This article originally appeared on Sonicbids
You asked, and you shall receive, Sonicbids blog readers. Per multiple requests, here's my guide to, "When the hell do I start turning these knobs, and where do they go?" But before we begin, I offer you the fine print: These references are general ideas for where to begin to look for sonic issues with particular sounds, instruments, and voices. I'm not going to tell you "always notch this 9 dB here and add 3 dB here with a wide boost and, voila, perfect sound!" because it's unfortunately just not that simple. So before you message me, "Aaron, I notched out so much 250 Hz out of my snare, I snapped the knob off the console, and it still sounds muddy!" just know that not all sound sources are created equal.
Sometimes a guitar cab gets mic'd up differently night to night, plus every voice is unique, and every snare drum "speaks" differently (just ask a drummer). All of these minute changes and differences can and will affect the EQ decisions you'll have to make. This is why I'm such a strong believer in ear training and learning how certain parts of the frequency spectrum present themselves outside of their source-specific applications. That being said, these tips can be helpful as a place to start your search, but are not gospel by any means. So without further adieu, let's begin.