I’ll cut straight to the chase: Fabfilter Pro-Q is the most elegant, intuitive and enjoyable EQ I have ever used and, dare I say it, “The best on the market”. It only has one real serious competitor for its crown, which is DMG’s Equality.
One thing that makes Pro-Q not only my favourite EQ but also one of my favourite plug-ins (if not my favourite outright), is that it is as easy for novices to use as it is rewarding for those experienced engineers.
On the surface Pro-Q seems like a pretty small standard digital EQ. However packed within its simple but effective GUI are Mid/Side processing and Linear Phase settings to make it a real tour de force with mastering too.
Two things that jump out at me about Pro-Q is that you can simply click where you want to add a filter and it just appears there with no band restriction. You can add a seemingly unlimited number of notches should you wish. Also the ability to select and affect Q and gain of a number of bands simultaneously by selecting them is extremely useful.
Another positive about Pro-Q is its in-built spectral analyser so you can also see the potential problem areas and the affect that your EQ is having.
So thus far I have been very complimentary of Pro-Q so does it have any real faults? If you had asked me a year ago the only thing that would have made me consider a competitors product namely DMG’s Equality or one or Brainworx EQ’s is their “Auto-Listen” function. This is the ability to in effect solo a frequency or frequency band to hear their sonic qualities to allow you to make better mix decisions. However as of April 2011 FabFilter have added a solo option which not only allows you to hear a certain frequency but the whole band that is being affected (your Q value).
FabFilter Pro-Q really is the King of all Plug-in EQs. I rarely reach for any other EQ, in fact the only other EQs I seem to regularly touch are Analogue modelled like the waves SSL EQ. Occasionally when mastering I like the ease of Brainworx Digitals Mid/Side GUI because the EQ curves are on two graphs on separate sides of the interface but that is only on the odd occasion where such extreme mid/side processing is required.
So where could Pro-Q be improved? In terms of ease of use, transparency, versatility I don’t really think it could be. However I think that a few features (some of which I am not sure have ever been done) would also take it to the next level:
- Auto-Q: A function that allows you to attenuate a certain amount of notes for instance an octave at the given frequency (as the wavelengths get shorter the higher you go it would takes some guess work out of EQ for some)
- Warmth Mode: Like in their Compressor have a setting to switch to a more warm sounding analogue EQ
- Time domain features: not only time domain analysis but also some dynamic EQ functions to help EQ decays over time from transient hits
FabFilter Pro-Q is also the most transparant EQ I have ever used and this transparency is really a signature feature of everything FabFilter makes, quite simply at £134 this plug-in is a bargain. I wouldn’t get through even one mix without it being used. For its effectiveness for both novices and expert sound engineers it gets the first perfect plug-in rating.
Plug-in Rating [10/10]
FabFilter Pro-Q is available here:
PRICE – £134