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My In-Depth Review of the Kirchhoff EQ Plugin

My In-Depth Review of the Kirchhoff EQ VST Plugin

The Chinese plugin manufacturer Three-Body Technology aims for the top spot in the equalizer market with their Kirchhoff-EQ. This dynamic equalizer plugin comes packed with extensive features, including 32 bands, various filter types with adjustable shapes, and 30 EQ types modeled after vintage hardware, including Neve, SSL, API, Pultec, and Manley, providing a range of characteristic EQ shapes. The internal processing operates at either 64-bit or an impressive 117-bit precision, but that’s just the beginning.

A Glimpse into Kirchhoff-EQ’s Features

Kirchhoff EQ VST Plugin GUI

The Kirchhoff-EQ boasts an impressive array of features. It includes 32 bands, a variety of filter types with adjustable shapes, and 30 EQ types modeled after vintage hardware. The internal processing operates at either 64-bit or an astounding 117-bit precision, showcasing its advanced capabilities.

Three-Body Technology dives straight into technical jargon, introducing terms like Robust Nyquist-matched Transform. This technique ensures that the EQ’s frequency response mirrors that of its analog counterparts, particularly in the high frequencies, which results in a more natural curve across all filter types. The Psychoacoustic Adaptive Filter Topologies promise filters that sound exceptionally natural.

Extensive Filter Options

Kirchhoff EQ VST Filter Types

Kirchhoff-EQ comes with 11 different filter types. Besides the standard high-pass, low-pass, and band-pass filters, you get the usual bell and notch filters, three shelf variations (low, high, and tilt), and more unconventional types like Flat Tilt, Flat Top, and the unique Sword filter. The Sword filter is essentially a bell filter but can be narrowed down to tackle specific resonances precisely.

The slope of most of these filters can be smoothly adjusted up to 96 dB/oct. High-pass, low-pass, and band-pass filters start at 0 dB/oct, bell and notch at 12 dB/oct, and the shelf filters (low shelf, high shelf, tilt shelf) begin at 6 dB/Oct. This flexibility allows for creating extreme curves when necessary.

Three-Body Technology has modeled eight vintage equalizers to create 30 different EQ types. Thanks to their advanced technology, these have been replicated with high precision. Although the specific hardware models are not disclosed, the interface hints at their inspirations by changing the appearance of the frequency, gain, Q-factor, and slope controls based on your selection.

It is important to note that the Kirchhoff EQ’s emulated analog EQs only replicate the frequency response curves of classic hardware units. According to its manual, these emulations do not model any nonlinearities such as harmonic distortion or saturation. Therefore, they cannot add the “warmth” and “character” that come from these non-linear behaviors.

Dynamic Capabilities

Kirchhoff EQ VST Plugin Controls

All filter curves, except for high-pass, low-pass, and notch, can be dynamically processed, including the vintage-modeled types. The dynamic EQ employs Harmonic Shifted Envelope Detection to keep the noise floor low and give the sound a “widened” feel. Another clever feature is the threshold setting, which uses two values: Above and Below.

Behind Detect/Relative Envelope Detection is another “trick,” where the dynamics are influenced by the ratio between the frequency band being processed and a “relative” frequency band. Additionally, the Onsets function specifically targets transients, allowing you to compress high frequencies lightly while treating fast peaks more aggressively.

Additional Features

Kirchhoff EQ Spectrum Grab

Spectrum Grab (top yellow hand icon) allows you to directly manipulate peaks within the spectrum analyzer. The plugin supports double oversampling and is designed for low CPU usage. Changing parameters is click-free, and the spectrometer is fully configurable. You can also tailor the workflow to suit your preferences.

Kirchhoff-EQ offers four operating modes: Zero-Latency, Analog, Linear (Phase), and Mixed Phase, with the latter combining Zero-Latency and Linear Phase.

Precision Processing

The internal processing always runs at 64-bit, regardless of your DAW. But it doesn’t stop there. The developer has introduced a technology called Double Double, which expands 64 bits to 117 bits. The development team proudly claims that this makes Kirchhoff-EQ the first equalizer plugin with such precision.

Specifications and Price

The Kirchhoff-EQ plugin runs as VST, VST3, AU, and AAX on macOS (10.9 or later, not yet supported on M1) and Windows 7 or newer. Priced at $129.71, a limited free demo version is available on the manufacturer’s website.

Conclusion

In my experience, the Kirchhoff-EQ by Three-Body Technology stands out as a versatile and powerful equalizer plugin. Its extensive feature set, dynamic processing capabilities, and advanced technological innovations make it an exceptional tool for both live and studio environments.

If you’re curious about how the Kirchhoff-EQ stacks up against other leading EQ plugins, be sure to check out my detailed comparison of FabFilter Pro Q3 vs. Kirchhoff EQ

Disclaimer: Any references to any brands on this website/webpage, including reference to products, trademarks, brands and companies, are provided for description purposes only. We don't have any association with or endorsement by these brands or companies. Some of the links on our blog may be affiliate links. This means if you click on these links and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

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