By Barry Rudolph
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CurveEQ VST from Voxengo is an advanced equalizer that runs as a plug-in in any VST 2.0 host like Cubase, Nuendo or Logic Audio. CurveEQ gives you the ability to see a real-time graphic image of the frequency spectrum of a vocal, instrument or complete track mix as it looks before and after you apply equalization from CurveEQ. With this "visual" representation, you'll quickly see which frequencies are problematic and have to be reduced or are in need of enhancement. I liked that, rather than turning knobs as on a conventional equalizer, you use the mouse to design and "draw" a very specific EQ curve.
CurveEQ also features SpectruMatch technology, a way to match a sound's frequency composition and response and superimpose it over another sound. You could take a spectrum "picture" of a mix that you particularly like and apply it to a completely different mix. Conceptually similar is Voxengo's Gear-Match Technology, in which databases of sonic impulses from various high-end analog devices are available to be applied to any sound. In theory, you could take the basic sound coloration caused by tubes, transformers and design (but not the actual compression) of a multi-thousand-dollar vintage compressor followed by the sonics of a 1960s British EQ and add it to any of your song's tracks or the entire stereo mix.
CurveEQ is primarily intended as a mastering equalizer, but I used it on individual channel inserts with great results. It came in very handy when clearing up the lower midrange of a muddy-sounding mix. It is much easier to pinpoint annoying frequencies using CurveEQ's "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" interface than a parametric EQ, which is often a laborious trial-and-error process.
CurveEQ uses a math-intensive process and eats a fair bit of CPU overhead, but once you have shaped your sound, you can turn off the spectrum-analysis processor and regain some lost horsepower. For Windows PCs only, Voxengo sells for $98 and is available as a download.
(Thanks to David Gamson for his help on this review.)
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