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Best Passive EQ Plugins 2024

There are numerous EQ variants, including the Parametric EQ, Shelving EQ, Graphic EQ, and many others. But the Passive EQ is one kind of EQ that appears to be a “popular favorite.” Without the use of parts like tubes, transistors, or opamps, passive EQ is used to produce tonal alterations. Instead, it makes use of inductors, resistors, and capacitors, which are passive electronic components. There is no gain loss with passive EQ, thus an amplifier is not required to make up for it. In contrast to active EQs, which contain numerous transistors, resistors, capacitors, tubes, and complicated opamps, passive EQs are quite basic because they typically only contain around 5 components.

Softube Tube-Tech Equalizer Collection (PE 1C & ME 1B)

Two iconic Tube-Tech equalizers have been combined into one plugin as part of the Softube Tube-Tech Equalizer Collection. A fantastic passive EQ emulation plugin is created by combining the Tube-Tech PE 1C and ME 1B older versions.

For a long time, studios all around the world have relied on tube-driven passive EQs as their go-to equipment instead of this passive eq softube. The PE 1C and ME 1B equalizers have become fixtures in many high-end studios thanks to their added weight and character. In this two-for-one plugin, Softube emulates these qualities almost perfectly.

On drums, synths, voices, guitars, strings, trumpets, and pretty much every other sound source, these EQs sound fantastic. Any genre can use the plugin with great success. For better signal processing and workflow, Softube and Tube-Tech integrated these two EQs into a single plugin. For excellent audio results, use the emulations alone or in combination. Not only does this combination plugin sound fantastic. Due to Softube’s emphasis on high-res visuals, it also looks amazing.

Naturally, the iconic Pultec passive equalizers—the embodiment of this EQ style—are the foundation upon which the Tube-Tech EQs are founded. The ME 1B is a reproduction of the MEQ-5, while the PE 1C imitates the EQP-1A. Each individual EQ can change frequencies that the other cannot, making them the ideal pair when used together. Combining them yields a fully effective equalizer with a ton of flavor that is expertly captured by Tube-Tech hardware and, as of late, Softube plugins with this softube passive eq. This is the Best Passive EQ Plugin in 2023.

Klevgrand GotoEQ

Goto EQ draws inspiration from old tube-based equalizers by employing traditional procedures and producing outcomes akin to those of renowned analog models from the past. Goto EQ can simultaneously boost and decrease the low end of any sound, giving it a distinctive bassy texture. It can also perform dynamic tasks with its Dynamic attenuation knobs, which can de-ess or de-harsh the voice. You may give their mixes more air and clarity by selecting precise attenuation levels and using light compression with the numerous shelves and bands included in Klevgrand’s equalizer.

GotoEQ offers a rapid method for achieving the “Pultec effect” technique by enabling you to boost and cut at the same frequency. The Pultec effect can be applied by the producer using the high and low shelves of the plugin, preferably successfully producing an EQ curve that will do wonders for the bass. GotoEQ has a simple user interface with intuitive controls. With the knobs available at the plugin’s main panel, each parameter allows a variety of options. The plugin provides useful VU metering in addition to the usual input/output, filter, and shelf knobs. If the red knobs are turned, a dynamic process can also occur, allowing for the freedom to compress information in the frequency range.

GotoEQ functions as an effective equalization that is simple to use. You can adjust the frequency spectrum’s dynamics, loudness, boosts, and attenuations using the main panel’s several knobs, which are incredibly detailed. Its practical shelf knob is a key device for enabling producers to achieve a potent Pultec Effect. This is the Best Passive EQ VST Plugin in 2023.

FabFilter Pro-Q 3

With each new release, the main equalizer from Fabfilter has gained more power. The Pro-Q 3 is a versatile equalizer that can handle practically any task you throw at it with ease and efficiency. Pro Q 3 has been updated to provide users the option to make any band dynamic, which means that the band won’t affect the signal until it reaches a certain threshold. If you require a relatively transparent, precise instrument for mastering, this EQ is a great option thanks to its wealth of capabilities.

De-essing occurs frequently during mastering since boosting in the higher mids and highs might frequently be involved. For this application, I frequently use the Dynamic EQ mode. The Pro-Q 3 offers superb visual feedback via its stunning metering and will inform you if there is an excess in this (or any) frequency range in addition to your ears alerting you to problems in the 6–10 kHz range. I’ll put dynamic EQ mode on, create a band at the problematic frequency, and attenuate to taste. The option to select mid/side mode for each band increases the potency of this vst plugin passive eq. So I’ll make sure to arrange the band(s) appropriately if the problematic vocal-only occurs up the middle.

