EQ Tutorial: HOW TO HEAR EQ PROPERLY | How To Train Your Ears for Mixing and Mastering



Welcome back. I'm Streaky. Today, I'm going to teach you how to listen to EQ and all those little words that you hear online. What they mean, why they mean it. So before we get going, please let me know in the comments below right now, exactly the videos you want to see on this channel. What are you stuck on? What do you want to see? It's all to do with mixing and mastering. It's tutorials. It's whatever you want me to do. So let me know in the comments.

Let's dive into the computer. So, you've heard the word tizzy, spiky, muddy, boomy, thin, warmth, weight, punchy, edgy, toppy, bright, presence. You've heard all those, what do they mean? Well, EQ, that's what they mean and certain areas of the EQ. So where are those areas? What the hell are people talking about? Well, let me just run through the basics of EQ, what you're listening for and then how to train your ear so that you can know instinctively like I do exactly what EQ to grab and when to grab it, how much to grab and so on. So here we are, I'm in RX just to get their standard EQ up. Because it has all the different bands. Now, each one of these bands represents a certain part of the EQ spectrum. Now when we're talking EQ, we're going from around 20Hz. As our ears can hear up to around 20k, which is the top frequency. So what we're doing, we've got bands of EQ. Now, when somebody says something is for example, boomy, they normally talking about the low-end. So we're talking below 100Hz here. So something would be boomy. Let's put some stupid boom on this and play it so you can hear exactly what boomy sounds like. (Music playing).

So that's boomy. That's the low end. So, you know when it boomy. No one likes boomy. But if you were to go the other way with this one, then suddenly when someone says something is thin, that's what happens. Too much low end taken away. So this whole section around here it's called the low end. This whole section here is called the top end. So let's listen to how that sounds when you take too much away, which then makes it sound thin. To make it sound less thin, and you want it, so it's “thicker” another word. Then you would add some low end. So if it was sounding like this, then you start adding it back in. Obviously, it wouldn't be down here in the first place. It would be thin here. So you'd be adding this way. So you understand what I mean? I'm sure you get that. Let’s listen to that going in, to make it a bit thicken up the sound a bit. (Music playing).

So there you go. That's boomy, thin and thick. Now, we move up the frequency range and we get into around the 200 to 400 range. Now in here in this band, this is where we would say things can sound muddy. Let me explain that. So this is just above where all the sub frequencies are, which is around 50, 60Hz and lower. And it's above where the kicks and things are. It's sort of, you're getting into the high end of the bass and the sort of low end of the vocals. Low-end things. So around here, you can get some muddiness because you've got a lot of crossover of frequencies from the middle here and the low here. So we're between the middle and the low end. So here you would get it sounding muddy. So let's now push that up and that should make it sound muddy. And then what I'll do is as I'm doing that, I'll bring it back down here and that will make it sound less muddy. Hopefully let's see. (Music playing).

So that was a bit of muddy. You could hear it started to get a bit messy and muddy as it was going up. And when you actually take away in there, you can actually take away a bit of that mud. But if you are ever taken away, you've just got to watch you're not taken away too much from other things. So this is why you need to train your ears to know what frequencies you're doing and why you're taking them away. So now let's move up. This is the next band here, which this is the mids. So we've got, this is the low-mids. This is now the high-mids. So in the high-mids, this is where our ear really is the most sensitive, around the 1k mark, the 2k mark. So around here, this is where things are going to sound spiky, edgy, and have more presence. They’re all the words that you're looking for in this area here.

Edgy can be good, can be bad. Depends on the track. Same with being spiky. A lot of times, sometimes you want the snare to be spiky. Well, the top end of the snare is around here. So that will give you a spikiness around here. Vocals are all around this area. Guitars are all around this area. This can sound really edgy, can sound really too hard on your ear. Because as I say, it's the most sensitive part so you've really got to watch this. Let's listen to this and see how this sounds when we add a little bit of EQ. (Music playing).

You can hear how edgy that sounds. Can sound good, can bring things out to sound right. But you've got to use your ears to make sure you're not putting too much on, say it's too edgy, too spiky too in your face. It can sound nice with some vocals. You can get some more presence in the vocals, but you have to use it very gently. Now, if you take away in this area, it can then start sounding a little bit dark and distant and not as piercing to your ear. Because obviously this is where your ears are really picking up frequencies. Especially on things like phones, cars that don't have a lot of really low frequencies going on in the speakers. So this here, if you take some away, it will take some of that edge away that you get in cars. So that can be good. So let's listen to that with it being taken away. (Music playing).

