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EQ Plug in test

Revelation

Active Member
I compared several popular plug in EQ’s on vocals, bass, and guitar and wanted to share my observations. Note there is no winner, as they all sound good in certain situations.

UAD Cambridge EQ: This was the cleanest EQ of the plug ins. It had the least of character and was helpful in situations where I already had the tone I wanted but the track needed a little adjustment. It was really nice in rolling off some low end on the bass or vocal track.

UAD Pultec Pro. This is a smooth sounding EQ and though the bands are limited compared to others it was a great EQ, especially on vocals.

Waves SSL: This is a clean EQ but at the same time it is a little musical. Very nice EQ indeed.

UAD Neve EQ’s: This was a smooth EQ that also had a little warmth. It made the bass guitar almost sound like it was going through a tube pre. It did a great job of making vocals which were sung though a solid state pre and mic have a smoothing character to it.

Waves V Series EQ: A little bit of iron added to the EQ. With the analog button on, it took off a little sterilenss. The bass track was a little bigger compared to the Waves Ren. Added a little bit of color as well.

Waves Ren. EQ.: This was a colorful EQ that sounded nice to add a little flavor. It lacked the warmth of the Pultec Pro or Neve, but in some situations sounded better.

What all the plug ins lack compared to high end hard EQ's is a biggness and certain clarity. The hardware sound like it is part of the signal while this plug ins sound like (though very good sounding) it is layered on top of the signal more or less.
 

Schaap

Member
Thanks for doing this. Did you compare all at 44.1 kHz? I miss the Helios :D .

No Eq-plugin can rival the better hardware units at the moment IMO, unfortunately from the money point of view :lol:

Henk
 
I also tested a large bunch of eq plugins! from cambridge to oxford to waves, sonalksis... we all know them! my conclusion is, soundwise most eq's are very similar. some do sound exactly the same if you tweak them right. so, i'm gonna stop that quest until computers are twice as fast as a sixteen-core-monster with 64 bit or something like that. If you have a cambridge, a renaissance, an oxford or maybe all of them you really won't need another one the next few years, believe me!
 

diggo

Member
Schaap said:
Thanks for doing this. Did you compare all at 44.1 kHz? I miss the Helios :D .

No Eq-plugin can rival the better hardware units at the moment IMO, unfortunately from the money point of view :lol:

Henk
Not true.
Try Algorithmix Blue.

Sean
 
No Eq-plugin can rival the better hardware units at the moment IMO, unfortunately from the money point of view

Henk

true! i tryed algorithmix blue myself and compared it with the ren-eq. yes they look different and the way you can tweak them is different, but in terms of the basic sound its not a big difference. and both lag the beauty and bigness of a quality hardware eq, but the ren-eq is not far away from that, so it's still my favourite.

:eek: oh sorry! that was my very last eq-test, stop, stop, stop!!!
 

Cabbage

Active Member
To me, the basic sound of the majority of EQs is similar. The biggest difference is in the handling, which makes one EQ fit a particular situation. You will get far with a good-sounding and flexible EQ like Oxford or Cambridge or Ren-EQ. Of course you can hear a difference, but for most tracks you will not be able to tell a difference once it is in the mix.

And for some reason hardware always sounds better.

Petter
 

manthe

Member
As much as I love the UAD-1 EQs, the closest I've ever come to getting a plug-in to sound like a decent hardware EQ is with my SSL Duende. It certainly takes more time to dial it in on the SSL than it does with the hardware, but it i pretty amazing how close it comes....seriously!

As long as time is not too big of a factor, it feels very good to know that I can get 16 stereo (32 mono) instances of the SSL channel strip, which comes dangerously closer than any other plug I've ever heard to the sound quality of a good, outboard EQ, for under 2G! The compressor on the Duende doesn't do much for me, though.

That said, I still use my UAD-1 EQs equally as much as my SSLs!!
 

Paul Woodlock

Established Member
Peter South said:
No Eq-plugin can rival the better hardware units at the moment IMO, unfortunately from the money point of view

Henk

true! i tryed algorithmix blue myself and compared it with the ren-eq. yes they look different and the way you can tweak them is different, but in terms of the basic sound its not a big difference. and both lag the beauty and bigness of a quality hardware eq, but the ren-eq is not far away from that, so it's still my favourite.

:eek: oh sorry! that was my very last eq-test, stop, stop, stop!!!
I think the Waves Ren EQ is awful. Even worse than the horrible waves Q series EQs. Even the Cambridge is much better.

Personally I din't know how anyone can even compare the UAD-1 Neves, Helios, Pultec and PEQ to the Ren and Q EQs.

And as for saying there isn't much difference in sound between Algorithmix and Ren EQ .... please pass me what you've been smoking :) :)
 

JCM800

New Member
Come on now Paul....you absolutely despise Waves and take every opportunity to tell everyone how bad their plugs are! Your bias is so obvious it is ridiculous. The Ren EQ is far from awful dude! It is not nearly as cool as some of the newer EQ plug-ins that we have now, but it is still useful and does not sound bad in any way.

I also noticed you commenting on how *awful* the Waves De-esser is over on the Nuendo forums. I'm not sure if you were talking about the original Waves De-esser or the Ren De-esser, but the Ren De-esser is one of the best I have ever used and believe it or not many others share this sentiment (and some of these people mix multi-million selling albums). I'm not saying that the Prec Mulitiband doesn't work even better for de-essing as I have not tried it, but again - the Waves product is NOT awful by any means.
 

Paul Woodlock

Established Member
JCM800 said:
Come on now Paul....you absolutely despise Waves and take every opportunity to tell everyone how bad their plugs are! Your bias is so obvious it is ridiculous. The Ren EQ is far from awful dude! It is not nearly as cool as some of the newer EQ plug-ins that we have now, but it is still useful and does not sound bad in any way.

I also noticed you commenting on how *awful* the Waves De-esser is over on the Nuendo forums. I'm not sure if you were talking about the original Waves De-esser or the Ren De-esser, but the Ren De-esser is one of the best I have ever used and believe it or not many others share this sentiment (and some of these people mix multi-million selling albums). I'm not saying that the Prec Mulitiband doesn't work even better for de-essing as I have not tried it, but again - the Waves product is NOT awful by any means.
I used to use the Ren EQ years ago. I never forget getting the Cambridge EQ and replacing the Ren EQ with it some projects and the difference was very noticable. The Ren EQ sounded very muddy in comparison.

De-essing? Have you tried the PMB? Sounds much better than the waves desser ( original btw ) IMO.

Actually no I do not despise Waves. I intensely dislike their rip off WUP nonsense. I think many of their plugs aren't very good at all. However some of their plugs I have tried I really like. The Waves SLL plugs, for example, I think sounds great. I also remember really liking the LinEQ OTOH I think the REN EQ sounds awful.

YMMV If you think it sounds good then use it. And those who mix multi-zillion-trillion selling albums will still mix multi zillion-trillion selling albums whatever EQ they use. :)
 
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