There are many built-in audio filters in OBS Studio, such as the Compressor, Expander, and Limiter. However, OBS does not come with an equalizer. To utilize one, you’ll need to incorporate a VST equalizer. VST or Virtual Studio plugins are powerful pieces of software for audio engineers and musicians.
When most people think of Equalizers, they think of the traditional, fixed band equalizers that you get in things like Logitech’s G Hub. However, software equalizers do not need to adhere to this specific band standard, allowing you to place the band at any frequency you like. These give you excellent control over your audio signal if you put in the time to tune it out.
I like to use these equalizers, specifically the third one when listening to music – I have several tweaked presets that I have made over the last year for various genres. I’m not sure if I can share them, but I’ll look into it!
Make sure you download the x64 versions of these plugins.
Table of Contents
1: Reaper ReaEQ VST Equalizer [Free]
Powerful, but hard to use.
First up on the list is a plugin featured as part of my best free VST plugin pack post, ReaEQ. This plugin is incredibly powerful and allows for fine control over your audio, with an infinite number of bands that you can add. Each Band has many options to choose from that affect the audio signal in a variety of ways.
- Low Shelf
- High Shelf
- Low Pass
- High Pass
- All Pass
- Band Pass
- Band (alt)
- Band (alt 2)
In most cases, you will really only need to utilize the band feature, though the other options are fairly specialized for audio design. The only exception would be a Low pass, specifically at the 80 Hz or 100Hz frequency – this can help eliminate excessive bass rumble from your air conditioning/general home noises that travel across the whole house and into your microphone.
However, it lacks presets that you can choose from, making it fairly unfriendly to those new to audio tweaking. It makes up for this fact by being 100% free, with no ads or anything prompting you to make a purchase every time you open it up.
Note: Make sure you get the x64 version
2: Melda Productions Mequalizer VST Equalizer [Free/Paid]
Powerful, easy to use, but has compatibility issues with some versions of StreamLabs OBS.
The second free option available to you is the Melda Productions MEqualizer, a part of their MFreeFX bundle. This plugin has a much more modern interface than ReaEQ and is free as well. It also features a fairly large number of presets to choose from, and they are all fairly good for the right situation. These make this plugin far more user-friendly than ReaEQ. However, so you are aware, it straight up doesn’t work in Streamlabs OBS.
However, this plugin only supports a maximum of 6 bands total, though they may be positioned anywhere on the audio spectrum. This still allows for a fairly high level of control over your audio signal, but not nearly to the same level as ReaEQ. It also constantly reminds you to upgrade – if you can. I think that it is pretty cool that they provide this for free, with them only locking out some features, like the ability to save changes to presets that persist through each launch of OBS.
Yeah, the presets don’t save – kind of a pain, but free is free. I’ll mention that you will need to close the plugin and reopen it in the VST window in OBS whenever you change the preset. This is the last quirk to an otherwise solid VST Plugin – and it isn’t their fault. VSTs weren’t designed with OBS in mind, so bugs in the implementation are to be expected.
There are several other EQs that Melda Productions makes, all of which are paid and highly specialized for audio engineers, and each serves slightly different purposes. You probably don’t need them as a live streamer, but I felt they were worth mentioning if you were interested in more equalizers like MEqualizer. I have not used any of those paid options, though, so I can’t really say how good they are and if they are worth the price.
3: iZotope Ozone Elements VST Equalizer [Paid]
Note: Izotope has dropped support for VST 2 as of Ozone 10 for all future VSTs they make. If you want to use this VST plugin, you must use Ozone 9 or earlier.
My personal favorite – a powerful, easy-to-use 8-band equalizer with a sterioizer that can simulate high-quality reverb
One of the most impressive VST Equalizers that I have ever used is the iZotope Ozone Elements plugin. This is an incredibly powerful Equalizer, Stereoizer, and Maximizer package with many great presets. While it only supports a maximum of 8 bands, you really don’t need more than that for live streaming or YouTube audio mastering.
The plugin itself is perfectly stable in OBS Studio, except for the fact that it takes about 5 seconds to actually pop up once you click “Open Plugin Interface.” This is a very minor gripe to an otherwise flawless experience. I have never had any issues loading it in OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS.
There are a few features that this plugin has that make it stand out:
- You can customize existing presets with an undo history box should you want to go back to your older configuration before tweaking.
- This was a lifesaver for me on several occasions where accidental clicks shifted the band’s positioning slightly.
- The ability to simulate a larger room with the “Imager” tool and adjust the intensity, as well as a few different methods that have a different end result
- The Maximizer, which is essentially a Compressor and Expander in one –
- It will turn up quiet sounds to audible levels
- It will turn down loud sounds and prevent peaking
- all automatically, and it can even learn from the input signal what the threshold should be to get the best results
- The Master Assistant
- This tool automatically adjusts all the settings in the plugin to tune to a specific song or to your voice.
- This is a tool with some fairly good results – though it is no substitute for manual tweaks that suit your exact taste.
Out of these three vst equalizers, I like Ozone Elements the best. With that said, this plugin is paid only and fairly expensive to boot – $129 tax excluded. I happened to get this for free during a limited-time giveaway they ran during the pandemic to help artists create a new source of revenue to support themselves.
I plan on diving into this plugin a bit further in a later article. If you have any questions in the meantime about any of these plugins, feel free to join our community discord server and ask away 🙂