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Equalizer Tricks: Recreating Analog Magic with FabFilter Pro-Q 3

Equalization is an art form and different analog equalizers bring their unique sonic magic to the mix. In this guide, we'll explore how to replicate the signature sounds of five classic analog equalizers using FabFilter Pro-Q 3.


1. Focusrite ISA Vocals



Setting in Pro-Q 3:

  • Low Cut: Apply a gentle low cut at 18Hz, 12db/octave to remove unnecessary subsonic frequencies.

  • Bell at 130Hz: Create a narrow Q bell curve to emphasize or attenuate frequencies around 130Hz.

  • Bell at 230Hz: Another narrow Q bell for precision in adjusting frequencies around 230Hz.

  • Tilt Shelf at 350Hz: Tilt the frequency balance around 350Hz for a nuanced tonal shift.

  • Bell at 540Hz: Fine-tune the presence around 540Hz with a narrow Q.

  • High Shelf at 13kHz: Add or cut high frequencies gently with a 12db/octave slope.

  • High Cut: Apply a high cut at 20kHz with a 96db/octave quasi brickwall for a clean finish.

Tips:

  • Use Pro-Q 3's precise controls to mimic the unique frequency curves of the ISA Vocals.


2. API 550A Vocals



Setting in Pro-Q 3:

  • Low Shelf at 36Hz: Create a wide Q, -15db cut to shape the low end.

  • Bell at 800Hz: Introduce a quasi wide Q, +3db boost to enhance the midrange.

  • Bell at 10kHz: Apply a narrow Q, +5db boost for a crisp top end.

  • High Shelf at 20kHz: Employ a super wide Q, cut with a steep 72db/octave slope.

Tips:

  • Utilize Pro-Q 3's high precision to match the distinct boosts and cuts of API 550A.


3. SSL EQ Vocals



Setting in Pro-Q 3:

  • Bell at 320Hz: Apply a subtle boost or cut with a 0.3Q for midrange control.

  • Bell at 1340Hz: Adjust the critical mid frequencies with a 0.7Q for clarity.

  • Bell at 10kHz: Fine-tune the high frequencies with a 0.1Q for a smooth top end.

Tips:

  • Fine-tune the Q values to replicate SSL's renowned frequency contour.


4. Pultec EQP1A Vocals



Setting in Pro-Q 3:

  • Tilt Low Shelf at 100Hz: Tilt the low frequencies gently for a warm tonal shift.

  • Bell at 10kHz: Apply a medium-width Q for a distinctive presence.

  • High Shelf at 20kHz: Shape the high end with a wide Q for an airy finish.

Tips:

  • Use Pro-Q 3's Tilt Shelf to achieve the characteristic Pultec warmth.


5. Amek 200 Vocals



Setting in Pro-Q 3:

  • Low Cut at 20Hz: Implement a clean low cut to eliminate subsonic rumble.

  • Bell at 140Hz: Fine-tune the low-midrange with a narrow Q, -1.5db cut.

  • Bell at 240Hz: Address specific midrange frequencies with a narrow Q, -2db cut.

  • Bell at 580Hz: Boost the midrange with a 2Q wide curve, +3db for character.

  • High Shelf at 11kHz: Add brilliance with a +2db boost and a wide Q.

Tips:

  • Adjust the parameters meticulously to capture the distinct coloration of the Amek 200.


Conclusion

Replicating the analog warmth of classic equalizers is an intricate task, and FabFilter Pro-Q 3 provides the precision needed for this journey. Experiment with these settings, trust your ears, and uncover the sonic possibilities in your mixing endeavors. Happy equalizing!

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