Dynamic EQs are by far one of the most essential tools to have around for mixing and mastering engineers. You might already be familiar with the concepts, but it’s always good to revisit the basics, and today we’ll be discussing the top 10 dynamic EQ plugins from 2021.
As we know, parametric EQs are the best tools to address specific issues in the tonal balance of your signal because they also let you choose a filter type and set the bandwidth to very narrow or broad values.
The problem is that sometimes we don’t want to cut a frequency throughout the entire track because it might be only a momentary issue, and a static frequency cut that affects the entirety of the audio is usually not the best way to go.
To this need, the solution is the dynamic EQ because you can cut that frequency but only when it exceeds a threshold. It’s worth mentioning that the term “dynamic” is used to describe a process dependent on the signal and would only act according to a set of values at a specific time, to cause a specific reaction.
What does a dynamic EQ do?
A dynamic EQ can add or subtract gain to specific frequencies and offers the same amount of control as a parametric EQ, but what makes it dynamic is that you can add and set compression for each frequency band.
Dynamic EQs are often employed during mixing and mastering for a wide variety of purposes, such as controlling the low-end of a mix you’re mastering or ducking the mid and top frequencies of pianos, guitars, and strings to make space for a vocal to sit in your mix.
What is the difference between dynamic EQ and multiband compression?
The difference is that a multi-band compressor can only compress frequency bands, whereas the dynamic EQ is capable of compressing specific frequencies with filters. In practice, they’re both fairly similar and essentially do the same.
Still, the vital difference is that due to the equalization capabilities of a dynamic EQ, you can perform more detailed adjustments to the relationship of the dynamics between frequencies.
Top 10 Dynamic EQ Plugins 2023
1. TOMO Audiolabs LISA
The LISA from TOMO Audiolabs gives you command of your mix bus with its six bands of silky opto compression.
It’s not like other dynamic EQ plugins, which rely on optical frequency representations, and, instead, emphasize listening. Plugin Alliance has modeled the original hardware and added several “digital-only” capabilities that increase processing flexibility.
Although they created Lisa’s initial hardware for mixing and mastering purposes, the latter is where its considerable adaptability truly shines. The plugin simulation replicates the original’s parallel signal flow, with each frequency band receiving its processing before being delivered to the output and summed with the other bands. So, the processing of one doesn’t affect the others, and the end product is clearer.
- Great for Master Buss
This dynamic EQ can help you master your track without sacrificing low-frequency extension or excessive boominess. It may target individual elements in the mix with pinpoint accuracy, especially in mid-side mode, and minimize sibilance in vocals or harshness in cymbals without sacrificing brightness.
- Parallel Bands
The parallel circuit idea that underlies LISA is also distinctive. The signal route is affected by one hundred percent of the distortion and rectification in the typical serial wiring used by most EQs.
However, LISA’s parallel circuitry enables individual bands to be handled analogously to a mixing console, allowing for greater, more sensitive, and delicate processing. This enables severe EQ settings in a musical context that would be impossible with a conventional EQ.
- TX Drive
New features you can only implement in the digital world have been added, as is a tradition at Brainworx. The LISA features a new function, TX Drive, and the standard Mono Generator, Stereo Width, Auto Hear, Headroom, and TMT adjustments. In addition, you can adjust the amount of transformer saturation and character independently of the device’s other analog features; a new parameter has been included.
- Opto Compression
Each of LISA’s six bands in a given channel is compressed by a modern opto circuit. It has a program-dependent compression and expansion ratio of around 3:1, or a selectable 10:1 ratio, with a soft knee and the option to change between fast attack and release speeds.
The OS requirements for this plugin are Windows 7 or higher for PC and macOS 10.9 or higher for Mac. It comes in VST/RTAS/AU/AAX formats and supports 32 and 64 bit systems.
The interface is a bit messy, but it’s faithful to the original hardware. Given that you don’t need to view both channels simultaneously while working in Parameter Link mode, the ability to temporarily hide one is helpful.
Despite this, LISA is a good-sounding plugin that can significantly improve various sources once you’ve gotten the hang of its controls and workflow. Bypassing an analog EQ and its accompanying dynamics control can instantly detract from a track’s quality.
2. Three-Body Technology Kirchhoff-EQ NEW*
More Info & Price (Trial Available)
The ultimate modern-looking parametric EQ plugin available nowadays.
