7 Best EQ VST Plugins: Sculpting Sound to Perfection (2024)

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Discover the best EQ VST plugins of 2024, the ultimate sound sculpting tools for transforming good mixes into masterpieces. In the dynamic world of music production, EQ (equalization) is a critical tool in a producer’s arsenal, offering the ability to shape sonic spaces, enhance particular frequencies, and mitigate excessive resonances. With a plethora of EQ plugins available, each featuring its own set of unique capabilities and characteristics, choosing the right one can seem daunting.

This curated list seeks to guide you through the vast realm of EQ VST plugins, spotlighting the crème de la crème of sound sculpting tools available today. From surgical precision to vintage warmth, these plugins cater to a range of needs and styles. We’ll delve into the specifics, exploring key features, software types, and the benefits each one brings to the table.

Whether you’re a budding producer looking for your first EQ plugin or a seasoned professional on the hunt for a fresh addition to your collection, this list promises insights and recommendations tailored for all. Journey with us as we unveil the finest EQ VST plugins that stand tall in 2024, ensuring your mixes resonate with clarity, depth, and distinction.

Our Top Picks
  • FabFilter - Pro-Q 3
  • Eventide - SplitEQ
  • Sonible - SmartEQ 3
  • Pulsar Audio - Pulsar 8200
  • HoRNet - Total EQ
  • Oeksound - Soothe2
  • SoundRadix - SurferEQ 2
Best EQ VST Plugins: Fabfilter - Pro-Q 3
(Image Credit: Fabfilter)

FabFilter Pro-Q 3

The Ultimate EQ Tool for Every Producer's Arsenal

Specifications:

  • Software Type: Dynamic Equalizer
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX, RTAS

Benefits:

  • Spectrum Grab feature for easy peak identification and adjustment.
  • Supports up to 24 bands with a choice between various filter shapes.
  • Dynamic EQ mode allowing frequency-specific compression/expansion.
  • Surround sound support up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2.
  • Advanced side-chain options and per-band mid/side/left/right processing.
  • Meticulously crafted user interface for intuitive adjustments.

Overview:

The FabFilter Pro-Q 3 stands tall as one of the most renowned EQ plugins in the music industry, and for good reason. It seamlessly combines robust features with an incredibly intuitive interface. Every adjustment feels precise, and the plugin is flexible enough to handle any equalization task, be it subtle correction or bold creative shaping.

One striking feature is its Dynamic EQ mode, where specific frequencies can be boosted or cut only when they surpass a certain threshold. This offers a blend of EQ and compression in a way that’s both innovative and useful. Furthermore, its Spectrum Grab feature is nothing short of revolutionary, allowing users to literally grab peaks in the visual spectrum and adjust them.

Pro-Q 3’s support for surround sound formats, including Dolby Atmos 7.1.2, is an added boon for post-production professionals. Its adaptability ensures that it’s equally at home in a mix engineer’s toolkit as it is in a mastering suite.

Final Thoughts:

The FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is a testament to what is achievable when impeccable design meets cutting-edge functionality. For those seeking to elevate their sound sculpting capabilities, this EQ is a worthy investment. Dive into a world of unparalleled precision and flexibility, and let Pro-Q 3 redefine your approach to equalization. Don’t just take our word for it; experience the power of Pro-Q 3 for yourself!

Best EQ VST Plugins: Eventide - SplitEQ
(Image Credit: Eventide)

Eventide SplitEQ

Redefining Equalization with Structural Split Technology

Specifications:

  • Software Type: Spectral Split Equalizer
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Benefits:

  • Advanced Structural Split technology separates transient and tonal information.
  • Eight bands of parametric EQ with multi-band and multi-mode compressors.
  • Unique panorama spectral view offers a new visual approach to EQ.
  • Advanced side-chain features and external side-chain support.
  • Intuitive user interface with detailed waveform visualization.
  • Perfect for both subtle spectral shaping and radical frequency manipulation.

Overview:

Taking the realm of EQ to new heights, the Eventide SplitEQ isn’t your typical equalizer. It integrates the groundbreaking Structural Split technology, a method that divides sound into its transient and tonal components, enabling highly specialized shaping not feasible with conventional EQs.

This spectral split method reveals the depths of your mix in a way that traditional equalizers can’t touch. Whether you’re looking to add clarity to a muddy track, isolate specific drum hits, or craft an entirely unique sound landscape, SplitEQ offers the tools in a sleek, user-friendly package. The panorama spectral view is especially noteworthy, giving producers and mixers a fresh perspective on how they view and interact with frequencies.

