Writing and recording a rap can be exciting and an amazing experience. But you may need to edit your track before you release it to the world. To do that, you need to know how to set your music program so that you can make the rap sound as good as possible.
The best rap EQ settings depend on the parts of the rap, such as the beat, vocals, and any instruments involved. It’s important to experiment with the different settings in a music editor to find what works best for a particular song. Presets can also be useful for getting started.
If you want to release your rap music, you should know how to edit your tracks. Using the right EQ settings can help take your track from good to great. Consider these factors to consider when editing your rap.
Choosing Your EQ Type
When determining the best rap EQ settings, you should consider the different types of EQ that you can use. Certain types of EQ settings can be better for some songs than others. The right EQ might also change from song to song.
You can explore the types available in your chosen music software. If you know what each type of EQ is best for, you can select the right type for your rap. And if you don’t have a music program yet, you can look for one with the EQ settings that you want.
Consider these common EQ types that you will find in a music program. Compare and contrast how they might affect your overall sound, as well as the details.
A parametric EQ lets you adjust the frequency, bandwidth, and amplitude of an individual band. This type lets you make small adjustments, which makes it perfect for recording and mixing. Consider what you can do with a parametric EQ:
- You can widen or narrow the bandwidth for each band in your recording. If you need to change one track, this can come in handy.
- A parametric EQ also lets you change the volume and amplitude of individual tracks. If you find that your backtrack overpowers your voice, you can bring out your voice more.
- You can also shift frequencies up and down the frequency spectrum. Changing frequencies can be useful if you want to change the key of any instrumentals.
- Parametric EQs are either fully or semi-parametric based on the number of bands they use and the amount of control you have. A fully parametric EQ lets you control more than a semi-parametric EQ.
A parametric EQ is a fantastic choice if you’ve never worked with an equalizer before. You can do a lot with it, and it’s probably the best option for recording and mixing. It’s also relatively common, so you can get it on a variety of music programs.
If you want to change the frequency bands and want something more visual, consider a graphic EQ. A typical graphic EQ has 7 to 31 frequency bands, and the center of each one is about one-third of an octave (a major third) away from the next one.
- You can use a graphic EQ to change the quality of the room based on where you recorded your tracks. For example, you can boost some of the higher frequencies from a “live” room.
- Graphic EQs have different categories of frequencies based on the changes they make, from sub-bass (16 to 60 Hz) to brilliance (6 kHz to 16 kHz).
- A graphic EQ is a great tool if you have a lot of instrumental tracks under your rap. But it may not be the best option if you are using beats that you generate with software.
Whether you need to edit the quality of the sound or change some of the frequencies, a graphic EQ can come in handy. You can change smaller things, but it’s much better for editing an entire song. Either way, it can be a great choice for some raps.
Another type of EQ to consider is dynamic EQ, which can be useful for making changes to particular notes or beats. If you have one track that gets too loud at times, you can use this EQ to correct that without changing other tracks. You can do a lot with a dynamic EQ, but you don’t want to overdo it.
- If you find the average peak of a track is good, but there are some higher parts, you can use a dynamic EQ to bring the high parts back to the average.
- You can also use this EQ when you have an instrument that sounds too bright or high throughout the track.
- Dynamic reactivity lets you make a dynamic EQ sound like multi-band compression. However, you may want to use this with a slower response time to smooth out the track.
- A dynamic EQ will also cause any phase offsets to be dynamic, and that could be bad if you aren’t careful.
Using a dynamic EQ can help you when you need to correct individual tracks or specific notes. It’s a great choice for editing peaks that are far from the average, but you can still maintain good energy. Just make sure you don’t use it too much since that can make it sound too edited.
The counterpart to a dynamic EQ is a static EQ, and it can be great for making consistent changes to the quality of a song. You can use it when one track has the same issue throughout the track, such as background noise. Consider some things you can do with a static EQ:
- Any changes you make with a static EQ will automatically apply to the entire recording. It doesn’t matter if it’s small or large or related to the quality or a particular note.
- You can use a static EQ to get rid of constant noise, such as a room fan that was running while you recorded a track.
- If you want to analyze the frequencies in a recording, you can use an analyzer. Then, you can decide if you want to get rid of high peaks or if you want to keep them to retain the original quality.
It can be hard to use a static EQ for detailed changes, but you can use it with a dynamic EQ. Then, you can ensure you get rid of any problems throughout the rap, and you can edit smaller things. A static EQ can also work well if you want to review the frequencies before you change anything.
A high-pass filter is an excellent tool to have when equalizing your rap tracks. You can do everything from eliminating certain frequencies to shaping your track. But before you use a high-pass filter, make sure you have a plan for using it.
- One fantastic way you can use a high-pass filter is to refine your vocals. Even if you don’t change the pitch of your voice while rapping, you can use a filter to eliminate lower frequencies to make your recording more clear.
- You can also use a filter to remove higher harmonics, which are “extra” notes that you can hear that are above or below the main note. Getting rid of harmonics can clean up the sound.
- If you have a great bass line that doesn’t sound as good with the other tracks, you can shape the tracks. You can get rid of the lower harmonics on the other instruments so that the bass line stands out more.
- You can also use a high-pass filter with either a dynamic or static EQ, so you can make changes to individual notes or the entire recording.
A high-pass filter is useful for getting rid of extra frequencies that don’t serve a purpose to the recording. It’s also great because you can use it with other types of EQ to find the perfect setting for a particular rap. And if you change your recording setup, you can change how you use the filter so that you can maintain your same sound.