So that can sound less punchy. Lose all that real edge in the middle. So if you take it away, you're losing a bit of edge if you've riding too much. So you've got to balance that off. That's where a lot's going on. There's a lot happening there. Then up the top then. So now we've got the top end, this is called. So anywhere from say 6 to, it can go up to 30. But we go up to 20k here. That's the top of our hearing anyway, 20k. Here, you've got the top end of the vocals. This is where you can get things sounding, you'll hear the word bright. So you'll get things that are really bright tizzy. That's a word that's used a lot here. And when you go the other way, this is where it starts sounding dull and you can hear that straight away. So here, you've got the top end of the snare, top end of the vocals. You've got symbols, higher hats, that kind of thing. That's why it can sound really tizzy if I show you if you put too much on. (Music playing).

So that can be a good thing. Again, can be a bad thing. So that's where you're going to find the tizz. That's where you're going to find where it's too bright. And you're also going to find that it's really dull there. You may have seen me moving these things around. Let me just have a quick explanation on what I'm doing there. So this is just level, so gain-level gain, and you can see that going up and down here. Then you've got the frequency here. So that's just where the main part of it is positioned. And then on this, you have a thing called queue and that queue is just how tight or wide that band is. So if it's very wide, then it's not 0.1. And when you go in really tight, so you're really focusing on, say, for example, we go to 10k there. We're just stripping out a lot because we're on a very, very sharp, very tight queue. So they’re the words that you would hear for that, and then the level going down.

You don't want to go too tight unless you're doing instruments. A lot of the time you might go tight queues. Tight queues are also used for stripping frequencies. They're not used that much for adding, but you can use wider EQs. Wide queues always sound smoother, more open. But you are dealing with a lot more frequencies. Because as you can see, when you have a wide queue, although your main setting is at 10k there, it's going to start around 4. You can see even lower and go even higher. So you're dealing with quite a lot of frequencies there and you're pushing the level up and down.

Now, let me show you how I learn and how I think you should learn to train your ear, which is by using more of an old-fashioned EQ. Because this way, when you do this, you are using your eyes as much as your ears. And you will be very tempted to turn things up because you've seen it look that way before. Or just the way that the curves are looking or you like the look of that. It makes you feel secure because you've seen it happen like that before you could look at the curve. Now without looking at the curve, this is how I trained my ear. It's a really great way to train your ear. Get more of an old-school EQ up. So this here I have the Chandler Curve Bender. This is basically an old-school EQ where you have, in the same way, it does exactly the same things as before, where you've got the free frequency here.

You have the frequencies here. You can see 3.6k, and then we're going up to 20k. And these are the hertz at the bottom. So certainly, the same for bands, 1,2,3,4, and I've got them linked here. So as I move 1, it's doing the other side. This is left. This is right. But you can see they're moving at the time because they're linked. And you've picked the frequency and then this is the level here. So that's the same as just having the gain and the level there and the queue. There's no queue on this one, but on a lot of parametric EQs, which is what this is called, which is similar to this. it has a queue here. You can see there's got a queue where you can add one here to that bell shape and you get that bell shape here. You can change the different shapes of the curves there too.

So I trained on this thing. There's a load of different versions of these. You will have seen them around. And the great thing about this is it just means that your actually thinking, okay, 12k there, plus 1 or 2dB sounds like this. And so you get to know what the actual sound of it is like. So, you know, as I explained, tizzy is top, but you don't get to see it. You haven't got a visual of it or you haven't got a graphic underneath either. You're just listening purely with your ears. So it really gets you tight on what frequencies do what? And then, so you naturally know, okay, 12 K does this, this 12 K opens the track up more. It gives it more top. It makes it more tizzy if I go to 16 and I add too much level on. So they're the things you're doing. So let's just have a listen to that. (Music playing). So that was the tizzy top. Now let's go for the boomy bass like we did before. So let's add 5 dB there. So let's see how that sounds. (Music playing).

So exactly the same way as I did all of the EQ settings in here. It's just translating to here and I don't have a visual to look at. All I'm doing is just checking them out on here. So this is a great way to train your ears. Get used to them. These EQs are really nice to use any way. They're good emulations of different old-school EQs. There's plenty of them. It's a really great way to get your ears sharp. Now there's also another website called SoundGym. SoundGym is really cool for just getting your ears trained up and really tightening your ears on what frequencies you should be looking for, what they're doing, why they're doing them. But the general things are boomy, muddy, spiky, tizzy, dull, all those things that I explained earlier on. So go to SoundGym, check that out. That's a really good site for training your ears up. Now, if you want to know how to EQ sub bass, there's a video coming up next, straight after this, make sure you watch that. And that will tell you exactly how to EQ sub bass. It's one thing that a lot of people struggle on. So this next video really help you out.

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