Equalizers can be taunting to master properly, as they can inflict strange results in the process of tailoring the effect itself. One wrong twist or turn in a specific bandwidth, and your sound can go to crap instantly. This is one thing that Kirchhoff-EQ nails, and it’s all due to the incredible ease of use to set any parameters properly.
- Great processing
The tweaks you make inside the plugin will be reflected automatically in your sound, as expected. The incredible number of options and parameters to adjust can be overwhelming, but almost assuredly, it won’t be a problem to be loaded properly. If you use a 64-bit system, then you don’t need to worry about any lagging or slow-performance issues because Kirchhoff-EQ was tailored to work with 64-bits, independent of the DAW’s current working precision. If that’s not enough, you can also activate the “Double Double” mode to use 117 bits in total, with ultra-precision to deliver demanding results.
- Filter types
There are 15 filter types included in this EQ, with the most common shapes included – like low pass, high pass, and notch, for instance – and also some unusual ones, such as the “Sword” (kind of like a bell shape, but with a sharper slope) and brick wall low and high pass.
- Phase modes
You can set the phase in your track between some unique modes, such as “zero-latency,” “analogue,” “linear,” and “mixed.” However, if the “Dynamic Functions” option is activated for a specific filter band, it will work on a minimum-phase mode that won’t affect other bands besides the one you’re currently working on.
- Unique threshold adjustment
The threshold is usually the control that sets the “limit” upon which an effect can act upon. Most options only go one way, but in Kirchhoff-EQ, things are done differently. You can have a two-way threshold control to configure simultaneously the part of your signal acting above or below the threshold mark. With this, you can raise the audio signal below the threshold mark and compress the same signal above that same mark, for instance.
- Great processing
This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Colorful EQs are inviting to mess with, mostly because they most assuredly will be utterly responsive to your tweaks. Kirchhoff-EQ works just like that, but with surprising features that can add up to its usage and make it truly unique if compared to similar plugins.
The two-way threshold and the multiple filter types are not mandatory elements to be included in an equalizer, but they are surprisingly effective in making it even more versatile.
3. Softube Weiss EQ1
This is an emulation by Softube in collaboration with Weiss Engineering of the classic mastering EQ Weiss EQ1.
The original hardware by Weiss Engineering, EQ1, was a best seller that was released in the mid-’90s and was very well known because its transparency and accuracy are ideal for mastering situations.
Softube’s Weiss EQ1 recreates the design of its analog peer from inside out to digitize its unique sonic characteristics and flexibility that enables you to use it as a minimum or linear phase equalizer or as a dynamic eq.
This plugin’s graphic interface is based on the original hardware. It allows you to see a spectrum RTA (real-time analyzer) with pre and post-processing analysis to help you visualize the changes you’re making to the signal. The RTA is great when controlling the low or top end of the mix because minimal changes can make a big difference, and things can quickly get out of control. Let’s see what other cool traits this plugin has to offer.
As a mastering EQ, this is a significant feature of this plugin because most of the time, you don’t want to be too aggressive with processing in mastering, especially with EQ. In addition, this plugin’s transparency and the subtlety of the changes you can make with each band helps you make better decisions when you’re enhancing the overall tone of the mix.
- Four different layouts:
The EQ1 plugin’s UI has four different ways to look at the plugin for you to work easier and more comfortably. Dynamic mode and advanced dynamics mode (or minimum phase mode) offer you two different ways to set up your compression. However, if you want to use it only as an EQ, you can switch it to linear phase mode. If you don’t want to see so many knobs and feel more comfortable only looking at the spectrogram and filters, activate the large screen mode.
- Choose your filter shape:
Select the filter shape you need on each band. Whether it is a bell, a high/low shelving, a high-pass, or a low-pass filter, you can freely adjust it on each band regardless of the mode you’re working with.
Supports Windows 10, supports macOS 10.13 or higher, runs on 64 bit only, and comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Softube’s model of the Weiss EQ1 is great for both mixing and mastering, although it’s more oriented towards mastering. It’s delicate with processing and gives you a nice color and control over your signal.
This is a pricey plugin worth about 500 dollars, but it’s still a reasonably affordable version of the nine thousand dollar piece of equipment. It’s got lots of great traits, but what separates it from the rest is how subtle yet effective it is.
