Best EQ Plugin for Vocals

EQ is typically the first or one of the first types of processing in my vocal chain. This is so we’re cutting out the frequencies we don’t want so all we’re left with is the good stuff to further enhance down the processing chain. Between the quality of sound, ease of use, and the ability to dynamically EQ vocals, let’s talk about the best EQ plugin for vocals.

Best EQ Plugin for Vocals

best EQ plugin for vocals

FabFilter’s Pro-Q 3 is the best EQ plugin for vocals, not to mention my favorite EQ plugin in general.

Ease of Use

The first reason that Pro-Q 3 is the best EQ plugin for vocals is that it’s incredibly intuitive for quickly dialing in the settings you want.

Simply double click anywhere on the spectrum analyzer to create a band or filter.

The plugin intuitively understands the kind of EQ filter type you want to make depending on where you click. Double clicking around 100Hz, the plugin creates a high pass filter to remove everything below 100Hz.

Staying clicked on the frequency point for the filter while moving the mouse wheel up or down changes the slope of the EQ filter from sharper to wider to remove more or less of the immediate areas.

Repeating the same thing on the top end creates a low pass filter which adds a little headroom.

To add a little body in the vocal like I recommend in my vocal EQ cheat sheet, simply double click at 250Hz and drag it up roughly 2dB to create a small bell boost:

vocal eq cheat sheet

Dynamic EQ

I particularly love dynamic EQ in a couple few cuts on my vocal.

Dynamic EQ is a special type of cut or boost which scales the degree of the adjustment at a changing rate as the frequency behavior in that region dictates.

500Hz is a region which doesn’t flatter the vocal and clogs it up, particularly with certain words or notes.

Rather than applying a static cut here, a dynamic cut cuts more or less as necessary to keep the vocal from getting boxy. At the same time it doesn’t cut out more than it needs and keeps the vocal as natural sounding as possible.

The same is true in that potentially grating 3k region. I like to add another dynamic EQ cut around here to attenuate the harshness as necessary without sacrificing clarity which a static cut would do across the board, making the vocal sound flat.

Frequency Conflicts

The vocal always needs to be at the forefront of the mix. That can’t happen when you have frequency conflicts with other instruments which have the effect of masking the vocal.

As I mentioned in my FabFilter Pro-Q 3 review, one of the most impressive features is its analyzer which shows “collisions” or frequency conflicts between this and any other tracks in your mix.

fabfilter pro q analyzer

When you see the frequency conflicts with relative to your vocal, you can pan or cut frequencies on other tracks accordingly.

The only requisite is that you have an instance of Pro-Q 3 on every track you want to check. Thankfully the plugin is extremely light on your CPU, so you can have dozens of instances of this plugin open without seeing your CPU load creeping up.

I know from experience as this is the one plugin I have an instance on every single track in my mix.

All this together makes FabFilter’s Pro-Q 3 the best EQ plugins for vocals or otherwise, so check out my review of it if you’re still on the fence about what I call THE plugin I’d recommend if I could only recommend one.

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