A low-pass filter can help you tighten and polish your recording, and it can change the quality of certain tracks. It’s also relatively easy to use, so you don’t need to be a professional. Consider some of the things you can do with it:
- If you find that your song sounds thin or like it needs a little something, you can add depth with a low-pass filter. Filter off the top of a track and reduce the volume, and you can focus on other tracks.
- You can also balance out multiple vocal tracks, which can come in handy if you collaborate with another rapper. Then, you can make one track stand out during a solo but match up during a duo.
- And if you use a variety of instruments, the low-pass filter can help you reduce higher frequencies to bring out the higher-pitched instruments.
- A low-pass filter is also useful if you have non-musical sounds in your recording. If you have excessive background noise, the filter can help you get rid of that by reducing lower frequencies.
You can do a lot with a low-pass filter, and you can use it with other types of EQ to make your song unique. It can also help you minimize excess noise so that your vocals can stand out. And if you have an instrumental section, you can emphasize that when you want.
Find the Best Rap EQ Settings
As you start to mix your rap tracks, you should determine what changes you want or need to make. Then, you can figure out which EQ types you need to use. You can bring up those windows in your music editing software so that you can make your changes in one go.
If you’re new to mixing rap music, you can take it slowly so that you make the changes you want. You can also follow a few steps to analyze your recording and decide which changes to make.
Separate Frequency Ranges
Most equalizers have different categories for ranges of frequencies. At the bottom, you can have super low frequencies, which are about 20 to 60 Hz. On the high end, you’ll have super high frequencies, and that includes those from around 6 to 20 kHz.
Separating groups of frequencies can help you make changes to the sound more precisely. You don’t have to worry about lowering the low frequencies when you want to focus on the higher notes. Focusing on certain frequencies means you can boost those notes without changing the rest of the track.
Focus on the Midrange
The midrange includes frequencies that are the most pleasant to listen to since they aren’t too low or too high. It’s important to focus on these frequencies when editing your rap vocals since the vocals will usually be here.
You can change the midrange to affect the overall character of the recording, and amplifying it can be like amplifying the entire recording. That’s because the midrange is what our ears hear the most. While we can hear higher and lower, those frequencies aren’t as present.
However, you can also edit your midrange to change certain tones, which can be nice if you don’t like how a particular word or phrase sounds.
Up the Bass
Depending on your specific style, you’ll probably want to boost the bass frequencies. A good bass line is essential for keeping the time and feel of a rap track. Especially if you don’t have much of a melody for your vocals, you need the bass for stability.
You can use a low-pass filter on higher tracks so that you can bring more attention to the bass line. A graphic EQ can also come in handy if you want to visualize the changes you make. If you want to make more changes, don’t be afraid to combine multiple types of EQ.
Cut and Boost
Whether you want to change one or two notes or the entire track, you can cut and boost. Perhaps you have a note where the drum strikes too hard. You can cut that note or adjust it with a dynamic EQ. And if the drums are always too loud, you can use a static EQ to change that throughout the track.
You can also use a parametric or graphic EQ to view certain frequencies that you may want to cut. High-pass and low-pass filters can also be good if you have instruments that are clashing a little so that you can focus on one.
Now’s the time to experiment with different equalizers and settings. Even if you’ve edited a track before, the settings you used on that might not work as well now. Consider everything from your instrumentation to how the vocals sound so that you can amplify what you want and cut what you don’t.
As you make changes to your rap, listen to them. You can listen to each change after you make it, which can cut down on time if you don’t like something. By listening as you make changes, you’ll remember what you did so that you can undo a change that you don’t like.
You can listen to each change either by listening to the entire recording, a single track, or a particular moment. If you use a static EQ, you should listen to the entire recording. However, you might only need to listen to a verse if you changed something with a dynamic EQ.
And if you use a high-pass or low-pass filter, you may want to listen to an individual track before putting in with the rest. Either way, make sure you keep listening. If you can’t decide which settings you like best, you can always walk away from editing and come back later.
The more you work with EQ settings, the more things you’ll learn how to do. While it can be tempting to use the same settings for every rap you record and edit, don’t. Sure, the same settings can make your songs sound like you, but they won’t be as unique and interesting.
You may also want to use different EQ settings based on a song’s instrumentation. A song with a software beat may not need as many changes as if you add a physical guitar or drum track. And as your raps evolve, your editing style may change too.
If you don’t want to ruin a particular song, you can make copies of the track. Then, you can leave one copy as it is, and you can make changes to the other copy. If you end up liking the changes, you can go with that version, or you can return to the original recording.
Mixing a rap song can involve a lot of trial and error, so you may need to experiment. But if you know a few different EQ settings, you can choose from what works. Then, you can edit songs more quickly, and you can find what you like best so that you can create a unique sound.
- Waves EQ for Beginners: How to Choose Your Equalizer
- PreSonus: What is a Parametric EQ?
- PreSonus: What is a Graphic EQ?
- PerforModule: A Simple Rule for When to Use a Dynamic vs a Static EQ
- iZOTOPE: 6 Ways to Use a High Pass Filter When Mixing
- iZOTOPE: 6 Ways to Use a Low Pass Filter When Mixing
- Masterclass: Music 101: What Is an Equalizer? Plus: Best Equalizer Settings for Drums and Guitar
- Pro Audio Files: Mixing Rap Vocals – Part 2: EQ
- Genius: Perfect Hip-Hop EQ settings
- YouTube: BEST EQ FOR MIXING RAP VOCALS