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EQ for Mix Bus Equalisers (HW)
Old 29th January 2016
  #1
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CJ1973's Avatar
 

EQ for Mix Bus

I am looking at a stereo EQ for strictly mix bus purposes.

My chain is Apogee I/O --> RCA console (API sounding) --> Dramastic Obsidian/33609 - EQ (??)

Suggestions so far are the following:
Retro, Avalon, Mercury, A-Designs, Massive Passive, Millenia, Chandler Curve Bender or German PEV, W495ST

Would appreciate any recommendations. The purpose is for mixing and adding some sheen to final mix before Mastering. Style of music is pop generally. (Bruno Mars, Adele etc.)

Thanks!
Old 29th January 2016
  #2
There are a lot of great ones, including the ones you mentioned. I'm partial to either the Great River EQ2NV which is punchy and flexible (sounds like a Neve 1081/API 550a hybrid to my ears). The Manley Massive Passive is smooth and creamy and make for a nice complement to the tighter GR.
Old 29th January 2016
  #3
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A Designs Nail is nice for shaping. Great tube sound but very subtle. Not 'sheen' machine though. Massive Passive is great but slathers the syrup on thick and doesn't work for everything. Pultecs can be great for a little thump and and sheen. So Retro fits that mode. Maybe add a pair of warm pultecs to your list.
Old 29th January 2016
  #4
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Old time classics..

GML 8200 or an Avalon 747

Wiggy
Old 29th January 2016
  #5
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Custom audio Germany HDE-250, dont have one but have lusted over one for a while now. Once i get tired of ITB ill start my OTB journey with his HDE-450
Old 29th January 2016
  #6
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The Maag EQ4M is one to try. I love it for the mix bus.
Old 29th January 2016
  #7
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I own and use the Retro 2A3, Chandler Curvebender, Manley Massive Passive Mastering Edition, API 5500, and a Dangerous Bax. I use these all in mixing and mastering work primarily.

For me the Curvebender does something special that the others don't quite do as obviously or as easily. It has an amazingly rich yet clear box tone and has taken the main bus EQ spot practically instantly after I got it. That being said any of these is going to be great but some are more targeted and specific with what kind of effect they will give. API is very forward and aggressive, I use that on drum bus now mostly. Retro 2A3 is nice for some more acoustic stuff or really dull mixes that need the high shimmer in force, also lovely on vocals. Manley is also a powerhouse but more tweaky and deep with all the Q variation and band interaction. The Dangerous Bax is really great for broad strokes and tightening the lowend with the filter.

For pop the Chandler is a no brainer and in fact a lot Adele's material was mixed through a Curvebender by Tom Elmhirst.
Old 29th January 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staudio View Post
For pop the Chandler is a no brainer and in fact a lot Adele's material was mixed through a Curvebender by Tom Elmhirst.
Thanks! Appreciate it! Yes I listened to Chandler at VK and it had a fantastic sound, very meaty!
Re Adele, yes I read about the 21 album but do you know if Tom used it on the latest record 25?
Old 29th January 2016
  #9
Massive Passive lives on the mixbus here. It would be nice to have an alternative, maybe like the Crane Song Ibis, or as Nathan says, the Great River to complement it if I'm honest.
Old 29th January 2016
  #10
I have a Curve Bender and dig it but the Knif Soma is my favourite.
Old 29th January 2016
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Thanks! Appreciate it! Yes I listened to Chandler at VK and it had a fantastic sound, very meaty!
Re Adele, yes I read about the 21 album but do you know if Tom used it on the latest record 25?
I'm not 100 percent sure about 25 but I know he has used his Curvebender for years and its a staple on mixbus for him. When I've visited him at Electric Lady its always been there right behind the mix position.
Old 29th January 2016
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Why soo strictly for mix buss?
I love my Massive Passive to bits, even if it doesn't always work.
But mostly it does, and to me it puts a magical texture across the mix.
I use it for many other things too tho.
BEAUTIFUL!
Old 30th January 2016
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasparecording View Post
Why soo strictly for mix buss?
!
Thanks. 'Strictly' because I want to leave it there mostly and not touch it too much. Also my work flow is better when I start making music with some of the dynamics and eqs already on especially on the mix as I just place accordingly during composing of a song and recording of vocals....if that makes sense.
Old 30th January 2016
  #14
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Sontec 250 and call it a day.
Old 30th January 2016
  #15
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I have a similar set up to you. Mine is Apogee Symphony, Euphonix, SSL. I have a Massive Passive and A-Designs Hammer EQ that I use interchangeably. The Hammer gets more use (90%) than the MP (10%) for this application. The mid and higher frequencies are glorious on the Hammer. The low end is sweet too.
Old 30th January 2016
  #16
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
I am looking at a stereo EQ for strictly mix bus purposes.

