Sonimus is kindly giving away two free copies of the SonEQ Pro ($59) equalizer plugin to two lucky BPB readers. Learn more about the plugin in our SonEQ Pro review and enter the giveaway to win a free copy of the software.
A decade ago, Sonimus released a freeware analog-inspired equalizer plugin called SonEQ. It was an instant classic among the users, getting rave reviews in magazines and forums like KVR Audio and Gearslutz.See also: Best FREE Convolution Reverb VST Plugins
The thing is, the VST plugin market was a lot different back then. There really weren’t that many EQ plugins to choose from, especially freeware. The original SonEQ offered a combination of analog saturation and musical curves that made it such a unique freeware plugin back in 2010.
Years have passed, and Sonimus made a name for themselves by releasing high-quality analog console emulations like Satson and Britson. The company became known for its meticulous approach to emulating analog saturation and offering fairly-priced plugins that are modeled after classic studio gear.
They also released an updated and completely overhauled version of their first plugin, now called SonEQ Pro. It features updated algorithms and builds upon the “musical EQ” concept that made its predecessor so popular.
SonEQ Pro Review
SonEQ Pro emulates the tone and the subtle harmonic saturation of analog equalizers. It is a 4-band parametric EQ with the addition of high-pass and low-pass filters. The plugin also features a gain control and a drive knob.
The drive knob adjusts the amount of analog saturation that is applied to the signal. Even with the drive set to zero, SonEQ will apply some subtle preamp saturation to the signal. Pushing the drive amount to a higher value will introduce more harmonics for an even warmer sound.
The plugin’s low band (20 Hz – 100 Hz) section is based on the push/pull dual filter design found in classic Pultec equalizers. These dual filters work great for “focusing” the low end around a certain frequency. The push/pull technique is often used to add more “weight” to a kick drum while removing the “muddiness” above the cutoff frequency.
The cool thing about SonEQ Pro’s low band is that it can also work as a standard “bell” frequency band. This mode is engaged by turning on the “Bell” switch at the bottom of the interface.
The low-mid (70 Hz – 2 kHz) and high-mid (1 kHz – 6.8 kHz) bands share the same control layout. These are semi-parametric filters with a ±10 dB gain range and a switch to adjust the Q shape.
The high band can boost the high frequencies by up to 10 dB by default. The “Cut” switch can be engaged to attenuate the highs instead.
As you can see, SonEQ Pro offers a simple control scheme. It’s one of those equalizers that encourage the user to “use their ears” when mixing instead of staring at a frequency spectrum.
This simplicity is the thing I like the most about SonEQ Pro. It features smooth EQ curves that you can push to the extremes without the plugin sounding harsh or artificial. Indeed, SonEQ is a very musical equalizer, and this makes it such a joy to use.
The low band is one of the highlights, thanks to its Pultec-style push/pull design and the ability to focus the low end. This little EQ does wonders on bass guitars and kicks. Carve out the excess mid-bass, enhance the sub frequencies, and then add a bit of accent to the high-mids to make the track cut through a busy mix.
The analog saturation is optional, and it can be quite useful in some cases. For example, I’ve found that virtual synths can sound that much pleasing to the ear with a slight boost in the low mids and a bit of analog drive added to the signal.
The vocals also sound richer with SonEQ Pro’s saturation and some subtle enhancement of the high frequencies. Of course, this will also depend on the microphone that was used to capture the vocals.
Another thing to consider is SonEQ Pro’s low CPU consumption. Multiple instances can be used without stressing the processor too much, making the plugin suitable almost on a per-track basis. SonEQ Pro works great as the last equalizer in the signal chain for adding that final polish and shape to a track.
Using multiple instances of SonEQ Pro across the mix will also result in a cumulative saturation effect. Every channel will be slightly saturated with SonEQ’s analog preamp emulation, which is an interesting technique to try if you’re going for that slightly vintage type of sound.
You can download the demo version of SonEQ Pro for free from the product page on the Sonimus website (click the “Try It” button).
Sonimus kindly provided two free SonEQ Pro licenses for two lucky BPB readers. We are giving away one of the licenses here and one on our Instagram page. So, there are two ways for you to enter the giveaway:
- Post a comment on this article (1 randomly picked winner)
- Comment on this Instagram post and tag a friend (1 randomly picked winner)
Only one comment per entrant is allowed. You can enter the giveaway both here and on Instagram to double your chances of winning. Our Instagram page is still quite new, so there won’t be a lot of competition. :)
We will announce the winners on Friday, October 2nd. Good luck, everyone, and thanks for reading BPB!
UPDATE: The winners are L (Lc********@yahoo.**) and @greg_hobgood (Instagram). Congratulations to our two winners and THANK YOU to all of you who participated. We have A TON more free content coming by the end of the year, so stay tuned.
More info: Sonimus SonEQ Pro ($59)