Beyond its EQ capabilities, the built-in compressors allow for dynamic control, offering both multi-band and multi-mode options for detailed sculpting. The advanced side-chaining capabilities open doors for creative gating and rhythmic effects, particularly useful in electronic music production.

Final Thoughts:

Eventide SplitEQ isn’t just another equalizer; it’s an evolution in the world of spectral processing. With its unparalleled features and cutting-edge technology, it stands out as an indispensable tool for producers and engineers. If you’re in search of an EQ that breaks boundaries and inspires creativity, SplitEQ is the answer. Experience the next generation of equalization today!

Best EQ VST Plugins: Sonible - SmartEQ 3
(Image Credit: Sonible)

Sonible SmartEQ 3

Revolutionizing EQ Workflow with Advanced AI Technology

Specifications:

  • Software Type: Adaptive Equalizer with AI Assistance
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Benefits:

  • AI-driven equalization for optimized results with minimal effort.
  • User-friendly interface with intuitive controls.
  • Quick audio profiling to understand and adapt to source material.
  • Flexible filter shapes and unique spectral balance controls.
  • Real-time analysis displays to visualize spectral imbalances.
  • Adaptive bands that autonomously identify and correct problematic resonances.

Overview:

The third iteration in Sonible’s SmartEQ series, the SmartEQ 3 takes audio equalization to a new echelon of innovation. With its AI assistance, this adaptive equalizer dramatically streamlines the EQ process, allowing for efficient, precise, and musically satisfying results without the typical trial-and-error.

Upon feeding it audio, SmartEQ 3 swiftly profiles the signal, identifying and mitigating any spectral imbalances. This isn’t just a static analysis. The adaptive bands continuously monitor and adjust in real-time, ensuring consistent clarity and balance throughout a track.

Yet, for all its technological advancements, SmartEQ 3 never leaves the user out of the equation. You retain complete control over the final sound. The interface is transparent, allowing for adjustments to the AI’s decisions or even bypassing them entirely. Whether you’re in a hurry or wish to delve deep into sonic sculpting, SmartEQ 3 stands ready to facilitate.

Final Thoughts:

Sonible’s SmartEQ 3 truly represents the future of equalization. Merging sophisticated AI with user-driven control, it offers a balance between speed, efficiency, and musical integrity. Elevate your productions with an EQ that thinks along with you. Don’t get left behind in the past; embrace the future with SmartEQ 3.

Best EQ VST Plugins: Pulsar Audio - Pulsar 8200
(Image Credit: Pulsar Audio)

Pulsar Audio Pulsar 8200

Experience Surgical Precision with an Analog Touch

Specifications:

  • Software Type: Advanced Parametric Equalizer
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Benefits:

  • Rich analog warmth with the precision of digital EQ.
  • Ultra-versatile, catering to mastering, mixing, and creative EQ needs.
  • Intuitive user interface encourages a smooth workflow.
  • Provides a spectrum of colors, from subtle shaping to aggressive boosts and cuts.
  • Resonant filters allow for precise frequency carving.
  • Superior transient response, ensuring audio clarity.

Overview:

Pulsar Audio’s 8200 has carved a niche for itself by merging the best of the analog and digital worlds. This parametric equalizer offers users the accuracy and precision of modern digital equalizers, while preserving the lush warmth and character associated with vintage analog gear.

Designed for both the clinical demands of mastering and the dynamic needs of mixing, the Pulsar 8200 provides a wide palette for sound shaping. Its resonant filters are a standout, enabling users to hone in on problematic frequencies or enhance desired tones with surgical accuracy. Whether you’re aiming to gently massage a mix or embark on more radical sonic explorations, this EQ has got you covered.

Despite its in-depth features, Pulsar 8200 remains remarkably user-friendly. Its interface is sleek and intuitive, ensuring that producers and engineers, whether seasoned or new, can navigate its controls with ease and confidence.

Final Thoughts:

Pulsar Audio’s 8200 is more than just an EQ; it’s a comprehensive sonic toolkit. By straddling the line between warm analog character and cutting-edge digital precision, it offers producers and engineers unparalleled control over their sound. Dive into a world where unparalleled clarity meets vintage warmth. With Pulsar 8200 in your arsenal, every mix will shine with professional polish. Don’t miss out on this modern classic.

