In this post, we will talk about the 6 Best Linear Phase EQ Plugins available in 2023.
Linear Phase EQ has been made possible by digital signal processing (DSP). It is a type of equalization that does not change the phase relationship and can properly filter or cut frequencies without causing phase differences between the input and output signals.
This tool is ideal for “Transparent Processing” sound, creating low-end without adding distortion and correcting stereo-correlated such as left and right overheads.
Top 6 Linear Phase EQ Plugins 2023 (Most Precise EQs)
1. Three-Body Technology Kirchhoff-EQ (Ultra-Precise EQ)
The next-generation EQ plugin is optimized for music production and critical professional application.
You will find 15 filter types with continuously variable shapes. It also has 32 Filter types based on modeled 9 vintage EQ. The curves of each band are based on the same algorithms used in the physical model of the EQ.
This means you get to benefit from the same exact sound as if you were using analog units, but with the advantages and flexibility that digital offers. Kirchhoff-EQ comes with flexible built-in dynamics processing features and the distortion produced is very low.
With this tool, we are going to generate more cleaner and transparent mixes thanks to its high-precision processing. The internal use of this plugin is 64-bits but you can try 117-bits. We will be able to mold frequency curves with flexibly dynamic functions, giving us more freedom and creativity.
And speaking of creativity, Kirchhoff-EQ brings a GUI settings panel to customize it however we want. Personalizing this plugin gives better user comfort.
- 32 filter types:
It is a large number of options to be able to process each frequency. It also emulates the characteristics of historical vintage EQ, adding color to the mix but without distortion. Nine EQ models will make your mixes different, some of them are the SSL E-Series, SSL G-Series and Birt N.
- Mixed Phase Mode:
A resource that can be used with zero latency when the frequency point of the band is low and use linear phase when it is high. Depending on its frequency, each band can smoothly switch from one mode to another. The transition is seamless.
The internal processing is 64-bit and you can switch to 117-bit, regardless of the current precision of the DAW. (linear phase mode always uses 64-bit, does not support 117-bit).
- Harmonic Shifted Envelope:
Another point of this plugin with the use of advanced DSP techniques. It can shift most of the energy from odd-harmonics to even-harmonics, creating a very low noise floor and clean sound. Don’t worry about smashing your sounds, use the dynamic functions freely.
- User-Customizable Settings:
The fact that you can customize the GUI of this plugin, gives it a satisfying user experience. You can choose the default templates or customize your template personally.
- Robust Nyquist-matched Transform:
What this feature does is made the frequency response of the digital domain get closer to its analog counterparts. Thus solving the high-frequency cramps that regular IIR (infinite impulse response) equalizers have.
- Psychoacoustic Adaptive Filter Topologies:
Each filter structure sounds different due to round-off errors, some sound better at low frequencies and some at high frequencies. To solve that problem Kirchhoff-EQ implements this feature where the filter structures are enhanced along with the band frequency changes. As a result, sound quality is optimized for both low and high frequencies.
- Two-Way Threshold:
Kirchhoff-EQ implements compressor and expander functions. In that way, the dynamic reaction to the portion of the signal above/below the threshold concurrently can be controlled.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher and Windows 7 or higher and runs on 64-bit and 32-bit systems. It runs in standalone mode and VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Kirchhoff EQ has a full-scale design. It is a complete and standalone plugin if you want a clear mix and a good user experience. The developers were attentive to the demands of the users. Its smooth GUI in latency operation and over-low CPU workload are plus features.
What I highlight about this plugin, is that it provides the possibility to customize the GUI in a personal way. Improves the user experience, and the fact that it can emulate the characteristics of 9 great vintage equalizers. I think its price is right for what Kirchhoff EQ provides and the work behind this plugin.
2. Softube Weiss EQ1
Softube in collaboration with Weiss Engineering brings us this emulation of the epic mastering EQ “Weiss EQ1”. The Hardware was a best seller in the mid-’90s.
The transparency and accuracy are ideal for mastering situations, which made the hardware unit so popular at its released. Softube’s team looked for a way to recreate all its unique sonic characteristics in the digital world. Adding the possibility to use it as a minimal, dynamic, or as linear phase equalizer.
Being able to see an RTA (real-time analyzer) spectrum with pre and post-processing analysis can help you visualize the changes you are making to the signal. Thanks to this we can control the low and high ends, helping us to make the necessary changes for a clean sound. Let’s see what else this plugin can offer us.
The plug-in offers precision because it has seven identical parametric bands, each with a Q parameter range of 0.2 to 650. It can also operate in modes including high and low shelf, peak, high or low cut, and bypass.
When we are mastering we do not be to make aggressive changes with the processing. This is why the transparency of this plugin and the surgical way with which you can process changes in each band will be of great help when you are enhancing the overall image of the mix.
- Dark Mode:
Softube has dark mode lovers in mind. A performance that undoubtedly helps in the user experience and our eyes.
