EQ

SONEQ Pro reviewed by Ignacio Molino

INTRO

First of all, let me start by letting you know this review wasn’t an easy one.  Not because the EQ plugin didn’t live up to it but totally the opposite. It opened back so many windows that I can only open when working with analog gear, it was truly an amazing feeling.

The SonEQ Pro is an extremely versatile 4 Band EQ based on several Classic EQ’s best bands and blended into one plugin. It is comprised of a Low Boost and Attenuator with selectable Shelf or Bell curves, a Low-Mid Band with broad or narrow Q, a Mid-High Band with a broad or mid Q, and a very interesting High-Frequency band that will be explained later in this review.  It also features a High-Pass Filter, Low-Pass Filter, Drive, and Gain Level.

Let’s get the knobs on THIS EQ

LOW BAND

This low band resembles a Pultec Style EQ. You can boost and attenuate at the same time which is one of the most famous functions of the Pultec EQ.  The boost and attenuation curves are not exactly aligned which makes it sound very musical to the ear. I liked this band a lot on Kick Drums. 30Hz on a Kick? Why not?

It sounds perfectly round with this plugin and not boomy. This combined with the attenuation knob takes you to a whole other level of capabilities when sculpting the low end of a Kick or Bass. If you go over boosting but you don’t want to lose the roundness achieved with the plugin just start turning the attenuation knob until you get it where you want. It just works perfectly every time tightening up the lows in a very smooth way.

This low band also has a Bell Curve switch if you want to go specifically into a frequency range. This curve gets narrower as you boost so it’s great for fetching the sweetest spot to boost.

Low-Mid Band

This band I found to be very good to notch out undesired sounds when used with the Hi-Q. On some Basses, you can really take out some of the 600-ish hertz and it just makes it sound so damn good and round. Or you can boost the 800s with the broad Q to bring the Bass a bit more to the front. On acoustic guitars, it worked wonders when used to notch out some lower-mid proximity effect and still retaining the body of the guitar. Truly amazing!

High-Mid Band

This is one of the bands where most EQ’s out there are definitely not natural sounding or soft to the ear at all. This wasn’t the case with the SonEQ Pro. This band will let you boost attack on a Kick, Snare, presence on an Electric Guitar or Vocals, basically anything while still retaining its natural essence without getting pokey or harsh. It’s so nice-sounding that sometimes it is hard not to go over with it.

Hi Band

This is where this EQ gets complex in the background but nonetheless it always sounds great. The boost is a broadband bell that lets you add “air” to sources while still maintaining its sense of warmth.

The attenuation feature has 4 modes

LP+HS

This is a Low Pass filter coupled with a High Shelf boost. As you turn the knob both filters create some kind of cancelation making the source to feel like it has more mid frequencies to it.

LP

A 6dB per octave Low Pass filter, very nice to use when you want sources to sound a bit more distant.

LP-HS

As the first mode, this is a Low Pass filter but this time coupled with a High Shelf attenuation making it fell way more dramatic than the Low Pass filter alone.

HS

This is the High Shelf attenuation.

Hi-Pass

This worked very well in all the sources I ran it through. It just gets rid of all the unwanted rumble in such a nice way without making the sound feel thin as other plugins do in certain lower ranges of cut.

Lo-Pass

This filter worked wonders on electric guitars when wanting to get rid of the excessive fizz of today’s amp simulations making them sound way more natural. 

It also helped me with Hi-Hat bleed getting rid of the higher frequencies from the Hi-Hat that were bleeding into the snare without making the snare sound dull and letting me use a noise gate on the snare way softer than normal. Same with toms and cymbals.

Gain

This knob controls the gain of the SonEQ. It comes after the EQ section so it can be used as an output level control but this control actually modifies the saturation circuit which opens a whole new world of possibilities acting as a different sounding output gain.

Drive

This is actually a Low-Frequency Exciter combined with the preamp saturation of the SonEQ.  When pushed it will both soften the highs and fatten the lows without getting boomy or dull.

CONCLUSION

Having been able to test the SonEQ Pro on a ton of different sources I can really say this shines in anything you put it on which is hardly the case for many plugins. 

Using this plugin as my only EQ in an entire mix actually turned out to be a very sweet, musical, round, warm sounding mix.  And used on Master Buss was also a huge improvement on previous mixes I tested it on.  This one is definitely going into my Favorites in my Protools Plugin List and it’s going to get used very often.

Written By Igancio Molino – Grammy-winning Audio Engineer

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