Best EQ VST Plugins: HoRNet - Total EQ
(Image Credit: HoRNet)

HoRNet Total EQ

Craft Your Sound Precisely with This Extensive Equalization Tool

Specifications:

  • Software Type: Parametric Equalizer with Dynamic EQ Capabilities
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Benefits:

  • Wide-ranging frequency response with 11 EQ shapes for detailed sculpting.
  • Dynamic EQ function for responsive adjustments based on input level.
  • Resizable GUI ensuring a perfect fit for any workflow or screen.
  • Precise spectrum analyzer with adjustable resolution and speed.
  • Auto-gain feature for immediate A/B comparison without volume differences.
  • Efficient CPU usage, making it suitable for multiple instances in a mix.

Overview:

The HoRNet Total EQ stands as an embodiment of precision combined with versatility. For producers and mix engineers demanding flexibility in their EQ choices, the Total EQ ticks all the right boxes. It boasts 11 distinct EQ shapes, from traditional peaks, shelves, and notches to more intricate tilt, band-pass, and all-pass filters, providing unparalleled sonic sculpting power.

Beyond static frequency adjustments, the Total EQ shines with its Dynamic EQ capabilities. This feature allows specific frequency bands to respond dynamically based on the input level, akin to a multiband compressor. It’s a game-changer for tackling resonances or enhancing specific tonal elements only when needed.

Its user interface, detailed yet uncluttered, houses a robust spectrum analyzer. With adjustable parameters for resolution and speed, users can see detailed frequency representations in real time, aiding the decision-making process. Moreover, the auto-gain feature ensures that any EQ changes don’t misleadingly affect perceived loudness, streamlining the mixing process.

Final Thoughts:

The HoRNet Total EQ promises, and delivers, a comprehensive EQ experience. Its blend of traditional parametric controls with modern dynamic capabilities makes it a formidable tool in any audio professional’s arsenal. Step up your mixing game and embrace the enhanced clarity and precision offered by Total EQ.

Best EQ VST Plugins: Oeksound - Soothe2
(Image Credit: Oeksound)

Oeksound Soothe2

Your Essential Tool for Removing Unwanted Frequencies and Harshness

Specifications:

  • Software Type: Dynamic Resonance Suppressor
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Benefits:

  • Dynamic suppression identifies and reacts to problematic resonances in real-time.
  • In-depth frequency targeting with adjustable bands.
  • High-resolution spectrum analyzer provides a detailed visual representation of frequencies.
  • Transparent operation ensures the naturalness of the sound.
  • Delta mode lets you hear just the resonances being processed.
  • Suitable for a wide range of applications: vocals, acoustic instruments, buses, full mixes, and more.

Overview:

Enter the oeksound soothe2, a plugin hailed by many as a magic wand for its uncanny ability to dynamically detect and eliminate problematic resonances. Whether you’re battling with harsh vocals, unwanted fret noise, or any unpleasant tonal characteristics, soothe2 emerges as the knight in shining armor.

Unlike traditional EQs that statically cut or boost frequencies, soothe2 intelligently identifies problematic resonances and applies suppression as required, ensuring a cleaner, more pleasant sound. This dynamic approach means that the natural tonal qualities of your source remain intact, and only the problematic areas are tackled.

The plugin’s interface is both elegant and efficient. With a detailed spectrum analyzer at its core, you get immediate visual feedback, aiding in precise adjustments. The delta mode is a particularly unique and valuable feature; it lets you solo and hear only the resonances that are being processed, providing clarity about the changes you’re implementing.

Final Thoughts:

Oeksound’s Soothe2 stands out not just as an EQ but as an indispensable tool in the modern producer’s toolkit. For those seeking to elevate their mixes by eliminating harshness without sacrificing the core essence of the sound, soothe2 is a no-brainer. Give your tracks the smoothness they deserve; let soothe2 work its magic.

Best EQ VST Plugins: SoundRadix - SurferEQ 2
(Image Credit: SoundRadix)

SoundRadix SurferEQ 2

Harmonically Enhance and Balance Your Mixes with Innovative Pitch-Tracking Technology

Specifications:

  • Software Type: Pitch-Tracking Equalizer
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Benefits:

  • Unique pitch-tracking capabilities allow EQ adjustments in real-time based on the pitch.
  • Seven EQ bands that can be set to SURF mode for pitch tracking.
  • Harmonic Filter allows boosting or cutting harmonics regardless of their frequency.
  • Side-chain functionality lets you use pitch information from one track to EQ another.
  • Spectral Gate allows precision in focusing on specific instruments within a dense mix.
  • Intuitive user interface for quick and efficient workflow.

