Author Topic: Good software EQs  (Read 821 times)

Castleview

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Good software EQs
« on: February 05, 2014, 05:55:54 PM »
I'm looking into upgrading from the equalizers that I use right now, which are sadly freeware VST plugins. I know there's more to shaping tones than just an EQ but I feel like my current ones aren't quite cutting it at times. I've noticed that there are plenty of EQs out there to purchase whether they be hardware or software but I'm not sure what's really good and what's not, especially for ambient music. I do just about everything music-wise within my laptop so I'm not looking for any hardware EQs.

I was also wondering if there were any equalizers in particular that work well with shaping lower frequency drones and textures.

It does not have to be absolute top-of-the-line quality but I'm definitely looking for value (I'm on a low budget). I want something that will give me good control over every detail of my sounds as I shape them into whatever I desire. Also, I've only been using graphic equalizers for the most part but I am definitely open to using other kinds.

I know there's more to shaping tones than just an EQ but I feel like my current ones aren't quite cutting it at times.

So with all that being said, bombard me with recommendations! :)
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APK

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2014, 06:14:13 PM »
I use EQs on tracks and mixes way more than any other type of effect. So yep, I think its good to have some reasonable EQ plugins in your arsenal. I also think a built-in spectral readout is a great addition to a software EQ so you can see the initial signal, what needs work, and the result of EQ changes.

A favorite that I use on everything is apEQ, which is now called apQualizr :
http://www.apulsoft.ch/apqualizr

There are similar things by other companies, like the excellent one by DMG Audio called EQuick. Little more expensive though, but very good and has a feature or two apEQ doesn't have:
http://dmgaudio.com/products_equick.php

I use little else except a Waves EQ, but I only use it for mastering. The above ones I think of as great for track and everyday use EQs.

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Castleview

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2014, 06:24:00 PM »
apQualizr looks awesome. I didn't even realize that there were EQs with the spectral readout built in.
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APK

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2014, 07:11:24 PM »
Having at least one with the spectral readout is invaluable. It's also light on the cpu so you can use a bunch of them. You can adjust the speed/responsiveness of the spectral readout as well. Well worth trying the demo.
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petekelly

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2014, 03:36:00 AM »
I use Eq all the time, almost always for cutting resonant/peaky frequencies. I've got some Nebula Eqs which are supposed to be very good emulations of real hardware Eq units, but I rarely use them (just subtle usage in the mastering stage. There's a lot of talk about how 'good' or 'bad' software eqs are. I have to say, I'm just not totally convinced either way.

For me, a good 'working' eq is low cpu (as I use lots of instances in every track I'm working on) and has a spectral display. I'm mostly just using high pass and low pass roll offs for synth sounds with a 'full' spectrum. I use the 'peq2' eq that is part of FLStudio, it fulfills the above criteria. I'm sure it could be argued that it may not be the last word in quality, but it's very easy to use and for ''corrective' eq-ing, it does the job.

APK's suggestion looks a good one for a vst solution, mine perhaps less so, as 'peq2' is part of a DAW.


Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2014, 06:51:50 AM »
My two main eq's are Logic's Channel Eq and Sonnox Oxford Eq.  Logics Channel Eq wont help you much as you need Logic to use.  The Sonnox Oxford Eq is worth looking at as is all of the Sonnox plugins.  I like the way the Oxford eq cuts and when I need to boost it does it in just the right way to my ears.


APK

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2014, 07:38:30 AM »
I do find the Sonnox overpriced, and am not keen on iLoc. Plus too much room given to knobs vs the curve screen for my taste. Also, I don't think it has a Mid/Side option.
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Castleview

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2014, 08:50:06 PM »
I bought apQualizr and I love it so far. That'll definitely work for me.
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APK

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2014, 09:52:08 PM »
Good to hear it's working for you. I find it clean and very flexible. Couldn't live without it. Have it on the master out as a default in my DAW (along with PSP's Vintage Warmer plugin).

Quite often I'm just using it for the spectral readout to keep an eye out for resonances and booming bass end. When you work with a spectrogram a lot you get used to what a sound profile should look like.
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Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2014, 05:55:34 AM »
I do find the Sonnox overpriced, and am not keen on iLoc. Plus too much room given to knobs vs the curve screen for my taste. Also, I don't think it has a Mid/Side option.


The Oxford Eq was born as a digital equalizer in the Sony OXF R3 digital console.  Picture below shows the equalizer on the right and Compressor on the left.  I believe the plugin interface was not just a copy of the hardware original but was chosen for the daw world because engineers like knobs more than screens....of course this may have changed.  The Sonnox Eq apparent short coming you mention have nothing to do with the sonic excellences this equalizer delivers and it is one I use everyday. YMMV



APK

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2014, 06:59:26 AM »
Yep, nothing against its sound quality, Julio. I have used it. But probably outside Castleview's "low budget". An EQ like apQualizer is under $100 and is like having two quality plugins.
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Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2014, 08:20:44 AM »
Yes Anthony.....understood the possible budget limitations, that aside Im hoping others will chime in regardless of that so we can learn and see what is being used.....curious also to see what people consider mastering quality EQ's as you have already mentioned. 

PSP Neon is one that I have and use  mostly across the stereo master bus (plus compression) to get a sense of the mix before the project is sent out to be mastered.  Definitely a very good ITB mastering EQ.  Great for tracking but it does work the cpu a bit too much to use multiple instances.


petekelly

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Re: Good software EQs
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2014, 10:07:24 AM »
I think I work in a different way to most people (in the ambient world) when it comes to mastering and eq, my 'mastering eq' is Har-bal:
http://www.har-bal.com/



I know this piece of software is not universally acclaimed, but I've used it for years and I still find it to be
invaluable. It shows a graph of  the frequency response of the whole track over it's duration and from that graph you can then 'correct' any booms/howls/peaks regarding a mix. I try to attenuate these things in the DAW (using parametric tracking eqs such as the peq2 I mentioned in my earlier post), my aim is to try to achieve a balanced spectrum. This is obviously track dependent, but even with a more problematic spectrum, I still strive for this.

I also (on occasion) use nebula eqs as the 'Dr. Fear', a Pultec emulation and a number of other eqs, more so for my 'Formbank' stuff.