- 4 Modes:
To work more fully, the EQ 1 plugin has four different modes to view its GUI. If what you want is to see a simplified interface where you can only see the spectrogram and filters, activate the large screen mode. Dynamic and Minimum Phase mode gives you two different ways to set your compression. The linear phase equalizer mode offers us the possibility to create changes in our mixing processes so that the sounds hear so clean.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher and Windows 10 or higher, and runs on 64-bit only. It runs in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Excellent if you want your signal to get surgical processing treatment, giving a nice color to the sound. It’s subtle and effective.
The freedom it gives you to tweak and enhance your tracks without being too extreme in mastering is remarkable. Its price is $500, a big difference from its parallel hardware unit, though, pretty expensive for a plugin.
3. FabFilter Pro-Q 3
In this case, we bring you the third version of a popular plugin it is “Pro-Q3” by FabFilter.
FabFilter plugins are well known among sound engineers and producers, their great fidelity processing has made them famous. The Pro Q series continues to be strong in many producers’ mixing chains. Don’t wait to try a clean low-end in your mixes.
Pro Q3 is very transparent and has different spectrogram display modes (pre/post-processing). Still, this plugin stands out due to its infinite frequency bands, zero latency mode, fully adjustable parameters, and linear phase processing.
If you want you can try to control the dynamics of the specific frequencies but with linear phase processing to give a clear image to your tracks. His RTA is quite graphic which helps those who are just getting started. There is no doubt that it is a world standard in the market.
- Phase Management Modes:
When working on our mix we seek to process our sounds in different ways. This is why Pro Q3 gives us the possibility to manage the phase mode with which we want to mix. We will find the zero latency that matches the magnitude response of the analog EQ as closely as possible without introducing any latency and the natural phase that gives a more accurate frequency response. Finally, it has the linear phase mode with various resolution options (low, medium, high, very high, and maximum), I recommend using the high-resolution option.
- Frequency Note:
Do you want to locate the note of your kick and boost it? Now in this version of Pro Q, a piano roll has been added to its interface to be able to boost or clean frequencies exactly. Excellent for correcting our kick and bass low-end or cleaning up the harmonics that some sounds generate in our mix, thus improving the sound design experience.
- Filter Shapes:
Fab Filter Pro Q 3 is constantly improving and brings us new shapes of filters like a flat tilted and a tilted shelf applying them directly from the box outside the frequency band. A big advantage over previous versions.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher and Windows 10 or higher, and runs on 64-bit and 32-bit systems. It runs in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
A complete and intuitive user interface plugin that makes it easy for those just starting out in the sound and music production environment. With each launch, it improves and its popularity is thanks to its transparency and versatility when using it.
My recommendation is to use the linear phase mode on the high-resolution option and only correct frequencies and do a low-cut with a 48db slope on the master. In this way, you will notice how you will obtain a completely clean and accurate mix.
4. PSP Neon
A truly linear phase mastering EQ plugin Neon by PSP Audioware.
With more than a decade on the market, this plug-in continues to be a strong player in the mastering chain. Considering its age it is a tool that managed to stay afloat due to its clean and uncluttered user interface designed to look like hardware units.
Thus a friendly interface can make the workflow more intuitive and efficient as a graphical display that allows users to zoom in/out by selecting a suitable vertical scale. Eight visible bands can be assigned to each one of the seven filter types being able to select the way in which it processes its signal in the master.
The latest version of this plugin comes with three models each with qualities that suit different users. Neon Mix offers us minimum phase filters ideal for mixing since it does not present latency.
The next model is Neon STD, much more friendly in its memory requirements by having very low latency and a sufficient standard spectral resolution for everything except mastering. For the mastering chain, we will use Neon HR suitable for a linear phase process and choose three spectral resolution levels.
- CPU efficiency :
When we talk about linear phase processes, the first thing we think of is high CPU demand. But in Neon this is not the case because it uses linear phase algorithms based on fast frequency domain convolution which achieves a better balance between CPU efficiency and phase accuracy.
- Frequency Authentication Technique:
PSP has patented this mode of oversampling that significantly enhances the sound. Enabling FAT expands the depth and width of the mix adding additional anti-alias/anti-image filtering.
You might be thinking that being an old plugin, it is hard to use. But it is not like that, Neon has a helpful interface for an intuitive workflow with a transparent response that makes you forget for a moment that it is also a linear phase equalizer waiting to be used in critical applications.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.5 or higher and Windows 7 or higher and runs on 64-bit and 32-bit systems. It runs in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Well, this veteran plugin continues to do its job by providing a sounding equalizer that offers sweetness and transparency to our signal. PSP Neon is perfect for mastering due to its deliberately soft and neutral character.
As I said, it is surprising that it is an old plugin but its interface is intuitive and easy to use, a large-scale design but also designed for more novice users.
5. IK Multimedia Linear Phase EQ
If what you are looking for is a precision plugin, Linear Phase Equalizer by T-Racks is the one for you.
Sometimes it happens to us that we are in the mix and we feel that a track has phase or resonance problems that clash with the general mix and can be annoying. This is where this plugin comes in with its precision and distortion-free sound to solve our problems.
