We’re currently living in the age of digital audio, and in-the-box mixing within a digital audio workstation is commonplace. Plugins are, therefore, invaluable assets for the modern audio engineer. Equalization, and more specifically linear phase equalization, is an important tool in the audio engineer’s toolbox.
So then it makes sense why there are plenty of linear phase equalizer plugins on the market. In this article, we’ll consider what I believe to be the top 10 stand-out linear phase EQ plugins.
What is a linear phase equalizer? A linear phase EQ is a type of equalization that does not alter the phase relationship of the source. There is no phase-shift and, therefore, the phase is “linear”. Achieving linear phase is not possible with analog circuits and has been made possible with computer coding.
For more information on linear phase EQ, check out my in-depth article The Complete Guide To Linear Phase Equalization/EQ.
The top 10 best linear phase EQ plugins for digital audio workstations are:
- Blue Cat Liny EQ
- DMG EQuality
- FabFilter Pro-Q3
- Melda MEqualizerLP
- Nugen SEQ-S
- IK Multimedia T-RackS Linear Phase EQ
- Waves Linear Phase EQ
- Sonoris Linear Phase Equalizer
- DDMF LP10
- Voxengo Marvel GEQ
It should go without saying that any “top X” article is subject to bias. I would expect the next person’s top 10 to be different than mine but hope that there would be plenty of overlap.
That being said, I believe these plugins to be the best linear phase EQ plugin options today. The criteria I used to judge these plugins include the following:
- Sonic performance: how does the linear phase EQ plugin sound subjectively/objectively?
- Graphic user interface (GUI): how does the linear phase EQ plugin look when loaded in the DAW?
- Ease-of-use: how user-friendly is the linear phase EQ plugin?
- Functionality: how many different functions does it serve and/or how many parameters are available for the linear phase EQ?
- Accessibility/compatibility: how easy is it to acquire the linear phase EQ plugin and what are the system requirements?
Let’s discuss each of the top 10 best linear phase EQ plugins in greater detail to learn why they made this list.
Blue Cat Liny EQ
The Blue Cat Liny EQ (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is an 8-band linear phase equalizer with very low latency and comprehensive visual feedback.
The Blue Cat Liny EQ is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and RTAS formats.
Blue Cat’s Liny EQ may look a bit different than more other EQ plugins. It’s actually a graphic EQ with 8 fixed-frequency linear phase bands, though it uses virtual knobs rather than the typical fader to adjust the ±40 dB of gain in each band.
In the product image above, we see the spectrogram viewer of the Liny EQ. Fret not if you’re not a fan of spectrograms. The plugin also offers a superb (typical) spectrum analyzer. Regardless of how you like to view your EQ, the Liny EQ can be set up to suit your workflow.
This plugin utilizes a highly optimized linear phase kernel that allows it to process the signal without phase distortion and with an unusually short latency (under 3 milliseconds) with minimal pre-ringing artifacts. This is deeply impressive for a linear phase EQ, which is often rather CPU-intensive.
As is the case with many top-of-the-line EQ plugins, the Liny EQ comes with a dual (stereo) version. Use the plugin with independent EQ settings for the left and right or mid and side channels. Alternatively, the linking option can produce the same settings for both channels.
To learn more about stereo and mid-side equalization, check out the following My New Microphone articles, respectively:
• What Is Stereo Equalization/EQ In Audio & How Does It Work?
• What Is Mid-Side Equalization/EQ (Audio) & How Does It Work?
MIDI learn and automation support is included to allow automatic alterations to the overall EQ curve. The Mix control makes parallel EQ simple but mixing the dry and wet signals at the output.
Other remarkable features of the Blue Cat Liny EQ include:
- Exact EQ curve display
- Four EQ shapes
- Automatic gain compensation
- High-resolution colour and greyscale spectrogram display
- High-resolution colour peak meter
- Multiple display sizes
- Full-featured integrated presets manager
- Copy/paste the state of the plug-in between instances
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Blue Cat Liny EQ user manual.
The DMG EQuality (link to check the price at DMG Audio) is a superb mixdown/bus EQ that sounds incredible in analogue, minimum phase and, of course, linear phase modes. It works perfectly as a mix bus or master EQ and also shines on individual channels.
The DMG Equality is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and RTAS formats.
DMG’s EQuality draws on Dave Gamble’s experience building EQs for companies such as Focusrite and Sonalksis. It has been designed to be the “perfect EQ”, able to sonically compete with high-end studio gear with the superior functionality of software programming. From tracking to mastering and subtle enhancement to surgical correction, the EQuality does it all.
