Vintage hardware reborn
Modern ‘digital’ EQ plug-ins tend to be far more flexible than their analogue hardware forerunners, which usually means more bands capable of narrower Q settings, and lots more gain.
However, what these designs tend to lack is analogue character, and in certain situations, too much flexibility can be a hindrance rather than a help.
Heading for analogue-inspired EQ plug-ins is certainly an option, then and you’ll find there are plenty to choose from. We’re looking at ten of them here, and they’re all available for PC and Mac in AU, VST and RTAS formats, though the first couple are UAD-2 exclusives.
For a comprehensive guide to analogue-style EQ plug-ins, check out the September issue of Computer Music (CM168) which is on sale now.
Universal Audio Harrison 32C
Emulates the distinctive 4-band EQ from Bruce Swedien’s very own hit-making Harrison 4032C desk. Note that it requires a UAD‑2 card to run.
Universal Audio Manley Massive Passive
Manley’s hardware tube mastering EQ is a triumph of engineering. Emulating it takes oodles of DSP - a UAD 2 Solo runs just one stereo instance.
Softube Passive-Active Pack
Softube’s three-pack provides individual EQs that emulate the Neumann PEV 930 passive and Filtek Labo Mk5 active EQs, with the third plug-in combining both.
Softube Trident A-Range
Based on one of the big desk EQs of the ‘70s and created with help from original designer Malcolm Toft, emulations don’t get much closer than this.
IK Multimedia Vintage Tube Program Equalizer
The Pultec EQP-1A is probably the most copied EQ of all time, and this emulation is not only sonically on the money but works in M/S mode too.
Waves SSL G-Equalizer
SSL’s G EQ is a powerful EQ that’s contributed to the sound of countless major releases. It’s part of its SSL 4000 package, which the price reflects.
PSP Audioware sQuad
Six plug-ins now make up this hardware influenced EQ bundle, and with inspirations coming from Neve, AMEK and MCI, it’s not just run of the mill.
Abbey Road Plug Ins Brilliance Pack
The pack includes three variations of Abbey Road’s bespoke treble-enhancing EQ boxes - rare hardware that few of us will ever have the opportunity to use.
Sound Performance Labs EQ Rangers
SPL’s three-pack of passive EQs are software versions of their own hardware. Two of the three plug-ins, Bass and Vox Ranger, are also application-specific.
URS N4 Series 4
Just one of a number of Neve-inspired EQs from URS, this one is their closest to a direct emulation of the classic Neve 1081 EQ.