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The Best EQ Plugins To Dial In Your Sound (2024)

August 27, 2023 
BY DAN SPENCER
Last Updated on January 9, 2024

EQ is an essential tool for audio engineers to shape the sound of instruments, mixes, and masters. EQ plugins have become more prevalent as technology has advanced, and they have made it easier to achieve professional-sounding mixes. However, with so many EQ plugins available on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right one. In this blog post, we will explore the top 5 best EQ plugins for mixing, mastering, and fixing audio. Let's dive in!

Included in this guide:

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
Slate Digital Infinity EQ

Slate Digital Infinity EQ

  • Zero latency analog matched curves
  • Supports up to 24 bands
  • Mid/side processing included
5
Check Price
Runner-up
Three-Body Technology Kirchhoff EQ

Three-Body Technology Kirchhoff EQ

  • 32 EQ bands with 15 different filter types
  • Models 9 different vintage eq hardware units
  • Dynamic EQ function with two-way thresholds

 

5
Check Price
Top Pick
FabFilter Pro-Q 3

FabFilter Pro-Q 3

  • Supports up to 24 bands
  • Dynamic EQ with external side chaining
  • Surround support (Dolby Atmos 7.1.2)
4.9
Check Price
Top Pick
Eventide SplitEQ

Eventide SplitEQ

  • 8-band parameter EQ
  • Structural Split Engine
  • Mid-side feature included
4.8
Check Price
Lowest Price
Sonible Smart:EQ 3

Sonible Smart:EQ 3

  • 24-band EQ with adaptive learning
  • AI makes EQ corrections
  • Switchable dynamic EQ per band
4.7
Check Price

The Top 5 Best EQ Plugins

1
Slate Digital Infinity EQ
Best Overall

Slate Digital Infinity EQ

  • Zero latency analog matched curves
  • Supports up to 24 bands
  • Mid/side processing included

Searching for a versatile EQ that covers all your needs? Discover the Infinity EQ plug-in by Slate Digital. Designed for the contemporary engineer seeking efficiency and impressive outcomes, this 24-band graphical EQ is tailored for rapid work and excellent results.

Fine-tuned for both mouse and touchscreen interfaces, it features neatly arranged control clusters for optimal ease of movement, making the Infinity EQ remarkably effective and built to accelerate your workflow.

Oh, and did we mention its superior sound quality? This EQ is one of the most transparent ones in the market, whether used for delicate sculpting or radical tonal alterations. Additionally, with its adjustable slopes, concurrent cut and boost functions, and robust Mid/Side and Left/Right processing, the Slate Digital Infinity EQ is the best eq plugin on our list.

Pros
  • Very flexible and easy to dial in a sound.
  • Extremely transparent.
  • Comes with great starting presets.
Cons
  • It's priced on the higher end.
  • The features can be overkill for basic use.

 

2
Three-Body Technology Kirchhoff EQ
Runner-up

Three-Body Technology Kirchhoff EQ

  • 32 EQ bands with 15 different filter types
  • Models 9 different vintage eq hardware units
  • Dynamic EQ function with two-way thresholds

 

The Kirchhoff-EQ is a revolutionary 32-band parametric EQ plugin, designed for mixing and mastering. It boasts superior sound quality, analog modeled curves, ultra-low distortion dynamics processing, 15 filter types, and 32 vintage EQ models that mimic real-world devices. Its unique "Robust Nyquist-matched Transform" ensures the digital frequency response closely matches its analog equivalents, eliminating the high-frequency 'cramping' common in regular IIR equalizers.

Additionally, its 64-bit default operation and "Double-Double" technique achieve unprecedented 117-bit internal processing precision, while the "Psychoacoustic Adaptive Filter Topologies" optimizes sound quality by intelligently adapting filter structures without compromising frequencies.

The Kirchhoff-EQ also features selectable phase modes, advanced dynamic EQ capabilities with two-way thresholds, adjustable 'onset' control, and a relative detection option. Moreover, it includes a frequency spectrum graph, oversampling, lookahead, mid-side processing, stereo width, global EQ scaling, all optimized for minimal CPU usage.

This comprehensive and intuitive EQ tool transforms the way you process sound, offering unparalleled precision and flexibility.

 

Pros
  • Many EQ tones all in one.
  • Has more features than any EQ on our list.
  • Can sculpt sound with pinpoint precision.
Cons
  • The most expensive EQ on our list.
  • Has a steep learning curve.

 

3
FabFilter Pro-Q 3
Top Pick

FabFilter Pro-Q 3

  • Supports up to 24 bands
  • Dynamic EQ with external side chaining
  • Surround support (Dolby Atmos 7.1.2)

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 delivers unmatched sound quality, a comprehensive feature set, and a innovative interface that simplifies its operation. It includes everything an audio engineer could want: superior linear phase operation, zero latency and unique Natural Phase modes, fluid dynamic EQ, per-band mid/side processing, full surround support up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2, intelligent solo feature, optional Auto Gain, and a fully customizable spectrum analyzer.

The interactive EQ display enables quick band creation, dynamic EQ activation for any band, and simultaneous editing of multiple bands. Additional features like Spectrum Grab, Full Screen mode, and EQ Match expedite the workflow.

The Pro-Q 3 also includes standard FabFilter features such as perfectly tuned knobs, interactive MIDI Learn, undo/redo and A/B switch, Smart Parameter Interpolation for smooth parameter transitions, comprehensive help file with interactive help hints, sample-accurate automation, and advanced optimization.

