Today we will go through the Top 9 Mid/Side EQ plugins plus two additional freebies and a bonus addition.
EQ is maybe the most common process when mixing any instrument. You apply corrective EQ when unwanted frequencies are in your signal and enhancement EQ when a specific sound section needs more boosting and presence. One of the most used techniques nowadays is Mid/Side EQ, where you have more precise control of the frequency content to address.
In a nutshell, here are the best Mid/Side EQ Plugins in 2023:
What is Mid/Side Processing & How Does It Work?
Mid/Side processing is an alternate technique where you process the center and side signals independently. Mid/Side processors take a stereo signal and split it into two different channels, a mono signal for the mid-channel and a stereo signal for the side channel.
When the stereo signal is separated, the mid-channel is a mono signal with identical information on the left and right channels, unlike the side channel, which contains different information, creating a stereo signal. Once processed, the output is converted back to conventional left/right channels.
Is Mid/Side EQ necessary?
Although it’s not a vital procedure, it’s a versatile technique as it allows you to enhance your stereo image and often get a richer sound. With regular EQ, the changes are applied to the whole signal, while with Mid/Side EQ you have two different processes that allow you to do a more precise and flexible mixing.
Some mastering engineers consider Mid/Side EQ a must in every project since it provides more possibilities than conventional Left/Right EQ. It also can help some instruments shine where they need to in the stereo field, leading to more professional results and industry-ready projects.
How Does Mid/Side EQ Improve My Mix?
In general, Mid/Side EQ makes your mix more cohesive and provides a more defined stereo image. It can tighten drum groups, remove unwanted low frequencies on the sides for vocals and bass, make space for elements that need more presence in the mid, like the kick drum and vocals, and other various applications.
Even though that Mid/Side EQ can enhance your mix and make a massive difference, abusing it and setting excessive values might harm your mix by making it sound unbalanced and broken in some sections. Now let’s move to our best picks for Mid/Side EQ plugins with that information in mind.
Top 9 Mid/Side EQ Plugins 2023
1. Brainworx bx_digital V3
bx_digital V3 by Brainworx has set the foundations of Mid/Side EQ plugins with its precise set of parametric filters for each of the eleven bands per channel.
Thanks to the precise building of this EQ, you can have accurate boosts and cuts without affecting any neighbor bands, which is perfect for clearing muddy low-mid frequencies, boosting your kick drum and bass, and giving the proper spotlight to vocals.
There are two versions of this plugin. One is designed for individual tracks that exclude Mid/Side processing and other meters. The other is designed for mixing and mastering purposes with all the features needed for precise surgical processes.
- Operation modes
You can process the signal in three ways within bx-digital V3. The most familiar with the majority is the “Left/Right” mode, which outputs dual-mono signals, unlike the “M/S Master” mode that gives you Mid/Side signals perks. The last mode is the “M/S Recording mode,” which allows you to use Mid/Side processing in real-time, so besides using it on the mixing stage, you can also take advantage of it while recording.
- Precise filters
Each section comes with Low-shelf, three Mid-notch, and High-shelf filters to modify each band’s gain, frequency, and Q factor. The High-self filter can go up to 40 kHz, which gives enough air and pure clarity to the mix. One interesting feature about these filters is the global Proportional Q Response mode that will allow you to modify a frequency band without affecting the response of the other bands next to it, giving you precise control and an accurate EQ curve.
- Automatic solo
A considerable differentiator about this plugin is the automatic solo and listen function. When the “Auto-solo” and “Auto-listen” buttons are enabled, you choose if this option will trigger when you modify the gain, Q factor, frequency, or the three of them by selecting one of the options in the dropdown in between these buttons. So if you have this option selected for the frequency knob, the filter that you’re altering will put itself in solo whenever you modify its frequency, making analysis and in-depth listening as easy as it gets.
