DMGAudio's EQuality proved that EQ hasn't peaked (ahem) and can still be reworked forthe modern age. The firm's new plug-in, EQuick, takes things further, doing away with traditional knobs and focusing on the graphic display.
EQuick is very much derived from EQuality andshares many of its features. These include aspectrum analyser, band control linking, configurable meter, low CPU usage, undo/redo, integrated preset management, eight comparison slots, auto-listen mode, frequency zooming and many further user-configurable settings. It's in VST and AU formats.
The EQ itself is simpler in some ways than Equality, because it only includes two modes: digital and linear phase. However, the bands are more freely configurable, with a 32-band maximum each selectable from one of six types: peak, notch, low shelf, high shelf, low-pass and high-pass filter. Shelf resonance can be manually shifted above and below the curve (useful for overshoot shapes).
The EQ can work in mid/side as well stereo modes. Here, EQuick is more flexible than Equality - you can individually assign each band to process mid, side or both. This means that you could boost low frequencies in the mid and high frequencies in the side, say.
Add a solo option for each mid/side aspect and you find yourself looking at apretty cool implementation. Other options include global stereo image control (0% to 200%) and five window sizes (tiny to huge).
Using EQuick is all about mouse and modifier key behaviour. Double-click in the window to create a new band; Ctrl+click or single left-click to bypass it; single right-click on its handle to invert the gain; and right-click+drag to engage auto-listen.
You can lasso handles to adjust groups of bands together, and the mouse wheel adjusts Q. What's more, in the Setup page, you can modify which type of new band is created.
All of this means there is a small learning curve, and after our initial random clicking in the window, we headed straight to the manual for clarification. As usual with modifiers, things do differ between PC and Mac.
Much like EQuality, EQuick offers masses of power, not least in terms of gain (+/- 36dB) but also Q width (up to a pinpoint 50 value) and filter slope (up to 48dB per octave).
It's great for surgical use, but it can also sound very musical (even though there's no gain/Q interaction). We liked the transparency of its sound, particularly in linear phase mode.
In use, you get tool-tip windows that float next to the handle you're adjusting. We found these helpful, but you can deactivate them in the Setup page if they bug you.
Our biggest frustration came from the fact that bands change colour to match the frequency area they're in. We found this more of a hindrance than a help, although we understand there will be further options in aforthcoming update. There's also a band numbering, which helped us considerably.
Overall, if we're looking for a downside, it's simply that EQuick forces you to do things one way, via the graph. If this doesn't suit your way of working, you may be better off with DMG's original EQuality plug-in.
This also enables you to tweak things using a graphic display, although with less flexibility, and you can fold away either the display or knobs to simplify things.
But EQuick's interface is sort of the point, and so long as it works for you, then you'll find that this is a lot more than a slimmed-down version of EQuality. For reference, EQuality costs £100, but you can buy both EQuick and EQuality in a bundle for £125.