This 6-band parametric EQ performs perfectly in linear phase mode. Of the 6 bands, 2 are shelves/bells, and 4 are bells/notches. The Q and gain of each band are continuously adjustable between 0.1 to 50 and -36 dB to + 36 dB, respectively. There is also a fully parametric high-pass and low-pass filter, adjustable between 6 to 36 dB/oct slope and 0.1 to 20 Q.
To learn more about shelving EQ, check out my article Audio Shelving EQ: What Are Low Shelf & High Shelf Filters?
Whether the plugin is used in left/right stereo or mid-side, it will perform among the best. Turn on Digital+ mode during linear phase operation to introducing an error-correction filter that renders the frequency response more accurate without increasing latency.
This plugin also looks great and is easy to navigate. It offers three different user interface modes: graph, knobs and full (a combination of graph and knobs). It features a hi-res configurable spectrum analyzer, antialiasing graph, VU meter and clip LED.
Other notable featured of the DMG EQuality include:
- Frequency shift, to allow you to retune the response
- Control linking for all EQ parameters
- 8 banks of A/B
- Full preset management system
- Autolisten mode, for quick finding/adjustment of frequencies
- Flat button on UI for rapid reset
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the DMG EQuality user manual.
The FabFilter Pro-Q3 (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is a jack-of-all-trades style EQ plugin that has mastered them all. Though we’ll focus on the linear phase mode of this outstanding equalizer, it also offers zero-latency and unique natural phase modes along with a smooth dynamic EQ mode.
The FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, AU and VST formats.
The FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
• Top 11 Best Digital Equalizer/EQ Plugins For Your DAW
• Top 10 Best Digital Parametric EQ Plugins For Your DAW
FabFilter’s Pro-Q 3 is a highly versatile fully-parametric equalizer plugin that offers a superb linear phase mode. It’s highly functional and looks fantastic with its beautiful resizable Retina user interface.
Choose up to a whopping 24 user-defined bands to shape the sound of individual tracks, mix buses or the master signal chain. The plugin excels at processing per-band mono, stereo, mid-side and even surround sound up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2).
Each band has 9 distinct filter shapes with slopes ranging from 6 dB/oct to 96 dB/oct, and the high-pass and low-pass filter shape options even have a “brickwall” slope setting.
To learn more about high-pass and low-pass filters, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
• Audio EQ: What Is A High-Pass Filter & How Do HPFs Work?
• Audio EQ: What Is A Low-Pass Filter & How Do LPFs Work?
The spectrum analyzer is fully customizable with pre and post-EQ and external spectrum visualization options. The Pro-Q 3 also featured splendid EQ match functionality, allowing users to match the EQ of one source to another for quicker mixing.
I could go on and on about this awesome EQ. Other impressive features include:
- Dynamic EQ capabilities (in linear phase mode or otherwise)
- Intelligent solo feature
- Auto gain option
- Piano roll EQ quantization
- MIDI learn
- A/B comparison
- Smart Parameter Interpolation
- Interactive “Help” documentation
- Double-click text entry of parameter values
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the FabFilter Pro-Q 3 user manual.
FabFilter is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Audio Plugin (VST/AU/AAX) Brands In The World.
The Melda MEqualizerLP (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is an 8-band mastering equalizer designed to be incredibly transparent and surgical. Its linear phase processing algorithm has been meticulously tweaked to provide the best quality out there.
The Melda MEqualizer LP is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
MeldaProduction has many superb plugins on the market. The MEqualizerLP is certainly one of them. It features a normal minimum phase algorithm and two distinct linear phase algorithms.
The Linear-phase mode is a high-quality linear-phase algorithm, implemented using an improved bidirectional method, providing stunningly transparent EQ with maximal accuracy, minimal noise, and without any effect on phase. The Linear-phase FFT-based mode offers a standard Fast Fourier Transform linear phase algorithm for “normal” linear phase equalization.
MeldaProductions has gone to great lengths in designing the MEqualizerLP to provide a professional-grade tool with superior transparency, minimal distortion and complete preservation of transient, imaging and depth information.
This fully automatable plugin features a dry/wet mix control for superb parallel EQ, integrated tube saturation to offer vintage analogue sound, and full MIDI control and learning.
