Waves Q10 EQ Review


The Waves Q10 “Paragraphic” Equalizer is apparently the first plugin that Waves produced, many years ago.

Since it’s inception it has obviously had many “under the hood” updates and has long been a go-to tool for most professional engineers and producers when “surgical” eq is required. The Q10 is a 10 band fully parametric equaliser with up to 10 bands available, all able to be set anywhere between 16Hz and over 21kHz, which covers the full spectrum. Each band has up to 18dB of boost or cut and has a Q (bandwidth) setting from a super wide 0.5 to a sharply notched 100.

Each band can be set to any of 5 useful filter types: band pass, low shelf, high shelf, low pass or high pass. That just about covers every type of eq filter there is, making the Q10 an extremely versatile beast.

There are controls for input and output levels with output bar graph metering and red overload indicators, phase (polarity) switches, as well as a trim control and left, right and linking modes for stereo or dual mono use, with different coloured curves for each channel.

The Q10 can be instanced as a Q1 (single band), Q2 (2 bands) and so on, when you only need a smaller number of bands and space may be limited. If you do use the full Q10, only the bands you use will take up computer resources, which is a great feature.

There are some very useful and surprising presets, such as the “Super Notch”, which uses 4 bands together for a staggering 46dB of cut!

The Q10 can be adjusted using the controls below the display, or by simply grabbing the spots on the graph (numbered to correspond with each band selected by the control buttons) and moving them around the window. This will adjust the frequency and gain of the selected band, while the filter type and bandwidth must be selected on the control pad below.

Apart from it’s ability to perform accurate surgical eq duties, the Q10 is also a great sounding eq. I’m a Logic user and Logic has a very good channel eq included for free, but the Q10 beats it for total versatility. The fact that every band can be any of 5 filter types, rather than just shelving at the extremes and bell types in between, plus the fact that there are up to 10 bands available and all the other features make the Q10 my go-to eq for precision jobs. Unlike the console eq’s and Pultec emulations, which are brilliant for adding colour to a recording, the Q10 is a valuable fix it tool.

There’s a lot more interesting information in the manual and I recommend giving it a good read.

I can’t find anything to complain about with the Q10. It’s a fantastic tool and it’s pretty obvious why it’s a favourite with the pros.

At the time of writing this review, Waves have the Q10 available for $99 US and it’s included in many of their plugin bundles. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find it on special, as with many of the Waves plugins. You can find it here.