Top 9 Alternative Plugins To FabFilter Pro-Q3 (Free & Paid)

Top 9 Alternative Plugins To FabFilter Pro-Q3 (Free & Paid)

In recent years, FabFilter’s EQ, Pro-Q3, has established itself as one of the most widely used plugins in mixing, mastering and production. But some alternatives, usually cheaper, can compete with it. Let’s take a look at which plugins they are.

Pro-Q3 Alternative Plugins

Why Pro-Q3 is so special

Before diving into the selection of plugins and the reasons why they were chosen, it is important to identify what you are looking for in alternative plugins. This will also allow you to make more targeted choices according to your needs.

So let’s highlight all the special features of Pro-Q that we could potentially look for in the alternative plugins.

1. Precision

One of the main reasons why Pro-Q3 is appreciated is because this EQ is ultra accurate.

First of all because the Q of the frequency bands can be extremely narrow. This makes Pro-Q3 a very effective plugin for getting rid of unwanted frequencies and harmonics. That’s the perfect plugin to use for the sweep EQ technique.

And secondly because the dynamic height view in dB can be adjusted according to the intensity of the boost or cut. Let’s assume that the applied corrections are no more than 1 or 2 dB, it would be very impractical to have an interface that displays 32 dB of dynamic range, and vice versa.

In addition to this, the interface is very well designed, and it allows you to show the frequency spectrum and to identify the frequencies with high loudness.

The precision of the frequency correction is therefore a huge advantage of Pro-Q3.

Tight Q

2. “Unlimited” bands

In most full-parametric EQ plug-ins, the number of available bands is 6, 10, sometimes 12. But Pro-Q3 allows the user to take advantage of 24 EQ bands to process the incoming signal! This is huge!

In the context of music mixing, this is almost like saying that the bands are unlimited. Because if it is necessary to use 24 bands, it is because the source has big frequency problems.

But in mixing, mastering or production, it is always very comfortable to know that no limits can hinder our creativity. But be careful not to fall into the trap of over-mixing!

3. Dynamic Processing

Another reason why mixing and mastering engineers and producers love Pro-Q3 is because of its dynamic band system.

With just one click, you have complete control over the dynamics of a frequency band, with all the parameters you would find in a compressor.

This principle is very much used to control certain frequency ranges without affecting the general signal too much.

This feature is quite rare to find in the plugin field. At least something of good quality.

Dynamic Processing

4. MS Processing

MS refers to the initials of Mono-Stereo (Mid-Side works too). But what does it mean exactly? It means that with an EQ with MS bands in your hands, it will be possible to process right-left and mono (center) signals completely independently.

In concrete terms, in the stereo image, what is on the sides can be modified without changing the frequency spectrum of what is in the center, and vice versa.

This advanced functionality is a great advantage, especially during the mastering phase when it is sometimes necessary to process certain side signals independently.

MS Processing

5. Modes

Pro-Q3 is one of the only EQs on the market that allows you to switch modes. I mean by linear or non-linear mode.

In short, most EQs (in the form of plugins) are non-linear. This means that acting on a certain frequency range will slightly modify the phase of this range. This can be disturbing when this source has to stay in phase with another one.

A linear phase EQ is an EQ that does not modify the phase of the processed audio source in any way. On the other hand, this type of EQ can have a negative impact on the transients of the source and create what is known as pre-ringing (a sort of suction of the transients).

Linear phase should only be used in very specific cases. It is generally non-linear EQs that will be used, because the phase modification often remains inaudible.


You can also see the “Zero Latency” mode which is simply a mode that will not produce any latency in the plugin output.

6. Advanced features

The number of advanced features available in Pro-Q3 is impressive. You can design the shape of the curves easily, create filters that you will only find in this plugin, analyze the frequency spectrum of the source, compare it with others, trigger filters with external sources,… it’s really endless!

