04 February 2013
Violin & viola EQ and frequencies part l
This will make it a lot easier to target the right frequencies when eq'ing and to communicate with the sound engineer in a language he understands.
Knowing the frequency for each string is only a small part of understanding what is going on.
The harmonics of each note are a big part of the perceived tone and timbre of a bowed instrument.
Lets begin by looking at the spectrum for bowed instruments:
What you do not see are the harmonics: For instance if you listen to an A at 440Hz you will also hear its 2nd harmonic at 880Hz, 3rd at 1760Hz and 4th at 3520Hz.
To add to the complexity, bowed instruments also have resonances coming from the body and bridge. These also translate into peaks in the frequency spectrum:
As you can see there are strong peaks at about 520Hz, 650Hz and 1100Hz and again at 2000Hz. These peaks are 2nd and 3rd harmonic of a note. For instance 1100Hz = 2nd harmonic D and 2000Hz = 2nd harmonic B.
Another thing that becomes evident when looking at the frequency graph is that there are audible harmonics way past 3520Hz range, which was the highest note in the piano-key table.
In this case I would make sure to cut of everything below 100Hz and try and control some of the violent peaks. Cutting the lows often helps preventing feedback.
Be sure to listen while you are eq'ing and not just cut and boost from a graph. And try to resort to using the eq only for cutting problems out and not boosting. Boosting often adds unnecessary noise and makes feedback occur. Sometimes a 3-4db boost in 12-16Khz range can add some airiness to the instrument though.
go to part II