In my last article for Basic Wavez, I wrote about my Top 5 Parametric EQs. In this article, I am going to be telling you my Top 5 Semi-Parametric EQs.
For a full description of all the different types of EQs check out my previous article here. The definition of a semi-parametric EQ is “a parametric equalizer that has one or more features missing.” In most cases, it means a parametric EQ that does not have a Q control.
The main use today for Semi-Parametric EQs is to colour sounds. The term “Colour EQ” or “Character EQ” is also often used for Semi-Parametric EQs because of this and the fact that the majority of the Semi-Parametric EQs out there are modelled around famous EQs of the 20th century.
Let’s jump into the list!
The Mäag Audio EQ4 has to be hands down one of the greatest EQ plugins out there. Most especially for colouring sound.
This particular plugin is modeled after the hardware unit of the same name, which has been used on the vocals of artists ranging from Madonna to the Black-Eyed Peas, to Snoop Dogg and to Celine Dion. The hardware unit of this EQ costs around $1200, so $299 is quite a good deal, especially seeing as you can often find it for sale at $29.99 on Plugin Alliance when they do their frequent amazing sales.
If you are also subscribed to Plugin Alliances email newsletter, you can often receive a $20 discount code, meaning you can grab this beauty for an amazing $9.99! I grabbed this myself a couple of months back, and have proceeded to use it on almost anything! It just sounds beautiful! I cannot recommend this plugin enough, and that is why it is here at the #1 spot.
- Fixed Frequency Band-Pass Filters for phase-coherent EQ-ing
- Boost only shelfs at the frequencies 2.5 kHz, 5 kHz, 10 kHz, 20 kHz, or 40 kHz.
- Often available for only $9.99
- Often available for only $9.99. The RRP is $229 Ouch.
TDR VOS SlickEQ is a mixing and mastering EQ designed for adding beautiful colour and clarity to your sound and mix whilst featuring an easy-to-use GUI. Three filter bands offer fast and intuitive access to four distinct EQ modes, each based on classic hardware units. SlickEQ also offers a saturation module that can be used to add even more colour to your sound. Best of all…. IT’S FREE
When I first came across this plugin, I spent quite a while searching for the price on the website before, to my immense surprise and pleasure, I realised it was free! I immediately downloaded it and have been using it ever since on almost every release of mine. Even though I own hundreds of different plugins, this is always one of the first few I download when moving rigs.
It has become inseparable from my workflow and I use it on almost every mix I do if I want to easily add a bit of colour to my sound. You may equally know of TDR for their excellent TDR Nova dynamic EQ plugin which is an additional must. Both are free but offer paid versions with slightly more features if you wish to support them.
TDR has always helped set the bar with their absolutely amazing free plugins, and you should definitely be sure to check them out.
- Three EQ bands all with customizable frequencies with an additional 18dB/Oct high-pass filter.
- Four distinct EQ models: “American”, “British”, “German” and “Soviet” inspired by famous hardware units.
- Five output stages: “Linear”, “Silky”, “Mellow”, “Deep” and “Toasted” to colour your sound even more.
- Advanced saturation algorithms.
- Highly effective loudness compensation. (autogain)
- Stereo and sum/difference processing options
Arturia does an absolutely amazing line up of analogue modelled effects and synthesisers, and this doesn’t miss a beat! Available for €99 or in a bundle with 2 other preamps/EQs for €200, this thing is a great steal. It captures the true essence of the original 1073 preamp, especially the classic semi-parametric EQ it features.
Preamps raise the gain of incoming signals from external devices like microphones and musical instruments to usable levels. Practically all modern audio interfaces include preamps, some better than others. See our article on audio interfaces for our top 5!
However, due to the amazing technology we have today, almost all modern preamps provide a super clean signal, missing out on the wonderful character the analogue preamp eqs and compressors of old added! With plugins like this, you can easily add back in that vintage analogue warmth and create a much warmer sound in your mixes.
The EQ portion itself offers low, medium and high band controls of +/- 18db, which is perfect for adding subtle warmth and tonal character to both your mixes and individual sounds.
- Automatic gain control
- Continuous controls for precision.
- Includes switchable transformers letting you choose between the modified Marinair and the original Carnill modules, so you can easily choose which hardware voicing sounds best on your signal.
- Self-contained mid/side mode, so you don’t need to use additional converters.
- Available for €99 or in a bundle with 2 other preamps/EQs for €200.
This bundle of 2 EQs from Waves has to be one of the best deals out there. $29.99 for 2 beautifully emulated classic EQs is a great deal!
The Pultec EQP-1A is famous for its unique ability to boost and cut the same frequencies at the same time which allows it to create a resonant shelf, something which was a lot harder to do than it is today. The distinctive tonal characteristics of the MEQ-5 have made the original Pultec EQ famous in the music industry.
I had the pleasure of personally trying out a real one a few years back, and it made me instantly grab this great deal so that I could replicate the great sound at home on my computer. I love to use this plugin on my low end to create some nice warmth, but it equally works great on other parts of the mix, especially vocals and guitars.
However, do be warned! if you are on a Mac, Waves will often force you into paying for their “update plan” each time there is a major Mac os update. I personally use windows and have never had an issue, but I know a lot of my friends who use mac have sworn to never use waves for this reason.
- Modelled on rare vintage Pultec EQs
- EQP-1A offers a unique resonant low shelf boost accurate to the original model.
- $29.99 for 2 beautifully emulated classic eqs is a great deal!
Know we all know and love sound toys for their amazing plugins, but I for one had never actually come across this particular one until Jules (Bound to Divide) mentioned it to me.
After hearing his personal thoughts on it, I immediately went and grabbed the trial for it to see if it would be worth adding to my ever-growing list of EQs, and boy, I have to say, this thing is great. The first thing I tried it on was some guitars I found on splice, and after adding in just a little bit of high and mid boost, I was blown away!
This thing sounds truly great! Sie Q models the Siemens W295b, including its saturation character, which makes this a great plugin if you really want to push it and get some great analogue saturation on your sound. It isn’t too harsh, but it adds a great warmth to any sound you put it on and for $99 this thing is amazing.
The only thing I wished it had, is a way to change the exact frequencies the low and high band are targeting, and that is why I have placed this at No5 on this list. Other than that, this thing is great and I highly recommend it.
- Simple Low/Mid/High cut & boost
- Adjustable midrange crossover
- Excellent at dealing with highend
- Drive control for added colour
As you can see, there are many EQs out there, and this is just a short list of my top 5 personal favourites and recommendations. If you liked this blog post be sure to check out our others.
As you can see, there are many EQs out there, and this is just a shortlist of my 5 personal recommendations. If you liked this blog post be sure to check out our others.
Thanks for reading!
About The Author
Name: George Hammond
Bio: George Hammond is a music producer who has been writing and producing original music for the past 5 years. He writes a varied amount of different styles and genres including Dub Techno, Melodic Techno, and Deep Techno He is always striving to learn more about music production and different genres. In 2020 he released his debut EP, Response, containing The Space of Time. The Space of Time went on to being his most successful song to date. In 2020 George Hammond also released a new EP, Cosmos, featuring 6 songs, in September. He lives in a small rural town in Suffolk but has gathered the interests of listeners all over the world, notably Germany, Hungary, Brazil, France, and Canada.