Solid State Logic SSL Native X-EQ 2

The best SSL EQ toolset for audio pros is X-EQ 2. The sound of X-EQ 2, which is based on SSL’s unique anti-cramping algorithms, is absolutely amazing. With 17 various options for both traditional and contemporary EQ type/curves, X-EQ 2 is a strong and serious competitor to become your new “go-to” EQ plug-in.

With its innovative anti-cramping algorithms and 24-band EQ plug-in, X-EQ 2 offers an unmatched level of openness and transparency in sound. With 17 unique EQ types and filter shapes, it’s the complete EQ toolkit. Bell, shelf, low pass, and high pass filter types are all selectable for each band, and both traditional and customizable forms are available for each band. Band soloing, brand-new spatial processing choices, and the traditional X-EQ “Parallel” mode for emulating the distinctive sound of vintage parallel passive EQ circuits are all included.

Buying Guide for Passive EQ Plugins

When shopping for a passive EQ plugin, there are several factors to consider to ensure you choose the right one for your needs. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind:

Filter Types

Passive EQ plugins come with different filter types, such as parametric, shelving, and notching filters. Parametric EQs allow you to adjust the frequency, bandwidth, and gain of each band, providing precise control over the sound. Shelving filters are useful for adjusting the high and low ends of the frequency spectrum, while notching filters help to remove specific problem frequencies. Consider the types of filters you need for your specific mixing or mastering tasks.

Frequency Range

Check the frequency range of the passive EQ plugin you are considering. Some plugins cover the full spectrum, while others may focus more on the high or low ends. Ensure that the plugin can handle the frequency range you typically work with to achieve the desired results.

Interface

The interface of a passive EQ plugin plays a crucial role in your workflow. Look for a plugin with an intuitive and user-friendly interface that allows you to visualize the EQ curve and make adjustments easily. A clear and well-designed interface will help you work more efficiently and effectively.

Presets

Having presets from professional engineers can be a valuable resource, especially if you are new to using passive EQ plugins. Presets can serve as starting points or learning tools to understand how different engineers approach EQ adjustments. Look for plugins that offer presets from industry experts to help you get started or expand your knowledge.

Modes

Consider whether the passive EQ plugin offers both passive and active modes. While you may primarily be interested in the passive mode, having the option to switch to an active mode can provide additional flexibility when needed. Active EQs can be useful for boosting frequencies or adding color to the sound if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions About Passive EQ

When should I use a passive EQ over an active EQ?

Passive EQ is best when you want to gently shape the frequency balance without coloring the sound. It’s ideal for mixing and mastering applications where you want to make subtle adjustments without adding any unnatural coloring to the audio.

Can passive EQs boost frequencies like active EQs?

No, passive EQ plugins only attenuate frequencies, they do not actively boost levels like active EQs can. This prevents unwanted coloring of the sound. Passive EQs are designed to cut frequencies and provide a more transparent and natural sound.

Is there any disadvantage to using passive EQ?

The main disadvantage of using passive EQ is the inability to boost frequencies. Unlike active EQs, which can amplify specific frequency ranges, passive EQs can only attenuate or cut frequencies. This means that if you need to boost certain frequencies, you will need to use an active EQ or other tools in your audio processing chain.

How do I know which frequencies to cut with a passive EQ?

Identifying which frequencies to cut with a passive EQ requires careful listening and analysis. Start by listening to your audio track and pay attention to any problem areas such as masking, muddiness, or harshness. Use your ears and trust your judgment to identify frequencies that need attenuation. You can also use reference tracks in a similar genre to help guide your decisions and achieve a balanced mix.

Can I use multiple instances of passive EQ plugins in my audio processing chain?

Yes, you can use multiple instances of passive EQ plugins in your audio processing chain. Each instance can target different frequency ranges or address specific issues in your mix. However, it’s important to use them judiciously and avoid excessive EQ adjustments, as this can lead to an unnatural or over-processed sound. Always listen critically and make adjustments that enhance the overall balance and clarity of your mix.

Are there any specific techniques for using passive EQ plugins effectively?

Here are some techniques to consider when using passive EQ plugins effectively:

Start with high-pass and low-pass filters to remove unwanted rumble and hiss.
Narrow down the problem frequencies causing muddiness or masking.
Make small, surgical cuts rather than broad sweeps to maintain a natural sound.
Listen to your audio track in solo and compare the original to the adjusted sound.
Use reference tracks to identify frequencies to attenuate for a balanced mix.
Save different passive EQ settings as you refine the sound for A/B comparisons.
Trust your ears and make adjustments based on what sounds best to you.