Analog Obsession has released Filteq, a freeware 3-band coloring equalizer VST/AU plugin inspired by the Filtek MK3 vintage hardware EQ.
Filtek MK3 is a hardware equalizer from the 1970s, manufactured by the Swiss company FILTEK Labo SA based on the original design by Stefan Sulke. Designed primarily for use as broadcast modules, Filter MK3 and other units inspired by its design later found their use in recording studios. The EQ featured transformer-balanced inputs and outputs, a bypass switch, 3 parametric bands with a 12-way frequency selector on each one, and a pair of filters.
Analog Obsession’s emulation copies the design and layout of the original hardware, offering the same set of features and a sporting a very similar look. Although I can’t compare Filteq to its hardware counterpart for obvious reasons, I was quite pleased with its sound. I tested the plugin on several sound sources, both acoustic and synthesized, and it performed very well as a subtle coloring EQ. It consumes around 5% of available CPU resources on an i7-powered desktop computer, which isn’t too bad for a plugin that isn’t intended for use on every single channel in a mix.
Filteq works very well for sweetening the highs and focusing the low frequencies. Being a 3-band equalizer, it is also very easy to operate. The only feature I’d like to see added in a future version of the plugin would be a way to control the input gain, since that’s one of the workflow enhancements that I find to be crucial in an EQ plugin (and also one that shouldn’t be too hard to implement).
Something I really didn’t like about Filteq, though, is the UI. The plugin copies the looks of the hardware unit that inspired it, which is fine, however I thing that this particular EQ would work much better in a horizontal layout. The current vertical layout feels a bit crammed and most of the labels are hard to read. The knobs are also a bit confusing to control – pulling a knob down actually increases the value of certain control parameters (this also emulates the behavior of the hardware unit. but it’s quite unnecessary in a plugin). Either way, these aren’t deal breaking issues, but I feel that Filteq could become a much better plugin with several easy-to-implement UI improvements.
The developer is currently working on multiple new plugins which are expected for release later this year. The screenshots and features are already published on their website, so make sure to take a look at those as well if you find Filteq interesting.
Filteq is available for free download via Analog Obsession (867 KB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac OS).