Equalization is both an art and a science. The main idea behind equalizing male vocals is to enhance the natural frequencies of the voice with which you're working. The process involves adjusting the equalization knobs on your audio mixer until you get the right sound. While mixing male vocals is largely subjective, there are still a number of tried and true methods for proper equalization. The type of voice the singer you're mixing has — tenor, baritone or bass — will dictate the technique you should use.
Instruct the male vocalist to sing a few bars into the microphone. Listen to the vocals for noticeable audio problems, like popping, nasally sounding vocals or a flat overall sound coming from the speakers.
Examine the equalization settings on your mixing board. Most mixing boards have a three-band EQ built into the board. Depending on your specific mixing board, this can include frequencies ranging from 30Hz to upwards of 18,000kHz. The human voice ranges from about 200Hz to 1000Hz. According to HomeTracked.com, the average male voice is between 125Hz and 180Hz.
Set all EQ knobs to "0." Leave all frequency knobs at 75Hz and below at "0." Boosting frequencies below that will only muddy the singer's vocals coming through the speakers.
Turn up the EQ knobs between 200Hz and 1000Hz to brighten up the vocals. This is particularly helpful when dealing with nasally or deep singers. Turn down the same frequency knobs to dull higher pitched voices.
Reduce frequencies in the 1kHz range to remove popping and hissing from the microphone.
When equalizing any voice, keep in mind that your ears are your best asset. While it is important to understand the basics of equalization, it really comes down to what sounds right. Keep working within the EQ parameters until you've achieved your desired sound.
To perfect your mixing art, look for courses devoted to equalization, as well as audio mixing practice and theory.
It's possible to over-equalize vocals by boosting any frequency range too much. Always listen to a singer's vocals without equalization before attempting to boost any frequencies.
Ezekiel James began as a music writer in 2003. Since then, James has served as a writer for several music, technology and design publications. His work has been published on eHow, TechAxcess.com and in print for the "The Potrero View" and "Punk Planet." James is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Portland State University.