New Gear/New Toy Review: FabFilter Pro•Q3 Plug-In Equalizer

FabFilter Pro•Q3 takes all the features of FabFilter Pro•Q2 and adds a significant jump in in feature-sets and capabilities. First of all, there is now Dynamic EQ possible for all 24 EQ bands for the shelf or bell EQs with variable Q.

With a dynamic EQ, it can be tricky to set the threshold; I mostly used the Auto Threshold mode to track the energy of the EQ band--it works fine. I do like switching over to the Threshold slider for manually setting the dynamic EQ for special effects or fixing peaking issues or tonal resonances.

You can use dynamic EQ on any band and have an adjacent band work as a conventional EQ without phase or crossover distortion caused by overlapping band processing. In addition, all three EQ processing modes are available: Zero Latency, Natural Phase and Linear Phase.

FabFilter Pro•Q3 now supports surround formats up to 7.1.2 Dolby ATMOS. I inserted Q3 into a surround channel and the plug-in changes automatically and a picture of the surround speaker layout comes up for viewing and working on a channel-by-channel basis--you may include/exclude any channel(s) from Q3 processing.

There is also now the ability to apply mid/side processing on a per-band basis--essential for Dolby ATMOS such as for the height channels. I especially liked Q3's external spectrum visualization feature. It allows viewing other channels' EQ curves in your session that are also running Q3. You can verify any "EQ collisions" and do EQ matching as I did for a lead vocal double track to match the main lead sung on a different microphone and in a different studio.

A very powerful new EQ tool in my kit and it sells for $179 as a download on its own or part of one of FabFilter's many bundles. You can get a 30-day trial too.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com