The 8 Best EQ VST Plugins on the Market (2022)

BEST EQ VST PLUGINS 2020: cover image

“What are the best EQ VST plugins out there in 2022?”

EQ or “equalisation” is an incredibly powerful tool that is essential to any music producers track mixing process.

To put it very simply, it’s the process of giving a sound more bass, more mid-range, or more high-end.

Our ears can detect a huge range of frequencies—approximately 20 Hz to 20 kHz. You can think of EQ’ing as sculpting, making sure your sounds have their own frequency pockets, allowing them to cut through the mix and not overlap. It’s the process of editing the balance of the different frequency components in an audio signal.

For example: adding EQ can turn a dull, thudding kick drum into a rounded, chest-pounding kick.

When searching for a new EQ VST plugin, producers usually ask themselves the same question: “are there any free alternatives?”

The answer is: yes and no.

There are many free EQ plugins out there, a few of which have a decent selection of additional features and are, for the most part, enough to get the job done.

However, there comes a point where you have to step up your game and invest in a high quality, professional EQ plugin. It’s the only way you’ll truly ever compete in the shark tank that is the music industry.

Luckily for us, EQ VST plugins can be relatively cheap nowadays, so in this list I’ve included plugins for a range of budgets.

So without further ado, here is my rundown of the very best EQ VST plugins on the market in 2022.


The 8 Best EQ VST Plugins on the Market in 2022

BEST EQ VST PLUGINS 2020: fabfilter

1. FabFilter Pro-Q 3 EQ

Sound Quality

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for the gold-standard of sound quality, flexibility, and ease of use when it comes to high-end EQ plugins.

Without a shadow of a doubt, FabFilter’s “Pro-Q 3 EQ” plugin is one of the most popular, highly acclaimed EQ plugins of all time, and it’s easy to see why.

This EQ plugin is focused around a large, stunning EQ band waveform display. This allows you to place up to 24 bands wherever you want, and then fine-tune your chosen bands, e.g variable stereo placement or enabling dynamic EQ.

However, plenty of EQ plugin have this style of interface, so why does FabFilter’s plugin stand out from the rest? I think it boils down to two factors. Firstly Pro-Q 3 EQ is incredibly intuitive and has a beautiful, easy-to-use design while still offering every EQ process an advanced producer would ever need. Because of this, even a complete beginner to music production could get the hang of this plugin in minutes. Secondly, Pro-Q 3 EQ allows you to shape your sounds in a way that results in unparalleled sound quality and frequency precision.

As you’d expect, Pro-Q 3 EQ isn’t cheap, but if you’ve got the money to spend, it’s probably the only EQ plugin you’ll ever need.

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 EQ Features

• Up to 24 EQ bands

• Optional Dynamic EQ mode for all bands

• Ultra-steep ‘Brickwall’ slope setting for LP and HP filters

• Auto Gain and Gain Scale

• Optional piano roll display to quantize EQ frequencies to musical notes

• Different display ranges: 3 dB and 6 dB ranges for mastering, 12 dB and 30 dB for mixing

• Intelligent solo mode makes it easy to find problem frequencies and hear the effect of a band

+ much more.

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


BEST EQ VST PLUGINS 2020: melda EQ

2. MeldaProduction – MAutoDynamicEQ

Sound Quality

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for a innovative, powerful EQ tool more geared towards advanced EQ processes at a mid price range.

MeldaProduction have released some of best utility and FX VST plugins I’ve ever used, and their EQ plugin MAutoDynamicEQ does not disappoint.

This plugin has a massive amount of creative potential. Much like the Pro-Q 3 EQ, this plugin is centered around a visual parametric equalizer display, but the interface as whole definitely comes with a moderate learning curve, and i’d say this EQ plugin is geared more towards advanced producers and sound engineers.

MAutoDynamicEQ is unbelievably versatile, and has a lot of EQ tricks up it’s sleeve. The built-in Filter Adaption technology can actually equalize a sound for you based on a sonic analysis of another waveform, or even your own ‘drawn-in’ content.

This plugin also has a soft-saturation feature that’s adds a smooth, analog character to a sound, as well as mono/stereo processing, 4 advanced modulators, upsampling, A/H presets and other useful features.

For the amount of creative possibilities hidden in this plugin, the mid-range price tag is a welcome surprise. Overall, MAutoDynamicEQ is one of the best EQ plugins for advanced EQ processes without breaking the bank.

MAutoDynamicEQ Features

• Visualisation interface with classic meters and time graphs

• Adjustable oscillator shape technology

• 4 multiparameters

• M/S, single channel, up to 8 channels surround processing…

• Smart randomisation

• Automatic gain compensation (AGC)

+ much more.

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 64-bit only.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


BEST EQ VST PLUGINS 2020: tdr slickeq ge

3. TDR VOS SlickEQ GE

Sound Quality

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for an EQ plugin that sounds incredible with a lot of powerful feature, while remaining extremely affordable.

If you’re not ready to splash out on some of the more expensive EQ options above, TDR VOS SlickEQ GE is a fantastic, cheap alternative.

This plugin has 3 semi-parametric filter bands, each with two individual shape options. A recent update has added a Tilt-filter alongside low-pass and high-pass filters for a little added flexibility. SlickEQ also has five distinct EQ models: American, British, German, Soviet and Japanese, which are great for throwing some quick, pre-defined EQ onto a sound.

It goes without saying this EQ plugin doesn’t have the sonic scope and level of customization that other high-end plugins have, but at such a low price it’s perfect for beginners to get to grips with EQ processing.

