This is how to get the flattest response possible with Live’s EQ Three. Which is, in my opinion, the best way to set up a DJ EQ Rack in Ableton Live.
I was writing an article for Ask.Audio on secret-ish parameters and settings for Live’s devices when I stumbled upon the Flat Response parameter on the EQ 3.
Now, Live’s EQ Three (EQ3) is not meant to be a crystal clear and super flat EQ. It was purposely designed to add analog style color and warmth to the sound passing through it by mimicking an analog filter cascade.
The filters in this device are optimized to sound more like a good, powerful analog filter cascade than a clean digital filter.
However, when I set out to DJ in Live I like to make DJ EQ & FX Racks. That coloring effect is quite strong and can
be pesky. In some instances, before adjusting any gain knobs, there is a +6dB boost!! That’s a lot. Luckily there are a couple tricks to get that boost down significantly.
The 48 dB Mode especially does not provide a perfect linear transfer quality, resulting in a slight coloration of the input signal even if all controls are set to 0.00 dB. This is typical behavior for this kind of filter, and is part of EQ Three’s unique sound.
So, your best bet right off is to switch from 48 dB mode to 24 dB which will provide a more linear behavior.
But, the un doesn’t stop there. We can also make sure to that the “Flat Response” option is active. This is a slightly hidden feature of the EQ3. You need to right click its title bar to activate or deactivate this parameter.
The results of the four EQ3 options
I went ahead and ran the same track through the EQ3 in the four possible configurations. Here are the results.
Normal – peak value -2.09
EQ3 – 48 dB No Flat Response – peak value 3.80 – (+5.89 dB change)
EQ3 – 24 dB No Flat Response – peak value 3.50 – (+5.59 dB change)
EQ3 – 48 dB Flat Response – peak value 3.56 – (+5.65 dB change)
EQ3 – 24 dB Flat Response – peak value 2.61 – (+4.70 dB change)
*from right to left in the picture