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How can linear phase EQ improve your mixes?
What are the most flexible linear phase EQ plugins?
We round up 6 of the best linear phase EQs offering all the clarity, precision, and balance you need.
Linear phase EQ is a special type of EQ that shifts the phase of all frequencies in a signal to make tonal adjustments, as opposed to traditional, or minimum phase EQs, which shift the phase of the frequency bands being adjusted.
Linear phase EQ can be useful when working on audio sources such as drums with multiple microphones on them, stereo mic’d tracks, and in parallel processing chains.
If you are interested in adding a linear phase EQ to your plug-in collection, there are many different options available to you. But this may leave you wondering…
We’ve included plugins that work across VST, AAX, and AU to ensure maximum compatibility with all DAWs.
What Are The Best Linear Phase EQs?
The Fab Filter Pro Q3 is our pick for the best linear phase EQ. It gives you the most control and flexibility over your sound, offers a variety of standard EQ options, and is fairly affordable. If you are on a tighter budget, the DDMF LP 10 is also an excellent choice. The DMG Audio EQuality is our premium choice, for the most discerning engineers who need an extremely precise linear phase EQ.
With that out of the way, here are our 7 top picks for the best linear phase EQs available on the market today:
An equalizer is probably the tool you use most while mixing and mastering, so you need the best of the best! With FabFilter Pro-Q 3, you get the highest possible sound quality and a gorgeous, innovative interface with unrivaled ease of use.
You might have seen this one coming, but the Fabfilter Pro Q3 is our top pick for linear phase EQs! You have probably seen many industry professionals rave about this plugin and use it in their tracks, but you may not have known that Pro Q 3 has the ability to act as a linear phase EQ.
This is just one of many modes that Pro Q 3 can operate in, and its versatility is what makes it stand out from other linear phase EQs on the market.
This is important because one issue that can occur when using linear phase EQ is that unwanted artifacts may be added to your audio.
The most notable artifact from linear phase EQ is pre-ringing. This sound is similar to a reverse reverb that you would hear before a signal starts. In this case, you are actually hearing the sound of the signal’s phase being shifted in real-time.
The unfortunate truth is that there is really no way to completely get rid of pre-ringing in your audio, although there are ways to reduce it in your mix so that it is unnoticeable.
This may mean, however, that for certain tracks you want to apply linear phase EQ to, you may find the amount of pre-ringing to be unacceptable and will need to resort to minimum phase mode.
Since Pro Q 3 is able to operate in both modes, you can easily switch back to a minimum phase mode and continue using the plug-in! This means that Pro Q 3 is certainly no waste of money, even if its linear phase mode can’t be applied in exactly the way you hoped.
This plugin has a wide variety of functions, from its dynamic EQ function to its wide range of EQ curve options, to its ability to process each individual frequency band as mono, stereo, mid-side or surround sound signal.
This means that there are endless possibilities to shape the sound far beyond what many other EQs are capable of. This makes Fabfilter Pro Q 3 not only a great linear phase EQ plugin, but an all around excellent EQ plugin to add to your collection.
Pro Q 3 works with Mac and Windows OS and is available in AU, VST, AAX Native, and Audiosuite formats.
LP10 is your weapon of choice when you don’t want to make any compromise in sound quality. Its FFT algorithm with a frequency resolution of 2.7 Hz at 44.1 kHz sampling frequency guarantees a smooth frequency response from the deepest bass all the way to the top end.
Yup, you read that right. One of the best linear phase EQ plugins on the marketis only $39.
The DDMF LP 10 is a 10 band EQ that can operate in linear or minimum phase mode. Again, we believe this flexibility is an important feature because it allows you to still get good use out of the plugin if its linear phase feature adds undesirable artifacts to your audio.
Regardless of the mode, the amount of flexibility and control you have over the final result is very impressive.
For one, not many EQs offer 10 fully parametric bands, giving you the ability to make a large number of EQ adjustments to a track if necessary.
Each band also has a flex filter feature which allows you to control the slope of the EQ curve of each individual frequency band. The slope can be adjusted anywhere from 6 to 60 dB per octave.
The LP 10 also has the ability to operate in L/R stereo or Mid-side modes and also has a stereo width control for these modes.
The plugin also comes with an A/B comparison feature, allowing you to switch between the processed and unprocessed signal to see how the changes you’ve made are really affecting your audio.