TDR VOS SlickEQ GE Features

• 64bit “delta” multi-rate structure

• 3 semi-parametric bands

• 5 distinct EQ models

• Low-band offers an optional phase-lag able to delay low frequencies relative to higher frequencies

• High pass filter with optional “Bump” mode

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


BEST EQ VST PLUGINS 2020: equalize

4. Acon Digital – Equalize

Sound Quality

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for straightforward, fast-paced EQ plugin with powerful filter slope shaping.

In terms of appearance, Acon Digital’s Equalize plugin isn’t as flashy as industry leading EQ plugins like Pro-Q 3. Equalize has a more no-nonsense feel to it, even if it does have a somewhat dated design.

This EQ plugin allows up to 12 independent parametric bands, and 6 filter modes are available for each band: low-cut filter, high-cut filter, low shelf, high shelf, peak and notch. The filter slope can also be set anywhere from 3 dB to ultra-sharp 120 dB per octave for each band. A highlight of this plugin is how fast paced it feels, giving real-time zero-latency results while remaining very light on CPU.

Coming in at a mid-range price, this plugin is definitely worth considering if you don’t have the cash for a higher-end plugin, and want an EQ tool that’s extremely easy to use while still giving a lot of sonic flexibility.

Acon Digital – Equalize Features

• 12 independent bands with 8 different band filter types

• Freely adjustable gain, frequency, bandwidth, resonance and filter slope

• Three different phase modes, including the novel mixed phase mode with adjustable latency

• Choose channel mode for each band independently (mid, side, left, right or full processing)

• Adjustable frequency range in the equalizer curve editor

+ much more.

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


BEST EQ VST PLUGINS 2020: slickeq

5. TDR SlickEQ M

Sound Quality

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for an affordable EQ plugin specifically designed for mastering.

In addition to the TDR VOS SlickEQ GE, I’m including this plugin’s larger counterpart, the TDR SlickEQ M. This plugin is wider and a little more comprehensive, including 6 full parametric EQ bands. These bands give detailed control of overtone, timbre and the stereo image, and a sophisticated meta-filter offers direct and intuitive access to the brightness, hardness or equal loudness curve of an audio signal.

This plugin is specifically designed for mastering, as it gives much more control over each individual band when compared to TDR VOS SlickEQ GE. TDR SlickEQ M also has powerful high pass and low pass filters, each with four separate slopes.

Despite the added versatility of this mastering EQ plugin, this product remains extremely affordable when compared to other EQ tools on the market. This is easily one of the best affordable EQ plugins out there.

TDR SlickEQ M Features

• 6 full parametric EQ bands

• Advanced filter nonlinearities inspired by inductor EQ technology

• HP and LP filters – four slopes each

• Dedicated Low-frequency mono filter

• Meta Filter with control over brightness, hardness or equal loudness contours

• Smart actions allow matching the input against pink-noise distribution or custom references

+ much more.

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


smart:eq

6. smart:EQ 3

Sound Quality

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for an intelligent automated EQ plugin that literally EQ’s your sounds for you.

If you mention an automatic EQ analyzer plugin to a lot of producers, you may be met with a few raised eyebrows. The concept of a plugin that actually analyzes your sound and generates EQ curves for you seems almost impossible.

smart:EQ 3 is a truly unique, groundbreaking plugin that shatters this misconception. This plugin is capable of automatically EQ’ing a range of sounds, from adding a little “punch” to your kicks, to smoothing and enhancing a vocal performance. Due to it’s highly intuitive design, it’s perfect for beginner producers who are not yet ready to fine-tune the EQ of a layered track.

Granted, smart:EQ doesn’t always hit the nail on the head. EQ’ing is often a matter of personal taste, and automating this delicate process can sometimes limit creativity. It’s important to note that you can also edit the EQ bands within smart:EQ if the automatic A.I. filter isn’t quite up to scratch.

smart:EQ 3 Features

• Revolutionary learning ability powered by smart:engine

• Innovative “speech mode”

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


BEST EQ VST PLUGINS 2020: pro EQ

7. Minimal System Group – Pro EQ

Sound Quality

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for an incredibly cheap plugin with fairly limited amount of features but very light on CPU.

Minimal System Group have released a lightweight EQ analogue processor plugin “Pro EQ” with a simple, but highly effective design.

As you can probably tell, this isn’t a plugin packed with features and customization options, but it has fantastic sounding high and low pass filters as well as various EQ effects. It is also ridiculously light on CPU usage, making it ideal for multiple instances in your DAW.

Pro EQ is by far the cheapest EQ plugin on this list, so if you’re looking for a fast, straightforward EQ’ing tool for under $20, this plugin should definitely be on your radar.

Minimal System Group – Pro EQ Features

• Analogue Modelled EQ Processor

• LF/LMF/HMF/HF options

• High and Low Pass Filters

• 29 EQ Presets

This product is available for both Windows only.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


T-BONE

8. T-Bone

Sound Quality

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for an EQ plugin specifically focusing on Slant EQ’ing without breaking the bank.

A slant EQ is essentially increasing one end of the spectrum and lowering the other, creating a “slanted” EQ effect. It’s especially useful for instantly brightening a sound or giving a sound a deeper, bassier feel.

T-Bone is a easy-to-use, surprisingly powerful slant EQ plugin with some added functionality. This plugin includes a high pass filter with resonance control, and low pass filter also with resonance control. It also has an interesting feature called Boom and Harsh Control, which subdues overly aggressive side-effects of slant EQ’ing.

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.



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