Each band can be set to 1 of 7 filter types (peak, low-shelf, high-shelf, low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, notch) with a Q range between 0.05 and 10. The plugin can handle up to 8 channels of surround processing along with mono and stereo signals.
To learn more about notch filters, check out my article Audio EQ: What Is A Band-Stop Filter & How Do BSFs Work?
In addition to truly transparent sound and super functionality, the Melda MEqualizerLP also offers the following feature set:
- Integrated powerful spectral analyzer and sonogram
- Advanced editor and smooth visualization of resulting frequency response
- Enable, Q, and Actual source level indication inside the shape graph.
- Up-sampling of 1x-4x
- Extremely advanced and easy-to-use user interface
- Textual editing
- Global preset management
- Online preset exchange
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the MEqualizerLP support page at MeldaProduction.
The Nugen SEQ (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is a linear phase spline “Match & Morph” equalizer that comes in two distinct plugins: SEQ-S (full surround version) and SEQ-ST (stereo version). With the help of smooth Bézier splines through defined points, users can quickly draw in their own EQ curve.
The Nugen SEQ is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and AudioSuite formats.
Nugen has produced an outstanding linear phase EQ with its SEQ line. Incredible sculpting power is to be had with a super-easy direct-draw interface. The resizable GUI and audio processing offer top-notch resolution that outperforms many of the world’s best parametric EQs.
Between the SEQ-S and SEQ-ST, users will have access to stereo, mid/side, 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound operation for complete control over the spatial dimensions of the mix. Whether it’s mixing the next Top 40 hit or the next hit movie, the Nugen SEQ is a linear phase spline EQ you can depend on.
The parameters of the SEQ can be automated to morph seamlessly between transitional scenes in music and video. Match EQ presets with ease to unify different takes, microphone positions, and more. Alternatively, the matched EQ curve can be inverted to help carve out space for the audio signal in a denser mix.
These seriously powerful plugins also afford users the following noteworthy features:
- Zoomable and resizable interface
- Dynamic EQ morphs
- Frequency node locking
- Psychoacoustic banding
- Independent control of left/right, mid/side & surround channels
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the SEQ-S specifications at Nugen.
IK Multimedia T-RackS Linear Phase EQ
The IK Multimedia T-RackS Linear Phase EQ (link to check the price at Sweetwater) is a precision equalizer that allows for extremely detailed, clean and transparent EQ with its 6 linear phase bands.
The IK Multimedia T-RackS Linear Phase EQ is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
This linear phase equalizer is perfectly transparent in its performance and very straightforward in its operation. Each of its 6 bands can be set up as a high pass, low shelving, peaking, high shelving or low pass filter. The result is an easy-to-use, natural-sounding EQ that works amazingly well on single tracks and master buses alike.
The Q and gain parameters are continuously adjustable, allowing users to dial in both gentle and surgical equalization alike (even in the same instance of the plugin at different bands).
As is the case with most top EQ plugins, the T-RackS Linear Phase EQ can be operated in linked stereo, individual left and right stereo or mid-side modes. The analyzer shows us exactly what’s going on with the resulting EQ curve and the Output control allows us to control the overall output of the plugin.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the T-RackS Linear Phase EQ at IK Multimedia.
IK Multimedia is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Virtual/Software Instrument Plugin Brands.
Waves Linear Phase EQ
The Waves Linear Phase EQ (link to check the price at Waves) is simple yet powerful 6-band linear phase EQ designed with mastering in mind. As is the case with all Waves Audio plugins, the Linear Phase EQ is a high-end professional piece of software.
The Waves Linear Phase EQ is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
As a proper linear phase EQ should, the Waves Linear Phase EQ offers precise control over the harmonic spectrum without any phase shifting. The Broadband version offers 5 fully parametric bands with linear phase crossovers and one linear phase high-pass filter.
Each of the 5 user-definable bands can be set to 1 of 9 linear phase filter types.
Waves also offers a Lowband version with 3 Linear Phase EQ bands dedicated for low-frequency manipulation.
Both versions of the plugin are notably user-friendly. Adjust the gain of each band between ±30 dB, the frequency of each band according to the defined overlapping ranges, the Q of each band and the filter type. Make quick or fine-tuned adjustments to adjust the tonal balance in a remarkably natural and transparent way with Waves’ Linear Phase EQ.
Although the original intent was to make an EQ plugin for mastering purposes, the Waves Linear Phase EQ also performs incredibly well on individual channels.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Waves Linear Phase EQ user manual.
