FabFilter Pro-Q 2 online help

EQ Match

Sometimes, it can be very useful to be able to match the tonal characteristics of a certain reference audio file. For example, you're in the process of recording vocals, and for some reason you just don't get them to sound like the recordings you made a few days earlier. Or you really like the overall color and sound of a certain mastered song, and want your own track to sound alike.

You can of course add EQ bands and try to find appropriate settings yourself, but Pro-Q 2 offers an automated process to do this for you: EQ Match! It's just a simple two step process, that compares the spectrum of the side-chain input, with the spectrum of the normal plug-in input, and introduces new EQ bands to make your audio sound like the side-chain signal. It gets you 'that' sound in less than a minute!

Step 1: Analyze

Start by clicking the EQ Match button in the Analyzer panel, accessible via the Analyzer button in the bottom bar, which opens the EQ Match panel at the bottom of Pro-Q 2's interface. By default, EQ Match listens to both the side-chain and plug-in input at the same time and starts analysis right away.

EQ Match mode

If both input and side-chain are connected and receiving audio, you'll see both spectrums, and a thick white line that shows the difference between the two. The spectrums average over time, so after a while (normally this doesn't take more than 30 seconds), you'll notice that the detected average spectrums aren't changing much any more. At that point, simple click the Match button to proceed!

Sometimes, it can be useful to analyse the input and side-chain one after another, for example because you're comparing audio at different song positions in your DAW. This can easily be done by using the two record/pause buttons, via which you can choose to ignore one or the other.

EQ Match Panel

Note: If there's no audio detected at the inputs you've chosen to analyze, either because your DAW isn't running or the side-chain isn't connected properly, you will be notified about this. The Match button will automatically become available when both a valid input and side-chain spectrum have been analyzed.

Step 2: Match

After analyzing and clicking the Match button, Pro-Q 2 automatically calculates how many and what kind of EQ bands are needed to match the sound of the side-chain audio. EQ Match now proposes a number of new bands, and gives you the opportunity to customize the matching detail, using the slider.

EQ Match Result

By choosing more bands, even the smallest differences in the analyzed spectrums will be matched, while choosing less bands will only cover the main shape of the difference spectrum. Usually, there's no need to alter this, as EQ Match intelligently chooses the number of bands that is sufficient to match the most important characteristics of the difference spectrum.

If you're happy with the results, simply click the Finish button (or click anywhere outside the EQ Match panel), after which the new EQ bands are permanently added. Of course, you can also choose to return to the previous step, by clicking the Analyze button.

Notes

  • To analyse the input and side-chain one after another (for example because you're comparing audio at a different song positions in your DAW), use the two record/pause buttons, via which you can choose to ignore the side-chain or input spectrum temporarily.
  • You might see a warning that no audio is being detected for the input and/or side-chain, so there's nothing to analyze. This usually happens becuase either your DAW isn't running or because the side-chain isn't properly connected and receiving audio.
  • The Match button will automatically become available when both a valid input and side-chain spectrum have been analyzed. Until that time, there's not enough information to match and it will remain disabled.

Next: Spectrum Grab

See Also
Overview
External side-chaining
Spectrum analyzer
Display and workflow