Do you produce trance music and do want to make it sound better? Then a good EQ plug-in is indispensable. These are the best equalizers for trance.
Do you know this feeling?
You’re dreaming about being the next Trance Superstar. And you have the greatest melodies in your head. But somehow your productions sound like sh*t.
You’re tracks are too busy, too undefined and just not good enough.
Fortunately, salvation is at hand. Because with a good equalizer plugin you can solve many problems. Discover how it works.
What does an equalizer plug-in do?
You can compare an equalizer with a mixing console for individual sounds or a complete mix.
With an equalizer you can strengthen and weaken certain frequencies in a sound. This way you accentuate beautiful parts of a sound. Or soften ugly elements.
- Does a trance contains too much bass? Lower the volume at the low frequencies.
- Does a hi-hat sound too harsh? Cut out some high frequencies.
- Are your kick and bass fighting for attention? Then avoid overlapping frequencies.
You do all this with an equalizer plugin.
Make your trance tracks sound better with these EQ knobs
With a parametric EQ you determine which frequencies you want to amplify or attenuate in a sound. And how many surrounding frequencies you want to equalize with. You do this with the following buttons.
- Frequency: determine the frequency you want to influence.
- Gain: enter how many decibels you want to boost or cut the frequency with.
- Q: determines the bandwidth around the selected frequency.
With a high Q value you can precisely track down and process a frequency. For example, an ugly click in a clap-sound. If you soften the click, you won’t longer hear it.
Consciously amplify and weaken frequencies in sounds. This way each sound fits in the mix.
Low Q values are useful for processing larger frequency ranges. For example, boost the highs in your hi-hats to make them stand out in your mix. Or attenuate the mid frequencies in a trance leads or plucks to make room for other elements. This way you give all sounds in your track their own place.
Equalizers also often have filters. For example, with a Low Cut filter, you can suddenly remove the low frequencies from a sound. These are often unnecessary in synth sounds and get in the way of the bass and kick.
Low cut filter in fabfilter Pro Q.
With a Low Cut Filter, you remove unnecessary bass frequencies.
What are the best EQ settings for trance music?
If you are looking for the best EQ settings for trance music, you can search for ages. They don’t exist.
Every sound is different and unfortunately, there is no magic button on an equalizer plugin. You really have to set the EQ yourself, and you don’t need a special equalizer for trance music. An equalizer boosts and cuts frequency ranges in sound. Whether that’s trance, techno, or gospel.
What you do need is a pleasant working and great sounding EQ. That is why I’ve listed my favorite equalizer VSTs at the bottom of this page.
Indispensable EQ settings for trance music
The frequency spectrum goes from super low to inaudible high. When mixing electronic music – like trance – I like to think in frequency ranges:
It is best to build a trance track from the bottom up. Start with the bass drum / kick and possibly amplify the punch. Sometimes you can also cut a little in the middle so that the high frequencies pop out. It looks like this, for example.
Then create a sub-bass and program notes between the kicks. This is an example:
💡 Tip. Boost the bass with an EQ. A nice free plugin for sub-bass is Brainworx bx_subfilter.
Plugin Alliance describes the plugin with “Sculpt, tighten and punch up your sub”. And that is exactly what this VST plugin does. It tightens up your sub-bass so you can mix it more easily and your low-end sounds better. Recommended!
Above the sub-bass, program a rolling bass in the mid frequencies. EQ removes a lot of low frequencies from the sound. He really needs to complement the sub-bass and not get in the way. If necessary, repeat this for an identical bass line with a different sound. This way you get a full sound.
With trance and pluck synths you can often filter out a lot of low frequencies. This way you create space for the kick, sub-bass and mid-bass. The same goes for special effects, percussion and pad sounds.
With lead and pluck sounds you can remove a lot of bass frequencies.
Together it sounds like this.
Don’t be afraid of thin sounds with EQ
If you filter out frequencies, a sound will be thinner. Don’t be afraid of that and always listen to a sound in the context of other sounds. You want them to complement each other and not get in the way.
Amplifying frequencies is tempting. For example, the high frequencies of a synth lead or trance pad. Don’t overdo this, because your song will sound harsh. Therefore, take regular breaks and listen again with fresh ears. What’s the most important element in your track? Emphasize that.
Create a trance track that you are proud of with EQ, volume, and panning (the stereo position of sounds). And consider your mix as a building, in which the various components reinforce each other.
Why EQ Cheat Sheets rarely work
There are many Frequency Cheat Sheets online. They allow you to peek at which frequencies you can best amplify or weaken sounds. They seem quite helpful, but I don’t like them.
Every sound is different and a Cheat Sheet doesn’t take that into account. When mixing a dance or trance track, prefer to rely on your ears and do what sounds good. This saves time and yields better results.
EQ plug-ins have their own sound
If you search in Google for EQ effects, you will find dozens of plug-ins that you can download and install. Your DAW also contains one or more by default. What is the difference between the models?
EQs can be neutral and color the sound. At a neutral EQ, the sound hardly distorts. You use them almost surgically to make a balanced mix.
Colored EQs add a little something extra to your sound. For example a nice retro sound. Or extra high frequencies, so that your hi-hats sound a bit better, for example. An example of this is the Maag EQ.
Another difference between different plugins is their User Interface and additional features. For example, many paid plugins contain an analyzer. This allows you to visually see which frequencies are contained in a sound. They also often have extra options, such as Mid / Side processing.
A nice option in Fabfilter Pro-Q is the Full-Screen mode. This allows you to make precise changes.
What are the best equalizers for trance music?
Over the years, I’ve used tons of plugins, free and paid. These are my favorite EQ plugins. For trance, pop, ambient, or whatever music you make.
The standard EQ in your DAW
Paid equalizer plug-ins have many extras. However, the standard EQ in your DAW can handle the task as well. Whether you work with EQ2 in FL Studio, Channel EQ in Ableton Live or Pro EQ in Studio One. They do what they have to do and sound great.
One of the finest paid EQ plug-ins for trance and other types of music is Fabfilter’s Pro-Q. It sounds great, works intuitively and the user interface is a feast for the eyes. At 162 euros, it is not cheap, but then you have the highest quality.
Toneboosters Equalizer 4
Toneboosters makes excellent plug-ins, including the Equalizer 4. It is based on analog equalizers and the interface can be made fullscreen. The eq is very similar to the Pro-Q, but is a lot cheaper at 39 euros.
Tokyo Dawn Records VOS SlickEQ
TDR VOS SlickEQ is available in a free and paid version. The paid version can do a little more, but they both sound equally good. And look nice too.
iZotope Neutron Equalizer
IZotope’s Neutron Equalizer is an advanced EQ plugin. The advantage of this plug-in is that you can have multiple copies “talk” to each other.
Are you raising the high frequencies of the hi-hat? Then – if you wish – it automatically lowers the same frequencies on a different channel. You can also quickly see where frequencies overlap and resolve this.
Sonible smart: EQ 2
Finally, an EQ plugin with AI functionality. Sonible smart: EQ 2 first analyzes a sound and then makes changes. You can then fine-tune it.
In theory, a self-thinking EQ sounds ideal, but I was not devastated by the results. Don’t let that stop you and try the demo.
Which equalizers do you use to produce trance music?
Now you know all about the best equalizer plugins for music production, including trance. What is your favorite EQ and why do you love it? Leave a comment and share your knowledge. Because together we know more.