EQ your own voice

Am I the only one finding it extremely hard to dial my own vocal?

I mean I spend hours dialing it and in the end, it still sounds bad.
I start by removing this frequency that sounds bad, then this other, then another here, then… well, basically I hate all the frequencies of my voice, so I end up with nothing! :sweat:

I’ve been advised to mix other tunes, but I’m not ready to do that… I don’t have that much time for music anyway, and I have a hard time focusing on someone else’s music when I barely have time for my own.
I don’t feel like a mixer anyway, so there’s that, but either I’m really bad at it, or it’s just that dialing your own voice is the hardest thing to do…

What’s your experience with that? Is it just that my voice is really that shitty or do you all have the same struggle???


only you can decide if it actually sux or not (I havent heard it lol)

I think we all might struggle with our own voice. i think a key is to sort of decide what your voice “is”. What are the overall features of it? Is it overly dark, is it bright? is it this, is it that? THEN you can start to decide how to write and mix for it

for instance, Mark Slaughter is a great singer with a high voice, Jim Morrison was a great singer (underrated) with a low voice. The mixing and writing for those 2 would be 2 different things

Another slight point is that the whole purpose of mixing is to make something sound BETTER than it really is. if a singer is too dark and sort of muffled you can add high EQ to compensate. if they have no bottom end at all you can EQ to help it etc


I wonder if what your going for isnt your sound. Like if you wanted a Taylor Swift vocal and your natural vocal is Neil Young. No tweaking will get there.
If you are aware of a genre you want maybe go study there, what gear are they using? maybe its a mic and compressor combo youre looking for in “sound” which can sometimes be beyond the EQ.

my current theory is get the right mic for you, if its too much work maybe the mic is wrong, or maybe the right mic removes stuff you dont like.

either way too much work is a red flag.

try SM58/57…then a few LDC’s…then maybe a $516,000 Neumann from 1960 that was used by Dewey Cox personally.


I don’t believe mixing is to make anything sound better than it is, but that really depends on the artist/band… I think producing is finding the highlights of the instrument/talent, arrangement, and finding how they work best together. So as trying to mix our own voice we are most likely trying to produce our self at the same time. I hate doing my own vocals and a big part of that is because how we sound through a microphone is not the same how we perceive how we sound in our ears. Even when I go to record my own vocals there is a lot of experimentation with the microphone and how I’m actually singing. sometimes it is as easy as changing the key of the song (ive learned that guitar tuned to Eb is way easier for me). Sometimes these minor things can make a huge difference. The hardest part to get over is the expectations of self. Not all of us have a world class voice, and finding the tone of your voice and knowing where and when to use it; combining that with the music you play is just as big a part of it as the song itself. I’m not saying to lower expectation, but be realistic with what you are trying to do and learning not to force a song that doesn’t fit your voice or rearranging the instrumentation to fit your voice.

When you are using EQ on your own vocal, I would recommend either key filtered compression or dynamic eq. It sounds like you are probably being too heavy handed so when you cut one another weird frequency or a harmonic of the original pops out. Trying wider Qs may help as well. And just adding a ton of compression may bring out what you need. Ive done some vocals where its just perfect without any and some that I need to do more than I would like. Certain microphones are way way more forgiving on my vocal as well and you might just have to find one that suits you better. I had to go through a lot of microphones for live and studio before I found one I felt comfortable with. The best part is that the mics I found for myself seem to work really well with others too.

try SM58/57…then a few LDC’s…

I do not recommend trying a sm58 on vocals ever. I don’t care who used one, I think they are a terrible vocal mic and ive compared them against $7 mics and the $7 mic won. I know they are bullet proof and is the live industry standard, but I think they are terrible. every open minded engineer that would let me a/b compare to their precious 58 and they never wanted to use them again, except for the metal/hardcore shows where they know they will get abused. For whatever reason I think the 57 is better, but it is more directional, and has less proximity effect, and you have to be up on it all the time.

