June 14, 2024

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Empirical Labs Inc. (ELI) is proud to announce availability of BIG FrEQ™ v1.3 — elevating its inaugural EQ plug-in inspired by its much-loved Lil FrEQ hardware parametric

With no fewer than 12 powerful sections of processing to its appropriate appellation, BIG FrEQ™ should single-handedly handle all tonal and spectral-shaping needs for single tracks, as well as busses, including use as a versatile mastering tool. As always, ELI itself strove to bring new functionality and creative twists to plug-in EQs with its first such release, having labored long and hard over making it easy to learn and plain fun to use.

But best of all, BIG FrEQ™ is immensely useful, obviously, offering the ability to create modern ‘flat-top’ EQ curves with an analog workflow and added controls for more tone-shaping possibilities than a typical EQ plug-in. Put it this way: each of the six parametric bands has an additional SLOPE control that allows for flattening out the EQ shape and grabbing more frequencies equally, while switching on the focus (F) function lets users fine tune frequency adjustment — centering the selected frequency and reducing the range of the FREQ (frequency) knob — to hear exactly what frequencies are being affected with the simultaneously switchable solo (S) buttons available on each parametric band. Elsewhere, each parametric section’s GAIN knob can be expanded from ±15dB to ±30dB with the range (R) button, while parametric section settings can uniquely be copied and pasted from one to another for quickly moving and duplicating bands, facilitating faster operation. On top of that, the unique FINISHER section adds warmth to any track with organic saturation and provides for up to 8x oversampling (tested up to 768 kHz operation).

Other features are also well worth highlighting: Hi Pass and Lo Pass filters with adjustable Q and selectable filter orders from 6dB to 96dB (per octave); Lo Shelf — smooth bass boost or cut, centered around 120 Hz — and complimentary Hi Shelf controls; WIDTH slider — controls bandwidth or, inversely, Q; and master PHASE switch — inverts the phase of the audio.

Additionally, a modern spectral display shows cumulative EQ shape as well as colored individual bands, while the built-in preset management system (with proprietary preset format for cross-DAW preset access), smooth automation of all parameters, available direct entry for all parameters (by double-clicking on any parameter to type in a value), un-linkable stereo version for dual mono operation, and an ability to bypass any section (to monitor changes and free up processing) rounds out BIG FrEQ™’s fattened features.

What is a parametric equalizer?

Parametric EQ offers full customization of a set number of EQ filters. Each frequency band/filter may have the choice of filter type, center/cutoff frequency, Q factor/bandwidth, and relative gain (boost/cut). It is the most flexible type of EQ.

My first use of a parametric was the Furman PQ3 back in the mid-70s. It worked great as the front end to my live bass rig at the time. Parametrics allow you to precisely dial in and adjust your frequency of choice.
The Empirical Labs BIG FrEQ™ is inspired from their hardware ELI Lil FrEQ – gotta love the names…

Following in the footsteps of Arousor™ — ELI’s first foray into the software arena as the only Distressor-derived compressor plug-in, produced by the creators of the award-winning hardware Distressor itself, BIG FrEQ™ is another fine example of how the professional audio signal processing equipment designer and manufacturer/plug-ins producer brings the quality of its hardware to its software products and continues to offer things that cannot be done in the hardware realm to in-the-box mixing. Making room in any plug-in collection for BIG FrEQ™ is to see and hear what it can do when single-handedly handling all tonal and spectral shaping needs for single tracks, as well as busses, including use as a versatile mastering tool.

That said, updating BIG FrEQ™ to v1.3 status sees ELI elevating its inaugural EQ plug-in inspired by its much-loved Lil FrEQ hardware parametric’s precision and warmth with numerous new additions and improvements, including AAX-DSP and VENUE (S6L) support, the latter in particular playing a part in increasing the plug-in’s user base by bringing it into the live sound arena. Additionally, BIG FrEQ™ v1.3 benefits from improved CPU (Central Processing Unit) usage on both macOS and Windows and across all popular platforms, added A/B comparison functionality, plus refinements to the factory Presets… menu, making for an improved ELI-endowed experience with added Save and Save As options for current presets or settings, while any preset name is italicised if changes have been made to the preset itself. Indeed, some of those additions and improvements can be seen in BIG FrEQ™ v1.3’s updated GUI (Graphical User Interface) that remains as easy on the eye as it is in use.

Being bolstered by numerous new additions and improvements, it is fair to say, then, that the immense usefulness of BIG FrEQ™ has, likewise, been improved, itself a reflection of the professional audio signal processing equipment designer and manufacturer/plug-ins producer putting in the hours to make things even easier to learn — not forgetting fun to use! After all, the word empirical — in its most positive interpretation — means fashioned from experience.

Where to buy:

BIG FrEQ™ v1.3 is available for purchase as an AAX-DSP-, AAX Native-, AU-, VST- and VENUE systems-supporting plug-in at a ‘flash sale’ price of only $99.00 USD from September 7-9, 2022 (inclusive) — returning thereafter to its MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of $149.00 USD — directly from its dedicated webpage here: HERE

A fully-functional, 15-day trial of BIG FrEQ™ v1.3 is available to download from here: HERE (It is necessary to activate BIG FrEQ™ v1.3 — demo and full versions alike — via iLok USB-A or USB-C dongles or iLok Cloud.)

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