An equalizer is a device (or program) designed to amplify or attenuate a certain frequency of an audio signal. They are found in both consumer and professional audio equipment. The most common and simple equalizers are tone controls, which are often used in consumer audio electronics, guitars, and instrumental amplifiers.
They help to shape the sound according to the musical style, space, and personal preferences. Simple EQs usually have two or three fixed bands (low, mid, and high) with coarse settings and are not suitable for tone shaping on stage or in the studio.
An equalizer is an important and easy-to-use studio tool that can make a big difference in the quality of your recording and overall mix. It allows you to balance the various elements of a song and bring clarity to the mix.
A Brief History
The earliest equalizers were used to reduce distortion in long-distance telephone lines. The advent of sound in motion pictures led to the use of variable equalization. The first adjustable equalizer is considered to be a model designed by John Volkman in the 1930s. The equalizer contained a set of selectable frequencies with the ability to increase or cut.
The Langevin Model EQ-251A was the first slide control EQ, the forerunner of the graphic EQ. It had a low-pass shelving filter and a band-pass filter. Each filter had switchable frequencies and a 15-position slide switch to adjust cutoff or gain.
Cinema Engineering later introduced the first six-band adjustable graphic equalizer with a range of boosts or cuts. In 1966, Burgess McNeil and George Massenburg developed the concept of a smooth-tuning equalizer without inductors or switches.
And in 1971, Daniel N. Flickinger introduced the first parametric equalizer, a circuit that allowed random frequency selection and had gained in three overlapping bands. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, parametric equalizers became available in the form of digital DSPs, and soon as software.
Today, there are many types and models of equalizers, which can cause difficulties in the selection process. But choosing the right one for a particular situation is quite simple if you know what options are available and how each of them works.
Best VST EQ Plugins:
One of the most popular and versatile equalizers with high sound quality, and a convenient and beautiful user interface. Fabfilter Pro-Q3 features a fully parametric digital equalizer, expandable to 24 user-definable bands. Has 9 different filter shapes with slopes from 6dB to 96dB/oct.
Pro-Q 3 provides EQ functionality, three modes (linear phase, natural phase, zero delays), dynamic EQ capabilities, auto gain option, customizable spectrum analyzer, and more. At the same time, the load on the processor and memory is minimal.
Auto-Tune Vocal EQ
I don’t think Auto-Tune needs any introduction. Everyone has heard of Auto-Tune plugin by Antares. It is used by most producers and sound engineers when it comes to vocal correction and vocal pitch effect.
As an integrated part of Auto Tune, this Auto-Tune Vocal EQ plugin can be purchased separately and used directly in your favorite DAW. It features 6 fully customizable dynamic EQ bands, that can be used to isolate or/and accentuate specific frequencies to make vocals sound smoother and shine in the mix.
iZotope Ozone 9 Equalizer
The EQ module in Ozone 9 is a versatile equalizer that combines analog-type asymmetrical filters with high-precision digital linear phase filters. That allows you to give the warmth of an analog equalizer or the surgical precision of a digital one. The number of bands can be expanded to eight, each with a variety of fully customizable filter shapes. The Mid/Side mode allows you to adjust the frequencies in the stereo and mono components.
Universal Audio Pultec EQP-1A
One of the most musical equalizers has influenced many recordings since the 70s. The Pultec EQP-1A has an unusual design with three bands, one for low frequencies and two for high frequencies. The low-pass shelving filter is equipped with gain and attenuation controls. One treble band provides a fairly wide bell-shaped gain that can be applied to one of seven frequencies. The second high-frequency band has only attenuation to smooth out the high-frequency range.