Collection: Equalizers

Equalization, or simply EQ, in sound recording and reproduction is the process of adjusting the volume of different frequency bands within an audio signal. The circuit or equipment used to achieve this is called an equalizer.
Most hi-fi equipment uses relatively simple filters to make bass and treble adjustments. Graphic and parametric equalizers have much more flexibility in tailoring the frequency content of an audio signal. Broadcast and recording studios use sophisticated equalizers capable of much more detailed adjustments, such as eliminating unwanted sounds or making certain instruments or voices more prominent. Since equalizers "adjust the amplitude of audio signals at particular frequencies" they are, "in other words, frequency-specific volume knobs.
Equalizers are used in recording and radio studios, production control rooms, and live sound reinforcement and in instrument amplifiers, such as guitar amplifiers, to correct or adjust the response of microphones, instrument pickups, loudspeakers, and hall acoustics. Equalization may also be used to eliminate or reduce unwanted sounds (e.g., low-frequency hum coming from a guitar amplifier), make certain instruments or voices more (or less) prominent, enhance particular aspects of an instrument's tone, or combat feedback (howling) in a public address system. Equalizers are also used in music production to adjust the timbre of individual instruments and voices by adjusting their frequency content and to fit individual instruments within the overall frequency spectrum of the mix.
The concept of equalization was first applied in correcting the frequency response of telephone lines using passive filters; this was prior to the invention of electronic amplification. Initially, equalization was used to compensate for the uneven frequency response of an electric system by applying a filter having the opposite response, thus restoring the fidelity of the transmission. A plot of the system's net frequency response would be a flat line, as its response at any frequency would be equal to its response at any other frequency. Hence the term equalization.
Later the concept was applied in audio engineering to adjust the frequency response in recording, reproduction, and live sound reinforcement systems. Sound engineers correct the frequency response of a sound system so that the frequency balance of the music as heard through speakers better matches the original performance picked up by a microphone. Audio amplifiers have long had filters or controls to modify their frequency response. These are most often in the form of variable bass and treble controls, and switches to apply low-cut or high-cut filters for elimination of low-frequency rumble and high-frequency hiss respectively.
Graphic equalizers and other equipment developed for improving fidelity have since been used by recording engineers to modify frequency responses for aesthetic reasons. Hence in the field of audio electronics the term equalization is now broadly used to describe the application of such filters regardless of intent. This broad definition, therefore, includes all linear filters at the disposal of a listener or engineer.