The Best Free EQ Plugins for Video Editing – VST, Audio Units
On the hunt for an EQ but got no money to spend? Fear not, there are loads of free, professional-standard equalizers available, and we’ve rounded up six of the best to help you choose the one for you.
An equalizer (or EQ) plugin is a piece of software which allows you to control volume levels of specific frequencies. It’s an essential bit of kit for achieving pro audio in your videos as certain frequencies can have different uses, certain desirable or undesirable characteristics.
For example, muddy voice recording can often be remedied by cutting midrange frequencies and boosting highs, and issues such as vibrations picked up by your microphone can be banished with a simple high-pass filter.
So EQs are essential for your workflow, and luckily there are loads of great ones available for free!
We’re starting this list with a bang. Tokyo Dawn Records’ TDR Nova is a fully featured parallel EQ which can hold its own up against many a paid-for plugin. What’s more, it can also double up as a compressor meaning this gem of a VST could be a one-stop-shop for all your audio for video processing needs.
TDR Nova is the only EQ on this list which boasts a dynamic EQ. This means that the amount frequencies are cut or boosted by can vary depending on how loud those frequencies are moment to moment. This is really useful if you’ve got some rogue frequency spikes tampering with your otherwise perfect audio.
The dynamic EQ also features wideband compression meaning that it compresses all frequencies equally – ie it’s a regular old compressor. For those not in the know, a compressor reduces the volume of audio when it crosses a certain threshold. This is really useful for smoothing out clips that have a lot of dynamic range, making your recordings more consistent.
Another little hack: you can use the dynamic EQ as a deesser by sticking a node where sibilance occurs (around 6k-7kHz). Of course you’ll get better results with a dedicated bit of kit such as the ERA De-Esser.
TDR Nova is a real powerhouse and would make a great addition to anyone’s workflow. However, if that dynamic EQ sounds a bit confusing then maybe the next EQ in our list would suit you better.
Triple EQ from Blue Cat Audio is the perfect option for anyone intimidated by the world of sound. With only three bands, this handy plugin offers everything you need to tame your audio without getting out of your depth with loads of powerful but superfluous features.
Yeah 12 bands, AI assisted curves and dynamic nodes are great and everything, but sometimes all you need is a simple EQ to just get the job done. If you haven’t got the time to learn your way around another piece of software then this is the EQ for you.
The second offering from Tokyo Dawn Records in our list, SlickEQ is a classic three band EQ with some interesting creative options.
So far on the list we’ve only showcased digital EQs. These are great for cold and precise sound shaping allowing you to carve out frequencies accurately. SlickEQ, on the other hand, models old school hardware EQs with four different modes: American, British, German and Soviet. It also offers four different saturation modes which can warm up your sound, adding character.
Because of this, and the fact that SlickEQ doesn’t have a spectral analyser (a visual representation of the frequency adjustments you’re making), it could be a good idea to have SlickEQ in your arsenal to add flavour to your sound, and a different EQ for more precise sound sculpting.
That being said, if you can live without a spectral analyser then SlickEQ is just as capable as any other equalizer when it comes to mixing audio and could easily be your only EQ.
MEqualizer from MeldaProduction is a solid six-band equalizer that offers great flexibility and control when it comes to taming rogue frequencies. It comes as part of the MFreeFXBundle, an impressive collection of totally free audio plugins.
However, many of the audio units in the bundle are aimed at musicians rather than video creators, so the entire collection may just use up valuable space on your hard drive if you have no plans to use them. However, this may be a price worth paying as MEqualizer is the only six band EQ on this list making it one of the most precise in our round-up, second only to the 12 band lkjb QRange. And of course, you can always delete the unwanted VSTs.
Interestingly ColourEQ wasn’t always freeware. Originally DDMF were selling it for $29, so it’s not just another throwaway freebie.
Finally – a nice touch, though of course not essential – the colour of the GUI can be tailored to your personal preference, perhaps explaining DDMF’s naming decision.
Weighing in with a whopping 12 bands, the Ikjb QRange certainly wins when it comes to node numbers.
Each band can operate as a bell, shelf or cut, offering you levels of control that can’t be matched by any other EQ on this list.
That means that, if you’re a perfectionist seaking to dial in on that perfect sound, this EQ may be exactly what you need. However, as a video maker who just wants to tweak a voiceover without too much hassle, then 12 bands is most likely too many and you’re probably better off with a more restrained equalizer from this list.
If none of these options grabbed you then be sure to check out our round up of the best paid for EQs.