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How to use your EQ Plugin

Updated: May 28, 2023

What do all these knobs do? Hey it’s Spencer Miles owner of Spencer Studios which is a recording studio in Lancaster, Pa and today we are going to help you through just that question.

Parts of an EQ

Spencer Studios Recording Studio Lancaster PA

Above we have the stock 7-band Eq plugin that comes with Protools. This free stock DAW plugin has a massive amount of utility but with so much on the Graphical User Interface (GUI) it can be a little confusing. Once we learn a little but about each part we can take that knowledge and apply it to any plugin or analog device.

What's a band

Let's start with the name "7-band." A band is an area of bandwidth from one frequency to another. An example would be from 20-100hz or 100hz to 250hz. When we say this EQ is a 7- band it means you can control 7 areas of frequency independently. A two band can only control two bands, a three band- can control four bands, just kidding only three. Seem simple enough?

Input Output

Most eq plugins will allow you to control the output meaning the total overall volume of audio exiting the EQ. When we add or subtract gain in a band we may not want to change the loudness of the overall track or still want to be able to do an even volume A/B comparison. The output knob allows us to compensate for adjustments made. The input is quite similar however, it changes the gain of sound entering the EQ. This particular software has two visual meters that allow you to visually inspect the input and output differences.


This plugin has two filters, a High Pass and a Low Pass Filter. These two items work in a subtractive manner to remove frequencies. In this case they have two filter topographies. The basic names for these are shelf and notch. A shelf is like a cliff where all frequencies roll off in one direction where a notch is more like a valley where you can imagine the frequency falling into a hole.


Quality or Q for short is as simple as rate of change. Are we changing quickly in a small area or gradually over a large area of frequency?


Freq stands for frequency which is what allows you to control a specific area of pitch in Hertz or HZ for short.


The gain knob is what controls how much the frequency we are working on gets changed. -1db of gain is a small change where -9db is a much larger change.

The graph

Most analog replicating plugins will not have a graph where as more modern Eq plugins will. This graph simply shows you how the knobs you change are impacting the overall frequency. To save time you can even adjust the EQ by clicking and dragging each dot on the graph and the program will adjust the corresponding knobs for you.

If you want to know more consider scheduling a free session with us,

Spencer Miles

Spencer Studios

313 W Liberty St, Lancaster, PA 17603


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