EQ Frequency breakdown (1/2)

<= 30Hz Virtually undete­ctable, you can safely cut these freque­ncies
40-60Hz Sub bass Freque­ncies. "­Fee­l" only
60-200Hz Add for tom "­boo­m". Cut to decrease bass "­boo­m"
80Hz Boost for the kick drum lower end to cut through the mix. Notch most other instru­ments here. Rolling off the electric guitar here is advisable
80‐200Hz Boost bass instru­ments for presence. Boost will add warmth and fullness to guitars, vocals and horns
100Hz-4kHz Scoopi­ng/­not­ching instru­ments here will provide room in the mix
<=120Hz Add for warmth. Too much will sound muddy
120-125Hz Top of the range for most subwoo­fers. Also the low end of music such as kick drums and bass guitar. Bottom end of acoustic guitar and piano. Add for warmth
120-600Hz Boost for strong vocal presence. Causes problems with vocal resonance and fatiguing
200Hz Slight boost for depth. Cut to reduce muddiness. This is a good area to get the "­gon­g" out of cymbals.
240Hz Boost to fatten the snare. Boost acoustic guitars slightly to add fullness. Scoop vocal here if muddy. Notch filter here can add thump to a kick drum
350-400Hz Cut to remove the "­car­dbo­ard­" sound of drums - Notch the bass guitar a little bit to reduce presence
0.6-3kHz Provides presence, but are hard in nature. Good for rock.
800Hz Boost the bass guitar for punch. Cut the electric guitar to remove the "­che­ap" sound
2-4kHz In this area you can emphasize the "­sma­ck" of the kick's beater
2.5kHz Good for adding to a dirty guitar for some real sizzle. Boost this area for bass guitar if using the pop/slap style
2.5-5kHz Boost for clarity with an acoustic guitar and piano

EQ Frequency breakdown (2/2)

3-7kHz This is the area where vocal sibilance resides. Boost slightly to add sense of "­vol­ume­" It also adds a harshness that is partic­ularly fatiguing. Add warmth without loss of clarity by attenu­ating this region a bit
4kHz Boost vocal here for presence
4-9kHz Bright­ness, presence, defini­tion, sibilance, high frequency distortion
4.5kHz Extremely tiring to the ears, add a slight notch here
5kHz Add a crisp, sharp "­cra­ck" to the snare. Also a good place to add some attack to the toms. Cut on background parts to make them sink in to the back a bit
>=7kHz Add for the sense of quality and accuracy for cymbals. Too much output will come off as lacking defini­tion. Cut vocals to decrease sibilance
8-12kHz Cut or Boost to adjust brightness for cymbals and acoustic guitar
9-15kHz Adding will give sparkle, shimmer, bring out details. Cutting will smooth out harshness and darken the mix
10kHz Boost to add "­air­" and clarity to acoustic instru­ments


EQ Instrument breakdown

Vocals presence (5 kHz), sibilance (7.5 ‐ 10 kHz), boom (200 ‐ 240 kHz), fullness (120 Hz)
Electric Guitar fullness (240 Hz), bite (2.5 kHz), air / sizzle (8 kHz)
Bass Guitar bottom (60 ‐ 80 Hz), attack (700 ‐ 1000 Hz), string noise (2.5 kHz)
Snare Drum fatness (240 Hz), crispness (5 kHz)
Kick Drum bottom (60 ‐ 80 Hz), slap (4 kHz)
Hi Hat & Cymbals sizzle (7.5 ‐ 10 kHz), clank (200 Hz)
Toms attack (5 kHz), fullness (120 ‐ 240 Hz)
Acoustic Guitar harshness / bite (2 kHz), boom (120 ‐ 200 Hz), cut (7 ‐ 10 kHz)

EQ Helpful suggestions

Embrace the idea of “notch­ing”, when in doubt, cut instead of boosting.
Allow instru­ments to have their own “space” in the frequency spectrum; don’t make them fight for it.
Understand that instru­ments of the same type can and will sound different, EQ accord­ingly.
EQing WILL NOT save your mix; you can't EQ out bad sound.
Cut freque­ncies below 90Hz for vocals, they add little to the mix except mud
Listen to 15 minutes of well mixed audio before any mixing session
Limit Stereo Width to 30% except special effects
Don't forget the noise gate
The old RIAA AES mechanical rule for vinyl was to cut at 47Hz and 12k, and some great recordings were made this way. Human perception at extreme highs and lows is not all that accurate or sensitive, and a little goes a long way

EQ Glossary

Attenu­ation the reduction of a signal level
Band range of freque­ncies
Boost selected frequency levels are amplified
Cut selected frequency are attenuated
Presence increasing causes the sounds of voices and such instru­ments seem more "­pre­sen­t"
Q describes the shape of the EQ curve (higher Q = narrower range, lower Q = wider range)
Sibilance refers to the hissing "­s","s­h","z­", or "­zh", sound of the human voice
Warmth sound where the bass and low mid freque­ncies have depth and where the high freque­ncies are smooth sounding opposed to aggressive or fatiguing

Thanks to Tikmerd
As well as dB Masters @


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DaveChild DaveChild, 10:02 28 Nov 11

Very cool, Fred! I knew nothing about equalisers and after reading this I feel like I've learned something!

Pete Pete, 12:24 12 Jan 12

Invaluable chart, thanks for posting it!

david david, 14:13 13 Jan 12

This is really cool. I do a lot of recording, and this gives me some great ideas on how to improve the sound!

JLR0309 JLR0309, 12:20 31 Dec 12

I'll be using this for my guitar, cheers. :)

Joel Joel, 17:45 17 Feb 14

Very good but one thing, of course you can EQ out bad sound!

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