Exclusive (Video) Tutorial: How to Use an Equalizer to EQ Podcast Audio
If you’re a business looking to start a podcast and handle the post-production work in-house (which is not what we recommend) or if you’re an individual looking to do the same, then you’re likely confused by all the audio technologies you’re quickly becoming acquainted with.
One of those technologies, a critical one which every Podcast Engineer utilizes in every podcast episode they edit, is an equalizer (sometimes called an EQ).
If you’re not an audio geek, the most you likely know about EQ that your car stereo’s menu gives you some EQ options. Maybe you like to set your EQ to “Rock” or “Jazz”, and that makes the music you’re listening sound “right” to you, but an Equalizer isn’t a bunch of presets on a radio, it’s a tool used to increase and decrease the loudness of certain frequency ranges. Each part of the human voice maps to a particular frequency range. Each voice will vary in regards to which parts of it exists at what frequencies, but they’re all manipulated through increases and decreases of dB at various points along a spectrum.
The image below is an example of my voice:
Undoubtedly, there are some terms in this infographic that don’t make sense to you, and that’s okay, the image above isn’t the point (or the gift) of this article. All you need to know is that this spectrum starts at 0Hz and ends at 20kHz, and that every point in between combines into a waveform that is the visual representation of the peaks and valleys of all the frequencies of my voice.
Knowing where, and how aggressively, to modify frequency ranges along this spectrum so as to make a person’s voice as intelligible as possible, is the art of EQ-ing dialogue.
You have to figure this out, because you want the voices on your podcast to sound as clear and intelligible as is possible. Clarity in dialogue critical because dialogue is the point of a podcast. Having voice which is hard to understand, is as problematic to podcast audio as having text which is too blurry to read is to a book. At some point it’s too blurry, at some point it’s too hard to make out.
This video goes over EQ-ing a voice, in detail, and should answer all the questions you have about how to modify vocals in post-production.
This was recorded in 4K, so be sure to take advantage of that quality level if your internet connection can handle it. You can change the playback quality using the tiny gear in the bottom right of the video. Enjoy!
[relevant content starts at 4:10]
If you’re interested in learning to edit and engineer podcasts like a pro, my course “Become a Podcast Editor and Engineer” takes 10-students every month. You can pre-enroll for next month’s class here: https://portlandpod.com/pe