by Lyubomir Dobrev | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes
Empirical Labs Big FrEQ

 ·  Source: Empirical Labs


Update (15.10.2020, latest) – Version 1.0 is officially available for download and purchase. Here’s the official price and availability information:


BIG FrEQ is available for purchase as an AAX-, AU-, and VST3-supporting 64-bit effect plug-in for macOS (10.7 or higher) and AAX- and VST3-supporting 64-bit effect plug-in for Windows (7 or higher) for a time-limited introductory promo price of $129.00 USD for the first 30 days – rising thereafter to an MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of $149.00 USD – directly from ELI’s online Shop. A fully-functional, 15-day trial of BIG FrEQ is available to download from here.

  • An iLok 2 or iLok 3 USB dongle is required for activating both the demo and full versions of BIG FrEQ.

Since last week, Empirical Labs has been teasing its next plug-in announcement. The Distressor maker had been rather coy about it, stirring up a fair bit of discussion and curiosity. After all, it’s not every day – or every year, for the matter – that we get a full-blown Empirical Labs plug-in!

UPDATE: Empirical Labs published the following statement on Big FrEQ’s product page:

“We’ve been overwhelmed and grateful for the excitement about BIG FrEQ. So much so that we’re making this pre-release version available now and for a special price of $99 (MSRP upon full release will be $149).  We really hope you’ll love the sound and features of our first EQ plugin as much as we do and be sure to share your thoughts, presets, and tracks with us on directly and on Gearslutz. While Big FrEQ has already been through an extensive beta process, there is still the chance that a bug or two has slipped through so please contact customer support if you find something.  The target full release date is September 15th and while we don’t anticipate any changes which will alter settings or sound characteristics, it is possible this could become necessary.”

Empirical Labs – The Big FrEQ

The manufacturer led us to the eventual reveal of Big FrEQ. It’s a highly advanced parametric equalizer plug-in that looks as big and bold as it likely sounds. Details are scarce at the moment, but we are expecting an official launch today.

Looking at the EQ, I see low and high-pass shelving filters. A saturator is there as well, called Finisher. It adds harmonic overdrive for a bit of analog goodness. Oversampling is right next to it, up to 8 times.

Below the filters and visual curves, we get to see the actual EQ and there’s plenty of virtual knobs to twist! We have six parametric bands with Gain, Frequency and Q-width controls. Of note is that individual slope adjustment is available for each band. This way, you can start from a bell curve all the way up to a sine.

A modern EQ for old-school producers

Indeed, Big FrEQ is quite hardware-inspired and the kind of plug-in I can see an experienced engineer reaching out for. Visual candy is eschewed for a workhorse-like layout and the analog saturator only contributes to the impression. As an official announcement is imminent, I will update this post once there is more information from Empirical Labs.


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