How To EQ Out Plosives: A Step-By-Step Guide For Perfect Vocals!

SoundShockAudio Team
SoundShockAudio Team

Do you want to get the perfect vocal sound? If so, learning how to EQ out plosives is an essential step. Plosives are those annoying ‘p’s and ‘b’s that can ruin a great take if not addressed. The good news is that with the right techniques and tools, any audio engineer or mixing/mastering specialist can easily reduce them in no time. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to do just that – from identifying where they’re coming from to removing them completely for crystal clear vocals! So, let’s get started…

Definition Of Plosives

As an audio engineer and mixing/mastering specialist, it’s important to understand the definition of plosives. ‘Plosive’ is a term that describes any sound produced when air is forced or expelled from the mouth in quick succession. This includes consonants such as “p”, “b” and “t”. These sounds are often heard in vocal recordings, especially with inexperienced singers who may not be aware of how their enunciation affects their recording. Plosives can also occur if a microphone is placed too close to the singer’s mouth. In order for perfect vocals to be achieved, identifying these plosive sounds must take place before attempting to remove them.

Identifying Plosives In Vocal Tracks

Identifying plosives in vocal tracks is an essential part of the eq process. As a mixing/mastering specialist, it’s important to be able to quickly and accurately identify these common issues in order to effectively remove them from your mix. Plosive identification begins with listening carefully for any popping or thumping sounds that occur when certain consonants are voiced, particularly ‘b’, ‘p’ and ‘t’. Once you have identified where the pops or thumps are located within the vocal track, you can begin automating changes on those specific areas using a low-cut filter. Vocal eq mistakes can easily happen if one isn’t careful – so always make sure to double check your work before finalizing! Some helpful tips include starting with a gentle cut (4dB should do) around 100Hz and then working up as needed; also try cutting out harsh frequencies above 10kHz by rolling off gently with a high shelf at 10kHz. Be mindful not to overcompensate too much while removing plosives – this could lead to other problems such as sibilance or loss of clarity. Now that we’ve gone through how to identify plosives in vocal tracks, let’s move onto setting up our eq accordingly for perfect vocals!

Setting Up Your Eq For Plosive Removal

It’s estimated that almost 40% of mixing engineers struggle to properly eq out plosives during vocal recordings. To ensure a perfect mix, it’s important to set up your EQ in the right way for effective plosive removal.

First and foremost, you should start by setting a high-pass filter on the vocal tracks at around 150-200 Hz and then adjust accordingly depending on which frequencies are more prominent. From there, use an equalizer plug-in to reduce any low frequency boosts from 6-800 Hz – this will help prevent muffled sounding vocals due to excessive ‘plosive’ energy. You can also automate adjustments as needed for full control over the mix. Additionally, if there are multiple vocal tracks recorded simultaneously, make sure each is assigned its own unique EQ setup so they all sound great together!

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating pristine vocal mixes with minimal effort! Now let’s look at adjustment strategies for different audio sources to further refine our results.

Adjustment Strategies For Different Audio Sources

When it comes to EQing out plosives, the approach you take will depend on the audio source. While there are some general strategies that can be applied across most sources, certain types of audio may require different approaches in order to properly address any undesired plosive artifacts. This is why selecting a source-dependent strategy for your project is key; it’s important to understand what type of sound you’re dealing with before attempting to make adjustments.

For instance, vocals recorded using a large diaphragm condenser microphone tend to have a brighter frequency response than those captured through dynamic mics or lavalier lapel mics. As such, one must adjust their EQ settings accordingly when trying to remove any unwanted plosive sounds from these different audio sources. Similarly, spoken dialogue and voiceover recordings should also be treated differently due to their unique characteristics and tonal qualities; here, it’s best to focus more heavily on cutting frequencies rather than boosting them in order reduce any plosive pops appearing in the mix. Ultimately, carefully considering each source and tailoring an appropriate strategy selection accordingly is essential when aiming for perfect vocal tones free of plosive artifacts.

Using Automation To Adjust Plosives

EQing out plosives is like a game of hide and seek. It’s all about finding the right frequency to reduce or eliminate, while still allowing the vocal take to remain intact. Automation can be an invaluable tool in this process, lending one more layer of precision when it comes to adjusting plosives.

When using automation for vocal adjustments, start by setting up multiple EQ bands with different settings that you can adjust quickly and easily. Try starting off with two or three on either side of the frequency spectrum, which will help you identify any problem frequencies that need addressing. For instance, if your vocal track has excessive sibilance (high-end frequencies) due to overuse of plosives, use an EQ band set at around 8kHz or higher to reduce them without losing too much clarity from the vocal take itself. On the other hand, if there are low-frequency issues such as rumble or boomy sounds caused by bass boost on mic placement, then try cutting back those frequencies with an EQ band set somewhere between 100Hz and 500Hz. Once these basic parameters have been established, you can begin automating each EQ band individually in order to pinpoint exactly where those offending plosive frequencies lie – this way you’ll know precisely which ones to cut back on in order to achieve perfect vocals!

