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Sonnox has just released Claro.
It’s an EQ tool where you have 3 tabs which will let you eq from very intuitively to very detailed, progressing with each tab.
It might well be the best EQ plugin of 2021.
Get it here:
In the video below you will hear and see how it works as well:
Sonnox claims that Claro is clean and musical sounding EQ plugin
I agree with that and I can add that the plugin itself sounds very forgiving as well.
This result in that no matter what setting you choose the plugin will never sound harsh or out of place.
Now to understand how the plugin works we can best go through the 3 tabs on this plugin.
The 3 tabs are basically a different interface, a different workflow for the same EQ.
The produce tab will give you a very straightforward eq method, not completely unlike having a bass, mid and treble dial on an amp.
This will get you started very nicely.
It is way more flexible fortunately.
When you hover over one of the big controls, a circle with frequencies will show up.
Click on any of them to select a frequency and with the slider, which is just above the dials, you can set the frequency more precisely.
In the tweak tab you’ll see how the eq has changed in the more standard frequency display.
What can help is the energy display, the brighter parts are more present. This will help you making better choices in boosting or reducing eq.
On top, in the energy display, Sonnox has added handy descriptions of frequency areas.
I really dig that they have used both the thing you possible want more like ‘’warmth’’ as the thing you want less like ‘’harshness’’.
That simple inclusion will be very nice and helpfull for the ones who are starting out in mixing.
Going a bit more in depth, there are shelf type eq switches for the low and high frequencies.
The low shelf is a Pultec type shelf.
So it will boost around the frequency you have chosen but also dip a little above that frequency to increase clarity in the low end. You can see that clearly in the tweak frequency display.
On stereo audio tracks you have the choice between tone which is your normal eq and width.
By selecting width the color changes to purple and you have control over the stereowidth of your audio.
The audio display here on top will show hot spots in the audio so where the audio can be wide or too wide. Just select the frequency as with tone and reduce or increase. Here you can get low end mono compatibility easier and widen the high frequencies quickly.
I mentioned the tweak tab already and let’s dive in that tab right now.
What has transferred over from the Produce Tab is the handy naming for frequency areas.
But now there more of them and also split into what you want to have less in your audio on the bottom below, that’s where you would want to cut eq, or where you want more of something on the top and that’s where you want to boost.
Adding an eq band is as simple as double clicking on the display and doubleclicking again will mute the frequency band.
Now rightclicking will reveal on a frequency point will show a bunch of options.
5 frequency band types, each band can be set to left, right, stereo, mid or side.
This is ofcourse only when you use the plugin on a stereo track.
It has ”split” where you can split a stereo frequency band into a separate left and right frequency point,
which you then can adjust again in any way you want. Sonnox has thought this through really well.
There’s a piano roll on top instead of a frequency display, in Sonnox’ point of view this will let you use your ears more,
which I can only support, and every frequency point will show the frequency anyway over here.
At this spot you can also adjust the bandwidth or q, this can also be done by pressing cmd or ctrl at the frequency point and dragging up and down and you can set the steepness of every frequency band.
Looking at these options in the Tweak tab it’s obvious for me that Sonnox has taken a good look at how Fabfilter Pro q3 operates, and Claro is very similar to pro q3 in that.
Fabfilter pro q3 has a few options more and has the very handy dynamic eq options .
I need to mention the excellent autogain. This takes in account how frequency curve is of the original audio and bases it’s auto gain on that. So the loudness is always sounds spot on and it’s great when you do extreme eq settings.
it’s also great when you automate eq, the autogain and eq will work as a filter as you can see in the video.
So Claro is set up in a way that you start with the Produce Tab and if you feel you need more tweaking you go in the cleverly named Tweak tab to adjust the eq more.
Now if you are happy with the eq on one track you can go into the Mix tab, which takes everything a few steps further.
This tab allows you to see how the eq of all tracks works with eachother and also make it possible to adjust all eq’s in this one window.
To get this working you need to have one instance of Claro on every audio you want to work on.
On the left side you see every track you have Claro inserted on and here on the right you can select any
two tracks you want to compare the eq on.
So this is very flexible and doesn’t require you to open up the plugin of the track you want to work on.
You see the same interface as on the tweak tab, with the exact same functionality.
The whole idea of the mix tab is to keep an eye on the energy display in between both eq’s where you will see high energy or overlapping areas glow up. This could mean you need to eq on either one of the tracks to reduce frequency overlapping.
But keep in mind that overlapping, or masking isn’t always a bad thing.
It can make the sound thicker and add glue. But it can also makes audio less defined.
So like with all naming in this plugin the overlapping can be good or need attention.
The down left button menu doesn’t work for me in Cubase, except the tracks button.
The buses and effects don’t do anything for me.
The autogain can also be frozen. This is nice when you have found a sound you like, but need to dive in more but don’t want any overall gain changes.
One thing I miss in this plugin is an easy way to fully reset the eq settings. You can go in the tweak tab and manually delete frequency points, but an option to do a full reset.
For that I have simply saved a preset called ‘’reset’’ where everything is reset to the deafult empty window.
So that can be a workaround. Many eq plugins now also offer dynamic EQ, and Claro would, in my opinion, also benefit from that.
The handling of the plugin is excellent.
Everything works and feels intuitive. Rescaling is done in the menu. The tweak and mix tab can also by going in the righ bottom corner.
The produce tab doesn’t have that option and it also not needed.
The Sonnox Claro plugin is good. It offers something like I haven’t seen on the plugin market yet, and that is a very natural, intuitive way of working with EQ. From simple and quick tone adjusting to extended eq functions and a clear insight on which frequencies can collide between tracks. It will actually let you learn as well how you to improve your mixes as well with that functionality.
Claro will be a best of 5 plugins of 2021 contender for me.
The plugin will retail for 99 pounds with an introductory discount of 25% until December 1st and I think that is worth every penny.
Get the plugin using this link: