FabFilter User Forum

Pro-Q 3 External Key for Dynamics

Having dynamic EQ built into Pro-Q 3 is truly fantastic, but it's missing the ability to key your dynamic bands based on an external sidechain input. This is incredibly useful, both for sympathetic dynamics to help things groove together, but also for surgical mixing, and I'd love to see it implemented into Pro-Q 3.

I can understand, however, that it may seem like it's encroaching on Pro-MB's territory a little bit, as the multiband is capable of external keying for its bands. Even with this overlap, people reach for multiband dynamics plugins and dynamic EQs to achieve different goals. To that end, it would be great to include in Pro-Q 3, just to lower the impedance mismatch.

Ara Adkins

I also miss that feature very much.

Ivan Folk

Our goal was to keep Pro-Q 3 as simple and streamlined as possible: it's intended to be used as your day-to-day workhorse EQ plug-in, with some extra dynamics features thrown in the mix (so to speak). We didn't want to add too many dynamics options to avoid complicating the interface too much.

For dedicated advanced dynamics processing, we recommend to use Pro-MB where you have full control of attack, release, knee, trigger frequency range, side chain input, etc.


Frederik (FabFilter)

This was the number one reason I purchased.

You mean to tell me that there is no intention of making the bands respond to SC input...?!?!?

Why on earth would that be the case? Internal is useful; external is essential...


"To avoid complicating the interface"


Are you kidding me? An ext/int button, just like on C2.

Oh man, I was so excited, and now I regret the purchase.

You really dropped the ball on this, FF. Incredible.


Very disappointed by this...really? The dynamic EQ feature will still be very handy but this sucks...I bought ProQ fully expecting this to be possible


Coincidentally I just attended a mastering workshop given by Paul Stautinger here in Austin at Austin Community College.

He recounted how he solved a problem with live recorded drumset: To fix a "boxy" kick sound in the track from the overhead mic, which had lots of other stuff in it besides the kick drum, he used a dynamic eq with sidechaining by sending in kick drum to cut the kick drum at a the particular frequency that was making it sound “boxy”, and he only wanted to cut it when the kick drum hit...

Yeah, I'd say this should be added, even though it encroaches on MB, perhaps. Regardless of how much I enjoy Fabfilter products, I really dislike it when companies "protect" their property by forcing an unreasonable choice on consumers, and artificially limiting their products to induce consumers to purchase more of their other products --- great marketing decision, but not one that I as an engineer ever like to see. It seems entirely reasonable to expect side-chain control of dynamic eq --- and not to provide it, when the technology is clearly within the grasp of the company, and it has been commonly available in competitors' products ... Well, it's a bit disappointing.

Bill Lear

100 % agree Bill....i actually bought the upgrade without even checking wether this feature would be included - I just assumed it would....cause why wouldn't it? Guess my Waves F6 won't be getting ditched after all....honestly I may not have even bothered with the upgrade had I known this


Respectfully, I don't think adding this functionality would undermine the Pro-Q user interface or Pro-MB sales. But I do think lack of this functionality may cause some to look at other EQs or forego the paid update.

FF seems like a great company so I think they'll come around on this.


No external sidechain = no upgrade for me. I will stick with pro-q2


It is a bit of a shame, since the surround capability did lend itself to perfectly nice surround ducking.

I'll have to fudge this with parameter modulation in Reaper. VST does not have multi-mono support built-in like AAX/RTAS/Audiosuite does.

Is the Fabfilter multiband even surround capable in VST3 ?


Guys, it was not about Pro-MB... We really wanted to have a focused set of features for dynamic EQ in Pro-Q 3 and decided that external triggering was not essential. We do appreciate the feedback on this and we just might add it in an update later on if it turns out to be a bad decision.


Frederik (FabFilter)

I'll jump in here and agree with everyone else. Very disappointed that side chain triggering wasn't included. With the lack of attack/release control AND the missing side chain triggering I probably won't use this feature much.

I often use dynamic EQ for avoiding collisions of frequencies between tracks (Kick and Bass being the most used and most obvious). I thought the external spectrum feature was way cool for identifying spectrum collisions until I realized that I had to use a different EQ to fix the problem. Should have been able to do it right there on the spot.