An equalizer for when you need to make EQ adjustments to a sound that doesn’t “feel” as equalized and natural as possible. We will be able to make surgical micro-cuts to a narrow frequency band because its bands can be configured to have a wide and wide Q or be super sharp, useful for removing resonances or removing noise.
- Parametric EQ:
It includes 6 completely identical bands that can be configured for all types of filters available and that can cover the entire frequency range. Ideal for correcting or enhancing your sound on the master.
- Natural transparency:
A new generation of plugins that provide fidelity in its processing transparency in the full frequency spectrum. A tool that returns or can create more natural sounds.
Entirely designed to simulate a true analog unit giving us the comfort and quality we seek when processing our mixes. T-Racks can emulate analog curve shapes but with the benefits of a linear phase equalizer.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher and Windows 7 or higher, and runs on 64-bit only. It runs in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Linear Phase Equalizer IK Multimedia is a new generation plug-in that provides the latest in DSP. Not only does it focus on the master, it can also focus on the individual channels, making corrections more natural and transparent.
I would use this plugin on percussion arrangements or drum bus channels and combine it with parallel compression for more punch and clarity. Definitely, a new linear phase equalizer that has potential.
6. Crave DSP Crave EQ
Crave EQ by Crave DSP faithfully recreates Stephen Butterworth’s original filter designs known to be musical balance.
Consider this plugin a great protein supplement in your mixes when trying to add or cut frequencies in your vocal or drums. You should absolutely not let it pass in your master chain because it has a phase model exclusively called the Transparent phase model.
Crave EQ exactly emulates the Butterworth filter models giving the mix a musical tone. This brings us a flat passband frequency response and better linear phase shift function than any filter design.
- Phase Models:
It’s hard to find a plugin with multiple phase models that suit our critical processing needs. However, Crave EQ offers us 4 models (Digital, Analog, Linear, and Transparent) in which the Digital and Analog are of minimal phase with slight differences between them.
It has a choice of six settings for latency times from 75msec to 1000msec. Finally, we have the Transparent phase model with six adjustable latency times from 1.25ms to 50ms which gives us low frequencies analog modeling and move to a higher frequencies linear phase model.
- Piano keyboard display:
This feature reminds me a lot of the Pro Q3 interface and I like it! Being able to process sounds in a more tonal means that in some way we can tune our instruments.
- Spectrum Analyzer Setting:
A great implementation for the user interfaces because we can personally configure the spectrum analyzer and work seamlessly on processing our signal.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher and Windows 7 or higher and runs on 64-bit and 32-bit systems. It runs in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Crave EQ is an audio tool that I recommend for addressing the mix chain. Crave DSP has done great with the Transparent phase model while also being able to have analog characteristics based on the Butterworth filter models.
Waves Linear Phase EQ
We could not close this article without including some Waves plugins. “Linear Phase Equalizer” thus tool provides functionality to meet the demanding and critical equalizing requirements.
The Waves developers did a great job of implementing a little sophisticated math for this plugin to provide real-time performance. Alright, take the time to test the sound that Linear Phase EQ offers us, and can you see a tool that effectively manipulates the harmonic spectrum thus preserving the musical balance.
Now we will find ourselves internally in this plugin with the wide selection of filter types that they provide us. That’s right, Linear Phase Equalizer has 9 types of filters that offer 2 types of Shelf and Cut filters (Analog and Digital) and 1 type of bell filter in each of its 6 bands, many options for processing your sound.
- Scale Size:
A feature favors us when it comes to seeing how much we affect our dynamic range in decibels. We have the option to adjust the scale to +/- 12 dB and +/- 30dB. If you are working on delicate processes I recommend using it in a +/-12dB view so that the changes are not strong in your mix.
- Lowband Mode:
There are times that we want to do a treatment only focused on the basses without adding harmonics. The plugin has a mode called “Lowband” where we will find a solution for our mix. In this linear phase equalizer mode, the tool will have the same types of filters as the broadband component and filters the cutoff work in the range of 11 Hz to 600 Hz.
- Gain control:
When we are equalizing it is recurrent for our gain to be affected, sometimes causing peaks. But with “Trim” this does not happen because it shows the space between the peak of the program and the full digital scale in dB when we click on the trim control. It automatically trims the specified space by applying the detailed value to gain control.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.15.7, 11.6.5, 12.4, and Windows 10 64-bit (21H2) Windows 11 (21H2). It runs in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Waves plugins are created to give a professional impression to our sound and Linear Phase EQ is no exception. An ideal tool for our mastering stage where we want to equalize without generating phase distortion and bring transparency to our mix.
So there we have it, folks. In this article, we’ve talked about many different types of Linear Phase EQs and compared their sound to find the best possible option.
Linear Phase EQs are a great way to process your signal cleanly and get professional results. They can also add transparency and add great clarity to a mix. These are very versatile tools to add to your arsenal for amazing results.
Finally, Linear Phase EQs can help precisely in your mastering chain making tracks sound natural and flat.
Other EQ Plugin Roundup Topics:
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.