Avoiding Common Eq Mistakes

It’s critical to avoid common EQ mistakes when mixing and mastering vocals. Poor frequency adjustments can lead to audio sources sounding muddy, overly bright or thin, resulting in a lack of clarity. To ensure professional quality vocal recordings it’s important to be mindful of the dynamic range being affected by EQ changes. Too much boost on certain frequencies could cause distortion while too little dampening may leave some elements lacking presence. It’s essential to approach each source with a plan for how you want it to sound and then make subtle tweaks from there rather than over-EQing the track into submission. By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll have no problem achieving the perfect balance for your mixes!

Tips And Tricks For Professional Quality Vocals

Now that you understand the common EQ mistakes to avoid, let’s move on to tips and tricks for professional quality vocals. Vocal mixing is an art form in itself, with many techniques and processes used to achieve the desired sound. Here are five essential tips and tricks which every audio engineer and mixing/mastering specialist should keep in mind when it comes to vocal treatment:

  • Use compression to even out a vocal track’s dynamics and make it easier to mix. Compression can also be used as an effect to add character or punchiness to a performance.
  • Utilize filters such as low-passes and high-passes during production, recording, editing, or mixing stages of a project. This will help isolate individual frequencies from each other so they don’t compete against one another in the final product.
  • Take advantage of tools like reverb and delay throughout your work process for added depth and texture. Reverbs can create a sense of space while delays can emphasize specific words or phrases within a song structure.
  • Experiment with saturation and distortion effects if you want some grit or warmth in your vocals. Both these techniques offer great creative possibilities when done tastefully!
  • Don’t forget about panning – this technique allows you to spread different elements across the stereo field for better clarity between instruments or sections of the arrangement.

Whether you’re just getting started with vocal production or already have plenty of experience behind the board, remember that there’s always something new to learn about creating beautiful sounding recordings! With practice, patience, experimentation, and knowledge you too can craft stunning music productions that everyone will enjoy listening to.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Best Microphones For Vocal Recording?

When it comes to vocal recording, having the right microphone can make all the difference. Picking out a quality microphone that suits your needs is essential for achieving perfect vocals and requires careful selection. As an audio engineer and mixing/mastering specialist, I have had plenty of experience with selecting microphones for vocal recordings – here are my top tips:

  1. Focus on frequency response – Look for a mic that specializes in capturing mid-range frequencies as those will be most important when recording vocals.
  2. Look for condenser mics – These types of microphones tend to pick up more detail than dynamic options, which makes them great for vocal recordings.
  3. Choose between different polar patterns – Depending on where you’ll be recording from (in front or behind the mic) you should look into cardioid, omnidirectional or figure 8 pattern mics to suit your situation best.
  4. Take budget into account – There are some incredible high-end mics available but don’t forget there are also excellent low budget options if needed!

Like shining a spotlight onto a performer’s unique soundscape, choosing the right microphone is key to unlocking pristine vocal recordings like never before heard. It’s not just about finding one good enough; its about understanding what each type offers and how they work together to capture subtle nuances within a performance that elevates it beyond expectation. With this knowledge at hand, any aspiring audio engineer or musician can find their own standout way of expressing themselves through carefully selected vocal microphones tailored to their specific needs without breaking the bank!

What Other Audio Engineering Techniques Can Be Used To Reduce Plosives?

When it comes to reducing plosives on vocals, there are a number of audio engineering techniques that can be utilized. From de-essing and dynamic equalization to low-pass filtering and multi-band compression, these tools allow engineers to fine-tune recordings for the perfect vocal sound. Here is an overview of 4 key elements in achieving this:

  1. De-essing: This process removes sibilance from a recording by applying frequency dependent compression.
  2. Dynamic Equalization: Using a band shelving filter or parametric EQs, dynamic equalization allows engineers to attenuate specific frequencies as needed while preserving the overall dynamics of the track.
  3. Low Pass Filtering: This technique reduces high frequency content which can help reduce any unwanted noise or harshness in a vocal performance.
  4. Peak Limiting/Multi-Band Compression: These processes limit peaks and apply gain reduction across different bands, respectively – both resulting in maximum clarity in your recordings!
    To get the best results when reducing plosives on vocals, it’s important to make sure you have all these techniques at your disposal so you can dial in exactly what you need to achieve that professional quality sound. With careful listening and experimentation with each element mentioned above, you’ll soon find yourself getting great sounding vocals every single time!

