Top 3 EQ Plugins

by Oct 29, 2020Audio Mixing Tips

Top 3 EQ Plugins

I would lie if I wouldn’t mention that there probably 20+ awesome VST EQs out there. Sonically they all have their ups and downs. I came across a wide variety of in the box equalizers and would like to share with you my top 3 EQs that I find pleasing to my ears and are my go-to choices.

FabFilter Pro-Q3 – The “Softener” analog-sounding EQ

Wow, this one made a statement, I believe I had the pleasure of trying this amazing EQ out around 2009. I was blown away and told my fellow engineer friends to listen to it. Sonically to my ears, it’s a bit softer sounding. It can soften harsh sounding digital recordings very well. It’s like a glove. If you want a more transparent EQ this might not be your first option.

The interface is probably the best looking one in the EQ market. Super nappy, powerful spectrum analyzer and clean looking .

The Pro-Q3 excels with “Spectrum Grab” a peak detection to spot nasty resonances with ease. I find it very useful for getting room modes and ringing out of recorded instruments in less than 10 seconds.

The collision detection between instances of the Pro-Q3 are a neat little option to spot frequencies that take the same space.

Tip: Check your low-end with the collision detection to spot where the kick and bass fight.

EQ Plugins - Pro-Q3
FabFilter Pro-Q3

DMG Equilibrium – The most modular EQ plugin VST out there!

The GEM, back during my stay in Los Angeles I visited a friend in his recording studio for a casual chat that turned into a gear talk quick. We went over a session in Pro Tools and PT users will know that you can save your favorite plug-ins for quick access. There it was the Pro-Q3. We both smiles and said to each other that this is just the go-to for so many. But…

My friend mentioned that he is testing this EQ for some time now. He opened up the DMG Equilibrium. BAMMMMMM full screen and what a brutal clean surgical sound. This was an eye and ear-opening experience.

When listening or testing a new digital EQ I try out the low and hi-pass filters first, and later boost a little in the mids and check out the sizzle. In all areas, the DMG convinced me. I saw the settings page and changed it to the highest settings. Yes, it’s a mastering EQ if you want it to be.

It is modular in the sense that you can choose different character “Vintage EQ” for different bands. This EQ made it into my EQ Plugins to keep!

Tip: The DMG Equilibrium lets you build your dream EQ: e.g. Legendre Hi-Pass, Butterworth Filter with a 550 Top End.

EQ Plugins - DMG
DMG Equilibrium

Mäag Audio EQ4 – The Top-end that makes you smile.

A long time ago I was sitting in a studio and was looking for an EQ that can give me a solid, warm, and tight low end with the ability to add Air. I wanted to update the digital mastering chain the studio had at the time.

The Mäag Audio EQ came for the rescue. Till now I haven’t heard a digital EQ that adds this Air. A 40Khz Air Band that sounds clear, soft, and open? In the box? Yes, this EQ won’t let you down.

Tip: Best used lightly on the master bus channel. 0.5db goes a long way and in many cases is just what’s missing when the song is lacking low-end or an open top-end.

EQ Plugins - Maag
Mäag Audio EQ4

Conclusion

As mention above, there are so many great alternatives out there. I use a wide variety of EQ plug-ins. This is just my personal take on my favorite EQ´s and where and why I choose them. I’m always looking out for what’s new out there. Especially now with all the AI going on, interesting plugins have emerged and more will come, that will make it into my plugins of choice list.

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