Fabfilter Pro-Q 2 – Gearjunkies review

Today we are gonna take a look at the new Pro-Q2 EQ, the successor of the populair Pro-Q by masterminds FabFilter. The original Pro-Q was already a big hit with producers and studios all over the world but with Pro-Q2 the Fabfilter team knocked it out of the park. New to this update are : Natural Phase mode,Full screen Mode, Spectrum Grab,EQ Matching,Notch filter, Bandpass Filter, Tilt Shelf,Q factor till 96db/oct, Improved linear phase mode,Autogain,Gain Scale, Gain q interaction, Piano display,Phase invert option,Improved spectrum analyzer and optional output metering.

Natural Phase Mode:

Next to the originals Zero Latency mode and the Linear Phase mode there is now the Natural phase mode, this new mode is developed to counter a problem that almost all of the digital eq’s have. When you dial in a bell filter while boosting or cutting when you start to sweep the freq towards the highest or lowest parts of the frequency spectrum the bell starts to cramp and loose it’s quality. You can see this when you you check eq’s with some analyzing tools. This is a problem that analog eq’s don’t have.

This new mode also matches the magnitude response and analog phase response that you get when using analog eq’s.

Also when you dial in big boosts with  the highest q settings you normally would get a pre-ringing effect that’s not desirable. Not so with Natural Phase mode.

This new mode is a big improvement in my book.

Spectrum Grab: 

Another stroke of genius is the spectrum Grab function, that freezes the spectrum of a signal and lets you specifically zone in on rogue freq spots and grab them and cut or boost them. This saves a lot of time finding problem spots and results in a much more evenly balanced signal.

Eq Matching: This can make you match the tonal characteristics of one signal on to another. I tried this in Steinberg Cubase and it is easy as pie. Just put Pro-Q2 on the channel of the signal you want to change and press the vst3 button. Now take the other channel with the reference audio file and send it to the sidechain of Pro-Q2. Then first activate the input on the Pro-Q2 and then activate the sidechain and voila you’re done.

This is a very helpful addition to the eq especially in situations where you have recorded 2 vocal sessions in the same room but there was a slight difference between the signals. Or you can steal someones eq settings on for instance a Kickdrum and throw it on yours and see what happens (haha)

Gain Q interaction: On analog eq’s when you boost or cut frequencies the more you dial in the amount the steeper the bell gets, often in a very pleasing way, this is part of the character of using analog eq’s.cThis is now matched by this new addition and gives you a much nicer and often more pleasing sounding end result.

Fullscreen mode: New is that you now can have different resizing modes and top ofcthe bill is the new fullscreenmode. Very cool if you have a 2 screen setup and use  1 of the screens to throw Pro-Q2 on it in all of it’s glory.

Piano Display: This new gem is fantastic, you can see on the screen what tone on the piano you use and what freq is connected to that. So it’s easy to see the fundamental frequency of a signal and or change it. Working this way is fast and supereasy.

New filters and eq slopes:

The choices of filters and eq slopes also have drastically been improved. You now have a notch filter (cut out a small section of the freq spectrum), Bandpass (isolate part of the freq spectrum), Tilt Shelf (tilt the spectrum around a specific freq), and last but not least the slopes going all the way up to 96db/oct. And this not only for the Low and High cut filters but to all filter shapes, great for surgical precision and resulting in ultra narrow bell shapes and super steep shelving filters. Shapes are possible now that definately weren’t available on the first Pro-Q.

Autogain: Now available on the output menu is autogain, when enabled, this automatically compensates for increase or loss of gain after EQÌng. This way you don’t fall in the louder is better trap and you get a realistic picture of what your changes actually do the sound.

Final thoughts:

Pro-Q2 is a big improvement over what was already a very good eq. The new functionality is very welcome and sometimes close to brilliant for instance the Spectrum Grab function. Fabfilter products are always easy to use and their GUI’s are top notch. One little request from me would be that they also provided an input option to make controlling  what comes into Pro-Q2 easier.

And maybe even give us some more slopes for the Low and high cut filters, like , Chebyshev, Legendre and an allpass. But that’s just nitpicking. When looking for a digital eq that’s up for the task you can’t go wrong with this one.

More info: www.fabfilter.com

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