I'd also like to see this. I held off on purchasing the Sonnox Dynamic EQ when I saw this announced but assumed it too would allow external input (with the Sonnox does). So now it makes wonder which is really the best (and unfortunately today is the last day of the Sonnox sale).


I managed to set this up fairly well in Reaper. It's not as useful as I'd like, but if I do need it, it's there.

And since the filters interpolate so well on fast changes, it sounds fine too.

I figure I can improve this by modulating not the gain, but the dynamic EQ range. Not having a sidechain trigger is getting a few sparks here.

For everything else, there's Nova.


FF -- you have to address this. It's more than an oversight... it's downright marketing dark arts. More power to Waves F6, McDSP, etc.

This is technology that all of us need and like to use. We love your products, but don't want to feel bamboozled.


Ah I TOTALLY agree - I use FF ProMB on every single one of my mix groups to prioritise various layers by using extensive multi band sidechaing. I currently do this with ProMB, but was SO excited when I saw that ProQ-3 would be offering dynamics... the fact that it has no side chain input means that I have to show all my mixing students a whole new very complicated plugin, rather than just say (and you can get your lead vocal to slightly tuck your guitars out the way... right here on the EQ...

Really disappointed that this isn't a feature - I'll still upgrade, but it would make it SO powerful if it were the case. As it is, it's not exactly revolutionary, though it's still my go-to EQ plugin.




Ended up buying the Sonnox one now instead. Will keep my eye on this if they update it in the future though.


Besides the upgrade price, which is too high for me personally, what should be the reason for an upgrade to Q3 if I can´t select an ext. SC? Ext. SC was the FIRST thing, which was important to select for ducking out the frequencies, to avoid frequency collisions. And the reply that the MB does the job pretty well is out of the question. Why still people think, that compressing is "suit better" for a frequency task? Compression is not sounding the same as volume reduction on specific frequencies. Sometimes you want to compress because of the sound...and sometimes you want to have it more clean (dyn eq). And as FabFilter is a pro plugin company, we want pro plugins with no compromising stuff...I don´t think that it´s so complicated to have a small button somewhere, so people open a small window after pressing and get the ext. sc option, the attack/release times, filters etc. Right now it´s sounding like an excuse, and I don´t think that FF want that people think that way. So please take time...even if you need a year to work on that, and make this Q3 worth upgrading for that amount of money. I stated that in here a lot of times now...and I am not the only one by the way. We, as fans and customers want to have the best for value. To compare to another company (HornetPlugins), they sell a one band dyn eq for 3$...yes 3$...and guess what, it´s working as it should work. Result: You get much more value for 3$. So if we have to upgrade for 75$ as already long term customers, we want as well that much value for 75$. Hope you see and understand my point...and I guess a couple of guys behind me as well...Cheers!


With all due respect (and I really mean it), it was indeed a bad decision Frederik not to include external triggering.

This would have been a game changer for a lot of mixing engineers. For both beginners and experts. Especially with the new frequency collision indication feature.

Please keep us posted on this. Thank you guys. Don’t leave the throne.


+1 put in future update


Just to add my 2 cents: I would appreciate a sidechain input for the dynamic portion of the EQ as well.
While we are at it, I feel having a manual set of options for the dynamic section (attack/release/ratio/threshold) would be very beneficial.

Just to explain: My main reason for using Pro-Q is that the great UI and scalable display allow me to make subtle and very precise changes, even when working on a smaller screen.

For that reason I feel the rudimentary approach towards the dynamics section you have chosen (or as you call it "focused set of features") is not the optimal way to go. I personally (and maybe other users as well) want to have exact control over the changes I make, and not leave it to some "auto" option without sidechain input.

Right now, if I was in need of a dynamic EQ, instead of using the new limited dynamic options of Pro-Q3, I would load up a different dynamic EQ plugin with more features that gives me the ability to dial in exactly the changes I want.


I wanted to chime in...
I also bought the update without thinking twice, I was absolutely sure FabFilter would add that external sidechain feature. I can't speak for everybody but when I need a dynamic eq, it's like
- 20% of the time I need internal triggering of the band
- 80% of the time I need external triggering of the band

So if FabFilter left internal triggering out that would be much more bearable then external triggering.
I like the idea of a clutterfree interface, but come on, just hide a small internal / external switch anywhere in the menue or make it a right-click option on the dynamic threshold or somewhere it doesn't interfere.

