Analog Obsession’s Rare plugin acts as an aid for any producer looking to craft a vintage sound with a thick low end. The plugin is indistinguishable from a rack mount and is models the settings of a tube program EQ. It’s versatile enough to be placed on a master bus or used individually from source to source.
Rare is simplified with bare-bones low and high-frequency bands. Most notably, this EQ emulates tube equalization, which gives this plugin its signature warm, retrosound. The interface is pretty simple and requires the user to rely on their ears as there is no frequency visualizer embedded in the plugin. Each band has preset knob toggles, so you can quickly get to your desired sound without a lot of hassle. The final output is completely clean, so you can ensure that even with your vintage sound, you won’t get vintage processing capabilities. It’s hard to find a tube emulator EQ in general, but Rare holds up even without a price tag.
Specs and Features
This plugin is based around two bands that can be toggled at 3-16 Hz and 20-100 Hz respectively. For each band, there’s an attenuation knob that determines the strength of the audio signal. Each band also has a boost knob, which employs age-old audio tricks to help high or low frequencies cut through properly in one’s mix. There’s a simple bypass toggle for easy pre/post-production comparison. You can adjust the width of your signals easily with the central bandwidth knob. The independent output can be adjusted from -12 dB to 12 dB. The user interface is very sleek and is complete with fake screws to truly give the plugin a rack mount feel.
This plugin does a great job of integrating its aesthetics with the actual sound output. The vintage rack mount feel is truly representative of the retro tube feel your audio gets after being processed through rare. Although this EQ may be limiting as an all-purpose EQ, for someone who enjoys creating nostalgic or lofi inspired tunes, Rare is a staple. The bands are easy to use, and the classic audio shaping trips built into the interface are there for a reason. Even after decades of use, they still work and help your audio cut through any mix.
Analog style plugins can cost a pretty penny, so users naturally loved Rare’s price point. Many customers noted the VST’s simplicity. Some met it with praise as it streamlined their workflow, while others found it to be limiting. However, this plugin is meant for specialized use, since it is a tube EQ emulator… Even an actual tube-powered EQ would not be used as a given on every song since it produces a very distinct, warm feel that is not always desired depending on the genre and mood of the song. The simplicity worked in many users’ favor by not overcomplicating the process of boosting low or high frequencies.
Although this EQ only possesses 2 main bands, it is excellent when used in the way it was designed. Tube emulator EQs are difficult to find, let alone at a non-existent price point. The user interface of this plugin is charming and can serve as a transition aid between software and hardware instruments. While the plugin is highly simplified, that is half of Rare’s beauty. Moreover, its simplicity also contributes to this EQ’s flexibility: You’re not limited to using Rare on a particular type of instrument. Anything that needs an extra blast from the past can benefit from Rare. With retro music highly on-trend, trying out this plugin is a must.
Where to Get it
You can get Rare for free by subscribing to Analog Obsession’s Patreon here. The site itself is dedicated to making hardware style plugins as software, so be sure to check out the rest of their inventory if you’re interested in creating a more classic sound. It is available in VST 2 and AU formats and requires a RAM of 2GB. The plugin is compatible with Windows 7 through 10 and Mac OS 10.7 through 10.14. This plugin requires an intel or intel compatible CPU.