You might be new to working with any audio signal, or you might be a pro at the studio.
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro working with sound and instruments, we all need a refresher on the ABCs of equalization – and the parametric EQ.
For everything you need to know and what you can do with EQs, our article is here for you.
Let’s boost your frequency of EQ knowledge today!
What is Parametric EQ?
We have no doubt you’re confused. Thankfully, there’s a simple answer!
It’s not one that can be discussed in just one sentence, though. So, let’s start by dissecting parametric EQ.
What is Equalization?
Simply put, it is the instance where you adjust volumes within an audio signal. This adjustment applies to different frequency bands.
Meanwhile, for this boosted, adjusted, and fixed sound to become possible in the first place, you need an equalizer.
There are different kinds of EQs to fit your needs.
So, How Does a Parametric EQ Fit In?
Parametric means there are multiple frequencies you’re dealing with, while EQ simply stands for equalization.
Typically, parametric EQ has fewer bands and more controls. The filters, Q factors, and gain adjustment are also different for parametric EQ.
How to Use Parametric EQ
Fully parametric EQs are best for boosting and controlling just about everything on the bandwidth.
Here’s how you can start:
#1 Set the Frequency Points
Set the frequency bands’ positions. Find out which parts of the bandwidth you want to adjust or boost.
#2 Activate Values, Gains, and Filters
Either identify the frequency value by yourself or use whatever technical support and settings you have to set and reset it to certain values.
After the gain and slope values, you can also set the width – or the Q-value.
- For a wide band and more frequencies, use a low Q-value.
- For a more narrow bandwidth and fewer frequencies, use a typically high Q-value. A narrow bandwidth control means you have less to work with.
Whether you need a wider or more narrow bandwidth, know that you can adjust it all with a parametric EQ!
#3 Gain Control Over Parametric Equalizers’ Amplitude and Center Frequency
Choose which frequency band you want to play around with or which one should get a notch filter.
#4 Playback and Edit as Needed!
See how it sounds and identify where on the frequency spectrum you need to make an instance of more editing.
Parametric EQ vs. Graphic EQ
It may be difficult to tell the difference between graphic EQs and parametric EQs. We’re here to help you tell the difference:
- You can control a limited set of frequencies
- ISO third-wave frequencies are the usual set you will work with
- Customize the gain and have the bandwidth fixed
- You can customize any frequency
- You can have full bandwidth control and Q as well!
A graphic EQ may be best for you, but keep in mind that it has limited control.
You have more freedom to experiment as you wish with any frequency band with the parametric EQ.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know the guide above doesn’t cover it all, but don’t worry. We’re here for every question you might have.
What Is a Band-Reject Filter in Audio?
You may also know the band-reject filter as the band-stop or notch.
It lets all frequencies pass, save for the ones that are within a specified bandwidth stop. These bandwidth stops are the two cutoff frequencies that you can use.
There is greater attenuation in the stop. In comparison, there is no attenuation in the pass bands.
If you want to take it a step further, you can look into the notch filters.
It functions just like the band-reject filter, except that it only rejects a very small amount of frequencies.
This filter is quite useful! You can remove unwanted sounds without much loss when using it.
What Are EQ Filters?
No matter how high-end your audio equipment is, there will still be the noise you have to muddle through while mixing.
EQ filters are just the tool to deliver this fixed, boosted and adjusted result.
It corrects the volume of the output audio to be the same as the recording input audio. It gives all the frequencies equal energy.
Anyone who does recording or music technology can benefit from EQ filters!
How Do I Know What EQ to Use?
There are many types of EQ filters out there, so it’s understandable if you’re at a loss at which one to use.
Let’s begin by identifying the different types of EQ filters:
- Parametric equalizer – Our favorite and current topic! Parametric EQs control EVERYTHING on the frequency spectrum. Under the parametric EQ, you may find a distinction between a semi-parametric EQ and a fully parametric EQ.
- Graphic equalizer – You can control a specific amount of frequencies on the spectrum. This EQ is useful for live instruments like a guitar or kick drum.
- High-pass filters – You must define a specific frequency to be your cutoff point. At that cutoff frequency – which is greater than zero for high pass filters – the technology attenuates all the frequencies below the cutoff point. The frequencies above, however, pass!
- Low-pass filter – The same thing that happens to the high-pass happens to the low-pass version, only this time, the frequencies above the cutoff frequency are attenuated. Everything below passes!
- Bandpass filter – This is a combination of high and low filters. The frequencies above and below the specific frequency point can pass!
- Shelving filters – You may also use these as tone or bass and treble filters. Here, you can have fully adjustable control over cut and gain. They’re called “shelving filters” because of the shape they make.
Now that you have all the definitions, let’s see which one you should use:
Use the Graphic EQ If…
- You need to fine-tune live instruments (from bass guitar to a kick drum)
- You need to master your mix
- You need an equalizer for live performances
Use the Parametric EQ If…
- You need to find resonance and other noise you don’t want in your final mix
- You want to control the center frequency
- You don’t want your end output to sound dull
- You want something that can work with more bands
- You want something that can work with little to big changes in bandwidth and sound.
Use the Semi-Parametric EQ If…
- You need to equalize large bands.
- You want to adjust the center frequency
- You need equalizers that process sound by group
Use the High and Low-Pass Filters If…
- You want to remove unwanted low-end frequencies (for the high version)
- You want space freed up for the high-end range of frequencies
- You don’t have much to change about the mid-range
Use the Shelving Filters or Equalizers If…
- You want to remove unwanted noise from an affected range of frequencies more subtly.
- You want to increase or decrease the midrange of frequencies
We hope this brief example showed you how you could start on the search for your ideal recording and production process!
Wait, What Are All These Terms?
Need more of an explanation of what we just discussed above? No worries. We’ve got you! Here is a quick guide on the terminologies listed above!
- Gain – refers to the certain amount of amplification you apply to a frequency.
- Boost – refers to the additional volume you give to the sound of a gain
- Amplitude – the measure or the height of a sound wave in bands
- Q-level – dependent upon wide or narrow bandwidth; defines the bandwidth itself. Also called the quality factor
- Frequency band – the repetition of a sound wave, also known as the pitch. A kick drum or bass, for example, has a lower pitch and has fewer oscillations. The lower the frequency, the lower the oscillations and vice versa.
- Bandwidth – The range or number of the sound frequency. It may be wide or narrow and can be controlled in a studio.
We hope you enjoyed our quick guide to the parametric EQ band!
EQ can be quite difficult to understand at first, especially for beginners. With enough practice and diligence, using it will become like second nature!