Have you ever wondered what the benefits of Equalization (aka EQ) as a podcaster are?
Equalization is the most essential frequency tool to have in your audio toolbox. It allows you to manipulate the frequency content within an audio recording to improve tone quality or remove annoying resonances to improve the general listenability of your audio.
You may have fiddled around with the tuner of a radio once upon a time and have come across three terms: bass, mid and treble.
These three terms refer to the three major ranges of what is commonly referred to as “The EQ Spectrum” which is the same as the audible frequency range of the human ear (20Hz – 20kHz).
Lower frequencies typically from 20Hz-400Hz are considered to be the bass range, low-mid frequencies typically range from 400Hz-4kHz, high-mid frequencies range from 4kHz to 12kHz and treble frequencies typically range from 12kHz-20kHz.
You might now be asking, “How does this information help me as a podcaster?” All things begin with some sort of foundation, a root. In sound, our roots are the fundamental frequencies.
This is where the strength and power in a sound comes from. The fundamental frequencies of the male voice vary between 110-140Hz, while the fundamental frequencies of the female voice vary between 130-170Hz.
Adding level with EQ to these ranges can improve overall tone and clarity to a voice. Adding too much can make the voice sound muffled. Room tone as well as nasal tone can exist between 500-900Hz.
Taking some level out of this range might be helpful in improving the tone of a recording. Removing too much might hollow the recording. Articulation in the human voice exists in the 3.5-5kHz range.
Adding level here will improve clarity to the recording, but too much will be painful to the ears. Sibilance is what we use to describe and harsh ‘S’ or ‘T’ sounds in the human voice, which exist around the 7.5-9kHz region in the spectrum.
There are purpose-made tools such as a “de-esser” made to deal with this frequency range. However, removing too much may introduce a lisp-like articulation to the voice.