Dynamic Equalizer

A dynamic equalizer is a type of conventional parametric equalizer. It is dynamic because the static gain of the filter is exchanged by a dynamic control loop, while the frequency and quality (Q) remain the same. This equalizer can have level-dependent parameters or temporal ones. Examples of level-dependent parameters are over/under and threshold and range, whereas examples of temporal parameters are attack, release, and hold.

Dynamic Equalizer: its Operation

A dynamic equalizer operates by making each of the filter’s gain control act according to the gain change component. Each dynamic EQ is different. Some models might have the possibility to simulate a compressor, an expander, or a threshold independent transient enhancer. In order to achieve precise frequency on every operation, it’s essential that the musician chooses a filter type, a frequency, and a bandwidth. After that, the player must set up the bands processing type to be able to control it. 

One Size Does Not Fit All

As in every aspect of life, in the music business, one size does not fit all. Therefore, traditional equalization might not be enough. For instance, applying equalization to individual instruments during recording or mixing doesn’t have much effect. When applying low-frequency shelving, the boom of the kick drum might decrease. In turn, it will affect the fundamental of the bass if you play low notes. As another case in point, applying high frequencies to lower the ruggedness of cymbal crashes will actually dull their sound. Once again: traditional EQ is not enough.

When to Use Dynamic EQ

All that said and done, there are some situations where dynamic equalization can be helpful. With dynamic EQ, rein the shrillness in a singer’s voice while maintaining a presence at quieter verses. This occurs when a hi-hat is too bright in a mix, but the player gains satisfaction with the snare sound. While trying to apply traditional EQ to the hi-hats, the snare sounds might end up fading. By applying dynamic EQ, you can use the snare hi-hats as a sidechain input to the high-hat track. Also, by applying dynamic equalization, it’s possible to tame tough cymbal crashes made by the drummer and leave them intact when the drummer is playing with more restrictions.

If you’ve read our take on the dynamic equalizer…

If you want to learn more on this topic, you can consult our entries on linear phase, shelving, and parametric equalizers.