Review: Waves H-EQ
Positives:* Easy to understand display
* Very Flexible
* Choose different curves/consoles for each band
* Saturation effects with ability to remove noise
* MS mode for Mid Side processing.
* Built in Spectrum Analyzer for visual feedback before or after eq
* 7 different Saturation modes with control of THD
* keyboard lets you choose frequencies by notes
Negatives:* Fills up your session screen.
* Analyzer eats CPU for lunch.
* CPU heavy
Waves make their best sounding EQ
The Waves H-EQ is an incredibly helpful and fantastic sounding EQ plugin. With a ton of unique features and control of saturation effects, This is my new go-to EQ plugin. Opening it for the first time you immediately notice the amount of control available. For instance, the keyboard layout right under the display. Waves has included a keyboard for choosing frequencies based on notes on a piano, which is extremely helpful. This makes communicating with musicians a little easier and allows any musician without “technical” knowledge to easily find problem frequencies. Just drag the color of the band you want to work onto the note on the keyboard and it goes to the frequency in question. It’s that simple. once you press play, you also notice the included Spectrum Analyzer, which gives you a visual feedback on what’s going on. Right under the keyboard you can choose what you want the analyzer to display, Either Input (frequency response before adding H-EQ), Output (After H-EQ), L/M (Left side or Middle only), or R/S (Right or Side only) can be chosen and they display either the input or output of the plugin, Left or right side or both, or Middle or side when in MS mode.
In the mode selection area, you can choose between L/R Stereo or in MS mode, which allows you to process (EQ) the center of the mix differently than the sides of the mix. I use the MS mode on my master fader when i am done mixing. It gives you incredible flexibility and control than just using it in standard stereo. My favorite feature lies on the bottom right of the plugin, the saturation section. I’m a big fan of “analog” saturation in plugins and i use every bit of it I can. Waves has modeled 7 different, good sounding consoles and have made the distortion characteristics fully controllable. Just choose from the pull down list one of the “consoles” and right under you have control of the level of Hum (Or noise) which can be added or subtracted from the processor, as well as THD control, which gains or attenuates the harmonic distortion (or saturation) the plugin adds. i personally love that I can remove the noise and just add as much color as i want. But that’s not all, Each band in this EQ actually gives you the same “console” emulation options on a band by band basis. So you use “SSL’ type EQ in the midrange and then use “GML” style EQ on the high frequencies. Each emulation comes with their own uniques Bell shapes, filters, and “Q”s specific and unique to each model of eq. They each sound different and react to frequencies in a different way than the rest of them. Ultimate control over tone. There are even “Digital” bell curves which allow you to “notch” things out and offer no coloration of the signal. I use this EQ on pretty much everything. On vocals I love the “UK Modern” as a High Shelf. It adds a sweet top end that is never harsh. It can be pushed +10db and it never bothers. in fact, i might over do it with that band. It adds sparkle to the sides on MS mode when I use it on the master fader that the mix definitely needs. I really like how “UK Vintage” reacts to low frequencies and Midrange, so they tend to stay on those frequencies.
I really like this EQ and I use it constantly on Bass and Vocals. It works amazingly on Rhodes, Acoustic Guitars, and things that need overall “distortion” to really come forward in a dense mix. Waves did a fantastic job of creating just about the most useful and best sounding EQ plugins ever.