As soon as you listen to some demos, you can tell that this plugin is priceless in a mastering context because it gives you a lot of freedom to tweak things around to enhance your tracks to their best without being too prominent or extreme. Finally, one thing that you can tell is fascinating about this plugin is the low-energy preservation, even when the low-pass filter is engaged.
4. FabFilter Pro Q3
The third and latest version of this powerful EQ now includes dynamic control.
Fab Filter’s Pro Q series has been almost a must-have for engineers at all levels for years. These EQs are perfectly transparent, easy to use, and have different display modes for the spectrogram (pre/post-processing). Still, most importantly, they are the most versatile EQs out there in the market because of their infinite frequency bands, zero latency mode, linear phase processing, fully adjustable parameters, etc.
Now you can control dynamics to specific frequencies, whether you’re boosting and want to control the signal or dipping a particular frequency that’s disturbing you. These fab filter EQs are almost a worldwide standard, mainly because their RTA is very graphic, which is very helpful for those who are just getting started.
This new version of Fab Filter’s Pro Q has a couple of additions that we will talk about, so stay tuned.
- New EQ filters:
Unlike the past versions, Fab Filter Pro Q 3 brings new filters on our equalizers, such as a tilted shelf and a flat tilt. In addition, you can apply and change these filters directly from the box outside of the frequency band, which is a great plus to the previous versions.
- Optimized UI:
The new Fab Filter lets you choose whether you want to use the EQ for stereo, mid/sides, and left/right processing on the go. Create a new band and select whichever processing mode you’re interested in using, differently from the older versions, where this option was almost hidden. Additionally, they’ve added a brick wall slope that’s surprisingly transparent and very useful for mixing situations.
- Dynamic EQ:
They’ve added a new way of processing that’s entirely new to this plugin: the dynamics control on the EQ. This new feature is perfect in several contexts for mixing and mastering, and it’s perfectly there sitting around the gain knob.
- Collisional frequency marks:
Fab Filter includes a visualization of possible areas where frequencies are potentially high. This is used to ease up finding the troubling areas of the spectrum to fix them. Keep in mind that this is not an intelligent feature, so I wouldn’t recommend you to run and try to fix something whenever you see the mark, but to use it as a reference to spot possible issues that you’re looking to address.
- Sidechain and EQ match:
Fab Filter added a new way to use the sidechain capabilities of this eq. Typically, you’d use this feature to match a reference track’s tone and spectrum balance, contrasting both tracks’ spectrum and manually matching them. Still, now, Pro Q 3 takes you there automatically with AI assistance.
Supports Windows 10, supports macOS 10.10 or higher, runs on 64 bit and 32 bit systems, and comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Fab Filter Pro Q 3 is an improvement of both of its predecessors. This EQ has been very well known for its transparency and versatility, and it keeps getting better with each release. This latest plugin version came out in 2018 and is still one of the best equalizers to use regularly.
One thing that you can appreciate from Fab Filter is that they continuously improve their plugins to optimize your performance and, obviously, your workflow. Use Pro Q3 if you want transparency and accuracy, as this is probably the best tool to use when you need precision.
5. Oeksound Soothe 2
Soothe is one of the most famous dynamic equalizers for producers and engineers across the globe.
This plugin is commonly used on vocal production to control excessive sibilances and digital harshness. It tends to be the best way to go because it’s so transparent, and it has very advanced algorithms that you can focus on to address these issues in a very efficient way with nearly no distortion or artifacts.
What makes this plugin stand out is the combination of different things built into it. For example, looking at the right of the graphic interface, you might confuse what you see with a regular EQ and probably even try to use it as such until you realize it doesn’t work that way.
Like its previous version, the dots you can see work like selectors that you can place in frequencies and adjust how much you want to affect the signal. You can also adjust a set of parameters to change its behavior and modify the intensity of the processing switching the algorithm from soft to hard, which is a new inclusion of this release. Let’s see what else Oek sound has brought us on this occasion.
- Switchable styles:
As one of the most apparent improvements from the first version, Oek Sound has included two different processing styles to optimize the reaction of Soothe for various mixing and mastering scenarios. These styles are categorized as soft and hard, where hard behaves just about the same as the Soothe 1, and soft works with a lot more subtlety.
