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I'm a serious hobbyist wanting to hone my skills at home to get to a good standard and hopefully achieve some professional success in the future.
Having done all I can with room treatment, and positioning, I thought it good to augment my monitoring chain with some low shelf cuts, to tame a bit more the very lowest frequencies so when I occasionaly listen loud, the room reflections especially at the low end do not color the sound.
My DAW is Reaper on Windows 10 which I run @ 96Khz.
My monitors are Alesis M1 MK2's Active, which I have blocked ports and placed to "perfection" i.e to get the best quality I can from these. Had them for 14 years so I know them well.
Audio interface is EMU 0404 USB,
The EQ I have used to attempt this for a while (over a year) is the parametric EQ - ReaEQ, which comes with Reaper, and I insert this in a Monitoring FX Chain, which is only active for "monitoring" and does not get recorded when I mix down.
I recently discovered that from listening intermittently over a few months, I preferred the non EQ version - like the EQ, no matter how subtle the settings I applied - and I was using only one band for a low self at 43 hz, it added what appears to sound like a "chorus" to the stereo track.
Rather than just tightening up the low end, it added an indistinct smear to the stereo audio track.
Most of the use of my home studio, at this time is as a high quality listening station, listening to CD's or high quality streaming which I "pass" through Reaper.
What software EQ would you recommend for this special and other general EQ purposes, especially if its free or low cost, which will not color or smear the audio?
Please note I thought the Reaper EQ was a simply digital EQ which did not add any intentional artefacts, like saturation, which I still thik it does not.
But I can clearly hear the smearing that sounds like a "chorus" when I turn on the EQ. I never noticed it before, but recently listening to Norah Jones album - Come Away with Me, every time I apply this EQ, in the listening chain, the single lead voice in the center, takes on a halo of a secondary voice, and becomes not quite as distinct, and I can hear this same "aura" around all other instruments. like a subtle doubling. Not nice.
I've done quite a bit of "blind testing" where I switch the EQ in and out, listening only with ears and not eyes and more consistently than not, I can spot the EQ'd version in my blind test, by the harshness and smearing in upper frequencies, even though I am not doing anything in the EQ to those frequencies. - Weird you may think - but I kid you not, I am reliably hearing these things/artefacts of what should be a clean digital EQ.
Once I turn off the EQ, I'm back to a cohesive single lead voice, in sections where she sings only one lead line.
What EQ's avoid this time based alteration of the audio? The reason I ask is - if this is what a digital EQ does to audio, and I can hear it, on a single stereo track, I can imagine what it has done to my multitrack recordings where I most likely use it on many tracks, and on the master bus also.
Please recommend a good quality - especially if its free or low cost eq, that I can trust to not smear my audio as described above.
If the post was too long. I apologise. I thought the more info you have, the easier it would be to propose a suitable solution for me. Thanks in advance for responding.