This is actually the big strength of the FabFilter plugin: They anticipate all user requests and give the feeling of putting no barriers in their way.

You will have understood, with all its high quality features, it is difficult to compete with this plugin. But some are really close. Let’s go to list all the alternative plugins to Pro-Q3!

So… If you’re ready, let’s go!

The best alternatives to FabFilter Pro-Q3 are:

  1. Kirchhoff EQ
  2. iZotope Neutron 4
  3. ToneBoosters Equalizer 4
  4. Melda MDynamicEQ
  5. Waves F6 Dynamic EQ
  6. TDR Nova
  7. Brainworx bx_digital V3
  8. Hofa IQ-Series EQ V3
  9. Slate Digital Infinity EQ

Some of these plugins are an almost perfect copy of Pro-Q3. Others have occasional flaws compared to FabFilter’s EQ, but each has something in its features that allows it to compete with the EQ giant.

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1. Kirchhoff EQ

Kirchhoff EQ

This EQ has grown significantly in recent months/years. And many sound engineers and producers are even starting to prefer it to Pro-Q3.

The first thing that catches the eye is the interface, which is very similar to the one of FabFilter. It is clean, sober and inspires great quality. This is already a big advantage, even if it is only the interface.

The number of filter types is probably the most impressive feature of this plugin. There are more than twenty of them, which will really allow you to sculpt the audio source with ease. Kirchhoff is even able to imitate vintage style EQs (Neve, SSL, Pultec,…). And the craziest thing is that the interface changes depending on the brand you choose.

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As far as features are concerned, one of them is particularly interesting: the Mix mode. This mode is in fact the intermediate mode between linear and non-linear. In fact, the higher the EQ band goes, the more linear the processing tends to be. Which, in the mixing phase, is almost magic.

In Kirchhoff EQ, the dynamics section is clearly more elaborate than in Pro-Q3. With the Detect and Relative sections that allow you to trigger the compression of one band according to the dynamics of another. It’s a super advanced tool!

While FabFilter manufacturers often listen to the wishes of their users, Kirchhoff probably listens even more! So this plugin is evolving at an impressive speed. At this rate, this plugin could surpass its competitor in the medium term.


✅ Beautiful, sober, efficient, professional interface

✅ Impressive amount of filter types

✅ Mix mode for better quality for the mixing process

✅ Advanced dynamic features

✅ Recurring quality updates


❌ Text size (extremely small)

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2. iZotope Neutron 4

iZotope Neutron 3

iZotope is one of the most reliable brands in the audio world. Whether it’s for production, mixing, or mastering, they will always have a high quality plugin to offer the user. This EQ has everything to please the new user.

The first nice special feature is this tool called “Masking”. It looks very similar to the Pro-Q3 spectrum comparison tool, but more simplistic and sober. It is in my opinion easier to use. When two sources conflict, this tool is a complete game changer.

Another great tool that can only be found at iZotope: the “Learn” button. This feature allows you, by clicking on this button in the upper right corner, to let the plugin spot aggressive frequencies or frequency zones that simply take over the others. Super useful!

The dynamic band features work in a similar way to Pro-Q3, in an even more instinctive way. Just click on the little arrow on the right in the band window to access this setting.

What I really like about Neutron is the quality of the presets. They really allow you to go in very specific directions depending on what you want to sound like. Moreover, let’s not forget that Neutron 4 is not only an EQ, but also a compressor, an exciter, a gate,… all in one plugin.


✅ Sober interface

✅ “Learn” feature to help you find powerful frequencies

✅ “Masking” feature to avoid frequency conflicts

✅ Professional presets

✅ Can be combined with other slots in the same plugin


❌ Frequencies and gain difficult to move accurately

3. ToneBoosters Equalizer 4

ToneBooster Equalizer 4

The first thing I noticed in this plugin is the particularly advanced features of the dynamics window. Indeed, while all the previous plugins “only” allowed to modify the dynamics according to a certain range and ratio, here we have the possibility to focus on the attack and release time. In my opinion, these parameters are very important in compression. This is a big advantage of Equalizer 4.