- Dynamic EQ
An exciting addition is the simple but powerful dynamic EQ applied independently on the mid and side components of the signal. This process is controlled by two knobs in charge of modifying the frequency and the gain, and two selectors: one for choosing between slow and fast reaction, and one for selecting between pre or post-processing. You can get similar behavior to a de-esser by setting a high frequency.
- Independent monitoring
Something unique about bx-digital V3 is that you have two different spectrum analyzers for the mid and side parts of the signal. Some EQ plugins out there can switch between the mid and side monitoring, but here you can watch both of the spectrums simultaneously.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
The exceptional versatility and features like proportional Q filters and Automatic solo that other EQ plugins often lack denote its reputation as one of the most precise and flexible EQ plugins out there. The mids and sides are adequately separated in its controls and monitoring that it seems like working with two independent EQ modules. Maybe it’s not the most suitable EQ plugin for beginners since the number of parameters displayed is overwhelming and can increase the learning curve.
2. Slate Digital Infinity EQ
Modify your frequency content with preciseness using this intuitive EQ.
Focused on giving the best user experience by minimizing mouse movements within the device, Infinity EQ offers flexible filters and precise analog-matched curves for better results. The plugin provides five different band types and outstanding functionalities for optimized EQ like continuous slopes, continuous filter panning, and independent shelf resonances. It also comes with unique presets for different styles by renowned producers and engineers like Mike Dean, Oak Felder, and Howie Weinberg.
- Custom workflow
Infinity EQ adapts to two different types of workflows. By choosing the “Bands Only” mode, you will have the drag EQ area for the selected band on the left and an average analyzer on the right. Then, if you prefer to work on the full spectrum, you should choose the “Global Curve” mode, where you will see all the filters applied in a single curve and will not have the average analyzer displayed on the “Bands Only” mode.
- Drag filters
Either in the “Bands Only” or the “Global Curve” mode, you have one of the most intuitive and graphical ways to place a filter in a specific frequency. You can set your desired filter by right-clicking and dragging it to your desired frequency when using the first mode. You can do the same in the “Global Curve” by double-click where you want to place a filter.
- Band linking
Imagine that you need to modify the same amount of gain on two or more bands, where it would be more practical to have only one control for that. With the “Link” option in the Band Menu, you can link various frequency bands so they can enjoy the same modifications simultaneously. When bands are linked, the changes will be relative, meaning that the distance between each EQ band remains unchanged.
- Lock it
Once you’ve found the perfect point, you can lock the EQ band so it won’t get accidentally modified when you’re moving parameters of near bands, allowing you to make changes on bands very close together. Remember that you can’t modify the band within the user interface when you have this option enabled, but it will still follow automations.
This plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
Infinity EQ is a very intuitive and simple EQ, but being simple doesn’t mean it’s limited. The plugin has all the features needed for precise EQ processes and a smooth spectrum analyzer where you can perfectly see the behavior of your signal, plus it has a very elaborated and straightforward user guide accessible inside the plugin. It’s effortless to create filters, and the visual aid for either left/right or mid/side processing makes it perfect for thorough mixing and a top-tier choice mastering.
3. FabFilter Pro-Q 3
Pro-Q3 has become a default for many engineers and producers worldwide due to its precise EQ and smooth usability.
Renowned plugin developer FabFilter offers high sound quality and preciseness in its signature EQ module with 24 frequency bands and a wide dynamic range. The filter curves are displayed in front of the unique built-in spectrum analyzer, allowing total flexibility in processing any frequency adjustment. Additionally, it provides one of the most fluid and innovative interfaces without increasing CPU load or generating additional latency.
- Dynamic filters
By clicking and dragging somewhere on the spectrum analyzer, you can add a new filter with its respective controls for frequency, gain, and Q factor, plus a solo button for deeper analysis. In the same controls’ display, you can choose between bell, notch, high/low shelf, high/low cut, bandpass, tilt shelf, flat tilt filter shapes and assign that filter to either the mid-channel or the side channels.