Try it and experience the efficiency and convenience it brings to your sound sculpting process!

Pros
  • Easy to use.
  • Precision band and frequency shaping (surgical eq).
  • Best EQ for finding and carving out space for instruments.
Cons
  • Price is a bit steep.
  • EQ match operation is unclear.
4
Eventide SplitEQ
Top Pick

Eventide SplitEQ

  • 8-band parameter EQ
  • Structural Split Engine
  • Mid-side feature included

The Eventide SplitEQ parametric EQ plug-in revolutionizes sound shaping with its groundbreaking Structural Split engine. It enables separate processing of the transients and tonal core of your audio, making it a speedy and efficient tool for de-essing, stereo widening, transient shaping, and more.

Essentially, the SplitEQ is two EQs in one. For example, it allows you to diminish the snare drum's ring without affecting its robust attack or de-ess a vocal transparently while using the Tonal processing for overall sweetening. It comes with real-time spectral analysis and an adjustable Split point for fine-tuning or sonic experimentation.

With complete control over all the elements of frequency, as well as the option to work in left-right or mid-side modes, SplitEQ offers unparalleled sonic control, impressing engineers of all levels.

Pros
  • Process tonal and transient data independently.
  • The most robust EQ our list for fine-tuning audio.
  • Over 150 presets for many different applications.

 

Cons
  • On the higher end price wise for an EQ plugin.
  • Has a bit of a learning curve to fully utilize its more advanced features.
  • Users report that the plugin scaling needs work.
5
Sonible Smart:EQ 3
Lowest Price

Sonible Smart:EQ 3

  • 24-band EQ with adaptive learning
  • AI makes EQ corrections
  • Switchable dynamic EQ per band

AI has revolutionized music production, unlocking possibilities that were out of reach for traditional effects. The Sonible smart:EQ 3 plug-in is a prime example. It is an exceptionally musical 24-band equalizer that seamlessly molds and shapes mixes without the adverse phasing effects typical of inferior EQs.

Its standout feature is its adaptive-learning EQ correction. Simply press 'Learn', input some audio, and the smart:EQ 3 autonomously rectifies any tonal imbalances in your tracks and mixes. It eradicates common recording flaws like muddy vocals, booming kick drums, and flat-sounding guitars. However, smart:EQ 3 also provides full control over your EQ curves, allowing you to determine which part of the spectrum and to what extent the audio is treated, or even to create your own custom EQ curves.

The latest version of smart:EQ 3 includes several user-inspired enhancements, like cross-channel processing, dynamic adaptation, minimum-phase filtering, and linear-phase filtering. If you seek a mixing tool that can significantly reduce the time spent on refining your final tracks, give the Sonible smart:EQ 3 plug-in a try.

Pros
  • AI makes dialing in a sound easy.
  • Wide library of source profiles for the AI engine.
  • Cheapest EQ on our list.
Cons
  • Not as flexible as other EQs on our list.
  • AI decisions could be better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I consider when choosing the best EQ plugins?

1. Number of bands: The more bands available, the more precise your adjustments can be.

2. Type of filters: Ensure the plugin has the filter types you need, like low pass, high pass, and bell filters.

3. Dynamic EQ mode: This feature can help manage the tonal balance of your mix more effectively.

4. User interface: A well-designed, intuitive interface can make your work much easier and faster.

5. Compatibility: Make sure the plugin is compatible with your DAW and operating system.

What is the benefit of using dynamic EQ mode?

Dynamic Eqs allow the EQ curve to adjust dynamically based on the input signal. This helps in managing the tonal balance of your mix more effectively by only applying EQ changes when they are needed.

What Is Mid/Side EQ?

Mid/side EQ is a technique that allows engineers to separate the mono and stereo elements of a mix. The mid channel contains the audio that is panned to the center, while the side channel contains the audio that is panned to the sides. Mid/side EQ allows engineers to apply different EQ settings to the mid and side channels, which can help improve the stereo image and clarity of the mix.

Why are low pass and high pass filters important?

Low pass filters remove high-frequency content above a certain point, while a high pass filter removes low-frequency content below a certain point. These filters are essential for cleaning up your mix by removing unwanted frequencies that can cause muddiness or harshness.

Are there any reliable free EQ plugins available?

Yes, there are several free EQ plugins available that offer a good range of features. While this blog post focuses on paid eq plugins, you can find free options online from reputable developers. Remember to check the compatibility with your DAW and operating system. NOTE: A free plugin can be tempting, but make sure you vet it before adding it to your workflow.

Product Recap

Equalization is a critical tool for mixing, mastering, and fixing audio, and having the right EQ plugin can make a big difference in the quality of the final product. The five best EQ plugins that we've highlighted in this article offer a wide range of features and approaches to EQing. Any of them would be a great addition to your plugin arsenal.

We love the Slate Digital Infinity EQ due to it's transparency, flexibility, and spectrum analyzer. If you are looking for an EQ with all the bells and whistles then the Kirchoff EQ is your go-to. If you want to save a bit of money and harness the power of AI, then the Sonible Smart:EQ 3 is the place to be.

Ultimately, the best way to choose between eq VST plugins is to experiment with different options and find the one that works best for your needs. Whether you prefer the precision and control of digital EQ, the warmth and character of analog models, or the innovative approaches of dynamic EQ and AI algorithms, there's an EQ plugin out there that can help you achieve the perfect mix.

"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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