It’s no secret that EQ can be a very useful tool when recording. It helps you shape a sound to perfection before it even makes its way into your Digital Audio Workstation. But what can you do if you don’t own a hardware EQ or even an all-in-one channel strip? Can you still sculpt your recordings without one? Yes, your mic has an EQ built in…Let me explain.
A Couple of Things You Should Know
If you can get a handle on these two easy concepts, than it can help you reveal a lot of potential in your session, no matter where you do your recording or which kind of microphone you use. I am a believer that microphone placement is a huge necessity to getting a professional recording. More specifically there are two crucial things about how mics work, which you need to understand.
The first thing is that when you angle a mic off axis 45 degrees from the source, what happens is a taming of the high-frequency response that the mic picks up. The other things are that when you move a mic closer to the source, it tends to reveal more of the bass frequencies. This is also what’s known as proximity effect. I’m of course assuming that you are using a cardioid polar pattern, which you probably are.
Let’s Go For Some Smoother Highs
It’s kind of comical how a lot of people are critical over affordable mics in the $100-$200 range, stating how they think they sound pretty harsh. Now, of course, I’d be lying if I said they didn’t have a high-end boost to bring out some presence, but you know what? So do a lot of the high-end mics that are on the market.
So let’s say your miking a guitar amp and your hearing a very bright recording during playback. The first EQ moves you can make to just turn the mic 45 degrees off axis as I stated from point #1 from above. By doing this, you will likely get a smoother top end that just might be right for your recording.
Give It More Bottom End
Remember how I told you in point #2 that when you move a cardioid microphone close to a source, you end up with a much greater bass response? This proximity effect could potentially be your best friend or your worst enemy. It comes down to the sound that you are going for on that particular recording.
Going back to the previous guitar example, after you smoothed out the top end, you realized that it still sounds a bit thin. So the harshness is gone, but now there just isn’t enough bottom end. So what’s the solution? Simply move the microphone a little closer to the amp. It’s as simple as the closer you get, the more bass you are going to pick up because of that proximity effect I mentioned.
Don’t Forget the Big Picture
Now let’s just forget about the example I gave you above because I don’t want you to miss the point I am trying to make. The idea is that by making a couple of moves in changing the angle and direction of your microphone, you can substantially alter the tone of your signal. Think of it like having a high and low EQ knob built in.
Now that you understand the principles of what I’m saying, you can easily tweak your microphone as required to shape your perfect sound. No need for any EQ. Cool Stuff!