EQ Harsh Vocals (Everything You Need To Know)

Are you Struggling with Harsh Vocals in your mix?

If the answer is yes, then In this detailed guide will tell everything you need to know about how to EQ harsh vocals.


Harsh Vocals are the product of an imbalanced audio core which is the frequency range the human ear finds most sensitive, 2kHz – 5kHz.

Balance in this range is key for producing mixes that resonate.

Early digital recordings were notorious for harsh high frequencies.

Since then, digital technology has now developed to the point that newer gear should not produce any distortion in and of itself.

EQ Harsh Vocals

To begin, when EQing a vocal it is common to go overboard, make an error, and end up with an undesirable result.

Now, here’s a rundown of what to look for and how to get started:

  • High Pass; any undesired low end noise should be removed.
EQ Harsh Vocals (Everything You Need To Know)
  • Use a sweeping EQ with a tight Q To uncover any stand frequencies or resonances and high gain.

    Once the unwanted frequency is located you can reverse the gain to erase that annoyance.

    EQ Harsh Vocals (Everything You Need To Know)


    It’s better to look for obvious resonant peaks in the top end frequencies. We can sweep through the sound using the method described above to see if there are any easy wins. To avoid losing too much information, use a tight Q setting

    For starters, this EQ cheat sheet can be helpful. However, it’s not always the same frequencies; use this more as a good starting point.

    EQ Harsh Vocals (Everything You Need To Know)
    EQ Vocal Cheat Sheet – Source – TalkinMusic.com

    De-essing :

    Well, A de-esser is essentially a dynamic EQ / multiband compressor.

    And since Its function is to identify top end or harsh frequencies it will reduce the volume of the band if the frequency it is aimed at a certain threshold

    Thus, it’s commonly used to reduce the harsh notes called ‘Sibilants.’

    EQ Harsh Vocals (Everything You Need To Know)

    By the way, Avoid removing too many dBs with the de-esser as this can cause the vocals to sound strange, giving the impression of a lisp.


    Dynamic EQ / Multiband Compression :

    Similarly to the de-esser, a multiband compressor can offer great assistance with controlling harsh frequencies.

    In the example below, the band is set to be focusing on the 3-10Khz range and The benefit of this over a de-esser is the level of control it offers.

    Further, it’s possible to set the release time to work in tandem with the tempo of the song, or the speed of the vocal and the ability to control the attack time to fit the song.

    EQ Harsh Vocals (Everything You Need To Know)

    The Multiband, like a De-Esser, reacts to particular frequencies that exceed the threshold


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