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What are the most transparent EQ plugins? Equalizer Plugins
Old 20th March 2018
  #1
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TurboJets's Avatar
What are the most transparent EQ plugins?

I find that so many EQ plugs have a bit of character/color. I realize that sometimes that is exactly what is desired and there are some great EQ color plugs that sound really nice.

I'm looking for transparency right now though for certain applications like vocals and acoustic guitar. The only EQ plug I have that really seems transparent to me is the 2S EQ from 2nd Sense Audio, but surely there must be more.

What are you using that sounds transparent?
Old 20th March 2018
  #2
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TurboJets's Avatar
I know this isn't quite as exciting as "should I change the stings on my guitar", but damn.

Nobody?
Old 21st March 2018
  #3
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Sigma's Avatar
avid 7 band
Old 21st March 2018
  #4
Fabfilter Q2
Old 21st March 2018
  #5
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deuc647's Avatar
 

plugin alliance v3?
Old 21st March 2018
  #6
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I would think that any linear phase EQ should be pretty transparent.
Old 21st March 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
avid 7 band
Won't work in my Sonar. Bummer, but thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by liv4ree View Post
Fabfilter Q2
Nice one, thanks. Looking into that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
plugin alliance v3?
I like Brainworx stuff, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA View Post
I would think that any linear phase EQ should be pretty transparent.
Some are more transparent than others but these are the type I've been focusing on.
Old 21st March 2018
  #8
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Pretty much any EQ plugin that is not doing "analog modeling" is going to be transparent.
Old 21st March 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
Pretty much any EQ plugin that is not doing "analog modeling" is going to be transparent.
Some of them muffle the signal slightly before even engaging parameters, some exhibit noticeable phase issues, and some just sound a little sterile. That's why I'm asking for recommendations that I've haven't auditioned yet.

Would love to have the pristine performance of the Focusrite Red 2 in a plugin.
Old 21st March 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
I've haven't auditioned yet.
download some demos and try em out
Old 21st March 2018
  #11
Gear Nut
Try Toneboosters Equalizer 4. Super cheap, intuitive and has mid/side plus dynamic EQ options as well.
Old 21st March 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA View Post
I would think that any linear phase EQ should be pretty transparent.
except for pre-ringing artifacts on transient sources. In many cases that is as bad as any phase smearing side effect you get with minimal phase EQs.
Old 21st March 2018
  #13
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Eiosis AIReQ has a THD of -300dB. No harmonic addition. Very flexible 'algo' eq.
Old 21st March 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
Eiosis AIReQ has a THD of -300dB. No harmonic addition. Very flexible 'algo' eq.
Nice recommendation, thanks.
Old 21st March 2018
  #15
Gear Head
UAD2 Cambridge
FabFilter Pro-Q2
Old 21st March 2018
  #16
Gear Nut
 

I just completed an album with a Finger Style acoustic guitarist. During mixing, he was very sensitive to the fact that most EQ's altered the sound just by being engaged. We tested some 70 plus EQ's in an effort to find those that 'Do the least harm.' In the end, of the plugins that I own, only the new Waves F6, and Brainworx, bx_digital V3 passed the muster for his delicate ears.
We also liked the UAD Manley Massive Passive EQ, but I own a Real Manley Massive Passive, and most of the broad stroke EQ moves the Manley Massive Passive are known for had been done on the way in. Good luck!
Old 21st March 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTBoy5000 View Post
I just completed an album with a Finger Style acoustic guitarist. During mixing, he was very sensitive to the fact that most EQ's altered the sound just by being engaged. We tested some 70 plus EQ's in an effort to find those that 'Do the least harm.' In the end, of the plugins that I own, only the new Waves F6, and Brainworx, bx_digital V3 passed the muster for his delicate ears.
We also liked the UAD Manley Massive Passive EQ, but I own a Real Manley Massive Passive, and most of the broad stroke EQ moves the Manley Massive Passive are known for had been done on the way in. Good luck!
That is precisely what I'm talking about and I appreciate your response. Someone else has mentioned the V3 but I didn't know about the Waves F6 so I'll demo that as well. Can't thank you enough. Cheers.

