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Old 12-01-2019, 05:35 AM   #1
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Default whats the reason most final EQ looks like this

I'm talking about tonal balance

why the lows are usually higher in volume with a slight decline towards the highs?

is it because lows are harder to hear?
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:20 AM   #2
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It’s because that’s where the fundamentals that we consider musical live. It corresponds not exactly coincidentally with the way our ear/brains process different frequencies.

Edit - Also if you set it to -3db slope, it’ll be a lot flatter.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:42 AM   #3
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Investigate the "Fletcher Munson curve"

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Old 12-01-2019, 10:47 AM   #4
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Yep, there isn't as much high frequency content in sound in general. Think of how bright/blinding sounding the world would be if there was! It would sound just like... some of those volume war mastered CDs that also have the treble cranked up to 12 (which is higher than 11)!

This leads to "Why is my mix muddy?!" The lows and low mids stack up when you add together recordings of multiple elements. The trick is to keep just the right amount of girth from appropriate elements. Go too far and things get tinny and you're into shit-mastered CD territory again.
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Old 12-01-2019, 02:33 PM   #5
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And of course: the visualisation of the slope is adapted to one possible average weighting of the human aural perception. There's at least 10 other curves which are as significant as the one you posted.
What I want to say is: you have to be aware of what kind of visualisation you're looking at.
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Last edited by beingmf; 12-03-2019 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:18 PM   #6
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The power per Hz is much higher on the low freqs because there are fewer Hz to spread it over, for a given volume.

It's the same reason you need a higher power amp for subwoofers than for tweeters.

Put another way, it provides equal power per octave across the spectrum.
What setting the slope to 3 dB on a spectrum analyser does is to make this 'equal power per octave' appear as a flat line, which correctly matches the characteristics of hearing.
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:56 PM   #7
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There was a good recording Lounge podcast on this:

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Old 12-02-2019, 04:02 PM   #8
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The spectrum should look about the same without EQ. It's what sounds good to most people, it's how musical instruments are made, and it's what we're used to.

Also, we need to hear the vocals (if any) above the instruments and the vocal range is determined by our biology.

And on the low frequency end there's "physics". With traditional non-amplified instruments, it's hard to get loud at low frequencies and a stand-up bass or the lowest notes on a piano are not as loud as a trumpet.

A bass drum or tympany can get pretty-loud but it still can't compete with the entire horn section, etc. I guess you could have a bass-drum section in a symphony or marching band but apparently people don't want that much bass.

Tchaikovsky figured out the physics and The 1812 Overture is very popular but cannons didn't really catch-on as symphonic instruments.

Of course with electric instruments and amplification and big subwoofers we can push-up the bass but then people say, "too much bass". And, it causes problems on the "average" stereo system where the speakers can't reproduce the deepest bass and you end-up driving the amplifier into distortion (and maybe rattling or blowing-up your speakers) with sounds you can't hear.

Pink noise, which is sort-of "the sound of nature" has a downward slope at -3dB per octave which means the lowest octave has the most energy. But, because of the equal loudness curves it doesn't sound like that to our ears.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:22 PM   #9
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thanks guys! i'll open another question now with the same graph as i don't want to ask another question here not relating cheers
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