So if you ask, if it was a bad idea to leave that feature out... well yes, with the goal to be the best EQ on the market it was a pretty bad idea...
Sticking to Melda MDynamicEQ it could do all of that since 5 years...


I'll add my voice to the choir here too. While I use Pro-MB for sidechained dynamics, I think it's an error to not include this feature on a professional utility like Pro-Q 3.


Another big YES for sidechaining in Pro-Q3. So if you are considering adding it in an upgrade, then please do.

I purchased Pro-Q2 recently enough to get the free upgrade to Pro-Q3 so I can't really complain about getting free dynamic functionality that I wasn't expecting to get.


Wrote a mail to info@fabflter before I saw this thread.
But since the voices are collected here, in short:

Very disappointed about the lack of external side chaining.
Expected to be there. Without, collision view doesn't really makes sense - price as well.

Hope for a free upgrade with SC support.


Agreed with everyone else, I bought the upgrade immediately assuming the dynamic eq would be able to be triggered via sidechain, I almost certainly would not have upgraded at this time if I had known it wasn't an option. Please make this feature available!!


The lack of side chaining is a show stopper for me.
While I love FF stuff I won't be upgrading until it has the feature because I'm already using plugins that do.


+1 for external/internal sidechain + attack, release knobs


External Sidechain essential. Please include.


We hear you! :)


Frederik (FabFilter)

A big +1 from me too!


Well, just to say that I think the same. Fantastic quality and GUI, but a sidechain would be almost indispensable.


I cannot imagine any producer voting 'no' on this matter.


Although I was disappointed to learn that the Sidechain aspect of Pro-Q3 did not extend to Dynamics Control, it did not ultimately deter me from purchasing it.
It came close to stopping me but the other functions I feel make it a worthwhile investment ... for now.
Also the lack of manual override for Dynamic Attack and Release I see as a serious omission.
Given FabFilter's reputation for design innovation I really hope that these areas in which Pro-Q3 is lacking will be dealt with quickly, if they are not already fixing it.
In the mean time I'm making good use of what Pro-Q3 Does have.
So Come One FabFilter, please don't disappoint us.


+1 It's very convenient to control dynamic EQ with sidechain and I would really like to see this feature in Pro-Q3


Pro-Q is still my go-to EQ and I will upgrade to this new version at some point for sure. I love this little gem, I really do !

But I must admit that the lack of the external sidechain for the new dynamic feature was a little disappointing, espacially now that there is the collision view…



Please FabFilter add this feature asap! :)

You have done such a great job with this update - When you will add External Sidechain for the Dynamic function... it is by far the best eq on the market at this time!

Thank you in advance!


The level of entitlement and saltiness in this thread is remarkable. The Q3 - as it is now - single-handedly rendered a good chunck of my plugins utterly useless. I just slapped them on in a couple of sessions because of sheer mercy - and habit.

I prefer its workflow with the dynamic bands over the Sonnox by a mile.

The masking detection feature does steal a lot of Neutron's Thunder and is undermining one of its biggest USPs.

So the FF guys have probably the one Eq to end all other Eqs in their hands.

This being said - guys, go for the finishing move. Add S/C detection, at least for a couple of bands and blow the competition out of the ballpark.

PS: I dont think that the Q3 with dyn S/C will endanger the MB.


I get the impression I was one of the few demoing it before buying the upgrade :-D So the non-existent SC detection was no surprise for me and I understand they didn't include it.

A bit unfair this thread describes a catastrophic world end caused by nonexistent SC detection for dynamics. But it's quite the opposit and 1 "missing" feature doesn't render this EQ useless.

If you FF-guys should add it with an update, please don't overcomplicate things. Pro-Q3 is a strong one because of it's easy workflow and well organized UI.


I also have to agree that including dynamic EQs and excluding side-chain keyins is... well... not very smart. But it's clear FF wants us to buy pro-MB - that this is the only real reason they excluded it. in other words, greed. Sure you could argue that not including in Q3 makes Q3 simpler, but... no that doesn't hold any water. All you have to do is have a small button in the band controls to turn side-chain on. I would even be ok if it didn't have a filter in series.

Oh well, everyone is jumping on the "dumb capitalist" band wagon and making these idiotic business decisions. It's a shame. Whatever....

FabFilter is yet just another plugin company like all the others really. They don't deserve the hype especially by omitting such an obvious tool. They went 1/2 way on this one just because they want you to also buy pro-MB. Good luck with that.


