There's no shortage of plugin vintage EQ emulations on the market - indeed, if anything, the category is overrepresented - so choosing the right one to suit your style and sonic taste can be tricky.
In this gallery, we hope to make life slightly easier in the EQ selection department for you by rounding up 16 of what we consider to be the finest classic EQs reborn in virtual form.
For the complete guide to putting classic EQ plugins to work in your productions, pick up the September edition of Computer Music (CM233).
Acustica Audio Pink
The API-inspired Acqua plugin is a full channel strip design incorporating four-band EQ with two styles, and API’s famous band-pass filter. There’s also a compressor, with feedback and feedforward signal flow, much like API’s 2500.
READ MORE: Acustica Audio Pink
PSP Audioware PSP NobleQ
This enhanced Pultec design features a high-pass filter, boost and cut for the high peak and high shelf, extended frequency settings and adjustable output valve harmonics.
Thrown into the bargain is the midrange-equipped NobleQex.
FULL REVIEW: PSP Audioware NobleQ
Waves PuigTec EQs
Waves’ EQP-1A is a painstaking emulation of Jack Joseph Puig’s golden Pultec unit, even including selectable mains hum (50Hz or 60Hz).
The pack also includes an emulation of a Pultec MEQ-5 and a bunch of JJP’s presets to get things started.
READ MORE: Waves PuigTec EQs
These two plugins emulate the EQ sections from Neve’s 1081 and 1084 modules. The 1084 is like an enhanced 1073, with low-pass filter, Hi Q for the peak band, and three high-shelf frequency settings. The two are available as a bundle.
FULL REVIEW: Kuassa EVE-AT Bundle
If you’re after a true bargain, this one delivers the key EQ components of the Neve 1073 design, coupled with an enhanced bandwidth control for the peak band, allowing narrow, wide and proportional options.
READ MORE: Stillwell 1973
Slate Digital Brit-N
An excellent 1073 emulation which benefits from an additional (and identical) parametric mid band and a gain-compensating drive option for the line level.
With the price including three further classic hardware emulations, this is a great option.
FULL REVIEW: Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack
Sonimus Burnley 73
Sonimus’ 1073 plugin includes a three-band EQ and passive high pass filter, with individual bypass for each. Meanwhile, the original’s mic and line options have been rejigged into a handy saturation control. It also has a very low CPU hit.
FULL REVIEW: Sonimus Burnley 73
ddmf 6144 EQ
ddmf’s Neve-inspired EQ is actually based on the more recent Portico 5033.
This fine five-band EQ with filters has three flexible parametric bands ideal for detailed changes, and two shelves that gradually overshoot as gain increases.
READ MORE: ddmf 6144 EQ
IK Multimedia EQ PA and EQ PB
Although not fully endorsed like the API offerings from UAD and Waves, these two individual plugins include the 550A and 550B EQ curves, plus IK’s own preamp emulation, all served up in IK’s sensibly-laid-out T-RackS format.
Native Instruments Solid EQ
This straight-up E and G series equipped plugin from NI provides four-band EQ with high- and low-pass filters. The two mid bands are fully parametric while the high and low bands individually switch to bell or shelving.
READ MORE: Native Instruments Solid Mix Series
Solid State Logic Duende EQ and Dynamics Channel
Sometimes overlooked, SSL’s own Duende channel strip includes both E and G style EQ, alongside other classic SSL processing such as the over-easy channel dynamics, super-fast gate and the filters to dynamic sidechain routing option.
READ MORE: SSL Duende EQ and Dynamics Channel
Universal Audio Trident A-Range
Developed in collaboration with Trident Audio, this UAD emulation of this classic channel EQ is based on the desk at New Monkey Studios, and includes the inductor EQs, band interactions and combination filters of the original.
READ MORE: UA Trident A-Range Classic Console EQ
Nomad Factory Pulse-Tec EQP-1A
Nomad Factory’s take on the Pultec design is actually a three-part plugin that includes emulations of the classic EQP-1A, the mid range MEQ-5 and also their own amplifier section with VU metering and an optional soft clipping stage.
FULL REVIEW: Nomad Factory Pulse-Tec EQs
Softube Abbey Road Studios Brilliance Pack
This pack includes emulations of three bespoke EQs developed at Abbey Road Studios during the 1960s, and can be the perfect choice for adding sparkle.
The RS127 Rack, RS127 Box and RS135 each sound slightly different, with the RS135 and RS127 pinpointing different high frequencies.
READ MORE: Softube Abbey Road Brilliance Pack
IK Multimedia Master EQ 432
Master EQ 432 is based on the revered Sontec mastering EQ, the weapon of choice for many top mastering engineers. IK have done a fab job of capturing its super-clean, linear but somehow magical sound.
FULL REVIEW: IK Multimedia Master EQ 432
Featuring SPL’s Analog Code programming, PassEQ emulates their own monster six-band stereo mastering EQ unit, including its input and output transformer stages, differing cut and boost frequency points and band interactions, whilst adding M/S processing for good measure.
FULL REVIEW: SPL PassEQ