The 10 Best Free EQ Plugins Available in 2021

If you don’t want your mixes to sound terrible, a great EQ plugin is necessary for your music production toolkit. Annoyingly, some of the best EQ plugins are gonna set you back a fair bit of cash. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up some great software for free!

In this article, we’re going to show you the best free equalizer plugins available in 2021.

Here’s the complete list of the best free EQ plugins updated for 2021:

  1. TDR Nova
  2. Blue cat’s Triple EQ
  3. Analog Obsession FIVER
  4. Voxengo Marvel GEQ
  5. Ignite Amps PTEq-X
  6. DDMF Colour EQ
  7. SPL Free Ranger
  8. BasiQ
  9. TDR Slick EQ
  10. Analog Obsession BritBundle

What Is An Equalizer?

An equalizer or EQ is an essential sound engineering tool used to adjust the output of certain frequencies. This allows the user to either cut or boost the gain of specific frequency ranges in your signal. EQ’s are available in both hardware units and software plugins, with free plugins available.

Essentially what EQ gives you, is a more in-depth control over the frequency response of your sound. Whether it’s to cut some low mid frequencies or any other function from the wide range of possibilities, a great EQ is necessary for music production.

The main controls of your EQ are:

  • Filter Type
  • Slope
  • Q
  • Gain

Filter Type determines the shape of your EQ band. Slope is what controls the aggressiveness of our band. Measured in dB/Octave, the steeper your slope, the more sharp your band will end up.

Q or quality factor is essentially the shape or width for bell filters, controlling how wide your boosts and cuts are.

And lastly, Gain is the amount of boost or cut you’re applying to your individual eq band. Positive gain will make your frequencies louder, while negative gain will reduce the levels of the selected frequencies.

There are quite a few types of EQ, graphic equalizer, parametric equalizer, dynamic eq etc. Some even mid/side features, that let you adjust the Middle and Side information in your signal individually.

Some plugins also offer an auto gain adjustment feature, which helps, when your EQ adjustments have changed the internal gain of your signal.

Most EQ devices are split into bands, usually a 3 band equalizer would be split between a low band, mid band and high bands. With other bands like low mid, air, etc. available in different EQ’s.

EQ’s are vital, when working with audio. Whether it’s to reduce resonance in your recording, or use the spectrum analyzer to carve space in your mixes, the EQ is going to be the tool for the job.

What’s the Best Free Equalizer Plugin?

To say that one EQ plugin is better than another, would be more misleading than anything. While you might be looking for a colorful EQ to add character to your audio, someone else needs the perfect, surgical parametric equalizer.

That being said, we’ve tried to include as much variety in our list as possible, covering everything from the precise, to the colorful and unique.

So let’s start off with our Number 1, the Tokyo Dawn Records Nova

1. TDR Nova

The Tokyo Dawn Labs Nova is a parallel dynamic EQ plugin that’s one of the most powerful and versatile EQ’s available today. Not only is it FREE, it’s also way more than just an EQ. It’s packed full of a wide range of features like a full dynamics section, including multi-band compression.

The little brother of the 60$ TDR Nova GE or Gentleman’s Edition, Nova covers a lot of utility work, that can be extremely helpful when mixing and mastering

You also get an awesome gain equalization feature, which automatically adjusts your gain, so that, no matter how much you cut or boost, the gain structure of your mix remains unchanged.

Whether you’re a power user, or looking to pick up your first ever EQ plugin, the TDR Nova is one of the best free EQ’s you can get.

TDR Nova is available for both Windows and Mac OS, in 64-bit VST, AU and AAX plugin formats.

If you’d like to learn more about the TDR Nova, we have a great review on it you can read here.

2. Blue Cat Triple EQ

Another worthy contender to the title of the best free equalizer plugin, Blue Cat’s Triple EQ is easily one of the best you’ll find.

This is a FREE, three-band semi-parametric EQ, that includes both low shelf, high shelf as well as a boost/cut filter.

The three filters are linked together so that when you adjust the center frequency or the bandwidth, the parameters of these three filters will be modified accordingly. In other words, allowing for very fast control of your eq characteristics, with a single click.