The smooth animation of the full real-time spectrum displayed in the middle is very eye-pleasing and makes analysis more accessible. Also, the curve shapes of every filter you place are shown with different colors depending on the channel assignment, meaning that the mid-channel EQ curve will have a different color than the side channel. Also, the interface is fully resizable, with optional full-screen mode.
- EQ Match
Suppose you have an external audio reference, and you want your audio source to match its EQ. In that case, you can use the EQ match algorithm, which allows you to take an external signal so FabFilter Pro-Q3 can automatically match the spectrum of that signal. Once the reference is loaded and you hit the EQ match option, you can select up to 24 bands for the EQ curve obtained from the analysis.
- Spectrum grab
Sometimes you see some annoying peaks in the spectrum that need to be addressed, so you need to place a filter to lower those peaks. Pro-Q3 makes this process very straightforward with its Spectrum grab feature, where you can grab one of the peaks in the display and drag it where you want. Once done this, you can modify its gain, frequency, and Q factor if needed.
- Correction assistant
FabFilter Pro-Q3’s collision detection is one of a kind since it helps you detect which frequencies create conflict when working with two different sources sharing similar frequency content like the bass and the kick drum. To do this, you need to load Pro-Q3 in both channels and activate this option with the sources you require fixing so you can see both spectrums overlapped.
This plugin is available for Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, 32-bit and 64-bit for Windows, and 64-bit only for macOS. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
Nowadays, you see many producers and engineers choosing FabFilter Pro-Q3 as their go-to EQ plugin, and they have reasons to do so. The most outstanding asset about this plugin is the wide variety of analysis tools and transparent output that leads to very accurate frequency response and superb sound quality.
Also, the Mid/Side processing workflow on Pro-Q3 is one of the most pleasing to work with, proving it’s a flexible and impressive equalizer for mixing and mastering purposes while also being friendly for beginners’ usage.
4. IK Multimedia T-Racks 5 EQual
Get accurate and digital EQ with analog soul used by world-class engineers like Tom Lord-Alge and Nick Davis.
As an individual module of the mixing and mastering station T-RackS, Equal is a hybrid 10 band parametric equalizer with various shapes and filters based on curves of analog equalizer like Neve, SSL, API, and others. It provides clarity and character of analog equalizer while having the precision of a digital equalizer, making it a tool that works exceptionally well for professional mastering and individual track usage.
The first time you open EQual, you will see a white line in the center of the display while the spectrum is playing on the background in real-time. This white line is your EQ curve, and by clicking anywhere on the spectrum display, you will add a new band and customize your filter. Remember, you can place up to 10 frequency bands to make very precise filtering.
- Analog filters
The greatest thing about EQual is its unique analog filters that give you the signature sound achieved when using the authentic gear. By clicking the “Type” dropdown, you will see 11 filter types to choose from, including some interesting ones like “Mastering Tube.” For each filter, you have control knobs for gain, frequency, and Q factor depending on the filter.
- Filter shapes
By pressing the “Shape” dropdown, you will see different filter shapes to apply. Here you will find shelf, bell, notch, low-pass, and high-pass filter shapes, which you can finely tune with the knobs mentioned above. For example, when using Mid/Side EQ on the bass, you can put a low-shelf on the mid-channel and a high-pass on the sides. That way, the low-end content will be focused on the center, and you will clear unnecessary low frequency on the sides, opening space for other instruments.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, and AAX formats.
Overall, EQual is an intuitive and adaptable module to get an extraordinarily transparent and crystal-clear sound. The filter placement with just one click is as easy as it gets and enables the fastest way to achieve the most excellent EQ for your project. Also, the differentiator of EQual is its unique analog filters, which allow you to get the most musical adjustment to your entire mix.
5. Sonible Smart:EQ 3
The smart algorithm and development behind Smart: EQ 3 provides detail and clarity at your fingertips.
