Review: Filterizor Q Pro from Sugar Audio

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Don’t buy this. [Really? – Ed]

There, wasn’t that easy? Done. [Really?! – Ed]

Okay… maybe you should buy this… [?! – Ed]

RTFM is not an option (it’s a necessity)

Filterizor Q Pro is an EQ with an absolute ton of features. Like so many seemingly complex things, once you know how to do something, it usually becomes easy. I couldn’t figure out how to create an EQ node. Bad start. RTFM. Double click, you got yourself a node [not so difficult then! 😉 – Ed]. I couldn’t figure out how to connect two or more nodes so they move together or in opposite directions. RTFM.

Control-drag from one node to another. If you release the mouse while still holding Control, the nodes will move up and down together when you move either. If you release Control before you release the mouse, the nodes will move in opposite directions (up and down) when you move either; they always move side to side together if linked.

You can connect nodes between tracks, like carving out a little bass to make room for the kick, and inversely adjusting the two complementary nodes on separate tracks by moving just one until it sounds just right – that’s nice! With or without the manual, I was not able to reliably create and connect more than two nodes and make them move together the way I wanted to in a zig-zag pattern.

Reading the manual is both absolutely necessary and difficult. This is not your grandmother’s one-knob tilt EQ. There are a million parameters and functions, and those 25 pages are packed with partially inadequate explanations.

Coming in, if you are not going to devote a lot of time to learn this mega-featured beast of an EQ: Don’t buy this.

Slide on in

There are four sliders on the left of Filterizor Q Pro, and two along the bottom. With these you can adjust (zoom) how many dBs in height above and below zero 0dB is shown, move the spectrogram up and down if you want your waveform to, say, overlap your EQ curve, and you can also adjust how much or little of the horizontal frequency spectrum you can see (like zoom in to the range 50Hz to 200Hz). You can zoom in and out a tremendous lot. The window is resizable up to full screen on my 5K monitor via a draggable triangle in the lower right corner.

So visually, with those six sliders, you can very easily; zoom horizontally, zoom vertically, move the spectrogram (waveform) up and down, exaggerate the height of the spectrogram, and you can also expand the entire window to fully encompass your huge monitor.

If you like squinting at the tiny display of your plugs instead of actually seeing what you are doing as large as you like: Don’t buy this.

The Vision Thing

If you have Filterizor Q Pro on more than one track, you can send color-selected wave forms which can be received by any other instance and they can be viewed together, along with their nodes. This is how you can connect nodes across tracks. For overlaying the spectrograms of multiple tracks, I’ve never seen anything better looking than this. The colors are bright, the curvy lines are just the right thickness, and it is just plain good to look at. I will say this: no matter what genius colors I assign, I cannot look at more than two or three at the same time without seeing the whole thing as a mess. Forest and trees, people. Fortunately, it is easy to toggle on and off various tracks so you can just focus on what matters between tracks that are fighting for the same space. Mercifully, there is a limit of 8 tracks that can be received and viewed at one time, and all instances of Filterizor Q Pro can both send and receive. This is a huge plus, best frequency analyzer overlay I’ve ever experienced. And you can cross connect EQ nodes while using it. That’s worth the price of admission by itself.

You might be a redneck if you: Don’t buy this.

Turn it up to 20

If you hover your cursor over a node, a box appears next to it with a bunch of parameters. Lock, on/off, Hz (frequency), note pitch (like G5, and cents plus or minus), dB, Order (1-20, I’m getting to this), stereo or mid/side, something I don’t understand, channel name, and trash icon to delete the node.

Got all that? That’s a lot of parameters to appear when you hover over an EQ node. Of particular interest is that you can lock the node so it cannot be moved accidentally, that it tells you the specific note pitch that it is nearest to, and that ordinal value enables you to square off the top of the EQ node’s curve. Set to the top number of 20, and you are looking at a square box instead of a curve. I find all of this extremely helpful, particularly once I got my head wrapped around it.

If you don’t like tons of information and parameters that are precise and musically useful, if you instead are happy to vaguely use the force: Don’t buy this.

Proof of the Pudding

What matters most is: what does it sound like? I have a test project that I use to throw new plugs at. I put Filterizor Q Pro on the final output and quickly made some curves, like bumping up the bass area followed immediately by a lowered area – push and pull. I also put a copy on each track and tweaked each in the context of playing the entire mix. The result? Magnificent. Better than I’ve been able to get with any other EQ. Either I finally figured out how to EQ this test project, or FQP is the best sounding EQ I’ve ever used. Probably a little of both.

What you get is a fantastic sounding EQ. You can zoom in to the molecular level and be very precise, the spectrum analyzer is to die for, and cross communication between tracks is absolutely second to none – eat your heart out, Neutron 2 EQ.

The manual states concerns about CPU load. I’m just not seeing that. I created 100 tracks with ten mono instances of FQP on each, or a cool thousand instances, and it’s using about 75% of my processing power; to compare, FabFilter Pro-Q 2 uses about 15% in the same measure. To me that means I can put FQP on every track without a problem. Because of the concern in the manual, I will disclaim that your mileage might vary wildly on this – I also have a quad i7 at 4 GHz and 32 GB RAM.

[So… I should buy this?! – Ed]


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