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Michael Martinez

Is an EQ plugin worth it?

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Hi. New to using to DAWs, just recently downloaded Cakewalk from Bandlab.  I've got a hardware EQ, so I don't necessarily need a software EQ, but from a workflow perspective my hardware is a little time-consuming to adjust, so I'm wondering whether an EQ plugin - such as Fabfilter Pro Q - would be worthwhile? Is it easy to use? Does it make it easier to make adjustments and hear the changes within the mix right away? Are the actual EQ-ing capabilities decent? Have never use a software EQ, don't know what to expect.

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FabFilter makes fine plug-ins. They have demos. Try them out but don't discount the EQs bundled with CbB. Every track has a QuadCurve EQ in the ProChannel. For addition EQ duties there is the Sonitus EQ.

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I just upgraded to the new FabFilter EQ 3 and it's excellent. It now has "dynamic" EQ capabilities and a beautiful and EZ to use graphical interface, well worth demoing (and buying if you can afford it). Software EQ's are far superior to hardware, it's not even close as by default, you are always storing your settings with each track and can have as many instances of, for example, the FF3 on each and every track. With your hardware EQ, you basically have a clumsy choice of only one setting. By clumsy I mean you have to physically connect it with cables and remember settings, etc. Also, DAWS are light-years better than old-school reel to reel tape machines with mixing boards, etc. With DAWS you become free to roam. Say you go on vacation and want to record, mix and Master. Can you easily take your EQ, cables, mixer and tape machine along? If you have a setup like many of us, a big powerful desktop and a small, light mobile laptop, you can have BandLab on both computers and plug-ins like FF3 and just move your song files from one to the other with a USB drive or "The Cloud".  Wherever your computer is, you basically have an entire studio with you (remember to bring your audio-interface and maybe a few microphones, guitars, etc). You're gonna love DAWS and will learn of many amazing things you can only do with DAWS, but there's a lot to learn. Don't be intimidated, for help, there are these forums and many excellent tutorial videos on Youtube to show you how to do things. Have fun!

Edited by user390096

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The Quad Curve EQ is very good. If you dbl click on it in the console view - it will open into a large format that shows a spectrum analyzer as well all editable bands.  The flyout view is not sticky and is intended for quick / focused adjustment . It then ducks back out and unclutters the view. Really great implementation IMO. The compressors are also very good. You can hit them pretty hard as well.

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13 hours ago, scook said:

FabFilter makes fine plug-ins. They have demos. Try them out but don't discount the EQs bundled with CbB. Every track has a QuadCurve EQ in the ProChannel. For addition EQ duties there is the Sonitus EQ.

+ 1    QuadCurve is excellent.  

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Thanks for the replies guys. I downloaded the Fabfilter 30-day trial. I will also definitely look at the QuadCurve and Sonitus. It sounds like these are much less wieldly than my hardware EQ.

I'll start learning how to use them and I'll post my impressions about it once I get familiar with them.

I also ran across an eight-part youtube tutorial "Cakewalk by Bandlab Tutorial" by "Your Home Recording" which looks like it should be a decent overview of how to navigate the DAW and accomplish basic tasks.

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Don't ignore free plug-ins. FabFilter products are excellent but price is not necessarily a good indicator of quality or utility.  There are hundreds of   useful free plug-ins. One could spend quite a bit of time at the kvr products pages. Here are two examples:

  • The Melda Production MFreeFXBundle. Completely usable as is and the license which unlocks extra features is a bargain when on sale. Melda routinely puts plug-ins on sale at 50% off. Their product bundles go on sale a couple times a year
  • Blue Cat Audio has a collection of free plug-ins worth a look
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What hardware EQ do you have?

A good idea might be to try and find a plugin that mimics your hardware, so the transition from hardware to software to easy.

I used Zoom hardware rack effects in the past, and when I first moved to software, lots of the EQs copied that rack mount design (anyone who has used Project 5 plugins will know this look) - nowdays, most plugins seem to have moved away from the 'nobs and sliders' look in favour of graphs and edit points that you can drag around.  I personally have transitioned to these modern plugins and would never go back to nobs and dials....in fact, I get really frustrated using dials on plugins, and when I see EQs advertised as "easy-to-use interface" covered in nobs and dials, I laugh. Old-school plugins made for old-school users.  But that's me.

As I said, think about your needs and work-flow.  The last thing you want is something that will take ages to learn and get in the way of you making music. 

Edited by 53mph

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Quad Curve with Flyout is one of the true Gems in the Cakewalk package.  It was a premium feature when the software had $100, $200, $500 tiers.  The fly out was only available in the $500 tier and was one of the primary reasons I went "all in."  The fact it is free in the package should not muddy your eye sight into thinking it isn't one of the best on the market for non-liner phase needs.

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Hi Michael,

                          I recently posted on here about adding some Mid/Side capability to any of the EQ tools available with CbB,supposedly this capability exists on the original L-Phase EQ which was part of the high-end SONAR Platinum offering,and may re-appear again in CbB in the future.

I think many forum users would recommend that whichever software EQ you purchase,make sure it has Mid/Side capability,as this is an important asset to bring into play when mixing and mastering.

Regards,

Neil

Edited by Neil Cummins
Typo

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3 hours ago, Neil Cummins said:

Hi Michael,

                          I recently posted on here about adding some Mid/Side capability to any of the EQ tools available with CbB,supposedly this capability exists on the original L-Phase EQ which was part of the high-end SONAR Platinum offering,and may re-appear again in CbB in the future.

I think many forum users would recommend that whichever software EQ you purchase,make sure it has Mid/Side capability,as this is an important asset to bring into play when mixing and mastering.

Regards,

Neil

The  MEqualizer in the MeldaProduction free bundle that @scook suggested has mid/side capability.

It really is worth a look, as it has loads of features most paid for EQ's don't have.

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You can never have too many plug-ins in the same way you can never have too many cats.  Do you really need another cat?  No.  But they're all different, and they're all adorable in their own way.  You'll never regret getting another cat.  I mean EQ.  Whatever.  But other folks are right, the EQ already built into CbB is excellent.   But if you feel you need something a bit beefier, by all means, go get it.  

~ Heather Haze

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Ah, outboard gear. Those were the days. I hung onto all of my rack mount stuff as long as I could--never got the external insert latency compensation thing to work properly, but in any case--slowly but surely, I got rid of everything but my mic tube preamp. Why? Convenience, saving presets, and speed of use. Recording, mixing, mastering, final track uploads all "In the box" was my goal.

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Fab Filter is like a Ferrari of EQ 's. I usually like to mess about with some more economy versions before shelling out for a top-of-the-line item like that. That way I can learn what features are important to me.

It has a great-looking UI, I can see, but then so does the great-sounding EQ in iZotope Ozone Elements, which I got a license for when I bought a license for Hybrid for $1.

I will echo what others have said here: the Quad Curve is a very fine EQ indeed, and Meldaproduction's free MEQualizer will take care of most of your other needs.

Nova 67P is a good freeware dynamic EQ if you wish to experiment with one of those.

Nobody has mentioned a "color" EQ, so I'll mention one of my favorites, freeware, natch. Lkjb Luftikus. Standard 6 rotary knob analog-style EQ, great for touch-ups.

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