Best Vocal EQ Plugins For Processing Vocals

How you equalise vocals on your tracks is really critical. What EQ or equaliser you choose in your vocal chain also matters a lot. Using the right EQ on the vocal chain can bring character, saturate the vocals, tame the harshness, and make your life easier as a mix engineer.

In this article, I am sharing the Top 10 best EQ plugins you can use on vocals chain.

Top 10 Best Vocal EQ Plugins

  1. Fabfilter ProQ3 - Best EQ For Vocals
  2. Waves SSL G EQ
  3. UAD Neve 1073 Preamp and EQ
  4. UAD Pultec MEQ5
  5. Sonnox Oxford EQ
  6. Waves API 550 EQ
  7. Waves SSL E Channel
  8. Plugin Alliance Maag EQ 4
  9. Soft Tube Tube-Tech EQ Collection
  10. Neve 1081

1. Fabfilter Pro Q3

Fabfilter ProQ3 is a parametric EQ which is suitable for all skill levels — from beginner to advanced mix engineers. It is used widely in the industry by professionals because it offers the highest possible sound quality with nearly all the EQ tools and filters you will ever need.

 

Best Vocal EQ Plugin Fabfilter Pro Q3 - Image

 

Features

  • Parametric EQ which offers complete control and up to 24 Bands
  • Highest Possible Sound Quality
  • Advanced Features Like - Dynamic EQ, M/S EQ, LR EQ, Linear Phase Processing, Zero Latency Processing, EQ Match, Spectral Visualiser, Brickwall Slope, Surround Sound Support etc.

    Advantages Of Using Fabfilter Pro Q3

    On your vocal channel, use Fabfilter ProQ3 for cleaning up or shaping your vocals and it will provide you with all the tools necessary. You can use it as a subtractive or an additive EQ with complete control. It provides all the features you will ever need in an EQ and an easy-to-use and understand UI. Get as creative or stay as subtle as you like.

    Fab filter ProQ3 is an all-around EQ plugin. Advanced EQ features like Dynamic processing, M/S EQ, L/R EQ, Linear phase processing, and auto gin match make it a complete beast. If I had just one EQ plugin in my plugin library, Fabfilter ProQ3 will be the one.

    ProQ3 is definitely the best EQ plugin available in the market and is suitable for both beginners and professional mix engineers.

    Buy Fabfilter Pro Q3

    Suggested Read: Fundamentals Of EQ - A beginner’s guide to using EQ.

    2. Waves SSL G EQ

    This four-band equaliser, which is based on the SSL G Series EQ292, has a slightly different curve and more gain variation than the E-Series EQ. It is a great tool for additive EQ on vocals.

     

    Vocal EQ Plugin Waves SSL GEQ

     

    Features

    • Modelled on SSL G Series
    • 4-Band Semi Parametric EQ
    • Includes a pre-boost dip and a pre-cut rise, as well as a broader Q for more extreme equalisation

      Good To Use For

      If you want your vocals to cut through the mix and sound aggressive, go and EQ the mid-range with an SSL G-Channel to shape and give character to the sound. I personally love the characteristic mid-range boost that SSL G-Channel EQ brings. SSL G EQ is a great plugin for additive EQ on vocals. SSL GEQ is also suitable for some extreme EQ on the vocals.

      3. UAD Neve 1073 Preamp and EQ

      The Neve 1073 plug-in from Universal Audio offers all the functions, distinctive circuit quirks, and sought-after sound of Neve's original hardware design. The Neve 1073 Preamp & EQ faithfully reproduces the sound of the original 1970s hardware by meticulously replicating the dual-stage "Red Knob" preamp, revered three-band EQ, and post-fader output amplifier.

       

      UAD Neve Vocal EQ Plugin Overview

       

      Features

        • The new Neve 1073 plug-in delivers the brand's signature clarity, grit, and harmonically rich class-A saturation.
        • Incorporates all 10 clipping points from the preamp and EQ circuitry, just like the hardware does.

      Good To Use For

      UAD 1073 Neve EQ is a great tool for additive EQ. The moment you add UAD Neve 1073 Preamp and EQ to the vocals signal chain, they will sound more saturated and get that distinctive Neve character. I love to use it for boosting the mids on the vocals.

      UAD 1073 Neve EQ is definitely the best UAD EQ plugin for vocals. A must-buy.

      4. UAD Pultec MEQ5

      Pultec EQs are certainly mysterious. They are one of the oldest types of equalisers and have an all-tube design. Pultec-style plugins try to emulate what the hardware provides.

      Vibrantly coloured tube-amplified MEQ-5 Mid-Range Equaliser, with two bands of midrange boost and one band of midrange dip, maximises the mids of vocals.

      The unusual band overlap and filter interplay liberate the vocal's liveliness in the track without competing with your overall mix.

       

      UAD Pultec Vocal EQ Plugin Review

       

      Features

      • Vintage Passive EQ Emulation
      • Two bands of midrange boost and one band of midrange dip
      • Unique band overlap and filter
      • Best Pultec Style EQ For Vocals

        Good To Use For

        UAD Pultec MEQ 5 is a great addition to your vocal signal chain as it instantly delivers a vintage vibe. You can boost and cut the same band, which creates a vibrant and unique tone. A great vocals tonal shaping or additive EQ tool. Definitely a must-have for a distinctive vocal.