Powered by artificial intelligence, Smart: EQ 3 is an EQ assistant that helps you create spectral balance in individual audio tracks and up to six arranged instances since it allows cross-channel processing. The algorithm created with spectral mixing techniques is perfect for correcting annoying resonances, unwanted notches, and spectral collisions. With Smart: EQ3, you’ll get a professional starting sound and lead you to quicker results.
- Automatic fix
The essence of Smart: EQ 3 relies on its signature feature, “smart:filter” which learns the sections of the frequency spectrum that need attention and automatically suggests a frequency curve that helps create balance in the signal. To use this feature, you need to play the audio while this option is enabled, and once the algorithm is done analyzing, you can control its impact with a green line that appears when the process is done.
Within Smart: EQ 3, you can arrange up to six instances using the plugin to create balanced spectral groups of instruments. A hierarchy of three layers in the group defines which tracks will be the spotlight and which will play a supporting role. Once you create the group, the plugin will take these tracks’ spectral information and detect masking effects.
On the top bar, you will see the States, where you can store up to eight different EQ configurations so you can easily switch between them and compare. This feature is excellent when you mix vocals and don’t know which direction and approach would benefit the mix. Comparing various EQ layouts with just one click will enhance your process and lead you to get the best result possible.
This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
Not satisfied with the conventional controls and features of an EQ plugin, Smart: EQ 3 offers an alternative out-of-the-box workflow to enhance and fix details in a matter of seconds. Its multi-channel processing and ability to determine a hierarchy of the instruments for applying EQ is unique and makes it a compelling device that stands out from its competitors. If you’re looking for a straightforward tool, this one is for you since the interface is immaculate and eye-catching, and the features are accessible and easy to find.
6. Waves F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ
Control the sound and space in the mix of your instruments with this great dynamic device.
As you can infer from its name, F6 is a dynamic equalizer with six floating parametric bands and an additional low-pass and high-pass filter. Besides equalization, F6 provides other processes like multiband compression, de-essing, and expansion that allow you to control the dynamics and general behavior of the signal. Having everything needed to control dynamic changes in one interface benefits both your CPU consumption and session management.
- Independent bands
There are two ways to modify the processing parameters. First, you can change the filter type, frequency, Q factor, and gain values by clicking the desired band and using keyboard and mouse combinations. For those who prefer knobs, you can select the band in the Bands Selector Row, and the controls will appear below, where you’ll also be able to assign that band to the mid or side channel.
- Dynamic processors
In the band controls, you will see the knobs in charge of the dynamic processors. First, the “Range” knob will act as a compressor if you set negative values and an expansion effect for positive values. At the right, you will see the built-in dynamic modules’ threshold, attack, and release controls.
Within F6, you have a sidechain module to choose to work with an external or internal source. This sidechain module is unique due to its two modes of operation: Split and Wide. When using the Split mode, only the filtered audio will affect the dynamics of the selected band, while the Wide mode takes the full range audio to affect these dynamics.
- Global controls
At the bottom of the plugin, you will find the global controls that you can apply to all bands, no matter which one you have selected. At the left, you will see the global release where you can choose between automatic release or manual, and then at the right, you will see the global arrows that will modify the general settings of the controls above them. If you need to modify the gain of all the frequency bands, you can do it with a simple click.
- Versatile analysis
The real-time analyzer has a set of intriguing tools that let you customize the visual mapping of your audio. You can choose between a filled spectrum of bars visualization for the analyzer, display equal energy per octave or frequency, speed reaction of the spectrum, and select the curve to display average levels or peak levels. These analysis tools might be way more helpful in the mastering stage, but they can also help fix mixing issues that you might miss in other analyzers.
This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
Waves F6 proves to be a simple device with more features than a conventional EQ plugin. All the controls are visible without needing additional menus or pop-ups, making it a very accessible and valuable tool to get immediate results. Having other dynamic processors is a huge plus because it complements perfectly the naturalness of a dynamic EQ. Additionally, Waves has a massive library of tutorials and tips by experts using their plugins, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the material they offer.
