Blindfold EQ – Freeware EQ Plugin
Who would be so reckless as to EQ a mix blindfolded?
Well, for one, multi-platinum producer Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More, John Hiatt, The Replacements).
“If I were King of the Universe, consoles would have no indication of frequency near the EQ knobs, because when you show the frequency, then most people EQ by eye. It doesn’t matter what the number is. It matters how it sounds and how it feels. That’s it!”
Matt Wallace. From the book Recording Unhinged by Sylvia Massy
That subversive idea inspired our Blindfold EQ plug-in. It has 4 bands (low shelf, low mid, high mid, high shelf), and the option to introduce both analog behavior and soft clipping. The knobs’ exact values, however, are unmarked. There are no indicators or numbers to show frequency values, gain values, or Q values. It’s all up to your ears.
This is a refreshing departure from the myriad EQ plug-ins available, where frequency visualizers are a marketing staple. And they’re popular. Montreal-based producer Evan Shay likened them to the indicators on an airplane that allow pilots to get where they’re going without ever having to look out the window. While these tools can certainly augment the skills of experienced producers, learning to trust one’s ears is crucial to learning the craft, and one’s eyes can get in the way of one’s ears.
The American television journalist Lesley Stahl relates an experience about how visual information can completely hijack a production. Regarding a story’s positive visual images not matching its negative narrative tone, one of the story’s subjects quipped to Lesley, “You guys in Televisionland haven’t figured it out, have you? When the pictures are powerful and emotional, they override if not completely drown out the sound. I mean it, Lesley. Nobody heard you.”
Science has shown that our ears are susceptible to our eyes in other deep ways, such as not noticing movie dialogue deliberately dubbed to be incorrect, or poor video quality tricking us into thinking the audio quality is equally poor. This is analogous to what can happen when EQ GUIs are festooned with numerical information and variables. It can override, if not completely drown out the sound. What slope is the visualizer set to? Peak or RMS? How quick is the decay? Blindfold EQ eliminates powerful visual cues without compromising the look of the plug-in, ensuring a user-friendly experience that keeps you focused on the music.
“This plugin is great,” said KVRaudio user michael.ochedowski. “An EQ with an essential set of controls. Shelf filters have pre-set wide Q, so it will be difficult to fault this effect with a wrong setting. Q parameters for mid bands are very flexible… Thank you for this gift.”
A sleek, resizable analog-vibe user interface ensures that the eyes aren’t bored or offended while the ears are doing what needs to be done, and there are numerous presets to give your ears hints in the dark. Like all of our plugins, it’s a unique, great-sounding plugin that won’t let your eyes betray you or your production.
After all, you wouldn’t drive a car with your sense of smell.
Why would you mix music with your eyes?
– Edmund Catlin