- More control over processing:
Soothe 2 lets you modify the response and behavior of the algorithm to adapt it to your needs. For example, you can not only modify attack and release but also adjust depth, sharpness, and selectivity, change the amount of oversampling, and effect mix.
- Unique controls:
You might’ve noticed earlier that I mentioned that the colored dots that look a lot like an EQ don’t work that way. Instead, they work as band selectors that determine how much of the algorithm processing would be tossed into the signal. So the sharpness and selectivity knobs pertain to how spiky and how many spikes there are in what it’s doing reduction, like a bunch of little dynamic EQ bands.
- Multi-purpose presets:
Soothe 2 has an extensive presets menu that features several preset folders destinated for different purposes, including mixing, mastering, vocals, sound design, music production, and sources like guitars, synths, and vocals.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, supports macOS 10.10 or higher, runs on 64 bit and 32 bit systems, and comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Oek Sound’s Soothe 2 is the notorious evolution of dynamic equalizers. Its unique algorithms can improve not only a bad vocal recording but also an entire mix or different elements within that context. The plugin’s usage possibilities are seamless, its algorithms are very adjustable, and it’s overall a great tool to have in any possible case.
This plugin has a great sidechain reaction, which makes it great for carving out some space for vocals on a mix. You can also use it to smooth out the harshness in the high frequencies of a synth or reduce sibilances.
6. Waves F6
The F6 is a dedicated dynamic EQ that you need to have in your toolbox.
Waves Audio’s F6 plugin is a precise dynamic equalizer that portends to be the ultimate problem-solving tool for surgical dynamic equalization. It has six floating parametric bands that you can adjust to detail with advanced compression and expansion controls merged with a transparent parametric EQ, and an easy-in-the-eye interface.
With this plugin, you’ll be able to address a broad variety of mixing and mastering situations, like removing bass/kick masking, removing digital harshness, controlling the low-end of a mix, enhancing stereo width, and much more.
This plugin is also a good solution for audio restoration scenarios, like controlling awkward room reflections picked up by the microphone or reducing high digital distortion caused by saturation on telephone recordings. Let’s talk in more detail.
- Low CPU impact:
Among the good traits of this plugin, an undoubtedly very relevant one is that regardless of how powerful it is, it has a surprisingly low impact on your CPU, which is rather convenient when working with large mixes.
- Internal/external sidechain:
One of the best traits this plugin has is that you can assign each band to operate according to your track’s signal or an external one, which is extremely helpful if you need to control different things at a time because you can do it in only one instance.
- Adjustable spectrum analyzer:
F6 includes a fully adjustable spectrum analyzer on which you can adjust resolution, reaction, speed, or change to measure RMS vs. Peak response, Pre-EQ, Post-EQ, and much more.
Supports Windows 10 or higher, supports macOS 10.14.6 or higher, runs on 64 bit only, and comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
F6 by Waves Audio is a relatively simple plugin to navigate, but it’s capable of applying incredibly complex processing to your signal. Its sidechain capabilities are fast and incredibly helpful, plus it’s too practical to EQ while overseeing the relationship between two instruments that share a similar frequency range, such as the bass element and the kick drum.
It’s also very graphic in helping you visualize the changes you’re making with every move, thanks not only to the analyzer’s reading but also to how things are laid out on the interface. As a result, the plugin’s visual aid accelerates your workflow and keeps things moving forward.
7. Sonnox Oxford Dynamic EQ
With this dynamic EQ, you can change the algorithm in different ways to be more precise.
This Dynamic EQ by Sonnox is one of the oldest on this list. It’s a very effective plugin released in 2017 and was a reference for several similar plugins from the years to come, including the latest of the Fab Filter Pro Q series.
The Oxford Dynamic EQ is still one solid addition to your arsenal. It lets you change the algorithm’s behavior, looks good, and is not a heavy lifter for your CPU, but most importantly because it’s still a time saver and has one of the best sidechain processing settings that not many, even the most modern versions, share.
- Static and Dynamic EQ:
This plugin applies downwards and upwards compression and expansion to each band. You can also deactivate the dynamics (by turning the “dynamics” knob to 0) and use it as any other static parametric EQ with the possibility of changing the filter shape.
