Step 3: Physical modeled equalizer plugins
As you know, the difference of hardware devices from purely digital ones is in special character of work of transistor and tube chains which add a little saturation and a number of random anomalies to sound. All this makes out the “fatness” and the “warmth” of music for which you like the sounding of analog devices very much.
The professional mixing process is so multifaceted that you can’t categorically recommend using one or another kind of devices in different cases. First and foremost you should ask yourself what exactly you expect from the process and of what the track that sounds now in your studio comes short.
If audio requires a strictly technical approach to music mixing, the choice will be towards digital equalizers with their absolutely transparent sounding. If the personal taste of an engineer requires of mixing some extra character and warmth, and possible a little of grit, physical modeled EQ plugins are definitely the only technique to achieve a desired goal. After all, concepts of “correct” and “incorrect” in music are quite subjective, and the best tactics is that one which gives the most exciting sound.
It’s just worth separately emphasizing linear phase equalizers as another alternative. They are often used in online music mixing with equalizer exactly due to their practically invisible influence on the sound and absence of their own coloration, such a surgical instrument of an mixing service engineer. If you doubt your choice, you’d rather take a liner phase equalizer as transparency is a first-priority quality expected by clients.