Equalization (EQ) is one of the most essential processes in audio, and with the growing popularity of the modular 500 Series format, it's useful to know the best 500 Series EQ modules.
In this article, we'll go through the best 500 Series EQ options on the market to shape your audio perfectly.
The top 11 best 500 Series equalizers are:
- Rupert Neve Designs 551 Inductor EQ
- Lindell Audio PEX-500
- Chandler Limited Little Devil EQ
- Heritage Audio 73EQ JR
- Solid State Logic UltraViolet EQ
- Midas 512 V2
- Pultec EQP-500X
- Mäag Audio EQ4-500
- API 550A
- Elysia xfilter 500
- Trident Audio Developments 80B
Each of the above-mentioned equalizers is a superb option for a 500 Series system. In this article, we'll discuss why that is.
• The Ultimate 500 Series Buyer's Guide
• Top 11 Best Audio Brands For 500 Series Modules/Equipment
• What Is 500 Series Audio Equipment & Is It Worth It?
• Top 11 Best EQ/Equalization Tips For Mixing (Overall)
Rupert Neve Designs 551 Inductor EQ
Rupert Neve's legendary equalizer was a central component for his console designs to reach stardom in the music-making realm. Indeed, the beefy lows, together with the punchy midrange and the singing highs, became the trademark of the “Neve sound” and redefined the music world for good.
Back in the day, the pleasure of using such a musical EQ in production was reserved for those who could afford to have a Neve console. Nowadays, with the Rupert Neve Designs 551 Inductor EQ (link to check the price at Sweetwater), you can have the quintessential sound of modern music at a relatively affordable price in the convenient 500-series format.
Although the layout of controls is very straightforward, the true wonders of this module are inside. It is built entirely with Class-A gain blocks and features the trademark custom-wound transformers and inductors.
If you are ready to add the “Neve sound” to your productions without breaking the bank (or occupying half your control room with a massive console), this EQ is for you; test it before making any purchases. You can see it making magic in this video and this video.
Rupert Neve Designs is featured in top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Lindell Audio PEX-500
Just like the Neve EQ above, the Lindell Audio PEX-500 (link to check the price at B&H Photo/Video) draws from the classic Pultec parametric EQ design. Honouring that tradition, this Lindell Audio module can add the creamy highs, open, airy midrange, and punchy lows that made passive EQs so famous.
In this vein, the all-discrete circuitry inside the PEX-500 works perfectly, shaping the tonal character of any audio source you plug into it. Furthermore, it features the transformer-coupled balanced inputs and outputs you could expect from a hardware passive EQ in a convenient 500-series format.
Adding to that, a hassle-free control layout allows you to dial in exactly the audio that you need. Moreover, the series of 3-step switches and the high-frequency attenuator (you can select the cutoff frequency) add to the purity of Lindell Audio's true-bypass design and construction.
With this module by Lindell Audio, you'll get everything you expect from a world-class passive equalizer and no unwanted extra coloration. To see this module making magic, you can watch this video and this video.
Lindell Audio is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Audio Brands For 500 Series Modules/Equipment.
Chandler Limited Little Devil EQ
Owning a piece of equipment made by Chandler Limited used to be a dream only a few could see fulfilled. Indeed, the Chandler Limited Little Devil EQ (link to check the price at Sweetwater) draws inspiration from the utterly famous 1081 and 33115 units but with a twist of modern design.
To begin with, this unit features an all-discrete circuitry, transformer-balanced design capable of shaping any sound into radio-ready music. Also, it is handmade in England utilizing top-notch circuitry but with a modern 500-series housing and some modern tone-shaping controls.
Speaking of which, the hi-mid and lo-mid frequencies feature a 7-selection Q switching on each band and massive +/- 18dB just like the bass shelf. The treble is set to 12 kHz and features musical dynamics bringing the high frequency to the front of the mix without ever sounding harsh or annoying.
Finally, a hardware bypass allows you to pass through the Little Devil EQ without colouring the signal in any way. If this unit fits your budget and you're in search of an EQ that can handle all instruments in every session, you have to give the Little Devil a try before buying. Here's a video sample of how it sounds, and here's an official Chandler Limited explanatory video.
Chandler Limited is featured in top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Heritage Audio 73EQ JR
For decades, the Neve 1073 has been the go-to equalizer for the biggest music productions in the world. Moreover, it is regarded as the holy grail of equalizers by the most discerning ears in the industry. The Heritage Audio 73EQ JR (link to check the price at Sweetwater) module mimics the sonic behaviour of that classic piece of gear in a convenient 500-series size.