- Detection modes:
This plugin offers you two different ways to set the algorithm to detect the dynamic information of your signal: Peak and onset. When it’s set to peak, it’ll compress as you’d expect from any other dynamic eq, but if you set it to onset, the algorithm will look for subtle or sudden changes in that specific frequency or range and act upon it.
- Sidechain independency:
You can use the sidechain internally or externally and filter it independently from each processing band. This is very useful when you are shaping the tone of a vocal and you need to boost or cut aggressively because this sidechain independence keeps processing parallelly and feels a lot smoother.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, supports macOS 10.3.8 or higher, runs on 64 bit only, and comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Sonnox’ Oxford Dynamic EQ is a particularly simple-to-use plugin that can do pretty complex processing without demanding too much effort.
Unlike most other plugins with more complicated and entangled user interfaces, this one doesn’t give up any of its features to make it easier on the eyes but rather preserves them and offers you an intuitive layout that you can quickly pick up and do what you have to do.
As far as processing and transparency, I must say it’s pretty subtle, and even when taken to some extreme settings, you can still hear the natural tone of the signal. Another great feature of this plugin is its dynamic knob control that’s included in all frequency bands and works like a mix wet/dry control, which allows you to perform a very aggressive compression that you can later blend into the context.
8. ToneBoosters Equalizer 4
Equalizer 4 is the best option if you need a Dynamic EQ that fits your budget and works as good as Fab Filter.
Equalizer 4 by Tone Boosters is their version of a powerful, solid, and fully customizable dynamic EQ. It shares all of the features of Fab Filter’s Pro Q 3, but it costs less than half of the price and sounds just as good. Additionally, this plugin includes an AI assistant with different algorithms based on genre and source type.
This sophisticated EQ comes with an easy-on-the-eyes graphic interface that you can customize, choose among several different skins, freely rescale it by clicking and dragging, and even hiding the meters. This plugin has many excellent traits that will make your life that much easier, so let’s talk more about its key features.
- AI assistant:
EQ4 has artificial intelligence that analyzes your signal and suggests you the best EQ curve for your audio to help you save some time at work. In addition, the AI has different presets defined by music genre or source, including drums, dialog, pink noise, and modern pop, as some of the presets.
- Optimized GUI:
ToneBoosters know that we need tools to do more in the least amount of time. So they brought us a customizable graphic interface with frequency audition and automatic make-up gain, attack, and release assistance.
- Upward and downward compression:
Equalizer 4 offers you upward and downward compression features for each frequency band to make adjustments that go unnoticed even if you’re making very aggressive boosts or cuts.
- The easiest workflow:
With Equalizer 4 is possible to navigate the plugin without stopping and searching for any of its functions. The entirety of the plugin is dedicated to being easy to follow up with and do what you have to do. You can solo frequency bands with just a simple click, quickly access all EQ parameters, and even find frequencies with a piano roll.
Supports Windows 10, supports macOS 10.10 or higher, runs on 64 bit and 32 bit systems, and comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Equalizer 4 by ToneBoosters is one fantastic budget alternative to one of the most complete equalizers out there, as it is the Fab Filter’s Pro Q plugin. One thing to shout out about Tone Boosters is that their plugins don’t have a limited trial time, but you can use them in their fully-functioning demo mode until you decide to purchase. The only difference with the paid version is that you can’t store any presets, and it’ll show that it’s a demo when you initialize the interface.
This release by ToneBoosters is flawless, and it’s one of the cheapest and most effective plugins that we’ll see on this list, as it is priced under the 50-dollar range. However, when it comes down to sound and utility, this plugin also excels with its analog distortion emulations that you can apply to each band or deliver a transparent sound if required.
9. DMGAudio Multiplicity
Multiplicity is the swiss army knife of dynamic processors.
Multiplicity is a multiband processor that splits the audio spectrum into eight frequency ranges for dynamic processing, which you can use independently or group together in a multiband crossover. In addition, it has a two-stage dynamic processor able to distinguish between dynamic material and transients.
Besides multiband compression, Multiplicity also lets you create equalization bands with dynamic capabilities pre or post the crossover stage. You can also use these EQ bands for static equalization if required. This plugin has some innovative functions and features, so let’s explore them.
You can use Multiplicity as a multiband expander, which allows you to employ it as an exciter for specific frequencies to pop dynamically. This is greatly helpful in making pianos, synths, and guitars stand out in instrumental sections of a song.
