DSP, EQ and other Plug-Ins

8 posts were merged into an existing topic: The Off Topic

With pending, extensive, travel and little time to make music anymore, I decided to permanently tear down my studio. This has meant bringing a fair amount of interesting hardware, such as limiters, compressors, harmonics and saturation processors (much of which is tube-based or has tube-driven core processing) and so on, home.

Out of this I am doing two things:

  1. Comparing the hardware software based versions of these boxes - where both are available (e.g. SPL Iron and TwinTube). This is the bit that makes it relevant to THIS thread!

  2. Re-mastering (not mixing - I don’t have track-level masters of anything you’d likely recognize) a handful of well known, well regarded, and musically worthwhile pieces with a variety of processes and effects applied.

The former is mostly for my own benefit/amusement; the latter as a potential pre-cursor to a couple of local listening sessions to see “who likes what” and map that back to the kinds of processing involved and how that gets received. A lot of which is down to wanting to see how many people prefer the raw, unadulterated, originals vs. some progressively more heavily processed re-masters.

This is of academic interest to me, mostly due to being curious as to how much of dac, amp, tube or overall system “sound” (distortion, noise, harmonics, non-linearities etc.) is responsible for preference vs. raw technical fidelity.

Results and details to be published in the event that I am able to conduct enough experiments post lockdown before I don’t care anymore (i.e. have “set sail”).

(I cannot share the processed files due to IP laws, so this will be an in-person deal only).


A post was merged into an existing topic: The Off Topic

While having an EQ discussion with @Chrono, some doors were open. Then I stumbled with this EQ I had forgotten in my downloads folder.

Ohh my. I couldn’t love simplicity more. V-shape your world without changing the characteristics of a headphone. I suspect this VST also changes the spacious presentation too.

Algorithm was well designed. From small to moderate boosts/cuts, sound was still very natural in my (still) limited tryouts.

Software demo is worth of 30 minutes – under the caveat of preferences cannot be saved. Reload the project, and another 30 minutes are granted – while settings are lost. But come on, one will be only playing with pretty much 2-3 knobs anyway. 5-10s worth of mouse clicking.

I have been running through a DAW. Kind of physical cumbersome setup I would say. But if one has 2 soundcards (DACs), there you go.

Signal chain used: Google Play Music → Windows Mixer → FiiO K3 S/PDIF out → Focusrite S/PDIF in → REAPER DAW (VSTs) → Focusrite Line out → Headphone amp → Headphone

Here’s an example in action:

DAW project was set in a way that I’m one click away between “No EQ”, “Sonarworks Reference 4”, and the “VST EQ”. Very convenient. :blush:

Headphones used: HD58X and HD600. Picture above represents a suggested settings for the latter.

If I continue liking this VST I’ll probably purchase a license in their next sale.

Happy EQ’ing. Cheers.


Focusrite owners have a few plugins from Softube for free. I downloaded this one:

One knob. Three switches. Quite simple to operate. Too much gain, a led will flash warning the user about clipping. Keep cranking that up and there’s distortion. I’m sure everyone already heard it before.

Breaking it down for a single 440 Hz tone:

As can be seen, it just add more harmonics to the fundamental (a.k.a. distortion). More information, more volume. Do it for every single frequency in the spectrum and then holes are filled (a.k.a. increased loudness). No wonder why this type of plugin/technique is widely used when mastering. I never understood why though. Lesson learned.

My 20 minutes experience with it was just added volume, as noted in the GIF. No other bells ‘n’ whistles of any sort. Used vocal dominant tracks to test with. Maybe there will be some kind of tracks that this can do wonders. I don’t know.

It was a good exercise though.


Hi @reallyoldcob,

Welcome to the community. Since you’re a music producer, please share your thoughts/hints in this thread. Idea here is to use DSP towards playback for an enhanced experience. For instance, my interest is in EQ and emulators in general (e.g: valve simulation, modelers, etc).

And if/when you know about killer plugins on sale, please add them to this other thread:

I look forward in exchanging information with you and others.


Hi @frkasper! I’ll have to steer clear of the deals thread because I’ve spent more than enough on DSP already haha.

Just read through this thread and it’s super interesting to see how people are implementing mixing plugins into playback! I am all for anything that makes music sound better to you. I generally avoid any kind of DSP on playback besides a 1 or 2 dB boost here and there using either the SoundSource’s built in graphic EQ or Fabfilter’s Pro-Q3 because I want to be able to judge what I’m hearing as objectively as possible and maintain perspective for my own work.

One plugin I didn’t see mentioned that I really love is PSP’s Vintage Warmer 2.
It’s old, expensive, and confusing but I haven’t found anything else quite like it. To me, it sounds like the perfect tube amp. I also use the compressor/limiter functions in music production but the idea of compressing someone else’s mastered material stresses me out. To each his/her/their own though!

