I recently picked up Sonalksis' new EQ plug-in after trying every demo and freeware EQ I could get my hands on. While the options for surgical EQs are plentiful in all plug-in formats, the number of parametric and analog emulations which imbue a DESIRABLE coloration is, in my opinion, decidedly slim. With the release of their SV-517 EQ, Sonalksis have changed all that.
Installation of the SV-517 went off with out a hitch on my P IV 2.6 WindowsXP machine, and both the DirectX and VST versions function as expected in all of the hosts I use.
The SV-517's is a perfect marriage of vintage familiarity and cutting edge interface design, offering up both knob-based controls and a click-and-drag 2D graph which also serves to display the frequency and amplitude curves based on the current settings. When I first launched the plug-in I was immediately annoyed to find that the knobs responded to a circular motion, as this is one of my biggest pet peeves with plug-ins. I was overjoyed however upon entering the options screen to find the designers at Sonalksis had the good sense to allow the user to define whether knobs responded in a circular motion or to linear up-down mouse movements! Very few developers show this kind of forsight in designing their interfaces.
More often than not, EQ plug-ns provide a selection of presets with various instrument names to show off what they're capable of. EQing is probably one of the most important stages in sound design and mixing at which you should be using your ears, and not someone else's preconceived idea about what YOUR snare should sound like. While this type of decision is ultimately up to each individual, the fact that Sonalksis have chosen to offer a small collection of presets with band range and curve suggestions for various tasks (mastering, precision tweaking, etc) with a flat amplitude curve commands my respect. It's your mix, you do the tweaking...
Regarding the sound quality, this thing has quite literally made absolutely everything I've thrown at it sound better, and encouraged me to get a lot more creative with my EQ tweaking. I've used it for extreme sound design work with great results, and it's CPU efficiency also makes it a prime canidate to throw on every track during mix down. We've all heard the tales of the classic Neve EQs adding a certain magic sparkle to everything you throw at them. After taking a good hard listen to a great many of the EQ plug-ins available today, the Sonalksis SV-517 is the first one I've come across with the quality and character to justify this sort of mythical description. Ironcially, a trip over to the Sonalksis website reveals that some of the company founders are former AMS-Neve R&D engineers, a fact which should instill enough confidence in even the most devote hardware proponents to at least take a look at this one.
Quite simply the finest sounding, best designed plug-in EQ I have ever had the pleasure to work with!