Triple EQ also offers a dual channel mode, with independent mid/side eq. Channels can be linked together, to let you transform Triple EQ into a frequency-dependent panner, as well as much more.

Triple EQ can also be controlled with MIDI in real-time.

One of the more versatile semi-parametric EQ’s on the market, the Blue Cat Triple EQ is very much worth your time.

TDR Nova is available for both Windows and Mac OS, in VST, AU and AAX plugin formats.

3. Analog Obsession FIVER

Fiver is a versatile five-band eq with a low pass filter and high pass filter as well as three bands, with continuously variable bandwidth. The first entry of an Analog Obsession plugin on this list, FIVER can be used both as a surgical and color EQ.

FIVER has it’s own sonic characteristic, but manages to offer an almost transparent, yet, musical sound. Based on the legendary Neve 5033 EQ, FIVER looks and sounds like the original, with added functionality and easy workflow.

Going deep into your signal source is quite easy, with a plugin this good. While five bands might seem like not a lot, when compared to the digital EQ packages with unlimited EQ bands, it’s absolutely enough.

Analog Obsession’s FIVER is available on the Analog Obsession Patreon page in the form of donationware. If you do end up loving the plugin, please consider donating to the creator.

TDR Nova is available for both Windows and Mac OS, in VST and AU plugin formats.

4. Voxengo Marvel GEQ

The Voxengo Marvel GEQ is a linear-phase 16-band graphic equalizer VST plugin with multi-channel operation support for professional music production (supporting up to 8 input/output channels).

Marvel EQ is the perfect tool for applying quick EQ adjustments to both single audio channels, to whole mixes. The Linear-phase filtering offered by Marvel makes it the tool for the job, when audio quality and sonic character are of the utmost importance.

Featuring an interesting freehand drawing mode as well as mid/side processing and channel grouping, the Voxengo Marvel GEQ is one of the better free eq plugins for mixing and mastering.

Optimized for both Retina and HighDPI support, the Marvel GEQ looks almost as good as it sounds. The GUI is reminiscent of a standard studio console, with separate faders for each EQ band.

Voxengo Marvel GEQ is available in AAX, AU, VST and VST3 plugin formats for Windows and Mac OS

5. Ignite Amps PTEq-X

Ignite Amps, known for their incredible guitar and bass sims as well as real amplifiers, called for zero fanfare, when releasing the PTEq-X. An incredibly versatile free EQ plugin, the PTEq-X recreates the sound of legendary Pultec valve hardware

A consolidation of three legendary Pultec EQ’s, the HLF-3C, MEQ-5 and PEQ1A, the Ignite Arms PTEq-X features everything great about the originals, with added features.

In addition to circuit improvements, Ignite Amps have digitally recreated every component of the signal path of the analog units. This makes certain that what you’re getting is the best possible analog, to the original hardware units. The integrated tube saturation and harmonics also add a pleasing textured quality to your sound..

Low CPU consumption as well as fully automatable controls and refined filters in addition to 4 different tube types and linear phase oversampling, makes PTEq-X one of the best free EQ plugins.

6. DDMF Colour EQ

DDMF’s Colour EQ is one of the best free EQ plugins available. The warmth and soulful sound of this EQ makes it incredible for adding color and warmth to your audio.

Colour Eq comes with five bands of ”super parametric” filters, in addition to the traditional gain/width/frequency set, which influences the per band curve shape.

These shapes cannot be reproduced by ordinary Equalizers, making Colour EQ, one of the most unique and special sounding EQ’s you’ll ever hear.

In addition to an easy to use interface, the color of the GUI can be changed. A freely resizable window rounds out the package as one of the best free EQ plugins ever.

With Low CPU usage and 64-bit processing, Colour EQ is available In VST, RTAS and AU plugin formats for both Windows and Mac OS.

7. SPL Free Ranger

With products available in most of the world’s most famous recording studios, SPL has created a very coveted sound for it’s hardware.

Designed and Tested with SPL’s in-house technicians and engineers, the SPL Free Ranger cracks the “Analog Code”. Being nearly indistinguishable from the hardware unit, you can now have a piece of the SPL sound in your DAW for FREE.