Overview:

The SoundRadix SurferEQ 2 is a unique EQ plugin that brings something innovative to the table – the ability to track the pitch of monophonic instruments and vocals and adjust the EQ in real time. This groundbreaking feature, termed as “SURF,” ensures that your EQ moves stay relevant across the entire performance, lending an unmatched consistency and clarity to your tracks.

Conventional equalizers apply static frequency adjustments. However, the dynamic nature of many musical performances, especially when pitches shift, can make these static adjustments less effective. SurferEQ 2 breaks that mold. For instance, if you boost the low end of a bass guitar at a particular frequency, SurferEQ 2 ensures that this boost remains consistent, irrespective of the pitch changes, lending a uniform tonal balance across your track.

Further enriching its feature set is the Harmonic Filter which helps in refining tonal balance, making sure your boosts or cuts are harmonically resonant. The inclusion of the Spectral Gate is an added boon for mix engineers, allowing them to zero in on specific instruments, even in a complex mix, providing an extra layer of precision.

Final Thoughts:

The SoundRadix SurferEQ 2 is not just another EQ in the market; it’s a revolutionary tool that reshapes the way we approach equalization. By focusing on the harmonic content and the dynamic nature of musical performances, it offers a level of precision and consistency rarely seen. For those looking to step up their EQ game and introduce a new dimension of control in their mixes, SurferEQ 2 is an essential addition. Dive in and ride the waves of impeccable sound quality!

FAQ Buying Guide: Best EQ VST Plugins

EQing is a fundamental skill in music production, and a quality EQ plugin is indispensable. It can sculpt and define your sound, ensuring clarity and cohesion in your mixes. Whether you’re carving out unwanted frequencies or enhancing the character of an instrument, the right EQ VST can make all the difference.

  • What is an EQ VST plugin?

    An EQ (Equalization) VST plugin is a tool used to adjust the balance of specific frequencies in an audio signal, allowing producers and engineers to shape the tonal qualities of a sound or mix.

  • Why is EQing important in music production?

    EQing helps in enhancing or reducing specific frequency ranges to ensure clarity, balance, and depth in a mix. It can correct problems like muddiness or harshness and help instruments sit well together in a mix.

  • What's the difference between a parametric and graphic EQ?

    Parametric EQ allows you to select a specific frequency, adjust its bandwidth (Q), and then boost or cut it. Graphic EQ, on the other hand, divides the spectrum into several fixed frequency bands, allowing you to boost or cut each band.

  • How can I identify problematic frequencies?

    Many modern EQ plugins have a spectrum analyzer. By boosting a narrow band and sweeping it across the spectrum, you can pinpoint resonant or problematic frequencies. Once identified, you can reduce or eliminate them.

  • What is a shelf EQ?

    A shelf EQ boosts or reduces frequencies either above or below a set point. A high-shelf will affect frequencies above the set point, while a low-shelf targets frequencies below it.

  • Can I use EQ to add warmth to my mix?

    Yes. Boosting certain low-mid frequencies (typically around 100-500 Hz) can add warmth. However, too much boost in this area can make a mix sound muddy. It’s all about balance.

  • What's the difference between a transparent and colored EQ?

    Transparent EQs aim to make adjustments without adding any distinct character to the sound, ideal for corrective tasks. Colored EQs, however, impart a specific tonal character, often emulating classic hardware units.

  • How many EQ plugins do I really need?

    While having multiple EQ plugins can provide various flavors and functionalities, it’s more about knowing how to use them effectively. Many professionals have a few go-to EQ plugins they’re intimately familiar with and use them across projects.

  • Are there any risks with excessive EQing?

    Over-EQing can introduce phase issues or degrade the audio quality. It’s usually best to make subtle adjustments and trust your ears. If you find yourself making extreme EQ cuts or boosts, consider addressing the issue at the source or using a different sample or recording.

  • Is it better to EQ in solo mode or within the context of the mix?

    While soloing a track can help identify problems, it’s essential to make EQ decisions within the context of the entire mix. What sounds good soloed might not necessarily work well in the mix.

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