People can often over look plug-ins that come with your DAW by default. I am going to go over stock EQ III plug-in that will have arrived with Pro Tools music production software.
Above is a picture of the EQ III. This is your default EQ plug-in when using Pro Tools. It includes all the basic essentials to performing both corrective and creative EQ techniques in your mix.
Firstly, there are controls for both the input and output signals entering and leaving the plug-in. This could come in handy if you are dealing with a signal that is too loud for the EQ or even one that needs a level boost. Within the seven bands of EQ is a High Pass filter and Low Pass filter and five bands of Bell shaped curved which also include options to switch to a High Shelf or Low Shelf for either end of the spectrum. Another nice feature within the plug-in is a ‘Phase invert’ button. This means that you can flip the polarity of the signal without having to print a new version of the audio, or use an extra plug-in solely for flipping the polarity of the signal. Inverting the polarity of a signal is often used when two or more microphone captures the source at different times and so it creates phase cancellation. A common example of this will be between the top and bottom mics of a snare drum.
Previously I mentioned about creative and corrective EQ techniques. Corrective EQ is where you would use your ears to find any resonant frequencies in signal that don’t so anything to help the sound. Therefore, by removing these frequencies you are making the signal clearer as well as freeing up more space for other parts of the mix that can occupy that space with a non-resonant frequency. To find these resonant frequencies you bring up the gain to its maximum and the cue to its tightest and sweep the spectrum until you hear a frequency that ‘pops’ out in a bad way. It may take some time to practice this to discover what a resonant frequency sounds like.
Creative EQ is much more subject that corrective. With creative EQ you simply have to cut or boost parts of the signal that either sound good in the mix or not. For example, when you hear people talking about adding more ‘Body’ to a drum or more ‘Crunch’ to a guitar sound. It is these describing words that are often used with creative EQ. Basically, it is anything to make the signal sound better and help it find its place within a mix.
Overall the EQ III is standard EQ plug-in that can easily be used in a professional sounding mix. Many aspects of people preferring third party plug-ins come from the interface design and personal preference in the usability aspects of the interface. This is a great plug-in to use, especially for beginners.