TOP 5 MASTERING EQs – An extensive review on the best eq’s for mastering with tips on how and when to use them. From analog emulations to modern M/S processors this list has you covered.
01 – Brainworx bx_digital V3
The follow up to the successful and industry standard V2. It’s always on our master bus cleaning up the mid and side, pushing the stereo width or notching resonances. You can do not wrong with this power house of an EQ. The update extends the high frequency band up to 40 kHz for that expensive air boost, adds proportional Q filters, a dynamic EQ and extends the usability of the bass and presence shifters with extra options.
Tip 01: Use the auto-solo and auto-listen buttons and go hunting for nasty frequencies in your mix.
Tip 02: Use the bass and presence shifters to sweeten the top or tighten the lows.
02 – PSPaudioware E27
Probably the best algorithmic emulation EQ plugin. Officially approved by Avedis Audio.
Solely the tone of the transformer and preamp makes everything sound better. Each one of the three bands has a careful selection of frequencies that seems to work on every source. With characteristics and quality that seems like the best mixture of Neve and API EQs. Offers left-right, mid-side routing linked or unlinked, the option to double the bands, a subtle but sweet drive, a great high pass, the option to turn off the preamp and transformer and last but not least the option for an extra 28k boost.
Tip 01: Use it with subtle boosts or cuts to polish the most important frequencies of your mix.
Tip 02: Add it to your master with just the 28k button and the preamp, transformer enabled and mix into it.
03 – TDR SlickEQ Mastering
The mastering version of the highly acclaimed TDR VOS SlickEQ. It sounds very musical and on point on every setting. All six bands except the filters are in parallel configuration and each boost or cut is intelligently gain compensated so you are not tricked by the changes in perceived loudness. Also offers a low frequency mono filter, an intelligent meta filter that can tilt the brightness, hardness or equal loudness contours and a smart learn function that can match pink noise or custom references. Also has a very smart way of dealing with mid-side, left-right routing on each band and output.
Tip 01: Use the learn function to create reference starting points and work from there.
Tip 02: Double click the logo to add subtle differences between the left-right and mid-side and make the EQ sound more “analog”.
04 – Acustica & Studio DMI Diamond Color EQ
The brainchild of Acustica Audio and Luca Petrolesi’s Studio DMI. It is based on various hardware EQs from the studio, hand picked for each band. So every frequency has the best response and colour for the job. Has a very nice preamp with great character and a very smooth low cut filter. The interplay between the lower two bands can make the bass tighter and sounds great even on extreme settings. High mid band has an interesting frequency response that can move the area forward when boosted or make it really smooth if attenuated. Last but not least the high band offers a very expensive colourful top end and can lift or add air to any source. A must have for master or busses.
Tip 01: Use it with subtle boosts on each band as an enhancer for your mix.
Tip 02: Use the preamp and the sweet high frequency band and mix into it.
05 – Newfangled Audio EQuivocate
We cannot believe this EQ was offered free for some time when first released. Based on a graphic/multi band style configuration with auditory filters modelled on the human ear that make it sound as natural as possible. Also has some of the best linear-phase filter implementation that minimise pre-echo artifacts. The filter distribution can be based on the MEL Spectrum or you can customise it to your liking. You can choose from 01 to 26 bands and smartly match to an external sidechain source and work from there. Everything feels very intuitive and sounds amazing.
Tip 01: Use the solo function over each band to hunt for nasty frequencies to attenuate or sweet frequencies to boost.
Tip 02: Use the great meters on each band to aid your EQing decisions.