It is always the best option to mic an instrument properly.
If the miking is done properly, there is lesser need to spend time on
EQ-ing the sound. Sometimes, even if the miking is good, slight EQ-ing might
make the tone sound even better.
In Cubase there are many types of EQs that are available. Each audio channel in Cubase has a parametric EQ in the Inspector panel. You can activate this option by primary-clicking on the Inspector and then selecting the Audio Equalisers option.
You can activate the Equalizer Curves that show a visual representation of how the EQ is modified. You can manually adjust the points by clicking and dragging the points on the image.
Since these options are available for each channel, you have the opportunity of shaping each track according to your need. You can do automation and adjust the settings or bypass the EQ settings accordingly.
Configuring the EQ
To activate an EQ module, you can click on the on/off button right above the EQ. The color of the button will change to green once it has been activated. Unlike other EQs, the frequency range of each EQ is not fixed, you may drag any EQ to whatever frequency required and adjust the settings accordingly.
You have the option to manually enter the frequency and the various values with the numeric keypad rather than dragging the sliders around. The main difference between the four modules are that they can be set to different filter types.
The top slider is the gain control for the frequency that you have set. The range is from -24dB to +24dB. Moving the slider to the left reduces the gain and moving it to the right increases the gain.
The central slider is the frequency selector. Move the slider to any frequency between 20 to 20k. The frequency that is selected here will be the one that will be adjusted with the gain control.
The bottom slider helps you to set the filter type. This pop up menu allows you to select the various filter types available such as parametric, shelving, low pass or high pass filters. The first and the fourth EQ modules can be any of the above mentioned four filter types, while the second and the third EQ modules can only be parametric filters.
The next important feature is the Q (quality) which helps you to determine the width of the frequency ranges that are affected by the EQ. Higher values mean narrower width and lower values mean wider frequency width.
Visually Configuring the EQ
As you change the values in the EQ modules, you will notice that the visual representation of the EQs will also adjust accordingly. In this window, manually drag the frequencies point and adjust the EQ settings.
This helps you to do EQ by listening to the audio and adjusting the points according to how you want the tone to sound. This is a less accurate way of EQ-ing, but will help you to adjust the frequencies the way you want it to sound.
To adjust the Q parameter in this mode, press Shift and drag the point up or down to increase or decrease the width of the selection. Pressing Ctrl and dragging the EQ point will adjust the gain and Alt will adjust the frequency. Double-click on the EQ point to turn it off.
Sometimes, while working with EQ, it is always a good idea to try and bypass the EQ to see how the tone has changed and if it has affected the tone in a good or bad way. To bypass the EQ, you can click on the on/off button for each EQ module or click on the button besides the EQ in the Inspector to bypass the EQ.
Once the EQ is bypassed, the button turns to yellow.
Cubase’s built-in EQ has many presets that can be used as a starting point for getting the desired tone.
Click on the Presets pop-up menu in the Inspector and choose any preset. In this pop-up menu, you also have the option to save the current settings as a preset or to rename or delete a preset.
While processing vocals for frequent artists, it is always a good idea to save their EQ settings as a preset so that the next time that they come for a recording, you can set their tone easier with the preset.
Always remember that the default presets are a good starting ground for shaping the tone, but not a fixed setting for the tone. Even though it might sound good with the presets, you must try and adjust the settings to make it sound the way that you want it to sound like. All situations differ and the EQ requirement also differs.
EQ is one of the most important tools in shaping a sound. It helps us to change the tone by adjusting the various frequencies and removing unwanted frequencies. Remember that it is always best to mic the instrument properly to get the correct tone. EQ should be done only if necessary.
So, the next time that you need to shape a tone to your liking, open up the EQ and start tweaking those settings to make your tone sound awesome.