By saying that it mimics the sonic behaviour of the legend, we also refer to the fabled harmonic distortion it can generate. But that's not all, since the characteristic punch and air in the mid frequencies can add life to any vocal, warm clarity that enhances lows without adding unwanted muddy frequencies to the mix, and the sheen, musical highs are all there too.
Plus, the transformer-based, Class-A sound you could expect from a top-notch preamp can be obtained by simply turning some knobs. In the same vein, the uncanny Neve vintage tone is within reach, adding that sought-after vibe and mojo to any recording. Whatever you use it on will turn out sounding like a radio-ready, classic record.
If you are after true vintage warmth, uncanny tone, and a plethora of possibilities, trying this module by Heritage Audio is a must before you buy. To hear what it can do, check out this video and this video.
Solid State Logic UltraViolet EQ
The convenient Solid State Logic UltraViolet EQ (link to check the price at Sweetwater) module is capable of serious tone shaping. This should come as no surprise once you learn it is the heir of the almighty, heavily-admired Fusion processor by SSL.
To begin with, this module picks up where the Fusion left off, adding 2 fully-parametric mid bands to the original two with minimum-phase shelving equalization. This allows you to take the power of the original Fusion processor a couple of steps further. Speaking of which, the Focus control works wonders for in-detail tone sculpting.
In addition, you get to choose between 5 possible frequencies for the high-pass filter and a +/- 12dB output trim. But there's more; in the strange case you want to take this unit out of the signal chain, the hardware bypass switch adds no coloration to the original signal.
Finally, the musical curves this unit is capable of can make everything sound better and highlight the tonal qualities of the original instrument. As a result, you'll be able to bring any given audio signal to the front of the mix without saturating it with volume or killing its dynamics and vibe with compression.
If you're looking for an EQ that can be applied to any audio source with outstanding results, and this fits in your rack and budget, you have to give this unit a chance. Moreover, if you want to unleash its full potential, pair it with the SSL Bus Compressor and be ready to make every mix sound like the finished product.
Solid State Logic is featured in top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Midas 512 V2
Arguably, Midas consoles have given to live sound engineers what Neve consoles offered to recording studios. In this vein, Midas equalizers receive special praise among front-of-house engineers. What if you could take it from a live situation to a studio setting and use it for records as well as for crowds?
Well, the Midas 512 V2 (link to check the price at Sweetwater) is exactly that: the ultimate live stage parametric EQ in a 500-series format so you can make it a central part of your rack and take it with you everywhere you take your music.
But why is it that these equalizers became so popular? Well, they are capable of overlapping bands which, as a result, allows a one-of-a-kind level of fine-tuning. Moreover, you can perform tone-sculpting to such a degree that feedback-prone signals retain their qualities and none of the hassles.
Furthermore, the Midas EQ is famous for the punch it adds to every audio source you apply it to. For example, it can add punch and presence to a stale vocal, warmth, and organic dynamics to any string instrument, and beefy low-end and crisp highs to any drum set.
The quintessential “Midas sound” you've heard in countless venues and live records in your life can be a part of your rig at a price tag that you can't say no to. If you want to see it in action, you can check out this video and this video.
Midas is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
What is better than having the classic Pultec 19″ EQP-1A3-SS rackmount unit in a 500-series? Well, adding an EQP-1S3-SS EQ as well. Yes, the Pultec EQP-500X (link to check the price at Sweetwater) unites these two classics with the original '70s flavour that made them so popular back in the day.
In case you're not familiar with them, the solid-state rack-mounted designs API sold during that decade competed with vacuum-tube-driven units directly. Furthermore, they were the go-to choice for many engineers who enjoyed the unit surgically-precise definition and crystal-clear audio.
But not everything is retro about this module; it adds 1, 2, and 6 kHz tone-shaping knobs to the original 5 and 10 kHz. Again, it doesn't end there because it also adds the sweet spot of the original S unit, which is 16 kHz. Therefore, what used to be a decision between boosting 5 and 10 kHz or 16 kHz (choosing between the A and S unit) is now possible with the simple twist of a knob.
Purchasing a module like the EQP-500X can take your 500-series rack to the next level. Moreover, it can transform any recording into a radio-friendly music piece. To see it in action, you can check out this video and this video.
Pultec is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Audio Equalizer Brands In The World.
