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10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production in 2024

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production
May 16, 2023
Transform your audio with our pick of the best EQ plugins to upgrade your music production in 2024. Helping you enhance your tracks with precision and character, compiled this list of our favourite free and premium tool options. 

Each plugin option has different pros and cons, so our friends over at BeatSpot have built out this guest blog guide to help you decide on the best fit for your music production needs.

How do equalizers work in music?

Before we dive into which EQ plugin option is best for you, it's useful to understand how these different tools work and how they can help you make better beats and become a better music producer.

Equalizers - or EQs - are audio tools that can manipulate sound frequencies within songs. They work by adjusting the levels of different frequency bands in a sound signal, with the basic idea of boosting or cutting certain frequency ranges to enhance or suppress certain elements of the music.

EQs typically have sliders or knobs that control the levels of different frequency bands, such as bass, midrange, and treble. By adjusting these controls, audio engineers and musicians can shape the overall sound of the music to achieve a desired effect.

Boosting the bass frequencies can make a track sound more powerful and punchy, while cutting treble frequencies can create a more mellow sound. Equalizers are a crucial tool for achieving a professional-sounding mix in music production.

With that said, here are some of our top EQ plugin picks and music production tips to help take your projects up a gear!

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Stock EQ

The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) stock EQ is often a reliable and convenient choice for producers and engineers, for various reasons.

Familiarity and ease of use

The stock EQ plugins that come with your DAW have been designed to be user-friendly and easily accessible. As a result, you'll likely find them more intuitive to use, especially if you're already familiar with the interface of your DAW. This can lead to a faster workflow and less time spent searching for the right tools.

Low CPU usage

This makes them ideal for use on multiple tracks or large sessions without causing significant latency or performance issues.

Stock EQs can be used for ordinary tasks like filtering, cuts and boosts on less-relevant sounds, and also automation during transitions.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - Stock EQ

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FabFilter Pro-Q3

A powerful EQ plugin known for its precise surgical edits and dynamic bands. This award-winning plugin doesn't try to recreate analog gear but instead harnesses the full potential of digital technology. Its standout feature is the dynamic band functionality, allowing boosts or cuts to apply only when a frequency passes a certain threshold, ideal for taming harshness without completely removing offending frequencies. 

With a highly intuitive interface, extensive filter options, and spectrum analyzer, FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is perfect for both beginners and experienced engineers looking for an efficient and versatile EQ.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production -FabFilter Pro-Q3

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Plugin-Alliance Mäag Audio EQ4

Add a touch of magic and character to your tracks with the Plugin-Alliance Mäag Audio EQ4, an iconic plugin renowned for its ability to enhance vocals and inject warmth into your mix.

Its most famous feature, the Air Band, adds that extra sparkle and presence to vocals and instruments, making them stand out in the mix. While not designed for surgical precision, the EQ4 excels in adding musicality and character to individual tracks, groups, or mix buses.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - Plugin-Alliance Mäag Audio EQ4

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This renowned piece of hardware has been a studio staple for decades, and the plugin emulations maintain its distinct sound signature. The EQP-1A's ability to boost and cut the same frequency at once may sound strange, but it works due to the different gains and frequencies affected by the boost and attenuate circuits. 

This musical EQ plugin is perfect for adding character and making your tracks sound better, period. 

Choose from various models, including the unparalleled UAD emulation, and elevate your mixes with this essential tool:

  • UAD Pultec Passive EQ Collection
  • Softube Tech-Tech Equalizer Collection
  • Analog Obsession FRANK 2
  • BPB & Analog Obsession Rare EQ
  • Kiive Audio Warmy EP1A Tube EQ

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - EQP-1A

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iZotope Ozone 10 EQ

As part of iZotope's Ozone 10 suite, this equalizer is designed for the modern mixer and offers a forward-thinking approach to EQ processing. With a clean and straightforward interface, the iZotope Ozone 10 EQ allows for precise control over your mix's frequency balance. 

It's ideal for mastering or on the mix bus, helping you achieve the loud, clear sound that clients and audiences expect. Its transparency ensures that it won't color your mix, making it an excellent option for those seeking a more utilitarian EQ plugin.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - iZotope Ozone 10 EQ

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oeksound soothe2

A dynamic resonance suppressor that utilizes spectral processing to detect and counteract harsh frequencies and unpleasant resonances in real-time. With its unique approach to dynamic EQ, oeksound soothe2 has quickly become a go-to plugin for improving instruments, buses, and mixes. 

Version 2 introduces Soft mode, full frequency range coverage, extensive EQ band parameters, and envelope controls for fine-tuning the global response. This innovative plugin is a must-try for anyone looking to elevate their mixes with cutting-edge technology.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - oeksound soothe2

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Soundradix SurferEQ 2

This innovative plugin is perfect for monophonic sources, maintaining consistent cuts or boosts for specific notes as the melody progresses. Soundradix SurferEQ 2 also features MIDI triggering and sidechain input, addressing the main concerns of the original release.

Additionally, the Spectral Gate function adds a dynamic element to the plugin. While niche, SurferEQ 2 offers unique EQ capabilities that you won't find elsewhere.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - Soundradix SurferEQ 2

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Soundtheory Gullfoss

At first glance, its controls may seem unusual, but once you understand the balancing concept at its core, it becomes an intuitive and powerful tool. Updating its frequency response curve 300 times a second, Soundtheory Gullfoss applies a proprietary computational auditory perception model that automatically suppresses or emphasizes specific sounds. 

The astonishing transparency with which it smooths out and enhances everything from single instruments to full mixes makes Gullfoss an invaluable problem-solving plugin.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - Soundtheory Gullfoss

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Sonible Smart: EQ 3

Sonible Smart: EQ 3 is ideal for those working in less-than-ideal listening environments, as it efficiently analyzes incoming audio and generates a custom EQ curve to harmonize it with other tracks in your session. The plugin comes with a plethora of factory profiles tailored for specific instruments like drums, electric guitar, vocals, and piano.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - Sonible Smart: EQ 3

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Wavesfactory Spectre

Think of Wavesfactory Spectre as an exceptional "digital EQ" plugin that combines the functions of an EQ with a multiband saturator and a 5-band parallel graphic equalizer. Spectre analyzes two separate signals, the input signal and the EQed signal, and processes the difference between them by adding harmonic content based on the chosen high-quality saturation algorithm. 

With the de-emphasis feature, Spectre can compensate for EQ boosts post-saturation, introducing multiband saturation without altering the overall audio signal levels.

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production - Wavesfactory Spectre

Choosing to use any of these EQ plugin options will help elevate your audio production to the next level, but whichever one you choose to use is up to you and your own production preferences.

Have you been able to find the perfect match for your mixing and mastering needs yet? Let us know your favourite plugins in the comments below!

10 Best EQ Plugins for Music Production in 2024

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