7. Oxford Dynamic EQ
Bring the perfect balance by applying EQ based on your dynamics.
With up to 5 Type-3 EQ bands, Oxford Dynamic EQ offers an ultra-musical transparent sound with a huge set of tools to mold your sound. It features independent detection and process for stereo or mid/side channels and each band’s internal/external sidechain. As expected from a multiband dynamic plugin, it includes upwards/downwards multiband compression and expansion processors, all in a clear and informative interface which are often complex in these types of plugins.
- Gain range
An exciting feature about this plugin is the ability to constrain each EQ section’s gain between two values to prevent accidental over-processing, which could happen in other dynamic processors. You can achieve this effect by setting the static gain of each EQ band with the “Offset Gain” control and the gain that the band will try to reach with the “Target Gain” control.
- Overlapping bands
In many dynamic processors, the bands cannot be overlapped because it could create phase problems. Oxford Dynamic EQ got around this problem and made the difference by allowing you to fluidly overlap the EQ bands without the static phase distortion or low-frequency artifacts present in other multiband compressors. This feature opens the doors for more gentle and precise corrections in the frequency spectrum.
- EQ triggering
The feature that makes Oxford Dynamic EQ is the detection algorithm for the dynamic processes. Here you have the conventional peak-level reaction when choosing the “Peak” option and sudden increasing level reaction with the “Onsets” option. This last one is handy when working with drums since it allows very accurate transient processing.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.6 or higher, both 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
Oxford Dynamic EQ saves time and adds some presence in a specific section without making other instrument parts where the dynamics have different behaviors sound harsh. Specifically, this plugin is excellent for mixing drums due to its transient reaction. Still, with its clear and transparent output, you can freely use it in other single instrument tracks and groups, getting very detailed and accurate results.
8. Eiosis AirEQ Premium
Eiosis offers its signature EQ module with built-in processors and sonic characteristics that go beyond analog.
Focusing on saving steps for its users, AirEQ delivers an intuitive and quick way to get the most artistic results using EQ. It comes with five fully parametric equalization bands and shelf filters for the high and low end that will lead you to sonic excellence in an elegant and polished interface. Furthermore, its character parameters were calibrated by ear so the results could sound as natural as possible.
- Fully parametric
At the bottom of the interface, you will find five parametric EQ bands with frequency control that goes from 10 Hz to 30 kHz, Q factor from 0.1 to 7, and gain from -18 dB to +18 dB. Additionally, the Q factor and gain controls are interdependent. This interdependency means that the gain doesn’t need readjustment when the Q factor changes, and the loudness sensation is uniform when the gain changes, allowing the most natural EQ process.
- Resonance management
The revolutionary parameter of the plugin is that it splits the bandwidth and resonance controls which are usually linked, and provides the “Character” slider, which modifies the analog-matched EQ curves by boosting or attenuating the overall resonances of the spectrum. This variable resonance shaping results in a more musical and sweet sound, making a massive difference to vocals or melodic instruments.
- EQ presence
Usually, when mixing, your ears suffer from fatigue which alters your perception of the sound. Besides acting like a wet/dry control, the “Strength” slider boosts the whole EQ effect without generating additional phasing issues. Note that this slider is on the premium version only, but you will have this parameter in a switch with the same name that changes between 50%, 100%, and 150%.
- Deep and bright
At this point, you may have noticed that the sub-lows are a delicate area because changes can make the sound muddy, and changes on the higher frequencies can cause harshness. That’s why AirEQ offers the “Earth” knob, which allows adding tightness and power to the low-end content effortlessly, and the “Air” knob, which gently adds brightness without those unpleasant harsh sounds.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher, both 32-bit and 64-bit. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
If you want your plugins to be more artistic and get exceptional sound quality, AirEQ is for you. The team behind the plugin saved a lot of steps and provided the quickest way to achieve radio-quality sound. The most impressive features of the plugin are the “Earth” and “Air” knobs that allow you to tighten your kick drum and bass and make the vocals breathe in a matter of seconds. Also, the “Character” slider is a tremendous addition since it lets you address the resonances of some instruments with just one control, which is not possible with other conventional EQs.