You can compress, expand, dynamically EQ, gate, and de-ess within the same instance of this plugin. This makes it extremely practical for mixing and mastering situations, as you can take care of all dynamic regulations at once.
You get a three-band EQ to get more consistent triggering with your external sidechain source. Trim up or down the input of your sidechain or adjust the reaction to fit perfectly and choose on which part of the stereo field you want to focus your processing.
This function automatically compensates for any perceived changes between the input and output levels. This feature has an ITU-1770 algorithm that measures your signal’s loudness and crest factor in real-time.
Supports Windows Vista or higher, supports macOS 10.7 or higher, runs on 64 bit and 32 bit systems, and comes in VST, VST3, AU, RTAS, and AAX formats.
Multiplicity is a massive dynamic processor suitable for just about any dynamic processing that you need to apply to your signal. This plugin is perfectly convenient for music mixing and mastering but can have creative applications for music production, sound design, and audio restoration.
On the downside, although it says to have a trial version, as soon as you download and install, you’ll notice that it’ll say that the trial expired and so you’re kind of forced to buy it to use it and try it out. Still, after listening to what this plugin can do, it’s a great deal for the money, so if you’re able to afford it, try it out and adapt it to your workflow.
10. Dynamic EQ from AIXDSP
This plugin combines a regular equalizer with a few compression elements and an expander.
AIX DSP has brought us a dynamic EQ with different dynamic behaviors settings, making this a very flexible plugin to include in your mixing and mastering sessions. In addition, the plugin has a very nice-looking and clear layout that’s familiar to any other dynamic EQ plugin.
Despite its looks, AIX DSP’s Dynamic EQ delivers you several outstanding options to control dynamics across the spectrum and resourcefully take you to your sonic goal. From applying expansion to a frequency band to using the plugin as a transparent static EQ, this release is a tool that’s worth checking out and a particularly nice thing to have on a rainy day.
- Subtlety in processing:
Dynamic EQ offers you the possibility of working on your signal with a lot of transparency with its dynamic processing modes. Use this plugin to remove the honk of a snare without losing critical low-mid frequencies or filter out the hi-hat bleed without artifacts or distortion.
- Dynamic processing modes:
This plugin offers you a variety of options for dynamic control, including de-essing and de-popping vocal tracks without hurting their natural tone. However, what’s unique to this plugin is the “hold” control included in all dynamic modes to give you more precision when you need to make adjustments.
- Upwards & downwards expansion:
Dynamic EQ has these two particular expanders that you can apply to each band. Use the downwards expander to filter out a hi-hat from a snare recording or remove the low rumble on a kick drum. Use the upwards expander to add gain to frequencies dynamically.
Supports Windows 10, supports macOS 10.10 or higher, runs on 64 bit and 32 bit systems, and comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Dynamic EQ by AIX DSP is a unique equalizer that can help you solve several possible problems that you might encounter in a mix or mastering context. With extreme transparency, side chainable dynamics control for each band, and even a hard and soft limiter for your output.
This powerful unit can be the cleanest solution, saving you time and providing the best possible results. I encourage you to try it out for free, as it has a free 30-day fully-functioning trial for you to check it out and toy with it yourself.
The 3 Best Free Dynamic EQ Plugins 2021
1. TDR Nova
Nova is a handy toolbox with everything you need for dynamic processing.
Nova is a powerful parallel dynamic equalizer that you can use for transparent frequency dynamic processing in mixing and mastering situations. This plugin offers you a wide range of possibilities in both cases. In addition, it allows you to be as drastic as you need while keeping transparency with the dry/wet mix knob without adding artifacts or distortion.
If you were looking for a free mastering solution or want to get started with dynamic EQs and didn’t know what to get, Nova by Tokyo Dawn Records is a great option. This plugin gives you precise control over your signal and brings the possibility of using it as a multi-band compressor or a wideband compressor.
Besides all its features, it has a smooth user interface, and it’s super helpful if you’re at a beginner’s level and aren’t familiar with this type of tool. It explains itself and has helpers that will guide you through the plugin so that you adapt quickly and achieve results.
- Automatic gain compensation:
Nova has a button called EQ gain that automatically makes up for all gain additions and reductions you apply with the EQ to prevent you from confusing louder with better.
- Band individuality:
Compress each band by group or individually with separate settings for each band. Determine which parts of the spectrum will be affected by the compression.