What a bunch of crybabies in here. And then starting to descredit Fabfilter in here and in public is purely disgusting! Shame on you.

There are different tools for different tasks. No one is forcing you to buy this plugin. Use another one then, there are plenty of them.

PS: sorry for attacking those who wrote in a good manner and already value this plugin.


Why does even something as simple and straightforward as this have to devolve to name calling?

LITERALLY EVERY OTHER FX PLUG THEY MAKE HAS A DYNAMIC KEY INPUT. It's not an unreasonable expectation, even to have assumed.

If you've nothing useful or reasonable to contribute, then please don't contribute. And the name calling is lame. Just stay out of it if you can't behave.


If sidechain detection is added, great. If not, then not. It's not necessary, only because some have expectations and get angry if they get not fulfilled. You're neither buying the devs nor future features, but the product as it is right now. And it's also not unusual or surprising to make products not overlap in their featureset. Every other dev does that...

Don't get pressured by them ;-) You're doing a great job FabFilter team!


Anyone else want an external sidechain or is this everyone? I didn't realize this many people used this forum until there was something to complain about. I would love the feature as well but i'm also happy with it as is. I love Pro-MB personally and don't feel the need to have every feature imaginable packed into one plugin. I do understand why everyone wants this but just saying you want the feature is enough why take the time to make it into a threat just because the product isn't exactly what YOU want? Not sure about everyone else but I buy from companies based on whether or not I want them to succeed and continue making great products. Not based on whether or not there's someone else out the with ONE FEATURE I WANT. Keep in mind that a lot of people didn't want dynamics in Pro-Q 3 in the first place... they wanted it in a separate plugin. From my perspective FabFilter already added dynamics based on customer requests alone. They made it clear it was not their priority because of Pro-MB a long time ago yet here we are. Seriously... you are being rude to someone then in the same message asking for something they aren't obligated to give you... Doesn't seem like the way to treat a company you "support" if you ask me.


Why people want and need external sidechain inside Pro-Q 3, because it is PRO EQ plugin and many expert users need deeper control over frequencies sometimes - easy and clear! :)

Pro-MB is Multiband Compressor not "Dynamic Eq", two different worlds.

This little extra feature and one knob inside Pro-Q 3 plugin doesn`t kill anybody, but makes Pro users more happy.


> We hear you! :)
> Cheers,
> Frederik (FabFilter) — Dec 5, 2018

Ya, ok, but are you going to anything about it? We are really sorry you screwed up your product line by making competing products but to eliminate a core feature to protect your bad business decisions is absolutely horrible. We pay good money for your products and expect good products in kind. I will be looking forward to side chain in Q3 in the next release which I assume will come out very soon. Otherwise, you should offer refunds to all those who are not happy with these dumb decisions you are making that cripple your products.


Please FabFilter add Ext. SC in pro-q3.


Wow !
It amazes me how people are losing their minds, they're like FURIOUS.

Fabfilter already said that they're gonna do it, which is practically saying they took the wrong decision and they're gonna fix it.
I'm sure they're doing their best, as always.

No one forced you to blindly buy the product



As I didn't use Pro-Q2 often, because of its surface feel (which was too fast and the resolution not fine enough) Pro-Q3 is my go-to EQ again!

Congrats and thank you for this great release!

For adding external sidechain for the dynamic function.

Thank you in advance!


Just wanted to add that I would never have thought that I wouldn't upgrade (I love Pro-Q2!), but felt that ext. sidechaining and attack/release options were left out not to cannibalize Pro-MB sales, so I didn't upgrade.

Whether that is true or not, it surely felt like it. Maybe Q4 then.


Judging by the sentiment in this thread, I think it's safe to say that most people want the ability to key the dynamics to an external sidechain. You being you, I'd wager that you would actually include this feature in a streamlined way just like you do everything else. If this would be added in a forthcoming update, lots of people would be very, very happy. Please look into this, guys.

Thank you.


Plexus, shut it already, numbnuts.


Plexus you really need to lighten up. It's software, shit happens, updates coming, be grateful. The external sidechain won't make your music good if it already sucks. Only good vibes make good vibes.


Daily Llama

surprised you can't control dynamics with the side chain, I had to use waves F6 eq. I hope fabfilter add it as a feature apart from that it's the best Eq I've used and worth the upgrade price.


