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5 Popular and Effective Digital EQs

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There are two reasons why you might use an EQ—to be creative or corrective. However there's quite a few reasons why you might choose a certain one.  

In this tutorial, I'll show you five popular and effective digital equalisers used in music production today.

The following criteria has been used:  

  • Sound
  • Key features
  • Graphical interface 
  • Easy of use 

The list below is in no particular order. 

Photosounder SplineEQ

See sound in all its colour—with 60dB worth of boost or attenuation and the option of sixty different band filters, SplineEQ is certainly a powerful and versatile plug-in. 

Photosounder SplineEQ

Sound

SplineEQ is a linear phase EQ that can drastically alter the sound when required thanks to its wide-range of dB and filter controls. 

Key Features 

The ability to move the entire frequency curve from left to right or up and down is truly unique.    

There are no filters to choose from but they can be easily created. You can even create a filter with a 90° slope for a complete removal of frequencies cut-off by the filter. 

Graphical Interface 

SplineEQ displays its frequencies in colours, known as a spectrograph. This can be made less obtrusive at the turn of a knob.   

Ease of Use 

An excellent EQ to use as a creative tool and a good one for beginners for hearing the effect an EQ can have. 

For more information visit Photosounder

Kush Audio Clariphonic

This treble focused EQ has gained a reputation as the king of top-end boost.  

Kush Audio Clariphonic

Sound

The Clariphonic gives mixes presence and clarity that results in a more polished and expensive sounding production.   

Key Features

The plug-in is a boost only EQ. It has two settings—focus and clarity

The focus controls have two boost settings at 800Hz and 3kHz while the clarity provides four fixed shelves (between 4kHz and 34kHz). These are attractively named presence, sheen, shimmer and silk. The plug-in operates in stereo, mid/side and dual mono mode. 

Graphical Interface 

The graphical interface is a copy of the original analogue hardware.  

Ease of Use 

Dialling in a sound is made quick and easy due to its appropriate fixed frequencies. The plug-in is best used on a master bus all though it can be used on wider sources.

For more information visit The House of Kush

TDR SlickEQ Mastering 

This parallel equaliser is dedicated to the mastering engineer, providing them with a few valuable gems.  

TDR SlickEQ Mastering

Sound

The SlickEQ M (mastering edition) has six bands that can be saturated adding additional harmonics. 

Key Features

The knob in the centre of the plug titled EL Curve is an equal loudness control based on The Fletcher-Munson Curve. This allows you to hear how the audio will sound at different volume levels without changing the volume. 

The SlickEQ M gives full control over the stereo image thus providing the user the ability to widen, narrow or even pan the stereo image of individual frequency bands. With the click of a button, the low frequencies can be turned to mono, too. 

Graphical Interface

The graphical interface is simple and clear giving the option to change the scale of the analyser or have the plug-in automatically adjust.   

Ease of Use 

For such an intelligent plug-in the SlickEQ is surprisingly easy to use. Sounds can be dialled in quickly thanks to the fundamental controls being immediately apparent. Certain aspects can be tailored too, like changing the parameters to step control at an increment of your choice. 

For more information visit Tokyo Dawn Records

FabFilter Pro-Q 2

The stunning Pro-Q 2 is a simple yet sophisticated plug-in which appeals to both beginners and professionals.  

FabFilter Pro-Q2

Sound

The Pro-Q 2 offers three different processing modes that help retain sound quality whatever the situation. 

Key Features

Spectrum Grab is my favourite feature of all-time, one that all EQ plug-ins should employ.  

The feature works by memorising the peaks and displaying them while allowing you to grab these peaks and adjust them from the graph. This is helpful when you have a problematic frequency poking out, saving time and giving you accuracy.  

Graphical Interface 

You can select keyboard display which allows you to target specific frequencies. You can even zoom in on the frequency for precision.   

Ease of Use 

Works well as an educational tool thanks to its clear layout, full-screen feature and user-friendly interface. 

For more information visit FabFilter

DMGAudio EQuilibrium

Whatever you're looking for—DMGAudio EQuilibrium is the most versatile plug-in on the market.   

DMGAudio Equilibrium

Sound

The EQuilibrium possess a large range of EQ modelling. Sounds are modelled on various vintage consoles including the classic SSL and Neve consoles. 

Key Features

The DMG EQuilbrium possess a large array of features like no other EQ. To help the use feel less overwhelmed, EQuilibrium offers a set-up preference menu to tailor to the role.

One of the biggest features of the plug-in is the amount of filters on offer. These include the Butterworth and Bessel filter, the latter ideal for mastering due to its smooth phase response.  

Graphical Interface 

The graphical interface is highly customisable frequency analyser. You can select a standard analyser (as seen above) or variations of spectrograms.      

Easy of Use 

EQuilibrium isn't for the beginner. The EQ possess a large number of features, which requires you to invest time if you are to use it to its full potential. 

For more information vist DMGAudio

Conclusion

Experiment with EQ plug-ins to see which one suits you best. Compare them. Create an EQ setting for the low, mid and high frequencies. Have the same settings for each plug-in. Listen to the difference by instantly A/B-ing them.

Maybe one sounds better in certain areas then others. Maybe one EQ is not enough. Whatever EQ plug-ins you do decide on, just remember—the best plug-in is you. 

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