One more that I believe is free and provides some interesting perspective on what you’re listening to is Plugin Alliance’s bx_solo … The plugin allows you to solo/isolate (and sum to mono) information that only exists in the left, right, center, or sides. Isolating the side information usually exposes the vocal/instrument ambient effects like reverb and delay since those are often spread out to keep them out of the way of the center image. Definitely not the most pleasing way to listen to music but if you’re trying to geek out it’s v fun!


Thanks for your inputs. Saturation plugins are tricky. I’m currently trialing this one and spent some time tweaking the knobs:

The good thing about it is after you dial up your sound it’s just an on/off control. Everything has an “overdriven” character to it. Works great for songs from the 70s.

It’s cool but I’d never pay MSRP for it. The same argument goes for Pro-Q3. It’s undeniable it’s a killer plugin, but I’d rather purchase a new headphone instead given its price tag. I shall see soon how low this one can go when on sale.

EQ-wise, I’ve been using this one (free):

I probably don’t need more than 3 knobs anyway. :smile:


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I’m toying with the idea of buying a tube amp. That could easily turn into a whole can of worms thing so I’m interested in any plugins that simulate them first. I found this one that is free:


There is a paid version 2 that is more CPU efficient, more accurate, and has more features:

I am not an audio engineer nor do I play one on TV so any tips, tricks, suggestions, or just plain instructions on what these knobs and switches do so I can achieve a decent simulation of a real tube amp is appreciated. :sunglasses:

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You can start with the ‘Drive’ knob. :wink:

And back-off the preamp gain a little bit (e.g.: OS volume) so you don’t have clipping.

Remember that adding more harmonics will increase loudness – after all, energy is being added to the spectrum. Then try to separate if what you’re hearing is actually better, or just louder. Not an easy exercise.

Have fun.


Thanks. It took me a while to figure out that DRIVE referred to the effect level and OUTPUT was essentially just gain. Still not sure what the FAT switch relates to. I’m setting the EQ knobs at zero and EQ switch off since I assume that the tube sound is unrelated (the screenshot is from the vendor’s web site). I’m doing EQ already using a separate plugin.

As you said I’ve noticed that there’s no way to keep the output level matched when switching it on and off or using the bypass button. So far I am unable to separate the pleasing effect from just increased loudness. :frowning_face:

I’ll keep at it though.


There’s a link to user guide.

Actually, you may be able to achieve with the A/B functionality. In a DAW, this is easily done with 2 tracks: one with and another without the VST. Both levels matched.

Good luck.

My bad, I was just getting to section 4.2 when I posted. :flushed:

Thanks for the A/B tip, I’ll try that out.

EQ wizards.

I have the EQ APO thing with the Peace UI. Stock EQ setup.

I want to create a bass boost profile for the D8000 Pro. I really enjoy the bass amount/impact on the original D8000.

Whats the best way to add a wide bass boost shelf type thing. The D8000 seems to have a bit more between 30-200hz. At the moment, I just fumble around with the Q value, but seems like there would be a better way to do it. Resolves graph below comparing the two. I know its not 100% accurate, but gives an idea.

Have you tried PEACE tutorials on Youtube?

If I had I’d probably have found the answer! :stuck_out_tongue:

But yeah, I’ve read a bit now and watched a few.

I do like hearing direct from people that fiddle around with it a lot though, possibly even on the same headphones. I’m @Resolve has EQ’d the D8KP at some point during his review process/loan time.

Here’s how I read it.

A low shelf filter will boost all frequencies below the shelf.

However, it doesn’t give the full boost immediately at the specified frequency, rather it slowly increases to the amount you specify.

Using a Q value of 0.66 will increase over the span of 1 octave, Q of 1.44 will be half an active. Q of 0.66 will be a smoother rise, 1.44 will be a sharper rise.

One octave below 200hz is 100hz (half).

So setting the frequency to 200hz, amount to 3db and Q to 0.66 will give a boost that begins at 200hz and rises to the full 3db at 100hz.

Use Q of 1.44 to get the full 3db boost at 150hz.

This should let you decide what frequency and Q you want.

I’m not an audio engineer. I just read about it and this is how I think it works. I’m happy to be corrected if I got it wrong.

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I haven’t used PEACE for a while, but is it a low shelf you’re looking for?

I know UIs are different but you get the drill.

Ohh, “Master Google” gave me this as well: https://inspiringheadphones.com/equalizer-apo-quick-and-easy-guide-to-more-bass/

Look in Step 3. Just remember to subtract from preamp gain whatever the boost you’re applying to frequencies (the maximum).


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I do indeed have an EQ profile for ya, but sadly my internet died tonight so I’ll upload it tomorrow. The good news is that the pilot and co-pilot pads do work for the D8K pro - kind of. It’s not a perfectly flush fit with them but it is still effective at making it super comfy. I’ll upload photos tomorrow as well.

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Thanks Boss. Sounds good. Appreciate it.

I feel like the D8KP would EQ well in the bass, hence keen to try it.