- Wideband compression:
Nova comes with a wideband aside from the four EQ bands and the two filters that you can add to emphasize or reduce the overall EQ curve or add compression to the entire spectrum. Additionally, you can combine this band with the others to enhance an entire mix or for bus processing.
- Control over your compression:
Not only do all individual bands have their compressor, but also you can control every aspect of the processing and even limit each band separately or exclude them from being compressed. You can adjust the ratio, threshold, attack, and release to the frequency cuts and the wideband.
Supports Windows XP SP2 or higher, supports macOS 10.9 or higher, runs on 64 bit only, and comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
Nova by TDR has many incredible features that differentiate it from most other plugins, and it’s free. There’s a paid version that includes a couple more EQ bands and slope options for the filters, along with a couple of improvements to the limitations in the free version. Still, this plugin sounds excellent, and it’s proven to be even more helpful than others to a certain extent.
2. TDR VladG Nova-67P
This plugin is a more specialized dynamic equalizer by Tokyo Dawn Records, specifically suitable for sidechaining.
TDR brings us another free parallel dynamic equalizer without as many dynamic functions as we saw on the previous plugin from our list, but still just as efficient. Furthermore, you can decide whether you want to work in frequency-dependent or split-band mode with this plugin.
With the VladG Nova67-P, you get five independent frequency bands, high-pass and low-pass filters, internal and external sidechain capabilities, and complete control over your compression settings. Of course, this plugin is also suitable for newer and advanced producers and engineers, so without further adieu, let’s see what it offers.
- Dynamic modes:
Choose between three different dynamic modes on each of the six EQ bands presented on this plugin. Next, decide whether you want the full-band compressor to engage at a total mix value, 50% mix value, or not to engage with the specified band.
- Split bands:
Use the split band function to separate the spectrum into different parts and apply multi-band compression. You can also use this dynamic mode at a total mix value, or 50%.
Supports Windows XP SP2 or higher, supports macOS 10.9 or higher, runs on 64 bit and 32 bit systems, and comes in VST, and AU formats.
TDR’s VladG Nova67-P is a free, straightforward dynamic equalizer with split-band compression capabilities optimized for precise correction and enhancement. Although the user interface might not be the smoothest and can look a bit confusing, this is a relatively simple plugin that does what you’d expect from a tool of this kind and works particularly well with drums.
3. J1000 DQ65
DQ65 is a free parametric equalizer with dynamic capabilities designed for mixing situations by J1000.
We can see right off the bat that DQ65 differentiates from other plugins of its kind just by looking at the knob-based user interface as opposed to the regular spectrogram display with floating EQ bands that we’ve seen all across this list.
Regardless, this plugin is not only different because of its looks, but it also takes a different approach to dynamic processing, as it was explicitly developed for track processing during mixing.
DQ65 presents a graphic interface of a parametric EQ. Still, they substituted the one usual “gain” control knob with two separate knobs labeled as “high” and “low,” which are reactive to the amplitude of the input. Let’s see more about that.
With this plugin, there are no learning curves or secrets. Everything you see is what you get, as simple as that. It’s laid out as a simple parametric EQ with a line of controls for each frequency band and filter. You can also rescale the interface freely.
- Input dependent processing:
The high and low control knobs are reactive and dependable to the input’s amplitude level. With these, you can control the amount of dynamic processing being applied by the plugin according to the level of your tracks.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, runs on 32 bit only, and comes in VST format.
DQ65 by J1000 is a simple, easy-to-use piece of freeware that can be useful in mixing. You can use this plugin with instruments with lots of dynamic range, like vocals, guitars, and strings, and shape the tone and dynamics to your needs preserving as much of their natural dynamics as possible.
1. TBProAudio DSEQ3
DSEQ3 is TB Pro Audio’s competition to Oek Audio’s Soothe; a famous EQ plugin developed for mastering and vocals.
DSEQ 3 is an ambitious plugin ready to take it on the Soothe. It seems to be prepared to eliminate the roughness of the audio and take place on any mix or master to make instant transparent improvements. In addition, this plugin has self-adjusting frequency bands that automatically adapt to the type of signal you’re working on as you EQ.