The second really nice feature is this “AI assist” which allows, according to the recorded source, to propose you the most adapted frequency processing. It’s really not bad to be helped by the technology, but you shouldn’t trust it 100%!

Next, and you might think this is ridiculous, but I find the bands super easy to manipulate. I’m not sure why, but with this plugin it’s really simple to work efficiently and accurately.


✅ Can be used with customizable themes + Resizable

✅ Advanced dynamic functions (attack & release)

✅ “AI assist” in case you’re lost and need help

✅ Frequency bands: Super easy to manipulate


❌ No resonant frequency targeting system

4. Melda MDynamicEQ

Melda MDynamicEQ

For many years, Melda’s plugins have suffered from a kind of rejection by professionals. Why is that? Because of the particularly ugly interface of their plugins. However, these tools are of high quality and compete with the biggest ones. But let’s take a closer look at MDynamicEQ.

When you open MDynamicEQ, all you see is an interface that looks very unpolished. However, just click on one of the bands and… the dynamic parameters are ultra advanced!

You have literally everything you need to work on the dynamics of each frequency with precision: MS processing, mode, attack, release,… But also parameters that cannot be found in any other plugins: detector delay, link channels, peak hold,… In short, on a purely dynamic level, this plugin gives you no limits.

In my opinion, the special feature of this plugin is this “Area” button which allows to display different views at the top of the plugin depending on the instrument processed by the Melda plugin. It is displayed in a very simplistic way, but really effective.

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✅ Super advanced dynamic parameters

✅ “Area” button to help you find your way in the frequency range

✅ Harmonics processing


❌ Super complicated frequency targeting system

❌ Not very intuitive

❌ Lack of precision

5. Waves F6 Dynamic EQ

Waves F6 Dynamic EQ

Waves is probably the most famous plugin manufacturer at the moment. The brand is appreciated for its very affordable plugins whose quality never disappoints its users.

The great strength of F6 is this large window that opens at the bottom of the plugin when you click on a frequency band. It is beautiful and super intuitive! It’s silly, but an interface like this makes you want to open it much more than an interface like Neutron’s, for example. As the plugin is intuitive, you can really get to the point without having to go through a lot of hoops.

F6 doesn’t have a ton of advanced features like most other dynamic EQ plugins, but it does what it is supposed to do: process the frequency spectrum dynamically. And it does it wonderfully.

Thanks to this ultra elaborate and very clear band window, you can sculpt the dynamics of the frequency spectrum with great ease.

This plugin is particularly effective when it comes to doing sidechain processing. Typically to make space for a singer/rapper. Indeed, the external trigger can be set up very quickly.


✅ Probably the most intuitive EQ of this list

✅ Sophisticated dynamic features.

✅ Easy to set up external triggering

✅ Good quality presets


❌ Limited number of bands (6)

❌ Poor amount of filter types

6. TDR Nova

TDR Nova

TDR (Tokyo Dawn Records) is a brand particularly appreciated by the public for the quality of its plugins. Nova is probably one of its most famous plugins.

First element to catch the eye: The interface, which is reminiscent of a certain plugin called Pro-Q3. On top of that, it looks very clean, very professional, and with an analog side.

While reading the manual, I discovered something I hadn’t even noticed at first and that makes this plugin very different from other dynamic EQ plugins: it can be used in parallel! Indeed, each band has a mix pot that allows to adjust the balance between compressed and dry sound. It’s just great!

Besides this mix knob, there is another important thing that differentiates it from its competitors: there is a free version! Honestly, the quality of this plugin is worth much more than $0. Without spending a single dollar, you’ll be able to use a pro quality dynamic EQ, it’s just crazy.

In this free version, you may not have many features to precisely sculpt the sound, but for this price, you get everything a dynamic EQ should provide!


