In this article I will give you at least 10 reasons for why I think that FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is the best equalizer audio plugin on the market – by far! A lot of the functionalities in the equalizer have been copied by other companies but for me, Pro-Q 3 is still the best EQ plugin. Not only does it combine so many nice and innovative features but it also visualises everything so well. Let me know if you agree with the following reasons and if I forgot any.
1. Spectrum Grab
Spectrum grab is an amazing feature in Pro-Q 3. You can basically grab a certain frequency in the spectrum and reduce it by pulling down at the white line.
This is amazing because you will be able to not only see resonances but also ‘hold them and pull them down’. I haven’t seen this in any other equalizer so far. It definitely is a unique feature and makes Pro-Q 3 stand out.
2. Gain Scale
Gain scale is a great functionality. Sometimes, for example you may have certain EQ settings that are a bit drastic but overall you may like the way it shapes the sound.
What to do? I used to apply a gain scale manually back in the days when I was still using equalizers from Sonalksis. I would f.e. reduce the gain of each band by 50%. This sometimes took ages! Now, with Pro-Q 3, you can do this in seconds.
This feature is a bit similar to a mix or wet/dry knob but it doesn’t affect shapes that do not work with gain (like a cut f.e.). That makes it an even better functionality than just a simple wet/dry knob in my humble opinion.
3. EQ Match
I only learnt about this feature way later but it is one of a kind. I like to use this in the mastering process.
Let’s say I have a certain reference track that I try to work towards to in my mastering process. In the end I can ‘EQ match’ my track with my reference track. The EQ will analyse the reference and apply EQ settings to make it sound closer to the reference. At 100% gain scale this will sound horrible. But it can work wonders at gain scales of 10-30%. I did this for example on my track ‘Losing My Mind’. Made it sound great in the end!
I don’t know of any other EQ that offers this feature which again proofs that the Pro-Q 3 is the best EQ plugin on the market!
4. Extensive Spectrum Analyser
The spectrum analyser in Pro-Q 3 is something else! Honestly, it’s the best thing ever. You can not only see the frequency spectrum pre EQ settings and post EQ settings but you can also let Pro-Q 3 display an external frequency spectrum (for example another track or a kick or a bassline).
Let’s see you have put a Pro-Q 3 on your bassline. If your kick has a Pro-Q 3 on its channel, you can then display the kick frequency spectrum in your bassline EQ! And not only that, Pro-Q 3 will show you overlapping frequencies respectively problematic areas like in the picture above. At 55 Hz Pro-Q 3 visualised a problem.
5. Dynamic EQ’ing
I love the dynamic EQ’ing in Pro-Q 3. It is a bit of a simplified dynamic processing as there is no attack or release.
It anyway works pretty well and does the job in 99.9% of the cases. It can be very useful to get rid of a resonance that only appears in certain parts of a sound. You can remove the resonance when it appears without compromising on the rest of sound when the resonance is not audible.
6. Sidechain per Band
Instead of using the source material for your threshold in the dynamic EQ setting, you can also set up an external sidechain source.
This is amazing! Especially when you know that there is a problematic area (see point 4). Let’s go back to the kick and bassline example. If you know that your kick and your bassline have an issue at around 54 Hz, you can just side chain the bassline at 54 Hz with your kick. So whenever your kick is playing, the bassline will be ducked at 54 Hz and only there!
7. Mid/Side Processing per Band
Each band can have its own stereo placement (left, right, stereo, mid and side). This is unseen!
Usually you have the choice between stereo mode or mid/side mode in your plugins. And those modes usually are global and not per band. This is great if you want to widen specific areas in your sound for example. Then you can just EQ the sound a little bit differently left and right.
8. Auto Gain
The guy who had this idea must have been a genius. When you boost or cut a frequency, the loudness of your sound changes. Often you can trick your ears by that. When you are boosting a certain frequency you can easily think that it sounds better as the overall sound becomes louder. And if you cut a certain frequency you can think that the sound sounds worse as its a bit lower in volume, but maybe that is not the case.
Auto gain solves that exact issue. It automatically adjusts the volume according to the boost or cut that you applied. It’s that simple A button in the bottom right corner of the EQ. I am not sure if any other EQ offers this but this again underlines why I think that the Pro-Q 3 is the best EQ plugin out there.
9. Undo/Redo Functionalities
Some DAWs offer an undo and redo button natively. However not every daw offers this. This is where this button inside Pro-Q 3 can be a blessing.
For example, Cubase offers an undo and redo functionality but not within plugins, only within the DAW itself. So if you change any settings in a plugin, you are basically screwed if it doesn’t have a nice undo/redo functionality like Pro-Q 3 has.
10. A/B Comparison
This is one of my favourite things in Pro-Q 3. Sometimes you really want to try an A/B comparison of two different EQ settings and see what works better. With this button, you can easily switch between two different EQ settings.
You can also first copy over your EQ settings with the copy button and the do changes on either A or B. Really loving that feature.
11. Honourable Mention: Tips
Another thing I really love about FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is that you get a small information box when you hoover over a setting. Every functionality in the EQ is explained very well there.
So if you ever wanna know more about a certain setting within the EQ, take advantage of this feature! It’s awesome.
Where to buy FabFilter Pro-Q 3
There are two reasonable options to buy FabFilter’s Pro-Q 3 right now. One option is to buy through one of our favourites: Plugin Boutique! The other option is directly with FabFilter.
1. Buy at Plugin Boutique
The prices are usually matched with those that FabFilter directly offers. However, you have various benefits when purchasing at Plugin Boutique. You get some cash back, get free plugins and more.
Read why we love Plugin Boutique so much:
2. Buy Directly at FabFilter
If you prefer to buy directly at FabFilter, I may have a 10% discount code for you. This one is only possible if you aren’t a customer yet and haven’t been invited earlier. To request a discount code, check this article:
Conclusion – why FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is the Best EQ Plugin on the Market
For me there is no doubt: Pro-Q 3 is by far the best EQ plugin on the market! I don’t know of any equalizer that can even partially compete with it. That’s why I usually recommend my students to always at least purchase a Pro-Q 3 if they don’t own it yet. I actually advise to get the Total Bundle as the value for your money is the best there. And so many of their plugins are extremely useful. It’s totally worth it.