It’s super easy to configure your stock EQ plugins to emulate the capabilities of your favourite hardware EQ or mixing board. I’ll show you a quick demonstration using the EQ37 (stock in Pro Tools) and the EQ section of the humble ZED R16.


 

Back to Basics

Contemporary EQ plugins contain three different types of filters; pass filters, shelving filters and parametric filters. Pass filters are placed into three categories; hi-pass filters (allow high frequency content to pass through), low-pass filters (allow low frequency content to pass through) and band-pass filters (allow a band of filters to pass through). Shelving filters may be low or high shelf filters and are used to either reduce or boost the low or high frequency content. Finally, parametric EQ is used in the mid-range and allows the user to sculpt a bell shape to reduce or boost selected frequencies.

EQ Plugin Parameters

  1. Gain: Determines whether you are boosting or cutting frequencies. 0dB is no change, −dB cuts, and +dB boosts.
  2. Frequency: On a pass and shelving filter, the frequency you set here determines where the cut or boost starts.In a parametric, the frequency identifies the specific frequency that will be boosted or cut.
  3. Slope: The slope is measure in decibels per octave and controls how steep the slope of a pass or shelving filter is.
  4. Bandwidth or ‘Q’: The Q value widens or narrows the frequency range that’s affected.
           

 

EQ37 Plugin and ZED R16 Analogue Mixer

For our demonstration we’ll be using the EQ7B plugin that comes with Pro Tools and the EQ section of the Allen and Heath ZED R16.

Hi Pass Filters                                         
Shelving Filters                                       
Parametric Filters                                    
ZED R16 EQ
Cut-off Frequency: 100Hz

Slope: Not indicated

 

High Shelf

Corner Frequency: 12 kHz

Gain: Boosts and cuts of 15dB available

Slope: Not indicated

Low Shelf

Corner Frequency: 60 Hz

Gain: Boosts and cuts of 15dB available

Slope: Not indicated

 

High Mid Frequency

Frequency range: 400 Hz to 18 kHz

Gain: Boosts and cuts of 15dB available

Q: 0.8 (nearly two octaves) to 6 (a few semitones).

Low Mid Frequency

Frequency range: 18 Hz to 1 kHz

Gain: Boosts and cuts of 15dB available

Q: 0.8 (nearly two octaves) to 6 (a few semitones).

EQ37 Plugin

Saving as a Preset

Once correctly configured as above it’s simply a case of disengaging the inactive bands and returning the gain of all filters to zero. In my case these are the Low Pass Filter and the Mid Frequency Band. Finally save it as a preset by clicking on the preset arrow. Now you have it available anytime you open the plugin.

 

 

            
            

The Fine Print

Obviously these presets won’t sound anything like the hardware or dedicated EQ emulator plugins. This configuration is most helpful if you want to emulate the capabilities of a Neve/API/Pultec etc or to increase your own productivity during tracking and mixing.