Understanding Voice Frequencies and Equalisation

Level: advanced

Training your ears to hear different frequency bands in sounds is an essential skill for music producers and sound engineers. There are multiple training tools available, but let’s first understand how each frequency band affects the sound. Let’s use vocals here as an example.


There are seven frequency ranges commonly used to define a voice’s qualities. Try to apply a selective EQ filter to hear how every band sounds in isolation.

Vocal EQ Bands

Bottom end/fullness


Engineers often cut off everything below 80Hz to remove rumble and handling noise, but if recorded in a studio, this frequency range can add more power to the voice.


150-300 Hz

This range is also called fundamental or core voice frequencies. It either makes your sound too thin or too boomy.



As the name suggests, this band holds “the timbre” of the voice.



Many affordable microphones have this band exhausted, but be careful reducing it too much because this range carries the articulation.



This range carries the presence of the voice but also harshness and all sibilances. Be extremely careful working in this range and consider applying dynamic EQs and de-essers in combination with broad curves of a static EQ. Harshness is usually present around 3800Hz, presence is around 3600Hz.


Around 8000Hz

Some microphones are lacking this range, but it’s always there and can be pulled back with a simple static EQ.


10000Hz and higher

Depending on your genre you can boost or reduce this range.

Now you can take a look at any vintage wide-band EQ and realise that most of them have exactly these ranges. Many of them were created to process voice and this is why they are so popular even nowadays, as VSTs.

This technique is used:

Genres: all

Instruments: voice vocals

Stages of production: recording sound design mixing