All Digital Parametric EQ’s are the same.
Read the entire post to fully understand the statement.
You might be sitting there thinking (hey my Waves, URS, Vox, blah blah sound completely different). With some emulation plugins you have EQ+X. X can = Saturation, bandwidth limits, softclips, offset numerical values, & so on. Separate the X variable what do you have? The EQ algorithm.
Lets look at Digital EQ types.
- Parametric/Series – “PEQ”. (These are the most common track EQ’s, Most channelstrip, Plugin EQ’s, Bundled DAW eq’s, its never-ending. )
- Parallel – More uncommon in the digital world.
- Linear phase – Commonly mislabeled as “Mastering” EQ’s
These 3 types perform differently. But PEQ’s are the most commonly used/emulated.
You can take any respectable PEQ and create all of the curve/phase characteristics of any other digital PEQ. The Q, gain, proportional relationships, & numerical values are a developer decision. You can’t compare EQ’s by matching dials & numbers, You will get different results. If you use an analyzer & match signals/curves you will unveil “the magic”.
Digital emulations for the most part are marketing hype in my opinion. If you use a variable PEQ like the one that comes native with your host & saturation tools, you will be able to recreate just about any classic console EQ aesthetic you have heard.
Don’t just take my word for it, listen to the developers.
Read this from Algorithmix
Quote:The truth is that with a properly designed, fully parametric analytic PEQ, every amplitude and phase characteristic of any other equalizer setup can be recreated. Of course, the contribution of distortions to the specific sound of a particular analog equalizer caused by the respective electronics has to be considered. If the distortions are ‘good’, they may make certain applications sound better.
As I said I’ve found emulation plugins for the most part to be hype. But you might find the user interface more creative, Or you might like the type of saturation the plugin uses in its design. (If included at all.)
If you find yourself asking the question “is my mix missing that magic EQ?????” Don’t. Your EQ needs are fully covered using a fully variable EQ & a saturation tool of choice.
The quality variables come down to, unlocked filter flexibility, internal resolution, oversampling capabilities, & so on. There is no magic in audio DSP, It’s math. If you make your EQ decisions while listening, you can get to the same aesthetic result with tools at hand.
Everyone likes null tests right =)
So I took two supposedly “drastically different classed” Digital parametric EQ’s.
The external DSP hosted SSL Duende X-EQ, & compared it with Sonars native Sonitus EQ.
Test signal = pink noise, tone, & a drum mix. FYI – Noise is far from lacking dynamics. It’s actually extremely dynamic. The full bandwidth signal gives the impression of a common static level. Use a bandpass & you will see how chaotically dynamic it is. Pink noise will stress any test much harder then a typical mastered music track. & yes it nulls with music as well.
This was the X-eq setup.
This is the Sonar EQ with the setting I tweaked to null.
To get the settings I panned the channels hard L&R and matched the frequency response. You can see the 2 overlapping lines. Blue = X-eq, Orange = Sonar. You can see single orange pixels if you look close.
This is a bunch of stereo image meters that show the lack of phase differences.
This is what happens if you bypass one of the EQ’s for comparison.
I decided to take it a step further.
How close could I match the waves SSL with analog on.
So instead of using sonar & my usual saturation tools I decided to try it with all native Ableton Live plugins. At 1st I was having a hell of a time trying to match the EQ Phase. That is until I turned off Live’s Hi quality EQ mode.
Live oversamples with Hi quality on.
Here are the EQ setups.
Frequency Response with saturation.
The left measures frequency differences & the right is the phase relationship. Not bad, it’s near mono. Pretty interesting for completely different tools.
As requested Impulse/Time Domain analysis.