When the brand-new company KeyToSound announced the release of the rather innocuously titled Vintage EQ, with all the baggage that comes with the word "vintage", I was more than a little sceptical. Upon installation, I noticed the demo was 30-day unlimited, and I dig that, so that helped win me over a bit. Also Brian (botkiller) from KeyToSound has had a strong, friendly, professional presence on KVR, so that helped too.
At first glance, the interface (like all their stuff) is a little funky and rock'n'roll rustic-looking, but clear and understandable. The layout reminds me strongly of Waves' RenEQ, whose layout I really enjoy, and those familiar with that layout will enjoy Vintage EQ right away. You get 7 bands, each one selectable to 7 filter types, with Gain, Frequency and Q: straightforward, easy to use.
Now, since the first thing I expect from something called Vintage EQ is a sweet high end, so the first thing I did was turn on the high shelf band set to 10khz and gave it a crank, and I was thrilled to hear a soft, smooth boost on the signal; the kind of thing one expects to hear from much-loved, vaunted hardware. I find I was tempted to boost a little more than usual, just listening for when it sounded good, which is always. Very pleasing indeed, and I think many will enjoy the character of this EQ.
Next, I hesitantly glanced at the CPU meter to read the bad news, and it had barely moved. I started inserting like crazy, and as far as I could tell, I could use this EQ on literally every single track in a mix and not bottom out the processor! This EQ has to have the best sound-to-CPU ratio out there, I'm not sure what they did, but hats off to KTS for this feat.
There is full data-entry on each band, and those numbers can be click+dragged also, which is great, plus draggable nodes and even an FFT readout. Personally, I think the readout comes out a bit cramped, but it's generally useful, especially as it's adjustable to Pre-EQ/Post-EQ or off altogether. And they've included A/B and Copy A/B + B/A features, another must-have in my book.
There are no presets as of yet, but it does have its own internal preset system, which I'll count as a big bonus for the preset category. You'll always be able to port your presets, and share with other KTS users.
It seems like KeyToSound really set out to make the ultimate musicians' everyday EQ here, and I do't think they missed a thing. I started using this immediately in my projects and haven't looked back, it's been a complete pleasure to work with! And at the most reasonable price of $59 (you hear that, Mac guys?!?), you cannot go wrong with this. Even if you don't think this is the best vintage-style EQ ever, you can pick up a great, efficient track EQ for peanuts! Definitely one of the best purchases of 2007.