9. Hornet Total EQ
Hornet EQ is an adjustable and precise EQ that offers proper monitoring and accurate response for use in any instrument.
Offering up to 12 different EQ bands and 17 unique filter types for each band, this gem by Hornet is a visual EQ that emulates the behavior of analog gear while having the precision and power of a digital EQ. You can place each band by clicking on the real-time spectrum analyzer and can behave like standard or dynamic EQ. There are no hidden menus for editing the frequency band parameters with everything at your mouse’s reach, allowing you to start working right away.
- Analog feel
This plugin’s built-in analog engine activated with the “Analog” button is tremendous since it takes the analog gear tolerances and emulates it to create the most realistic scenario when using real hardware. When this is enabled, no band behaves like another, creating asymmetrical properties and making the sound more alive.
Following the analog emulation idea, Total EQ also comes with an analog saturation emulation, which can be enabled by pressing the “Analog” button. Once activated, the amount of input gain will also add an analog drive. Since the saturation can increase the output level, you can press the “Link IO” button to reduce your output gain whenever you increase the input gain.
- Loudness monitoring
Something unique about Total EQ is that you can monitor your signal at the same loudness level. When you press the “Eq. Loud” button, every change you make that can affect the loudness level will auto-compensate in the output. You may want to turn this off when you’re done making modifications since it can introduce some artifacts, especially in more dynamic instruments.
This plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
Those who love analog gear and its signature color will find Hornet Total EQ the best choice for their projects. The common problem of “loudness bias” is no longer an issue with the equal loudness algorithm, making it a superb choice for mastering. Since it has a smooth spectrum analyzer, it would be nice to have some tools for customizing the visualizer depending on the audio source being processed. Still, its price is very reasonable, making it a budget alternative for similar plugins that tend to be more expensive.
Best Free Mid/Side EQ Plugins 2023
1.Voxengo Marvel GEQ
Get the traditional graphic EQing with one of Voxengo’s top-rated plugins.
Marvel GEQ is a linear phase graphic equalizer with 12 different bands with a gain range from -12 dB to 12 dB. The processing of this plugin is very productive and provides a transparent and natural sound. Additionally, it comes with a wide range of mixing modes and presets that help you address your objectives precisely.
- Routing modes
The plugin allows you to work with different routing configurations to access each channel adequately without the fear of modifying the wrong channels. It includes Left/Right, Mid/Side processing, 5.1 Surround, and 7.1 Surround for those who love the immersive sound. Every time you select a different routing mode, the controls below the bands will change.
- EQ groups
At the bottom left, you will find a set of buttons that allow you to change between the different channels of the routing configuration you choose. If you’re working on Mid/Side mode, you can select the channel you want to modify, and the faders will only affect your selection.
If you need to see the faders of two channels at the same time, you can click the channel you want to see in the background with the “Underlay” selectors, and the background channel faders will be in an orange color behind the white faders of the channel that you’re working on. That way, you can see the differences and compare the EQ modifications to help you make better decisions.
This plugin is available for Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, 32-bit and 64-bit for Windows, and 64-bit only for macOS. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
Astonishingly, a graphic EQ with this potential is out for free. Given that the underlay feature allows two groups to display, it’s very effective for Mid/Side processing since you only have two channels to work with, making it a bearable and pleasant process. Since linear phase graphic EQs require a well-trained ear to get good and natural results, you shouldn’t pick this one if you don’t have much experience using equalizers.
2. lkjb QRange
If you’re looking for a professional EQ with the best value for money, QRange is the one.
Focused on mastering usage, QRange is an IIR linear phase EQ plugin with 12 frequency bands and peak, low shelf, high self, high cut, and low cut filter types for each band. The frequency bands can be modified in the real-time spectrum analyzer or with the controls under it, allowing complete control of the frequency curve. The interface is fully resizable and well organized, so engineers from any level can learn how to use it in no time.
