Equalization is one of the most used processing steps. This is the reason why an EQ should work fast, efficient and precisely regarding to your settings. FabFilter Pro-Q is the answer for me in daily work flow. The boys at FabFilter just released version 2 of their successful EQ PlugIN Pro-Q with tons of new features. I have been a big fan before and I am even more with version 2.
First, let me give you an overview of Pro-Q2’s interface. The first time you open Pro-Q2, you’ll notice the revised UI. On this occasion, former ProQ users will get along immediately because the knobs and tools are still displayed in the same, but more interactive way. It’s clear and precise look give you a nice overview of all the functions you need.
It’s possible to resize your plugin window, so that it fits best to your computer’s resolution even up to full screen. The full screen mode really helps, if you want to have an exact look at the analyzer which takes place behind your filter bands. But notice, that we experienced lags when we started Pro-Q2 in Studio One2 32bit. Remedy could be obtained by starting Studio One in 64bit mode. In Pro Tools everything works fine.
The Analyzer can be displayed in various ways: pre processing, post processing , both two plus the sidechain signal’s analysis (more info below).
At the right side you can see a large meter to monitor your output’s level. You can change the vertical range of your spectrum analyzer up to -120db for very quiet signals. The resolution, which sets how precise the analyzer works, and the release speed of the spectrum can be tuned as well. A fast release speed shows you dynamic changes more clearly while a slow release gives you more time to examine the spectrum before it disappears.
A new and pretty gorgeous analyzer feature is the “Spectrum Grab”. If spectrum grab is enabled and you leave your mouse for a few second above the anazlyer button, Pro-Q2 will automatically enter Spectrum Grab mode. This means that your spectrum starts to freeze and will check the average of the signal’s frequencies. You can now simply grab one of the peaks in the white output spectrum line and drag to adjust, which will create a new band. This mode can be used perfectly to compensate resonances.
Otherwise you can add up to 24 bands by simply double clicking at the yellow line. Pro-Q does this in an intelligent way: by creating a band in a high or low level area, it automatically sets up a shelf filter. Additionally, Pro-Q2 comes with new features to the filter shapes: Using the Tilt filter, you can tilt the spectrum around a certain frequency, attenuating on one side while boosting the other side. Now it’s also possible to use Low and High Cuts with a slope up immensely cutting 96db/octave. In Pro-Q2, the slope not only applies to the usual Low and High Cut filters, but to all filter shapes! This allows you to make highly surgical adjustments if needed. So for example you can make ultra-narrow bell or notch filters or very steep shelves.
Also note, that each band can operate on the stereo signals or on the left, right or mid/side channels independently for per-channel EQ-ing . Especially the mid/side equing makes ProQ particularly interesting for mastering purposes.
As a last sweety, it’s possible to match the equalizer settings of various audio. The Equalizer does that by using the side-chain and post-EQ spectrum analysis and adds EQ bands to match the side-chain characteristics. Just send audio to the sidechain input of Pro-Q and press the EQ Match button. In the screenshot you can see the sidechain signal as the red line. Looks chaotic, but provides good results.
To me Pro-Q2 just looks pretty cool and feels really good in the way it works – especially when you open it in full screen. As the predecessor, it’s offers the fastest workflow compared to other EQs, with all basic functions you need. On top, Pro-Q2 comes with additional, new and useful features and sounds as good as Pro-Q1. If you consider buying Pro-Q2 and you already own Pro-Q, upgrades for 50% off. Just log in your FabFilter account and follow the instructions.
In my opinion, FabFilter deserves the reputation they receive and I hope they keep up their great work.