        5. Sonnox Oxford EQ

        This flexible Sony OXF-R3 retake in a parametric EQ plugin is descended from the venerable, million-dollar digital console. From your DAW, you can now unleash the Sony OXF capabilities.

        The Oxford EQ has four different EQ types and an intuitive user interface.

        The results are always musical and transparent, whether you use it for precise, deep cuts or broad, smooth mastering curves.

         

        Sonnox Oxford EQ - Image

         

        Features

        • 5 Band Parametric EQ
        • Ultra Low Noise and Distortion
        • High-Quality Sound

          Good To Use For

          Sonnox Oxford is another favourite among professional mix engineers. It combines the pros of the bests like SSL, Névé, Sony, and GML into one plugin. It has a transparent response and is a great tool for any EQ need. The clinical EQ similar to the SSL4000 E series is a great handy tool.

          Definitely a great tool to shape your vocals.

          6. Waves API 550 A & B EQ

          Waves API 550 Equalisers are a great tool and precisely emulate the API 550 hardware EQs. These EQs are semi-parametric, yet they provide a lot of functionality.

           

          Waves API Vocal EQ Plugin Overview

           

          Features

          • Emulation of Legendary API EQs
          • Two different EQ tonality and taste
          • Good for subtractive and additive EQ

            Good To Use For

            The API 550A EQ, which is based on a legendary equaliser from the late 1960s, offers reciprocal and repeatable equalisation at 15 points in 5 stages of boost, divided into 3 overlapping regions. A band-pass filter can be inserted independently of all other parameters, and its high and low-frequency ranges can be individually chosen as peaking or shelving.

            The 550B is a wonderful tool for both issues solving and sweetening because of its renowned four overlapped EQ bands. With up to 5 octaves of range for each of the 7 switchable filter frequencies.

            Try it and see how it works for your vocal chain. Some vocalists love it, others, not that much.

            7. Waves SSL E Channel

            The SSL E-Channel reproduces the unrivalled sound of the Solid State Logic 4000-series console's all-discrete design and Class A, VCA chip. It's a piece of the world's most powerful hit-making machine in your PC.

             

            Waves SSL E Channel Vocal EQ

             

            Features

            • Offers a complete channel strip, not just EQ.
            • Emulation of SSL 4000 console strip.
            • Semi-parametric EQ is provided in the strip.
            • The equalisation section of the SSL E-Channel is based on the renowned Black Knob equaliser.
            • High Pass Filter, Low Pass Filter, and a four-band semi-parametric equaliser.

              Good To Use For

              SSL E channel is a complete channel strip that not only provides you with an EQ but also with a Dynamics and gain section.

              This recreation of the SSL 4000 channel strip is most popular among hard rock and metal music engineers. It is a great tool; to do additive or subtractive EQ to your vocals.

              A must-have for every engineer.

              8. Plugin Alliance Maag EQ 4

              The AIR BAND® pf Maag EQ 4 works in tandem with the 5 bands pass EQs to tone sculpt your recordings from top to bottom with unparalleled transparency and top-end presence.

              Furthermore, the distinctive SUB BAND assists in dialling in just the proper amount of rumble and tremor.

              Maag Vocal EQ Overview

              Features

              • Semi-Parametric EQ
              • Fixed Frequency Band-Pass Filters for phase-coherent EQ-ing
              • AIR BAND for brilliant high-end response

              Good To Use For

              Maag EQ 4 does its magic the moment you add it to your signal chain. It is a great additive EQ that will sweeten up not just the vocals, but also the drum busses and instrument channels.

              It is widely used among pop chart singers and engineers.

              9. Softube & Tube-Tech EQ Collection

              Two classics, PE 1C and ME 1B merged into a melodious, versatile, and feature-rich equaliser. Officially licensed and developed in collaboration with Tube-Tech. Legacy versions of the PE 1C and ME 1B are included. 

               

              Softube Tubetech EQ collection Overview - Image

               

               Features

              • Pultec Style Passive EQ
              • Semi-Parametric 
              • Warm Fat Saturation

                Good To Use For

                Softube has designed two beautiful Pultec-style passive EQs that can be a great addition to your signal chain. These are great additive EQ to provide that warmth and character to vocals to other instruments.

                10. UAD Neve 1081 EQ

                UAD Neve 1081 eq is a Neve style EQ plugin by UAD which works great on both male and female vocals. A great EQ choice for tonal shaping and sculpting vocals using an EQ.

                 

                UAD Neve Vocal EQ Plugin Overview

                 

                Features

                • Get the classic colour of Neve’s early-’70s EQ channel module
                • Derived from revered 4-band 8048 console EQ
                • Semi-Parametric EQ

                  Good To Use For

                  If you want to add the Neve-style analogue warmth with a semi-parametric EQ, UAD 1081 is another great choice. It is easy to use and instantly saturates the signal as well. Great for additive EQ and tonal shaping.

                  Suggested Reads

                  EQ Fundamentals

                  Fundamentals Of Sound For Audio Engineers

                  How To Set Volume Levels In A Mix


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                  Udeeksh Sood Image

                  Written By

                  Udeeksh Sood on

                  Udeeksh is an Audio Engineer and Co-Founder of learnmusicproduction.in. He loves to produce music, research music gear, play guitar, go on treks and road trips.