Waves Audio is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Audio Plugin (VST/AU/AAX) Brands In The World.
Sonoris Linear Phase Equalizer
The Sonoris Linear Phase Equalizer (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is superb 7-band linear phase EQ suitable for mixing and especially mastering.
The Sonoris Linear Phase Equalizer is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in VST and SAWStudio formats.
This plugin sounds great and works tremendously well as a linear phase equalizer. Though it’s not currently available in AudioUnit or Avid Audio eXtension, it’s still fully deserving of a spot on this list.
The Sonoris Linear Phase Equalizer features 7 bands, including lowpass, highpass, peaking and shelving filters. Like any good linear phase EQ, this Sonoris plugin introduces tonal balancing without any colouring whatsoever. It doesn’t smear transients or create mud, nor does it alter the imaging and depth information of the original sound.
Using an algorithm based on backward-forward filtering (using IIR rather than FIR filters), the Sonoris Linear Phase Equalizer provides a more efficient style of EQ.
Each individual band can be set up independently to process stereo (left and right), left, right, mid or side channels. The simple graphic user interface is completed with a large EQ curve display to ensure users understand, visually, exactly how the plugin is acting.
This highly versatile linear phase EQ is an excellent tool if your DAW can run VST or SAWStudio plugins. On top of what’s already been discussed, the Sonoris Linear Phase Equalizer also has the following features:
- 4 Q settings
- No pre-warping effects for correct response up to Nyquist
- HQ mode with upsampling for an even more accurate response
- Soft Engage technology on all filters to prevent pops and crackles when switching
- Mousewheel support
- A/B comparison
- Track following
- Full automation possible
- SSE and SSE2 optimizations
- Settings can be saved
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Sonoris Linear Phase Equalizer user manual.
The DDMF LP10 (link to check the price at Full Compass) is an excellent EQ plugin with advanced FFT algorithm. DDMF”s proprietary flexible phase approach gives users full control over the phase response of each of the 10 bands, from minimum phase to inverse minimum through (of course) linear phase.
The DDMF LP10 is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
DDMF’s LP10 is a super EQ whether we choose to use it in linear phase mode or not. Its FFT algorithm guarantees a smooth frequency response from the deepest bass all the way to high-end frequencies.
Each of the LP10’s 10 bands is programmed with flex filters, allowing for the continuous variation of slope from 6 to 60 dB/octave. The filter type can be chosen from a variety of shapes that will perform differently depending on the chosen phase response. In linear phase mode, the EQ sounds beautifully transparent and natural.
The spectrum analyzer yields both pre and post-EQ levels, helping to guide us visually to our EQ goals. The plugin GUI is freely resizable.
This plugin also offers A/B comparison to easily toggle between different settings, which comes in handy considering the wide variety of equalization possibilities the plugin has to offer.
The DDMF LP10 features optional true stereo operation in left/right or mid/side modes and even has a stereo width control.
- Pre/post spectrum analysis
- Optional true stereo operation (L/R or M/S)
- Stereo width control
- A/B state for easy comparison
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the LP10 specifications at DDMF.
Voxengo Marvel GEQ
Last but not least, we have the Voxengo Marvel GEQ (link to check the price at Splice): a 16-band graphic-style linear phase EQ.
The Voxengo Marvel GEQ is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
The Voxengo Marvel GEQ is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top 8 Best Graphic EQ Plugins For Your DAW.
To learn more about graphic EQ, check out my article The Complete Guide To Graphic Equalization/EQ.
This superb EQ plugin combines the simplicity of graphic EQ with the superior transparency of linear phase processing. Each of the 16 linear phase filters is programmed with a ±12 dB gain range. From quick and easy shaping with freehand drawing mode to fine-tuning details, the Marvel GEQ makes natural-sounding EQ simple.
The Voxengo Marvel EQ supports multi-channel operation (up to 8 input and output channels) with flexible routing capability. It is capable of 5.1 Surround, stereo and mid-side processing.
From tracking to streaming to mastering, the Marvel GEQ performs at the top level. With the inclusion of Retina and HighDPI support, a resizable user interface, and various colour schemes, this linear phase graphic EQ plugin looks as great as it sounds.
Other noteworthy features of the Voxengo Marvel GEQ include:
- Internal channel routing
- Channel grouping
- 64-bit floating point processing
- Preset manager
- Undo/redo history
- A/B comparisons
- Contextual hint messages
- 9 ms compensated processing latency
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Voxengo Marvel GEQ user manual.