Klevgränd Produktion will be well known to regular iOS music–makers, as they have a catalogue of iOS music apps that includes both audio effects/processors and virtual instruments. The subject of this review is GotoEQ, and its stated subtitle of 'Premium Equalizer' and more upmarket price tag suggest it might be attempting something a little different from the majority of iOS music app releases.
One of the most obvious trends in desktop music software over the last few years has been software emulations of classic hardware, be that synths or audio effects/processors. For synth emulations, this trend reached iOS some time ago but for effects processing things have been a little slower to make the move. Thankfully, that's now changing! In GotoEQ, Klevgränd are attempting to recreate some of the magic of the Pultec EQP‑1A hardware — an EQ that has appeared on countless classic recordings over the last 60-plus years — in the AUv3 plug-in format, along with an extra twist.
Even setting aside the Pultec angle, a quick glance at the GotoEQ control set tells you that this is something a little more serious than your average iOS EQ. You get input/output level controls, an initial switchable high-pass filter, low- and high-pass shelf filters (which is where the Pultec influence is most obvious) and low-mid and high-mid parametric bands that both offer dynamic attenuation (the additional twist). You can pick a centre frequency for the low filter but then, as on the EQP‑1A, you get both Boost and Attenuation controls. While this might sound counterintuitive, the Boost and Attenuation controls offer different responses and so do not simply cancel each other out; the result can be a kind of resonant filter and can sound very musical. The control set is mimicked in the high filter section.
This is undoubtedly one of the best EQ plug-ins I've ever used under iOS.
The two mid bands provide standard parametric EQ control of frequency, gain and Q (bandwidth), but add a Dynamic Attention control. This essentially allows you to apply a cut centred at the selected frequency, with the amount of cut controlled by the dynamics of the incoming signal at that frequency. This is, in essence, part EQ and part compressor, so it's a very powerful tool: as well as all manner of standard EQ roles, it could easily be put to good use as a mastering EQ or, for example, a de-esser.
I tested the AUv3 plug-in in Cubasis and experienced no technical issues. While price may perhaps be an issue for some iOS music–makers, this is undoubtedly one of the best EQ plug-ins I've ever used under iOS. For example, used on drums, it helped turn a fairly flat-sounding drum mix into something much more punchy and vibrant. On an acoustic guitar, it tamed the low end and bought out some 'sheen' in the upper mids with ease. And for vocals, you can really carve out a spot for the voice in a busy mix.
iOS music–making is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and the arrival of audio processing plug-ins such as GotoEQ is an important part of that evolution. Yes, your DAW will come with bundled EQ plug-ins but I think that, for the more serious iOS recording fans, Klevgränd have created something pretty special here. Oh, and if you like the iOS version, then it's worth noting that a Mac OS/Windows version is also available for your desktop system. Well worth a look.