- Sort bands
Since you can move around the bands to whichever frequency you want, the first band could be at 400 Hz and the seventh band at 120 Hz, making it look unorganized and confusing. By just clicking the “Sort bands” button at the top right, your frequency bands will be organized in ascending order so the process and order can be clearer and more fluent.
- Real-time monitoring
Something unique amongst free EQ plugins is its real-time spectrum analyzer, which you can set to display the pre or post-EQ signal with the top right selectors. This feature lets you check how much frequency content you’re boosting or attenuating and how a bus group’s overall energy is behaving.
- Gain match
With the “Match” button, you can take an audio reference, and the plugin will analyze it, so the signal you want to process matches its gain. To do this, you should enable this option, and the audio reference needs to be playing so QRange can do the job for you. That way, you can focus entirely on frequency changes that might go unnoticed when the gains are different.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3 and AU formats.
QRange proves to be a good competitor since it has a large set of adjustable EQ bands and real-time visualization, which are not commonly included in free status. This plugin is very similar to the conventional EQ stock plugins of any DAW, so getting familiar with QRange will allow you to manage equalization regardless of the software you’re using.
AudioThing Things Tilt
Things Tilt takes away the complexity of Mid/Side EQ and brings a reliable one-knob module.
This plugin is a simple tilting EQ that allows stereo and Mid/Side processing. A tilting filter constructs the EQ curve on the middle and low and optional high shelf filters on the curve’s ends. It’s presented in a resizable and polished interface with a small set of controls that help improve the mixing process’s speed and instantly enhance stereo depth.
- EQ curve
The essence of Thing Tilt is the simplicity of shaping the EQ curve. With the “Tilt” knob, you will increase the high frequencies and attenuate the lows by moving it to the right, and you will do the opposite by moving to the left. Then, you can set the cutoff frequency with the “Cutoff” knob and finally apply high pass and low pass filters with the “Highpass” and “Lowpass” knobs.
- Editable range
In most plugins, you’re conditioned to the value range of the parameters displayed. By right-clicking on the controls and choosing the option “Edit Value,” you can set the values you want for knobs. This option comes very handy when you want a smaller range for fine-tuning the parameters.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
Things Tilt is a straightforward and intuitive tool for getting quick results without moving a lot of parameters. Its functioning and routing are amicable for producers and engineers from all levels. Sometimes all you need is just a low-end enhancement for the bass in the mid or a bit of air for the backing vocals on the sides, and this plugin is perfect for those minor EQ adjustments.
If you need a quick mix or an idea of where to start your mix, go with Things Tilt for simple boosting or attenuating or Smart: EQ3 for getting a detailed reference of how your mix should sound. For those who need more detailed EQ modifications but still don’t have much experience on EQing, we recommend plugins with a spectrum analyzer, a decent amount of frequency bands, and the ability to modify the bands clicking in the spectrum. Plugins with these specifications in a decreasing price order would include Pro Q-3, Infinity EQ, Hornet Total EQ, and QRange.
Lastly, Marvel GEQ provides a natural and clear sound, but you need good hearing and experience since your ears are the only analyzing tool you have with this one. Furthermore, bx-digital V3 is probably the best option for Mid/Side EQ since it was designed specifically with that purpose, but getting familiar with it if it’s your first EQ plugin can get hard.
To sum up, Mid/Side EQ sometimes is a trial-and-error process, and eventually, you’ll identify better what needs to be addressed in your mix. Analyze your needs and choose the tool that seems more comfortable with your work method, but you can’t go wrong with our picks.
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Ivan is a guitarist, music producer, recording, and mixing engineer based in Bogota, Colombia. He loves discovering new music and combining different styles to achieve unique sounds for all his projects, including hip-hop, indie pop, and indie rock music. He currently produces local artists in his home studio and makes sound design for television.