The PR-EQUA 87 is a four-band fully parametric equalizer with both high- and low-cut filters with either a 12 or a 24 dB/octave slope. The low and high parametrics are dual shelving, while the low-mid and high-mid are bell-curved. All four parametrics feature plus and minus 24 dB of gain, topped off by a built-in limiter that caps the output level at 0 dB. The bonus here is a built-in RTA (Real Time Analyzer) that provides a visual representation of the frequency content of the output.
eaReckon decided to design the parametrics with fixed ranges, rather than make each full-range, which is fine with me -- I find that arrangement more natural anyway, as it harkens back to the days when I used an analog console (wait, I did a job with an analog board last month! Never mind).
The EQ here is very clean, with almost no coloration of its own. With a maximum Q of 10, it’s not as surgical as some of the EQ plug-ins out there, but that is more than enough to handle sound shaping and general audio cleanup work. The PR-EQUA 87 is more CPU-intensive than the other plugs in the collection, but even with that on playback one instance maxed out in Reaper at .35% CPU use in the worst instance, so eight will cost you about two-point-something percent or thereabouts with all the filters in use on a Core 2 Duo. Not bad for a good-sounding, uncolored four bank parametric. While it is not labeled as phase linear (a design which is way more CPU-costly), the PR-EQUA 87 behaved well with stereo audio files from a phase standpoint, and is ideal for tracking.
MASTER CHANNEL CONTROL
This is the best of the bunch, IMHO. CS-STRIP 87 takes the core functionality of all of the other plugs and houses them under one roof. You won’t find sidechaining here, but the best of the others made it in.
The Input section has fixed 40 Hz low cut and 20 kHz high cut. The Compressor has the same Ratios, Attack time, and Release times as does the SD-COMP 87, and the Mix knob for parallel processing is there as well. The Gate is similarly configured, and includes the L/R link switch. The Equalizer section has the four-bands of parametric (but not the cut filters, and of course there is a limiter.
All of this is remarkably thrifty with CPU cycles. One instance weighs in somewhere in the .5% range most of the time. That’s thrifty, lad, and the sound is as bonnie as its cousin plugs.
LIKE AND NOT LIKE
The standouts in this collection for me are the CS-STRIP 87 and the BW-LIMIT 87, although there’s not a dud in the package. All these plugs are CPU-friendly and sound good. They do their job without imparting much in the way of color, and for most jobs that’s just fine... nice and clean. About the only complaints I have regard the copy protection, and I understand that it’s a necessary evil for a small company. The PDF manual is clear regarding basic operation, but I would like to see it expanded in terms of the technology. For example, does the SD-COMP 87 model a forward-feed compressor? Does the response model an opto circuit? These aren’t deal busters, but are of interest to tech heads like me.
All these plugs are available as a 30-day demo with some limitations. What’s better is that there are FREE versions of the compressor, EQ, limiter, and gate which are limited in features but not in sound. If you do nothing else, head over to www.eaReckon.com and get those while they’re hot. I suspect you’ll end up with the whole collection. Steve sez check ‘em out.
The ANALOG87 series carries a suggested retail of 99 € (that’s about $137.50 in USD at this writing, not bad for five plugs), or they can be had individually for 39 € for the CS-STRIP 87 and 29 € each for the others. For more information worldwide, visit www.eaReckon.com.