✅ FREE version available

✅ Parallel processing (with the mix knob)

✅ Intuitive, pro and easy to use

✅ GMS processing (even if not very visual)


❌ Limited number of bands (4 or 6)

❌ Lack of advanced features to shape the sound

7. Brainworx bx_digital V3

Brainwork Bx_digital V3

Brainworx plugins are tools that are often used in the professional field and less in the amateur field due to their complexity of use. But the quality of these plugins is really undeniable.

Of all the plugins in this list, Bx_digital V3 is the only one whose graphical display can be hidden, which is a very good thing from a certain level in the field of music mixing. It’s easy to see why this plugin is made for “pros”.

At first sight, this plugin is a bit scary: knobs and buttons everywhere, numbers that are difficult to read, a rather weird internal organization,… But in fact, it is not so difficult to use, on the contrary. If you tweak the knobs a bit, you’ll quickly understand what’s going on and how to use it properly.

The most convenient feature of the Brainworx plugin, which can be disabled and re-enabled at any time, is the Auto-Solo. With this mode activated, it is possible to listen only to the band that is being edited. Basically, as soon as you click on a band, it will solo itself. This can be very useful in some situations.

The sound result is also very different from the other plugins presented in this article. Indeed, the frequency processing is particularly soft, while having, in my opinion, a final touch of analog sound.

Bx_digital V3 is very different from Pro-Q3, both in its interface and in the features it offers to its users. It has a wider and less targeted use.


✅ Forces you to focus on the sound and not on the image

✅ Particularly smooth sound result

✅ Auto-Solo to focus on the modifications in real-time

✅ Very useful meters at the bottom right of the plugin.


❌ Not easy to handle

❌ Limited in advanced features and bands

8. Hofa IQ-Series EQ V3

Hofa IQ-EQ

Hofa is not one of the most well-known brands in the plugin field, yet most of these plugins can clearly compete with the more well-known brands. IQ-EQ is clearly part of this list of underrated plugins!

IQ-EQ is a 6-band dynamic equalizer that can be used as a standard EQ but also as a de-esser or downward and upward compressor.

This very powerful plugin is probably the most versatile on this list. Indeed, thanks to its ease of use and its very precise dynamic parameters, it can be used with a lot of different sources, both in mixing and mastering.

IQ-EQ can be used for multi-band work, but it can also be used as a simple compressor over the whole frequency range by changing the filter type on flat. Very handy!

The filter types are quite basic, but allow you to go deeper than you need to in order to do pro quality equalization.

With its look ahead feature, unexpected aggressive transients will easily blend into the general dynamics of the source.

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✅ Super versatile plugin

✅ Powerful sidechain system (internal or external)

✅ Very large frequency range (up to 40 kHz!)

✅ Possibility to choose between AUTO or advanced dynamics parameters


❌ Limited to 6 bands

❌ Graphic visualization that does not inspire much precision

9. Slate Digital Infinity EQ

Infinity EQ

Slate Digital is a renowned brand in the field of plugins, and they keep growing over the years! But the plugin we are interested in here is Infinity EQ!

Infinity EQ is the only plugin on this list that has no dynamics functionality. Indeed, it is a pure full-parametric EQ. No more, no less.

But I found it very interesting to put it in this list because its use is very close to the one of Pro-Q3. Slate Digital’s plugin doesn’t have any dynamic options or internal or external sidechain, but as a pure EQ, it is one of the best.

This EQ can process the frequency range of the audio sources with a really impressive precision.

Along with Pro-Q3, it is one of the only plugins that can sculpt the sound in this way and still be very transparent.

Infinity EQ’s MS processing is the most convenient and intuitive on this list.


