Yes, it’s true that the proper way of doing things during the mixing process is “by ear”. There’s no better way of finding that sweet spot when EQ-ing, than by patiently tweaking and listening to the playback of the signal. Still, a little bit of visualisation can’t hurt. So here are the top three picks of the visual kind of parametric equalizers, for those of us who like looking at graphs while we tweak and listen.
3rd place – “MEqualizer” by MeldaProduction
MEqualizer is a 6 band EQ. You can select one of 7 pre-defined filter types for each band, or choose custom queue settings. The interface is rather compact, but also very comfortable for use. There’s three sliders for every band, but you could input settings directly on the graph if you prefer doing so.
Since they’re giving this plugin away for free, the developers have chosen to put some limitations in it. You can’t save your own presets, and you can’t minimize aliasing by upsampling. Still, if you donate 30 EUR to the developers, you will get full versions of not just MEqualizer, but all other free/donationware plugins by MeldaProduction. All in all, handy EQ, good to have at your disposal in any version.
2nd place – “Triple EQ” by Blue Cat Audio
This plugin is a freeware version of Blue Cat’s Parametr’EQ. It offers 3-band equalisation. The bass and treble frequencies are fixed at 20 Hz and 22 kHz respectively, while the mid frequency is unlocked. Tiple EQ offers a +-40 dB range for each band, while you can choose to limit the range to 10 or 20 dB if you wish. There are no knobs on the user interface, which means that you have to input all the settings using the on-screen sliders. The interface is not too big, but you also have the option of making it transparent if it gets in the way too much. This sounds like an unnecessary option maybe, but it’s rather neat actually if you use frequency analyzers while EQ-ing. Automation and MIDI control are supported. The plugin comes with a range of presets, some of which are interesting and can be useful if you don’t have much experience with equalisation. All sample rates are supported.
So, Triple EQ offers a whole lot of options for free, and the fact that it’s in the second place doesn’t mean it’s not good enough to be in you free VST arsenal. It’s really worth trying, and you will probably use it from time to time, or even regularly. What I don’t like about it though, is the fact that it’s a bit of a CPU hog (although it does shut down the processing when idle, which is great), and somewhat unstable. Also, 3 band equalisation is good when you need to make small changes, but can prove not to be precise enough in certain cases.
1st place – “Electri-Q posihfopit edition” by Christian-W. Budde
I must say this even before i begin… this is an amazing plugin, a great tool that really helps you tweak a sound. I honestly can’t believe it’s free. So many available settings in a single freeware EQ!
You can add up to 60 bands, and can select from more than 30 available filters for each of the bands. I must mention that you can use the plugin as butterwoth filter too, by using the proper filter settings, so that you can cut decibels at very high slopes. Also, the plugin uses the “Posihfopit” engine with a transistor based algorithm, which allows you to add slight distortion at high level settings. The CPU usage is very low, and the plugin is almost perfectly stable. You can even switch to a so called “Economy mode” to achieve an even smaller impact on the CPU.
Electri-Q – posihfopit edition takes the first place without a doubt. It gives you amazing amount of control over your signal, at an amazing price! A must-have!