.
So, we will just rush towards the main topic without any further ado:
9 Simple Steps to EQ Vocals Properly
1. Properly Listen to What You've Been Given to Listen:
The very first step which is not very much concerned with EQ is to listen to what you've been given. A lot of people just miss out this step and then they don't know what else to do. Keep in mind that no vocalist is going to sound the same. If there are two vocalists, they will sound in different ways. So, the thing here is, one cannot simply EQ the vocals without listening to them first.
It is better that you keep the track of each vocal by noting it down on a notepad or anything on which you can write. In this way, you will be able to determine the vocals in an ideal manner. Not only that, but you will also be ready for the next step to follow in EQing process.
2. Make Decisions On What Needs To Be Evened Out:
Vocals are not only good or only bad. You will see an influx or an adherent change in frequency, pitch, wavelength, and other properties from time to time. In this case, you need to figure out the good and bad in a vocal. Listen to a vocal carefully and figure out what you need to escalate in order to make it as smooth as possible. There is a need for a perfect mic preamp for home recording in order to track down vocals as well.
We are just using all ears in the first two steps. It will depend upon your creativity that how you figure out the harshness in a vocal. That being said, you will be able to make amendments in the upcoming steps without any worries or fear.
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3. Define the Intention You Have:
Now, the very next step is to analyze the vocals along with the song. You will carefully need to listen to both song and vocals to define the editing changes that you are going to make.
That being said, some questions that you should ask yourself are: Is a vocal going to be loud and upfront? Is it buried or subdued? Is it already present or is it trebled? Is the vocal round or warm? All these questions will help you to EQ the vocals with ease and convenience.
You should also keep in mind that some artists can demand you to make amendments in their vocals according to their preferences. So, in this case, you will need to listen to their demands carefully and then make a change according to their will and wish.
4. Think About the Downstream Processing:
This is where the real job of EQing the vocals begin. You will need to pay heed to it if you are just a beginner. That is, you will have to properly learn this process in order to implement it while listening to the vocals. Keep in mind that, learning downstream processing is something very necessary. You should also keep track of a fact that although EQ is an integral part of a vocal, it will also have a part in a concert with other properties of the vocals such as compressions, effects, and harmonic saturation.
That being said, downstream processing is not a piece of cake. You will need different lessons to have a command on it. Once you learn it, you will be able to EQ vocals without any worries.
5. Starting The Repair Work:
While you are busy with downstream processing, it is possible that there are many issues while you reanalyze your work. Now is the time to figure them out and repair them. Different processes are used in this regard such as a specific EQ Match in order to repair distortions in the vocals. Different issues can be sought out easily in this way. You will just need to concentrate on the vocals whole being involved in downstream processing.
Now, in this way, you can easily figure out different issues that you have been facing while EQing the vocals. The process, in fact, is not very easy. It is going to take a lot of time. You will need to listen to the vocals again and again in order to find out those little tweaks that need proper repair.
However, it will be recommended that you save the repaired audio file as a separate one. So, in this way, you might be able to find out more issues in the original vocals.
6. Taking Out the Resonance:
The next step is now concerned with the resonance of the vocals. I would like you to remind the second step in which you have to point out different properties of the vocals including the effects, harmonic situations and things like that. Now will be the time to work on that step. You will now find different changes in resonance and have to take the resonance out whenever it is necessary.
For this purpose, I will recommend you to go for an EQ with a spectrum if you cannot figure out the resonance by just listening to the vocals carefully. Equalizing the resonance will make half of the work done. You will still need to make changes within the vocals because this is not a one-step process.
With time, you will be able to take out the resonance in each vocal with efficiency and without any issues.
7. Adding Bumps That Cut Over the Mix:
As I have mentioned the above step which is concerned with evening the things out. This step of adding bumps is concerned with your intentions. I have talked about how you want the vocals to be in the third step of EQing the vocals. Well, from that you will need to add bumps that are cutting over the mix. That being said, you will need to make specific changes in the mix to make sure that they are working in an ideal manner.
There are different softwares available in this regard. By using softwares like Neutron 2, you can add warmth, and other musical properties in the vocals wherever you want without any further ado. However, keep in mind that it will also depend upon the vocalist that how he wants his vocals to be. You will need to listen to the vocals recorded by a specific artist. In this way, you can EQ the vocals in a better way for sure.
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8. Check Out For Conflicting Frequencies To EQ Vocals properly:
Yet another important step in EQing the vocals perfectly is to check out for the conflicting frequencies. You will need to use different softwares in this regard in order to check out for the conflict between the frequencies. Make sure that the vocals you are working on have no conflicting frequencies because this will cause issues for you in the near future.
Making sure that the conflicting frequencies in your vocals don't exist anymore will make the work much easier for you and you will be able to EQ the vocals without any worries.
9. Taking Out the Harshness and Esses With the Dynamic EQ:
This is finally the last step which you have to follow in order to do the EQ of vocals. It is concerned with pointing out the harshness and esses with the dynamic EQ. In the above-mentioned steps, we haven't talked much about the esses of vocals. However, that's because there are different philosophies regarding the de-essing or essing of the vocals.
I do it my way by de-essing the top of the vocals before brightening them up. However, different artists will follow this step in different ways. No matter what you are up to or how you do this process, it is still necessary. You should also clear the vocals from even a single pinch of harshness. It will be easier for you to do it via different softwares. However, it can also be done manually by following different procedures.
Some Last Words:
EQing the vocals is very necessary. You won't be able to get proper results with raw vocals. However, with proper equalizing of the vocals, you can make them smooth and can do the proper amendments for the vocals to look as unique as possible. The process of EQing vocals surely will take time. Hence, it is recommended that you do make use of different softwares to carry out the task in a small period of time.