I really appreciate everyone's responses, thanks for taking the time. You've all been a big help.
Old 21st March 2018
  #18
Flux Epure, Sonnox and iZotope Ozone/Neutron are also as clean as it gets. Neutron has the plus of offering dynamic EQ per band, which is great.
Old 21st March 2018
  #19
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For most plugin EQ's I doubt there is much measurable difference between many of them. The major differences are the GUI/appearance or how detailed the adjustments appear to be compared to the actual numbers being changed.

The simple test for this can easily be checked using a test tone and frequency analyzer. Just play back a pink or whit noise wave file, view it with a frequency analyzer and manipulate the sound with any of the EQ's you have. You''ll quickly conclude they all do a reasonably good job at doing the exact same thing and nearly everything you consider to be better is merely an illusion.

As far as a recommendation for an EQ, I been using Eventides EQuivocate lately. Its got an added benefit of having a built in frequency analyzer where each slider has an in and out level and its even got a one button EQ matching which can be useful. As far as the actual sound quality goes its no different then any other EQ I own.

For mastering the best EQ I've ever owned is Har- Bal. Its unique because it scans your wave file and produces a static histogram of your entire song. This display doubles as being the actual GUI for manipulating the sound. You can take individual peaks and valleys and pull them up or down without having to dork around with a bunch of knobs. Its like having a parametric EQ except you have thousands of adjustable points not just 5 like many parametric's have.

You also have the ability to adjust the side and center information separately and you have the ability to create and use reference files which can be very helpful when you want to match things like bass levels between different tracks.

The program also has a limiter which produces no artifacts and has no timing issues. Because the program scans the entire wave file the limiter already knows what the levels are. When applied it doesn't have to read the wave file in real time like typical plugins do. You can set the threshold and it tweaks everything at the same time.

The only drawback is its a stand alone program which cant function as a plugin for a number of reasons. You can open a track file and manipulate it but that doesn't do allot of good if you aren't hearing it with the rest of the mix at the same time. Best mastering EQ out there though.

Great company to deal with too. When you buy the program they issue you a temporary license which you use for 30 days. if you don't request a permanent license at that time they automatically refund your money. They don't want anyone owning the program who doesn't verify they want it after the test period which I've never seen any other manufacturer do. They do respond to any issues you have too. I had to contact them because I misspelled my email address and got a call back within minutes, and it was 11 at night. They work a night shift when most studios are working which is very useful.

There are many cool things it can do like create a reference file of a commercial recordings frequency response. You can open that reference file in your own project and match it to your recordings. Of course this isn't going to make your recording sound like the original because no two recording sessions and instruments are the same but it can be very useful when you do cover tunes and want that recording to have a similar range of tones.
Old 21st March 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogo C View Post
Flux Epure, Sonnox and iZotope Ozone/Neutron are also as clean as it gets. Neutron has the plus of offering dynamic EQ per band, which is great.
Yet another mention of Neutron that has me interested, will explore further, thanks!

I would also rank HOFA IQ-EQ as among the most transparent, even more clear/honest than bx digital_v3 to my ears/brains. Also with dynamic eq per-band.
Old 21st March 2018
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomcenter View Post
Yet another mention of Neutron that has me interested, will explore further, thanks!
It is indeed very good. 8 bands, dynamic function, different bells/shelf options, HPF/LPF with variable slopes, good RTA. The only "problem" is that the standalone EQ is only available on the advanced version.
Old 21st March 2018
  #22
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Studio Saturn's Avatar
I think I will the first one to advice somehow how different. Even though I use Waves F6, I also go towards leaner phase multi band comp. EQ to me it chops. I mean it just chops in any given frequency. I don't like to take out unless high pass filter. So, constantly I reach for either dynamic EQ or like I said leaner phase multi band comp. Fabfilter has on I guess. UAD also have one. Also Waves has one I think.
Old 27th January 2019
  #23
Gear Head
 

I have recently seen the light! My EQ collection (plugins) has grown pretty big with almost everything; ProQ3, Equillibrium, Izotope 8, Neutron, and so on. But this weekend I tested Voxengo´s PrimeEQ and it sounded fantastic. One hour later I bought GlissEQ from the same company and it sounded even better.

Why do I think GlissEQ sounds better than, for example, ProQ3 and Equillibrium? At first I couldn't explain it but then I realized 99% of EQ plugins add a peculiar digital mist, probably to camoflauge imperfections. Voxengos EQ´s don't do that.
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