Free Ranger offers 4 EQ bands as well as easy automation. While this may not be the EQ we use more often than others, for us, it has it’s own purpose. This being, adding brilliance to your audio. The way that the Free ranger makes your high-end sound, feels sweet and premium, worthy of million dollar studios.

The high pass and low pass filters in Free Ranger are also really good, offering a clean and smooth sound, rarely found in a free plugin.

If you enjoy Free Ranger, you’ll probably love the SPL EQ Rangers bundle, with includes the Vox ranger, Bass Ranger and Full Ranger 8-band parametric EQ plugins.

8. BasiQ

BasiQ is a free 3-band EQ plugin made by Kuassa. This straight-forward equalizer is perfect for mixing and mastering, as well as sound-design.

Modeled after the design of the classic Baxandall Equalizer, BasiQ is known for it’s smooth shelves and neutral response, similar to hi-fi tone controls. Don’t take the simplicity of this EQ for granted however.

While it may not be the most exciting and versatile EQ plugin, it’s pretty-much our go-to EQ for adding air and shimmer to our audio. While it’s great for top-end stuff, the Low band also tends to sound great on the low-end to add more “oomph”

You won’t be doing surgical resonance correction with BasiQ, but it will be one of your best friends, to add a pleasant character to your sound.

9. TDR Slick EQ

The second Tokyo Dawn Records EQ plugin on our list, Slick EQ is an amazing mixing and mastering equalizer, designed for ease of use and flexibility.

In comparison to the Nova dynamic EQ, Slick EQ is made to be the one-stop-shop for your colour EQ needs. With an output stage with 4 different saturation models: Linear, Silky, Mellow, Deep and Toasted, Slick EQ which are great to inject some sonic inspiration in your music.

All of these saturation models don’t go the traditional distortion route, rather settling for a more subtle and textured approach. Made to add the characteristics of an analog EQ to your sound, Slick EQ accomplishes this goal in a highly effective and pleasing manner.

Tokyo Dawn Records are one of our favourite plugin developers, constantly designing incredible plugins, with tons of features, with ease of use in mind. Both the Nova and Slick free plugins will be your two new music production buddies.

Available in VST, AU and AAX plugin formats for Windows, Mac OS operating systems.

10. Analog Obsession BritBundle

Last, but not least, the BritBundle by Analog Obsession. The second vst plugin (or plugins) from Analog Obsession on this list, BritBundle is a bundle of three effects, modeled after classic british studio hardware.

The Bundle comes with BritPressor, BritPre and BritChannel. The latter of these is one of the best free EQ VST plugins.

With Three EQ bands, and a High Pass filter, BritChannel would already be one of the best free equalizer plugins. Add to that an emulation of classic british mic preamps, and you end up with an incredible package, that rivals a lot of premium plugins.

The high pass and low pass filters in BritChannel are stellar and essentially our go-to free plugin for filtering, especially the low pass filter, which sounds warm and smooth.

For a free plugin bundle BritBundle is excellent, standing above a lot of massive developers’ offerings in both quality and musicality.

In addition to BritChannel, you also get a Neve-style compressor unit as well as a seperate pre-amp vst.

Analog Obsession BritBundle is available for both Windows and Mac OS, in VST and AU plugin formats.

Finishing Up

Here’s the essential list of the best free EQ VST plugins updated for 2021:

  1. TDR Nova
  2. Blue cat’s Triple EQ
  3. Analog Obsession FIVER
  4. Voxengo Marvel GEQ
  5. Ignite Amps PTEq-X
  6. DDMF Colour EQ
  7. SPL Free Ranger
  8. BasiQ
  9. TDR Slick EQ
  10. Analog Obsession BritBundle

Arguably the most important plugin effect for any producer, the EQ is essential to any music producers workflow.

Whether you’re mixing, mastering, producing or recording, EQ’s are the key to getting the exact sound you are looking for. Both for adding color, and surgical corrections, an eq can be used in infinite ways.

Hopefully, you’ve been able to find a good new free eq plugin to add to your arsenal, whether its a parallel dynamic equalizer, or strictly a color EQ.

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