EQ Phase and Latency Explained

How your EQ plugin affects the phase and latency of your audio is important to understand. This article explains the common types of EQ and the effect they have on the phase and latency of your audio.

The names in use to describe the different types of EQ with respect to phase and latency are:

  • Zero latency
  • Linear phase
  • Minimum phase
  • Analog phase
  • Natural phase

How each effects the phase and latency of your audio is explained below.

Zero Latency

Zero latency EQ introduces no delay in the audio. It does however introduce phase changes in the audio.

Zero latency EQ is very similar to analog phase EQ except the phase usually differs at very high frequencies. Oversampling can be used to match analog phase at the expense of adding a small delay.

Zero latency EQ is the ideal choice for mixing, performing and composing.

Linear Phase

Linear phase EQ introduces a delay in the audio. It avoids introducing any phase distortion.

Linear phase EQ is the ideal choice for mastering.

Minimum Phase

Minimum phase EQ means that the EQ manufacturer has ensured that the phase changes have been minimized.

Zero latency, natural phase and analog phase are all examples of minimum phase EQ.

Analog Phase

Analog phase EQ replicates the changes in phase that analog hardware produces. Analog phase matching in digital plugins introduces latency. This delay is usually small compared to the delay introduced by a linear phase EQ.

There are several ways to match analog phase using a zero latency EQ. A common method is oversampling.

Natural Phase

Natural phase EQ is just another name for analog phase EQ.