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Church Sound Basics: Using EQ On Your Audio Console

Are you comfortable with your console's equalization controls? Check out our handy guide to church EQ!

By Joe Wisler February 3, 2011

So many knobs... What do they do?

“You know, I’ve been doing sound here at my church for about two years now, and there are a couple of things that aren’t quite clear to me.

First, where’s the bass and treble control? And, what are these knobs for – the ones on the console labeled high, mid and low?”

I’ve heard questions like this posed more than once by people who do sound at their churches. And they’re great questions. Remember – we’re all in this together!

The short answer is that the knobs are for an audio process called equalization, typically shortened to EQ.

Together, the knobs make up the console’s EQ section, which allows the operator to more finely tailor the sound.

Let’s start by taking a look at the EQ section, see Figure 1.

This image shows a typical example of a rather basic EQ section found on each channel of consoles that are very commonly used with church sound systems.

Note that every knob and button included on a console channel – EQ section and every other one -apply only to that specific channel, not the entire console.

Figure 1

As you can see, there are three separate EQ knobs on the channel, one each for high frequencies, mid-range frequencies, and low frequencies.

If we turn any of these knobs to the left, we are “turning down” those frequencies, and if we turn any of them to the right, we are “turning up” those frequencies.

Note that in audio terminology, this is also sometimes referred to as “boost” and “cut” – as in “boosting” (turning up) some frequencies and “cutting” (turning down) some frequencies.

A Simple Way
It’s important to understand the frequencies controlled by these three primary knobs.

A simple way is to equate it with a home stereo: the high frequency knob equates to those frequencies controlled by the home stereo’s treble knob, and the low-frequency knob equates to the home stereo’s bass knob.

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