Review: McDSP Filterbank
Positives:* Unique set of controls not found in other EQ plugins
* Change the Shape of how the shelf Eq's react.
* Very "analog" sounding
* can add magic/weight to a otherwise "thin" sound
*simple to use
Negatives:* only 3 remain from previous 10
* Compatibility with older sessions and versions (V4) are a hassle, as there is no support for previous versions of the plugin.
* No VST support
The most flexible, best sounding pack of EQs I ever had my hands on
McDSP is one of my favorite audio plugin companies. They were modeling analog equipment behavior in their plugins before it was a “cool” thing to do. They were also one of the first companies to start doing flexible digital processors for audio that had “analog” characteristics and have been one of the first third party developers for the Pro tools format. Now in 2013, they still reign supreme and their original plugins (like the filterbank set) still have relevance/use today and still give other EQ plugins a run for their life. McDSP have now updated their plugins to V5, which changes a few things about their award winning set of processors. For instance, the GUI have been updated, and the plugins have added a new format, AU, allowing a broader audience. They aslo added 64 bit support. the biggest change, specifically with the Filterbank set of plugins, is that they’ve reduced the amount of plugins from version 4, which consisted of 10 smaller plugins, and now just remain 3. This can be a hassle for backwards compatibilities, so you might have a problem opening your old sessions or using the other “missing” plugins from the set. The set of ten were complete and tailored for the exact situation needed. for example, Version 4 had an F1 and F2 plugin which F1 consisted of just a Low cut Filter and F2 added a second filter, a low high cut. There were also a P2, P4, and P6 eqs which were Parametric EQs that allow you to choose how many bands you wanted, 2, 4, or 6. This is great because you dont need to open a 7 band EQ to use a low cut filter. I can add a F1 plugin and save resources for other things. Then remained the E series of EQ’s, E2, E4, and E6, which had a combination of Everything, Parametric bands, Shelfs, and filters, with E6 being the most complete (2 parametric bands, high/low shelfs, and Hi/Low pass filters) I loved that I could just use what I needed. There was even a B2 plugin that consisted of a bandpass filter with adjustable frequency selector and “Q.” Now the set has been reduced to 3 plugins, The F202 (F2 – 2 filters), The E606 (E6 – Parametric, filters, and shelfs), and the P606 (P6 – 6 parametric bands). Even though this what remains and it essentially is all you need, I do miss having the other smaller eqs.
The F202 contains two great sounding/smooth filters which adjustable slopes. Slopes range from a subtle -6db per octave to a brickwall -24db giving you everything in between. there is also a resonance “peak” control for emphasizing your cut-off point. I use a lot of bandpass filters on reverb returns and delays. It cleans them up and doesn’t muddy up the highs or lows. I used to use their B2 (Bandpass) plugin to achieve this, now i Use their F202. the low cut really cleans up any room rumble as expected and remains very sweet sounding. On a bass drum, I use the P606, which has the perfect amount of sweetness added to soften the kick, and the bands do a fantastic job of adding or subtracting whatever it is you’re looking to do. I dip out about 370/380 ish to remove the “boxy” tone from the recroding and boost only about 1.2 dbs at 80 hz. a little 2-3k for the attack and I have a kick that sounds like a kick. On snare, it adds weight to a dull sounding snare, A boost at about 250/300 adds body to a thin snare and can really boost the initial smack of the drumstick. On vocals, it is never too overwhelming, especially on the high end. I tend to use the E606, which is a Neve 1081 clone, on vocals as to where I have ultimate control with all the available features. I filter out everything below 80 hz, then use the two parametric bands to add/remove body/weight and to add sparkle to the high mids. Speaking of sparkle, the air that you can add by boosting the high shelf Is never too harsh, and can boost +10db without every adding sibilance, something not any other software eq I’ve used can do. Immediately you notice the one unique feature that separates this eq from the rest, the Peak, Slope, and Dip controls. These are unique to McDSP’s filterbank line, and I’ve never seen them on any other plugin. These controls basically allow the user to manipulate the shelves in how they dip at the cutoff frequency, the way they curve (Slope), and the shape that they are boosted (Peak). Think of them like the “Q” control, split in 3 sections, for the shelfs. This can be extremely useful for when you boost the shelf and the frequency where the boost takes place, creates a dip of the nearby frequencies and can cause your tone to change. you ca adjust how or if it dips. The slope affects how sharp it boosts from the cut off frequency to the peak of the shelf. It’s kind of like an ADSR control for the shelving EQs. Very useful. These Eq’s sound fantastic and have many tricks up their sleeves that other Plugins can’t relate to. If you need great sounding and very flexible EQ’s for you palette, look no further