Best eq plugins VST
Equalizers and compressors are key tools at every step in the process of creating and processing music. For an audio engineer or producer, having high-quality equalizers is essential. It’s important to have different types of equalizer plugins in your arsenal because each one adds a unique flavor to the sound and may not be suitable for every application. From a creative perspective, equalizer plays a key role in shaping the final sound, either alone or in combination with other audio processors. Although all DAWs have built-in equalizers, they are often insufficient. If you’re currently considering purchasing a new equalizer or want to learn more about them, below you’ll find a selection of the top five equalizers for producers.
1. Amped Studio equalizer
The equalizer in Amped Studio has the following features and benefits:
- Ease of use. An equalizer in Amped Studio can be easily added to any audio track by simply dragging it from the effects panel. It has an intuitive interface that shows visual representations of frequencies and audio levels, and allows you to easily adjust EQ settings using your mouse or keyboard;
- Flexibility and functionality. Amped Studio’s equalizer lets you choose from a variety of filter types, including bandpass, high-pass, low-pass, shelving, and sawtooth. You can set individual frequency, gain and bandwidth values for each filter, enable or disable them individually, and compare the sound before and after applying the equalizer;
- Compatibility and integration. The equalizer in Amped Studio is compatible with all types of audio tracks available for creating or importing into Amped Studio, including virtual instruments, samples, microphones, guitars and more. It is also integrated with other instruments and sequencer features such as XYbeatZ, hum/tone detection, Chord Creator and more.
2. FabFilter Pro-Q 3
FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is designed to help you quickly achieve the sound you want by delivering high-quality linear phase processing along with zero latency and unique Natural Phase modes. It includes a smooth dynamic equalizer, full surround sound support, and many other features. The Pro-Q3 is the perfect addition to a versatile EQ toolkit.
3. API 550 Waves
The API 550A equalizer provides mutual and repeatable equalization across 15 points in 5 gain stages, divided into three overlapping ranges. 550B with 7 switchable filter frequencies covering up to 5 octaves per band, “Proportional Q” automatically widens the filter bandwidth at minimum settings and narrows it at higher settings. The beauty of the entire API 500 Series lies in its long-term flexibility and enduring value – with a wide range of tonal capabilities, the API 550A and 550B are a pair of versatile equalizers with the unique API sound.
4. iZotope Ozone 10
Ozone 10 makes mastering easier with built-in AI-powered audio tools that give you a quick starting point. It features innovative features including a stabilization module, impact module, and workflows accelerated by machine learning. Ozone 10 includes two equalizer modules (in addition to a dynamic equalizer), each of which offers eight custom filter bands with a variety of filtering shapes. You can use an EQ to initially set up your master signal, and then apply a post-EQ towards the end of the signal processing chain.
5. PuigTec EQP – 1А
The Pultec EQP-1A is an exact digital replica of the original hand-held analog equalizer used by famed producer and engineer Jack Joseph Puig (U2, Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga). The MEQ-5’s unique tonal qualities have made Pultec products a mainstay in leading studios for decades. The combination of the PuigTec MEQ-5 and the full-range PuigTec EQP-1A creates a complete vintage EQ circuit. Designed from these rare vintage Pultec units, this plugin is without a doubt one of the best choices for producers and audio engineers.
6. SurferEQ2 SoundRadix
SurferEQ2 from SoundRadix is a revolutionary equalizer plugin capable of tracking monophonic instruments or vocals in real time. This plugin analyzes the pitch of a monophonic instrument or vocal source and dynamically adapts the frequencies of its bands while maintaining the natural harmonic balance of the sound source. This allows you to precisely shape the timbre of the sound source in accordance with the notes being played. In addition to standard high-pass, low-pass, shelving and bell filters, SurferEQ2 includes SoundRadix’s innovative four-mode harmonic filter, which provides the ability to control an instrument’s harmonic spectrum with a single EQ band.
7. Sonible Smart: EQ 3
Sonible Smart: EQ 3 is an advanced plugin that uses artificial intelligence to correct the tonal balance of the processed signal. It is especially useful for those working in environments where acoustic accuracy is not guaranteed, as it can effectively analyze incoming audio and create a customized EQ curve to achieve harmony with other tracks in your session.
This tool allows you to quickly achieve the perfect balance in your mix, creating consistent frequency curves for clear, transparent arrangements. It features numerous preset profiles that are optimally suited for a variety of instruments, including drums, electric guitar, vocals, piano and many more.
The Sonible Smart: EQ 3 interface looks great and provides efficient audio control. It includes many convenient controls and filter widgets to speed up the setup and decision-making process.
8. Waves F6
Waves F6 is one of our favorite dynamic EQ plugins, featuring six fully customizable parametric EQ bands and additional high- and low-pass filters. Waves F6 is highly functional, with each band providing both compression and expansion capabilities. This equalizer is ideal for both spot adjustments to clean up individual signals and musical enhancements to bring out the best aspects of your signal.
Each band has midrange and compression controls to make EQ adjustments easy. The free float of the bands is especially appreciated, so you are not limited to fixed ranges when working with a specific band.
The plugin also includes a real-time spectrum analyzer, providing high-quality frequency spectrum analysis. The speed of the analyzer can be adjusted depending on the available processor resources.
