Got enough EQs yet? With the MAAT thEQblue, you can add another one to your arsenal. One? More like twelve, because MAAT’s new equalizer contains up to twelve parametric EQ architectures in one plug-in. According to MAAT, it combines “the best of both the analog and digital domains”.
While MAAt’s thEQorange, which was released last year and whose price tag left us speechless, is meant to be a surgically precise linear phase EQ without coloration, thEQblue seeks to “lift analog to another level”. The company says that it analyzed a collection of famed hardware EQs, with the goal of recreating their characteristics with great accuracy.
The best of both worlds?
Instead of modeling all aspects of the analog hardware, like so many other plug-ins do, thEQblue features “idealized digital versions”. Consequently, MAAT calls the different types “architectures” or “topologies” rather than “models”. This approach means that you don’t have to deal with analog artifacts like noise or distortion. It also means that thEQblue is not the EQ for you if those artifacts are what you want.
Six or twelve EQ topologies
MAAT thEQblue comes in two variants. The cheaper thEQblue6 has six EQ topologies to choose from, while thEQblue12 gives you twelve. You won’t find anything hinting at their hardware origins; the architectures have rather scientific-sounding names like “Const-Q Asy R” or “Parallel FF-FB”. They all feature twelve adjustable bands, for each of which you can choose from nine filter types. For serial types, the individual sections (bands) can be set to stereo, left only, right only, mono or diff modes. While you probably won’t need all of this all the time, that sounds like an extraordinarily flexible and capable EQ.
The interface is nicely designed and color-coded. Settings can be edited numerically or directly on the graph. The EQ also offers visual feedback in the form of a live spectrogram.
Price and compatibility
While MAAT thEQblue is much more wallet-friendly than its outrageously expensive orange cousin, it’s still pricier than most other EQ plug-ins. ThEQblue6 with six topologies will cost you USD 219 (introductory offer: USD 179). The full version with all 12 architectures isn’t quite ready yet, but we already know that it will be USD 389 when it comes out. You can already preorder it for USD 309.
ThEQblue is available for Windows and macOS in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats (32/64 bit).