✅ Extra-precision

✅ Can shape the sound in a very hard or very smooth way

✅ Pro presets

✅ Intuitive MS processing

✅ Zero latency


❌ No dynamic or sidechain processing available

Update – Bonus

Antares Auto-Tune Vocal EQ

Antares Auto-Tune Vocal EQ

A few weeks ago Antares released a plugin that nobody expected: Auto-Tune Vocal EQ. An EQ? For a company that is professional in pitch correction? Yes, and frankly, they did not miss a beat!

The plugin is instinctive, easy to use and especially precise in its corrections. It is also equipped with advanced features that make Vocal EQ a high quality and complete tool.

But the most unique feature, and the one that makes this plugin make it to this list (a bit late, of course), is the “track” option located at the bottom left of the plugin. Enabling this option will allow you to target a certain critical harmonic and track it in a mobile and active way. It’s just a crazy feature!

Overall this new plugin from Antares is a great tool to add to the long list of great plugins built by the American company. It deserves to be added to this list of plugins that could represent an alternative to FabFilter Pro-Q3.

I recently did a full review of Auto-Tune Vocal EQ, you can find it right here: Auto-Tune Vocal EQ – Review & Analysis


✅ Track mode

✅ Accurate frequency spectrum

✅ Good and modern interface

✅ Advanced dynamic processing


❌ No MS processing

❌ Limited number of bands

❌ No floating window


Here we go! We have reviewed the 9 plugins that can be a very good alternative to the giant Pro-Q3. It’s important to stress that the order of these plugins has very little importance in the choice you will make. You might choose Infinity EQ for its extra-precision, or Kirchhoff EQ for its similarities with Pro-Q3. You have to listen to your needs! It is important to ask yourself several questions before choosing your alternative. Among these features:

  • Precision
  • Dynamic processing
  • Number of bands
  • MS processing
  • Filters modes
  • Amount of advanced features

How important is each feature to you? Depending on your answer, you will be able to make a precise choice that will perfectly fit your needs. Among all these EQs, only 3 of them are often used in my music mixing process. Not because the others are not of good quality, but because they simply do not fit my needs.

If you have any question about digital EQs or anything in the music mixing field, please contact me, I’m always happy to help!

Related Articles:

Top 6 EQ Plugins For Professional Rap Vocals
What Is Sweeping EQ ? How To Use It With Vocals ?
Vocal Mixing: EQ Before Or After Compression?
Crafting A Pop Vocal Chain: The Pro Guide

My favorite tools for mixing pop and hip-hop music:


In the field of auto-tune, I’m convinced that nothing’s better and more efficient than Antares Auto-Tune Pro. As for the EQ’s, FabFilter Pro-Q3 and Slate Digital Infinity EQ are, in my opinion, the best tools. For compression, I have 2 favorites plugins: Waves RComp and UAD EL8 Distressor.

As for reverb, I’m a big fan of the Soundtoys Little Plate, but generally, I go for the Valhalla VintageVerb for its versatility. I also love the Arturia Rev PLATE-140 and the UAD Pure Plate for its organic side.


The closed headphones I love and will always love using for mixing pop and hip-hop music are the Beyerdynamic DT-770. As for the best open-back headphones, I use the Sennheiser HD600 headphones, and I’m really happy of them!


Having a pair of Yamaha HS7 in its studio or home studio is always cool for more excitement while listening to your mixes. The Adam Audio T7V monitors are also super accurate. In my studio, I also have a pair of Genelec 8030 for their reliability.

Hardware gear

For anyone who wants to start using hardware in their mixes, I always recommend these 2 units from Klark Teknik: the EQP-KT and the 76-KT. Don’t forget to use good converters, such as the Apollo interfaces. This is essential for a good rendering.


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About IDeez

IDeez is the head sound engineer of IDeez Studio. He studied BA and MA in sound engineering at IAD (Belgium) and has been a specialist in vocal mixing for several years, especially in pop and hip-hop music. His goal is to help artists, rappers and singers in their mixing process through online mixing services, tutorials, blog articles and e-books. Contact him for any information!

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