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It’s not that I want a Taylor Swift vocal, I’m not delusional! :laughing:
And I don’t think it’s a question of mic/gear, as such, I’ve used a few LDC, and am now using a SM7B, which sounds like a better fit for my voice from the start.
My point is just that when it’s your own voice, you tend to hate it anyway, so you end up pulling out most frequencies… I suppose it’s just that I find it hard to pinpoint the bad frequencies of my voice when they all sound bad :grimacing:

u might just have to play mind games with yourself. No matter what YOU think you sound like, a certain % of people will dig it…a certain % wont

Think about Dylan, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Springsteen etc etc. They are all mega stars but their voices are acquired tastes

So if you are going to do the singing, just decide that you like it and try to maximize it


That sounds like how I was. When I first got the SM7b I loved it but I kept experimenting and preamp/ compression did make a more drastic change than I realized. Do you have a 800-2.5k harshness? its not really nasally just very hard in that region? that is what I have and your scenario sounds extremely similar to mine. A lot of mics tend to exaggerate that region too, which makes it worse (for me anyway).

So if you are going to do the singing, just decide that you like it and try to maximize it

Deciding to accept your vocal regardless of how you think it sounds is 100%. the confidence in it is important.


That’s sad. And it’s a sweeping generalisation. I don’t hate my voice. It’s cool actually.
Sad for you Patrick.

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That’s pretty much the key to it. I never like the way my voice sounds because I’m very critical of myself at times. If I tried to EQ out everything I found objectionable in my voice I would be better off with the mute button.
You have to get used to going for the best delivery of your voice to the song, along with a little bit of mic technique to accentuate what you like and lessen what you don’t like. Patrick, your recordings are very good, so you know all the tricks. Beyond doing some sweeps and narrow cuts, your choices are basically to either enjoy your voice like others obviously do, or hire someone to sing your songs for you. No matter how much you try to mangle it, it still boils down to working with what you have and not being overly critical of things only you hear.


Of course it is.

Probably all of the above. Nasally as well as harsh… At least that’s how I hear it.

Yeah, I suppose that’s the hard part. And it’s most likely a confidence thing.
I feel confident in my abilities to record/arrange songs in general, but when it comes to singing, well…

Actually scratch that, I want THAT voice:

Can EQ do it? :laughing:

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I’m sure only a bit of compression will help me get THAT voice: :rolling_eyes:

crying doesnt fix anything though lol.

I mean, in the end it sort of comes down to this…if you dont like your voice,learn to sing better lol. Its that stark, yes

Besides…how do you know Taylor Swift likes her own voice?? many “famous” singers dont

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Ah ah! I’m not crying. Just asking if anyone has the same experience…
I do what I can to make it sound as best as possible, believe me! :slight_smile:

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word, we all have to make the best of what we got

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Hi Pat, first off I think your voice is fine for certain songs. So writing or choosing the right vehicle is step 1 in my book.

But I don’t see that anyone has suggested voice coaching. We all try to learn how to do stuff better and advice from an expert is always good right? I would think any good coach would have exercises for voice awareness and acceptance since it’s a common issue.

Also as a side light Antares has some neat vocal modeling software, I am NOT saying this is any kind of solution but it’s fun to play with and will probably someday be a realistic option for modifying vocals.

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Sounds about right.

Yes, that’s one thing I’d like to do at one point for sure!

I’ve tried a few Antares plugins and didn’t like them at all. They were adding some bad artifacts and I really didn’t like them. Of course, YMMV.

I hear you Patrick!
I think there is some phenomenon that some of us are cursed with… I usually can’t bear the sound of my voice. I can usually overcome it during mixing, I have an inherent recognition when I do a good ‘take’ but by the end of mixing a song, I find my vocal frequencies can actually make me feel physically ill… (yeah okay, pause here for some rude comments :rolling_eyes:

I can overcome it some of the time but because of the intensity for me, I think there is some physical resonance that the body recognises and it sort of creates some sort of a phase effect. I do follow the step-away-from-the-mix regime and that helps and often simply pushing myself to get into detached ‘engineering mode’ helps… but even when I have sung things that I know have pure clean tones, I am able to listen to them sometimes as harsh nasal hideous things…

So yes, I feel your pain and understand all too annoyingly well…