+1 for sidechain input



an external SC input to control dynamics was the primary reason I bought this upgrade.

Seems simple enough.


+1 for SC option, pleaaaase FF! :)


I was also rather disappointed that Q3 didn't have side chaining capabilities, but reading what sounds like that it's being worked on, has got me excited.


Just hopping in on this to cotribute/ voice my opinion.

You guys should definately add SC option. Many other similiar products have this awesomely helpful capability and like many here I was quite confident you guys will add it as an update. Also, many of my friends refrained from buying Pro-Q as they feel its absolutely essential to have the ability to key your dynamic bands based on an external sidechain input.


Wow I'm shocked reading some of the comments here. People throwing their toys out of the pram, because THEY didn't read the manual/demo the plugin before pulling the trigger and then having the gall to criticise FF for acting unprofessionally...


Hey, I was super stoked to use the sidechian input to trigger the dynamics from a different audio source. You say that you wanted to keep the interface as simple as possible, what is complex about putting in a button on each band that grabs the dynamics from the sidechain? it's one simple toggle LED. Disappointing in that area but otherwise this EQ is GREAT! :D


I find it is a good idea to keep the dynamic band as simple as possible, and it is right know.

But i have to say that i also did think that the dynamic band would be triggerable via sidechain for sure, because it would be just logical.

I am very surprised that this is not the case. I find this a bit strange and limiting.

I also have the PRO-MB, but as you know: The less VST you have in one channel, the better. And i would not whant to throw in PRO-MB in a bass channel behind PRO-Q3, just because it is not able trigger the band.

So please Fabfilter, make it hapen and update the Dynamic Band of Q3 just to be triggerable. Thanks.


+1 for external sidechained dynamic EQ! I actually read three times through the "NEW" features to make sure I wasn't mistaken not seeing it there.


+1000 to SC-triggered Dynamic EQ.

I'm coming from iZotope Neutron 2, which has that. I was clearly expecting Dynamic EQ in Pro-Q3 to have this, and replace that functionality from Neutron 2.

Very first time I go to use it for that purpose (knocking a very mid-range bass from a Cure cover out of the way of the vocals), I find out it's not possible in Pro-Q3? Uhm...not good!

Please, please add this as a free update to Q3. This is a glaring, glaring oversight, as others have cited.

Mark Luljak

Plexus - You about as rude and abrasive as one can get. What a ridiculous response. If you can't see your over the top, absurd, exaggerated outrage, you should seek some help.

I always wonder if people would talk like this if they were face to face with someone. I think most wouldn't. Internet muscles... so childish.


Please add the SC-Trigger for the Dynamics ;-)!

Frowin Berger

Another +1 for this feature from me. This is also the one of the main reasons I upgraded, so super disappointed to find it's not a feature. It seems crazy I can see the output of other tracks so easily without being able to then use that dymically. Such a shame


Yes, I agree that the side chain option would be a huge benefit to have!

Glen Felkins

If any of y'all are selling your Q3, I am down!


I agree with everyone here; Sidechain would be an amazing feature!! I was disappointed to find out that it wasn't included in the new Pro-Q 3.

Daniel Shap

I'm really hoping a sidechain feature will come with one of the next updates! Fingers crossed :).

Daniel Garrick

I too was quite surprised and disappointed that there is no side chain dynamic capability.

I would especially like this to be implemented in M/S mode!

Imagine a vocal send ducking just the the presence range of the mid channel on a stereo drum buss or a stereo guitar buss. How sweet would that be?

PLEASE implement this! It's not too complicated for mixing engineers!

Randy Rood

+1 for please add this to an update. It is essentially the reason I bought this plugin... pretty disappointed it wasn't included.


Any news about this feature?

Why would you give away market to iZotope (Neutron) or Wavesfactory (Trackspacer)?


Good news! We will add external side chain triggering in the 3.02 update, to be released within a few weeks.


Frederik (FabFilter)

^ Yeahhhhhh!!!!


^ Thanks so much! There's nothing else like Fabfilter plugins!


Thanks a ton Frederik.
Really looking forward to the side chain feature.


Yeah, nothing else like FabFilter. These plugins are so clear, so useful, and so beautiful. On their own, they show when and why software trumps hardware. Simply amazing.

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