2nd Sense Audio has released 2S EQ, a freeware 7-band parametric equalizer in VST/AU plugin formats for compatible host applications on PC and Mac.
The developer describes 2S EQ as a simple, straightforward equalizer that “everyone can use without learning”. Although there is no denying that 2S EQ features an intuitive user interface which is a breeze to use, I have a feeling that the plugin is still a bit rough around the edges, especially in the CPU consumption department. But more on that below.
2S EQ offers seven fully parametric EQ bands, along with adjustable-slope HP and LP filters. The gain can be pushed from -60 dB to +15 dB for each band. Although uncommon, the asymmetric gain range can come in handy for attenuating unwanted frequencies more drastically. The plugin’s standout feature, though, is definitely the built-in real-time spectrum analyzer, a trait that is still somewhat of a rarity among freeware equalizer VST plugins.
The feature set looks rather promising on paper, but I was slightly disappointed by the plugin’s performance. Having noticed a bit of control lag when adjusting the gain parameter, I opened Studio One’s performance meter to check if everything looked fine. What I noticed is that the CPU hit hovers around 6% per instance on a 7th gen i7 processor, which is way more than I’d like to see on a tracking EQ. This sort of CPU usage would be fine for a mastering tool, but I believe that 2S EQ was intended primarily for use as a mixing utility. The features on offer would certainly make it one of the better freeware mixing EQs around. To make things worse, bypassing individual EQ bands doesn’t seem to affect the CPU hit at all. Same goes for disabling the spectrum analyzer.
Still, apart from the performance issues described above, 2S EQ has the potential to become a rather decent freeware mixing equalizer. Hopefully, 2nd Sense Audio will update the plugin soon enough, reducing the CPU hit and eliminating the control lag. They have released a number of interesting and competitively priced plugins lately, following the excellent Wiggle synthesizer which we reviewed a while ago.
To be completely fair to 2nd Sense Audio, the plugin doesn’t seem to be officially announced yet and I’ve only found it thanks to the tip posted by one of our readers in the comments section. It’s quite possible that this is a beta version of the plugin. Either way, you can grab it completely free of charge from the page linked below, no registration required.
2S EQ is available for free download via 2nd Sense Audio (10.2 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac OS).