If Fabfilter’s Pro Q 3 is a little too pricy for you, this could be a great option! DDMF, while not a widely known company, offers many amazing plugins at an incredibly affordable price, and the LP 10 is certainly no exception.
The LP 10 works with Mac and Windows OS and is available in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
DMG Audio’s EQuality is another great linear phase EQ plugin. While this plugin can be used in any context, it works especially well as an overall mix or instrument bus EQ.
EQuality offers 6 fully parametric bands of EQ: 2 bands with shelf/bell curves and 4 bands with bell/notch curves. Each band offers +/- 36 dB of gain and an adjustable Q that can be adjusted from 0.1 to 50.
This is part of why EQuality works so well with mixdown or instrument busses. It can be difficult to make real surgical EQ moves when working on a group of instruments or an entire mix (not impossible though).
This is because each adjustment you make affects multiple tracks of audio. Sometimes you can get better sounding results by making small changes to a wide amount of frequencies, and EQuality gives you the flexibility to do just that.
EQuality also includes high and low pass filters, with adjustable slopes ranging from 6 to 36 dB per octave, and an adjustable Q from 0.1 to 20, once again making this plugin great for any kind of bus processing.
EQuality can operate in linear, analog, or minimum-phase modes, and it’s this flexibility that really gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
The plugin offers stereo and mid-side processing as well. This plugin also offers low CPU usage, an appealing feature since linear phase EQ tends to use a lot of processing power.
Waves are known for creating really solid plugins that many industry professionals use, and their Linear Phase EQ is no exception!
This EQ offers 5 fully parametric frequency bands, as well as an adjustable high pass filter. With each of the frequency bands, you have the ability the choose from nine different phase filter types, including a wide variety of bell and shelf curves.
This offers you a lot of flexibility in shaping the sound of your audio.
Unlike the previous EQ plugins in this list, Waves Linear Phase EQ does not offer a minimum phase mode, so you would only reach for it if you really needed to make linear phase adjustments.
This could definitely be discouraging given that the price of the plugin is $149. However, if you pay attention to the sales, you can scoop it for much cheaper. For example, at the time of writing, there’s a summer flash sale on that reduces the price of the plugin to $30!
If you’re interested in trying out a no-nonsense linear phase EQ plugin, definitely pick this one up. Waves Linear Phase EQ works with Mac and Windows OS and is available in AAX, AU, VST, and VST3 formats.
The IK Multimedia T-RackS Linear Phase EQ is another solid linear phase EQ. This plugin has been modeled after vintage analog EQs that embraced linear phase processing to give your tracks more of an analog quality.
This 8-channel graphic equalizer plug in uses some pretty fancy math to prevent phase distortion - a serious problem you get when you apply heavy EQ curves - yet it doesn't chew up a ton of CPU or add much in the way of latency.
This could be a downside for you if you are looking for a linear phase EQ with more flexibility. The 8 bands in this plugin are set to 120, 330, 640 Hz, 1.2, 2.5, 5, 10, and 16 kHz.
What Liny EQ may lack in frequency flexibility, it makes up for in other areas.
Each band offers +/- 40 dB of gain. You also have the ability to change the EQ curve of each frequency band, from normal (a fairly wide shape) to notch (a more narrow shape). You can also switch between a smooth or sharp EQ curve, widening or narrowing the frequency band more to taste.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Linear Phase EQ plugins can use up a lot of processing power, but Blue Cat boasts very low latency with Liny EQ. This plugin adds less than 3 ms, or 128 samples, of latency at a 44.1 kHz sample rate.
Blue Cat claims this is unusually low latency for a linear phase EQ, however, we were not able to find the latency specs for all the other EQ plugins listed, so we cannot confirm this.
While the graphic EQ design may not offer as much flexibility as other EQs on this list, Liny EQ offers quick and easy tone shaping and is still a great choice for a linear phase EQ!
There are many linear phase EQ plugins on the market, but we believe that these are the absolute best ones you can buy.
On top of the ability to keep the phase relationship of your audio intact, these plugins offer a lot of flexibility, allowing you to change the filter type, EQ curve, and even the processing mode in order to shape your sound in the most precise way possible.
If you’re interested in adding a linear phase EQ plugin to your collection, we hope you found one here that suits your needs and budget!