Additionally, the F6 is equipped with an external sidechain feature, allowing you to control F6 parameters using another instrument. I often use this feature to eliminate low frequencies from bass instruments in kick drum sounds.
9. iZotope Neutron 4
While iZotope Neutron 4 offers much more than just an EQ, its EQ module is a particularly notable feature and worth mentioning when considering a purchase. This is especially true in light of the ability to use the Track Assistant function, which automatically suggests mix settings.
Among the many features of this plugin, one that stands out is its dynamic equalizer capability. The plugin features four different interface views, including metering scales, filter response graph, cumulative EQ curve, and spectrum analyzer, which can be especially useful in mixing and mastering.
Entering Dynamic mode, each EQ band gets its own threshold, up/down compression options, and sidechain options. Similar to the F6, Neutron 4 features an external sidechain feature, which allows you to use an external signal to control the dynamics of the EQ bands.
10. MAAG Audio EQ4
Maag Audio EQ4 is deservedly considered one of the most legendary analog equalizer plug-ins on the market today. This six-band equalizer can be heard in the work of many famous artists, including Justin Timberlake, Black Eyed Peas and Celine Dion, among others.
This plugin stands out for its unique musical qualities and a number of outstanding features. It has extremely low phase shift and is able to add volume of air to sounds without making them harsh or unpleasant to hear. Maag Audio EQ4 allows you to enhance the sound of your tracks from high to low frequencies, while maintaining the musical elements that made your compositions great in the first place.
One of my favorite features of the Maag Audio EQ4 is the Sub Band, which gives you the ability to add the perfect amount of bass and depth without the risk of overloading your speakers. It even outperforms its original hardware counterpart!
11. T-Racks EQ 81
T-Racks EQ 81 from IK Multimedia is one of the most successful Neve emulations on the market. The peculiarity of this plugin is that it does not simply reproduce the famous sound of the Neve 1073, but rather imitates its older model – the Neve 1081 Classic Console EQ. This plugin offers all the power, brightness and sparkle that have kept Neve consoles in demand for decades.
EQ 81 is distinguished by its musicality and precision, making it ideal for adding specific percussive accents or cuts in certain frequency ranges of your tracks. It is ideal for vocals and acoustic instruments including guitars, piano, drums and bass. With convenient Mid and Side (M/S) processing, you can perform more detailed processing on your tracks.
With high-quality audio and a sleek interface, IK Multimedia’s T-Racks EQ 81 definitely deserves to be one of our favorite analog EQ plugins.
12. Solid Stage Logic SSL Native Channel Strip
Solid State Logic SSL Native Channel Strip is a product developed by SSL, the makers of the original consoles that used these channel strips for decades. This plugin offers all the same legendary performance and sound quality of the original modules, but without the need to invest thousands of dollars in a physical console.
Although there are many other plugins on the market that emulate SSL Channel Strip, none of them reproduce the features and characteristics of the original as accurately as this plugin. You get a four-band parametric EQ with the ability to switch between E and G series, as well as a Dynamics section that includes a compressor and a Gate/Expander module. In addition, there are high and low pass filters at each end.
In terms of EQ, the E Series offers a slightly more aggressive sound, while the G Series focuses on more focused and subdued control of certain frequencies.
Overall, this channel strip EQ plugin provides excellent control over your mixes and is ideal for those who seek complete control over their signal in a user-friendly and intuitive interface.
13. Loaded Analog Obsession
Analog Obsession has a long history of making impressive old-school VST plugins, and the Loaded EQ plugin holds a special place among our favorites. This feature-rich channel strip plugin functions like a 500 Series Channel Strip, including five independent processors and one main control bus. Along with the equalizer module, the plugin offers a preamp, noise gate, de-esser and compressor.
Each module provides its own unique analog warmth to the sound, and the user can disable any module that is not required for operation. One of the features of Loaded EQ that I particularly like is the ability to configure all modules in parallel, since each of them has a control for mixing dry and wet signals. This functionality is rarely found in paid plugins, so its presence in Loaded EQ was a pleasant surprise.
14. Waves API 560
API is one of the leading manufacturers of vintage equalizers, and their API 560 10-band graphic equalizer stands alone among VST equalizers for those looking for vintage graphic balance.
This plugin recreates the sound of the classic 1967 model, offering wide headband range and precise filtering for a vintage sound. What makes this equalizer special is its unique curve shape, which changes depending on the level of boost or cut, providing a precise effect on the sound.
API has carefully selected each frequency in these bands, focusing on the truly key frequencies. Thanks to our collaboration with API, Waves was able to put similar effort into the development of this plugin, ensuring high quality and frequency accuracy.
15. Voxengo Overtone GEQ
Overtone GEQ from Voxengo is a graphic equalizer that offers seven bands for adjustment. What sets this plugin apart is not only the usual frequency boost or cut, but also midrange processing capabilities and advanced internal routing settings.
The special thing about Overtone GEQ is that it adds harmonic components to the boosted frequencies. This means that with every frequency boost or cut, you’re adding some harmonic coloration, giving your mixes a warmth and character reminiscent of vintage equalizers.
Although the plugin may seem unremarkable at first glance, its value lies in its functionality and lack of lag. This makes it a great choice for those looking for a reliable EQ tool to add to their arsenal.
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