Mäag Audio EQ4-500
Although most people agree that condensers have a unique sound and crispness that dynamic microphones can't copy, the Mäag Audio EQ4-500 (link to check the price at Sweetwater) can add the coloration you need to transform your good old SM58 into a U87.
To begin with, no other 500-series module offers an AIR BAND control with selectable frequencies that can add to the signal going through it exactly what it needs to breathe. Although it is a one-of-a-kind feature, it is not the only one since you can use the AIR GAIN knob to dial in exactly the amount of air you need.
But that's not all; you can use this secret weapon in any instrument from vocals to drums and get musical, dynamic, top-notch sounds from each of them. Moreover, you can expect the purest EQ sound possible with six fixed-width frequency bands that have the minimum possible phase shift.
Finally, with every knob being fully stepped, you can easily recall any setting you've come up with during your sessions. This is a must-check for those looking for an affordable, great-sounding EQ to enhance the tone in every microphone in the studio.
Mäag Audio is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Audio Equalizer Brands In The World.
Few pieces of equipment can hold the crown for being the benchmark in the industry for over 40 years. That being said, it is no surprise that such a piece of gear, the API 550A (link to check the price at Sweetwater), is made by one of the most prestigious, innovative, and great-sounding companies in the world: API.
It was the late '60s when this amazing piece of gear first hit the stores. It created a revolution and became the measure by which to judge all other equalizers in the world. After being discontinued, it returned in 2004 in all its glory to reclaim its spot on top of the pack, and it was embraced by a different group of musicians pursuing the same goals 50 years later.
As the story above states, to add one of these to your 500-series rack is to add a piece of music history to your tool collection. Moreover, it is hard to find another module that is as easy to operate as this one offering such a rich tonal variety with usable sounds in every setting. In this vein, the 5 available frequency centers chosen by API for each band are a compass when searching for a great tone.
Finally, no other EQ in the market can deliver such headroom, build quality, and uncanny sound. Try API's fully-discrete design; you won't get any other piece of modern music history for this price tag. You can see it in action in this video and this video.
API is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Elysia xfilter 500
A stereo EQ offers a plethora of application possibilities adding tone-shaping capabilities to recording and mixing as well as mastering. In that sense, there aren't so many stereo equalizers in the market capable of delivering dynamically rich results in every step of a production process. The Elysia xfilter 500 (link to check the price at Sweetwater) can.
In the same vein, not many equalizers offer this level of sensitivity and flexibility as a tone-sculpting tool. Indeed, you can achieve boutique, beautifully open (yet oozing a solid punch), impeccable, pristine sounds with fast transients and uncanny projection by the simple turn of the knobs. Since they are stepped, it is very easy to dial in the sound you love and make minor adjustments only if needed.
But that's not all; the unit's low-cut filter is great for losing the mud in any mix or take. Also, the mid-peak filter option allows for midrange fine-tuning, bringing any instrument to the front of the mix effortlessly.
If you are looking for a do-it-all equalizer with enough power to transform any piece of audio without a scary price tag, this is a serious contender. Check out this video and this video to see it in action.
Elysia is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Audio Brands For 500 Series Modules/Equipment.
Trident Audio Developments 80B
Trident Studios in London were the birthplace of some of the most iconic recordings made during the 1970s. But it wasn't a coincidence or pure randomness that made the hottest acts of the decade choose to make their music history there; it was the in-house-built A-range console.
That console was the heart and soul of Trident studios, and it became the quintessential sound of a decade thanks to its fat, rich, highly-dynamic, musical EQs. Moreover, these A-Range desks handmade by legends Malcolm Toft and Barry Porter were truly scarce; only 13 were ever made. Thus, the myth of the “Trident sound” escalated worldwide. The Trident Audio Developments 80B (link to check the price at Sweetwater) brings the sound and performance on this EQ to the 500 Series format with a readily-available module.
As a result, the 80 Series consoles were made and used to record countless hit songs in every corner of the planet. Nowadays, the myth goes even further in the shape of a convenient 4-band equalizer for your 500-series rack. This translates into the long-awaited possibility of owning a piece of history and making records that sound just as good as the most iconic productions of the past decades.
Offering tonnes of character and vibe, this EQ module bears a very modest price tag and is ready to take your music production to the next level. You can see history being made in this video and this video.
Trident Audio Developments is featured in My New Microphone's Top 10 Best Studio Recording/Mixing Console Brands.
Building out your 500 Series system can be a challenging task. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive 500 Series Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next 500 Series purchases.
Determining the best equalizer for your audio needs takes time, knowledge and effort. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Equalizer Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next EQ purchases.