This release uses automatic dynamic filters based on some FFT filters, which are constantly looking for a fine selection of frequencies to avoid any distortion, artifacts, and phase issues and preserve transparency on different operative modes depending on your CPU. It’s a very powerful EQ with some interesting features unique to it, so let’s see what it can bring to the table.
- Smart AI:
DSEQ3 has an AI that you can set up to analyze your audio signal and automatically adjust the perfect slope and filtering to improve its sound. You only need to enable this by clicking on “Learn” at the bottom of the UI and selecting the algorithm that suits you better.
- Custom threshold:
You can turn DSEQ3 into a versatile multi-band compressor and automatically align your threshold and dynamics to any audio file or DAW signal. You can activate this feature at the top of the GUI.
- Pre-filter control:
This plugin lets you limit its functionality to specific frequency regions. You can boost, cut, or apply a shelving filter wherever you’re setting up your pre-filter and set the sensitivity value to determine how strongly you want it to behave.
DSEQ 3 is a very versatile and powerful tool that can adjust to any audio source and help you fix it with the highest possible transparency. It doesn’t generate any artifacts to the processing, even when it’s pushed to the extreme, and its AI makes it that much easier for you to get faster results and move on.
This monster dynamic EQ can be very helpful in mixing and mastering situations. Whether you want to control sibilances, remove digital harshness, or just subtly control some frequency dynamics on a mix, DSEQ3 can help you get there with the least amount of effort.
2. Wavesfactory Trackspacer
Wavesfactory’s Trackspacer is a unique space-opening tool for your mixes, productions, or voiceover.
Although Trackspacer has been out for years, it’s become famous over the last couple of years. It has even been praised not only by mixing engineers but also by EDM producers, voiceover artists, and even podcasters.
Despite the super simple re-scalable interface with just a couple of knobs and a deeper menu option, the thing that makes this plugin so beloved is its intricate built-in algorithm that processes the audio in a way that it can almost break up one signal from another.
Trackspacer is extremely rare in terms of how it works. You really can’t tell if it’s using some dynamic EQ, multi-band compression, or spectral shaping. Whatever it is, it has a powerful capability of separating two signals almost seamlessly in seconds.
- Unique algorithm:
As I mentioned earlier, this plugin has a unique algorithm with self-adjusting capacities that automatically detects fundamental frequencies from a sidechained source and dynamically cuts them from another. This means that you can use it to make room for a vocal in a dense EDM mix with a lot of mid-range information, and it’ll do it automatically in a matter of seconds.
- Freeze function:
What it does, is that it’ll let you statically impose an EQ curve and scale it with the amount knob. This is a good function when you need to do a static change, like unmasking a bass and a kick drum. You can engage “freeze” when you see a curve with the balance you’re looking for.
- Advanced controls:
You can get even more accurate tailoring the perfect compression amount on the advanced controls panel, adding filters to process only a specific frequency range, or choosing a stereo processing mode.
Supports Windows 7 or higher, supports macOS 10.9 or higher, runs on 64 bit only, and comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
Trackspacer by Wavesfactory is an excellent plugin to have if you ever need to create space for any element in your mix. With this tool, you’ll be able to achieve interesting dynamic EQ settings for your tracks or amazing sidechain pumping effects if you mix or produce EDM.
However, you need to know that you might find the best results when processing more synthesized sounds instead of acoustic recordings with this plugin. The algorithm can be very aggressive, even in very soft settings. So depending on the genre, it might not be what you’re looking for.
We just went through several different Dynamic EQs. Although most of them do the same thing, the variations in the way that plugins approach dynamic processing can make a real difference in how we perceive the changes applied to the initial signal.
This relationship between our approach and the plugin’s portrait is significant when selecting a tool that adapts to your workflow instead of adapting oneself to a particular tool. Therefore, I advise you to find a dynamic EQ that you feel you can understand quickly and easily.
Although dynamic EQ might seem like a rare effect to apply only in some instances, I encourage you to try it in substitution for your regular static EQ. You’ll find that it’s a more flexible and transparent way to fix and enhance your audio signal, making your mixes sound more natural and professional.
Also, consider checking Aulart – online music education platform offering music production courses and more!
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I have a B.Sc. Degree in Audio Engineering and +5 years of work experience. I specialize in Audio Post-Producing and Sound Design to help brands and online businesses stick out delivering top-notch audio quality for advertisement, podcast, films, and music.