Of all the techniques that engineering novices have to learn, EQing is one of the most confounding. The reason is that its use comes down to training your ear how to recognize a group of frequencies, which used to be left to experience. That could take a long time, especially in the past, but luckily there are now many excellent training programs available. Perhaps the most accessible is a new app from Zipper Noise called FREQUIA.
FREQUIA teaches you how to identify and correct problem frequencies, sculpt sounds with more accuracy, and hear increasingly subtle differences in timbre. It also trains you to develop an internal reference (long-term memory) for the sound of a multitude of filters and equalizers applied at various frequencies, gain levels, and Q values. This is done through a choice of eight industry-standard equalizers and five training modes across 81 different training setups that are capable of producing more than 3,200 unique training scenarios.
It’s What You’re Hearing
The app works in 2 ways. First it will play back a frequency range (called a Question), then you try to match the frequency, gain and Q (the Response) using the corresponding controls in the center of the app. You submit your answer and you can the see on the display what you really heard, and if you were right or wrong. You can then move on to the next of 10 questions. On the left you can see how well you’ve identified across each of the frequency bands.
You can take this another step by importing your favorite music and selecting a portion of it. FREQUIA equalizes it and then asks you to identify what happened. You can bypass the app to hear what it’s supposed to sound like. Since some songs are mastered to within a micrometer of clipping, there’s a Trim control to bring the level down if needed, as well as a master Gain control. You can also invert the phase, listen in mono, or listen to either channel.
The training comes in multiple levels of difficulty, so you can start off in a rather wide 2 band range, and eventually move to the more difficult 1/3rd octave.
FREQUIA is a bargain at just $59 USD with a 10 day free trial. There’s also a discount for schools available. It’s Mac-only right now, but it works natively on either Intel or Apple silicon.