How Can I Tell If Plosives Are Still Audible After Eqing?

Knowing whether plosives are still audible after eqing is essential for vocal recording and audio engineering. It can be difficult to tell if the levels of these sounds have been successfully reduced, but there are a few approaches that can help you effectively detect them.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about adjusting your EQ settings – plosive detection requires careful listening and analysis in order to ensure that they don’t overpower your mix or become too noticeable at certain frequencies. To make sure you get the best results from your vocals, start by paying attention to the lower frequency range (around 100-200 Hz) as this is where plosives tend to reside most often. If you hear any pops or clicks when playing back recordings then this could indicate that some adjustments need to be made with regards to your EQ settings.

You may also want to use a spectrum analyzer or another type of plugin such as an exciter which can give you more detailed information about what frequencies are present within a particular track. This method allows you to quickly identify if there are any areas which require more attention in terms of eqing out plosives so that they don’t take away from the overall quality of your project. Additionally, using various types of compression techniques on individual tracks will further reduce their presence while helping bring out other elements in the mix – like drums, bass etc. Doing this helps create a balanced soundscape without sacrificing clarity or sonic texture.

In short, being able to accurately tell if plosives are still audible after eqing takes practice and patience but it’s definitely worth the effort! By honing in on specific frequency ranges and taking advantage of different plugins and effects, it’s possible to craft professional sounding recordings every time – no matter what kind of genre or style you’re working with.

What Type Of Eq Is Most Suitable For Plosive Removal?

When it comes to removing plosives from vocals, the type of EQ used is an important factor. High-pass filters and dynamic eqs are two types of EQ that can be useful in this situation. A high-pass filter is a great choice for eliminating low frequencies which cause rumble or muddiness – both of which could mask any plosive sounds. Dynamic EQs are also quite helpful since they allow you to target specific frequencies while keeping other parts of the mix unaffected. Additionally, de-essing tools can be employed when dealing with plosives as well; these help reduce sibilance without changing the overall soundscape too much.

Parametric EQs are another option worth considering. With parametric EQing, frequency sweeps can be performed to identify problem areas and then attenuate them accordingly. This method allows for precise control over what needs to be tweaked in order to achieve perfect vocal clarity and remove unwanted plosives from recordings. Ultimately, each engineer may have their own preferences on what works best for them but generally speaking, these above mentioned options make up some of the most effective solutions for getting rid of those pesky pops and clicks!

Is There A Way To Prevent Plosives From Occurring In The First Place?

When it comes to plosive removal, many engineers will turn to equalization (EQ) as the remedy. But is there a way to prevent them from occurring in the first place? Absolutely! There are several techniques that can be employed when recording vocals that drastically reduce or even eliminate the need for EQing out plosives altogether.

Anti-pop filters, high-pass filters, vocal shields, and pop screens all work together to block and deflect sound waves before they enter the microphone capsule. The use of an anti-pop filter between your mouth and your mic helps break up air pressure created by sharp consonants such as “p”s and “b”s. A high-pass filter set around 70 Hz also prevents low frequency sounds caused by these same consonants from entering the mic. Additionally, using a vocal shield or pop screen not only eliminates physical contact between you and the mic but allows greater control over room reflections which can cause unwanted sibilance issues if left unchecked. Finally, proper microphone placement plays an important role in avoiding plosives while recording vocals. By angling the mic slightly off axis towards the singer’s mouth and positioning it at least 6 inches away, you greatly reduce any potential buildups of air pressure that could otherwise create nasty plosives during playback.

These methods may take more time upfront but ultimately save time in post-production mixing/mastering down the line!


As an audio engineer and mixing/mastering specialist, I can confidently say that reducing plosives is a skill that takes time to master. It’s essential for any recording or production process because it helps create clean and clear vocals for the final product. With the right microphone, EQ techniques, and preventive measures, you’ll be able to achieve perfect vocal recordings in no time!

When it comes to designing your own set of tools in order to reduce plosives, start by investing in a good quality microphone. This will ensure you capture all the nuances when recording vocals. Next up is learning about different types of EQs and how they work so you can properly apply them on your tracks during post-production. Finally, practice preventative methods such as using windscreens and pop filters which are designed specifically to minimize plosive sounds from occurring in the first place.

By utilizing these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way towards crafting professional sounding audio projects with pristine vocal recordings every single time! So don’t wait another second – get out there and start mastering those plosive removal skills today!

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Need more help when it comes to EQing check out the article, how to eq trumpet.

Also check out this other article how to eq low end, for more EQing tips.