My chain is Apogee I/O --> RCA console (API sounding) --> Dramastic Obsidian/33609 - EQ (??)

Suggestions so far are the following:
Retro, Avalon, Mercury, A-Designs, , Millenia, or German PEV, W495ST

Would appreciate any recommendations. The purpose is for mixing and adding some sheen to final mix before Mastering. Style of music is pop generally. (Bruno Mars, Adele etc.)

Thanks!

I would consider the following:


01. Great River MAQ-2NV (with an for the Transformer send and return trick if you find you need more color at times.) Pound for pound, this is one of the best since it's 1dB stepped on all controls, and feels like a cross between a API 5500 and a Neve 1081 (while being superior to both in my opinion, since the MAQ-2NV sports a lot more control over the Q for each band than either of those choices, and the recall is effortless) The Great River sound is incredible...and even though it's expensive, it's extremely flexible in terms of choices for transformer saturation if you buy the MP-2NV to do said transformer trick. I did a review of the EQ-2NV a ways back, and it's still just as good as I've said...but lately I've needed stepped controls for faster recalls, and an improved workflow. (*NOTE: Buy the MP2-NV preamp for the send and returns...the 500 series units don't have inserts.)


02. Pulse Technologies PEQM 1A3 and PEQM 1S3 (Mastering versions.) If you don't have tubes in your chain, this can help with preventing ear fatigue if you mix into a pair of these pultec EQ's from the start. I love the solid state ones as well...so calling Pulse to speak with Steve Jackson about custom ordering solid state versions of these mastering EQ's is doable,and worth the effort. If you have too much tube gear on your mixbus things will get "soft", but these can be a great choice. Again, stepped controls seems to be working best for me as late. The 1A3 and 1S3 differences should be factired in after demoing both so you can understand the (slight) differences and make an educated decision about which you prefer. These will sound more pristine and clear than the Great River MAQ-2Nv and the Massive Passive, but are also the simplest EQ's to operate, making it less likely you could screw anything up at least, plus they're recognized by most of the worlds recording industry due to the legend of their lineage, you might get more paying work simply from owning them.


03. Manley Massive Passive (Mastering Version.) This EQ is honestly in the middle of the two mentioned above. It has the most flexibility, and has Tubes...but also giant transformers and a far "thicker" tone than Pultecs (closer to thicker tones fron the Grest Rivery EQ's with more tran former saturation, only with tubest sofencing things.) You can also audition the UNBALANCED outputs for the mixbus as well as the standard balanced outs for every mix (for denser material I prefer the unbalanced outs, since the "mushy: bottom end people complain about gets a lot tighter using the unbalanced outputs. For more sparse acoustic work/more intimate live performances, oftentimes the "thicker" sound of the balanced outs makes things feel bigger, with an extended bottom end that seems more real as though you're there.) The Manley also (unfairly) gets a bad rep in comparison to Pultecs because it's NOT a pultec. It's "surgical", even though it has an incredible capacity to be more of a "broad stroke" tool...and although it's going to "color" everything much moreso than either the other two listed above, the mastering version has much more subtle High Pass and Low Pass filters, far better for program than the norMal version. With stepped controls in the mix, now we're talking about a very powerful piece, though I don't think it's the best choice for all styles of music.


04. Maag EQ4M (Mastering Version of the EQ4) & EQ2 (500 series.) These are interesting. Every recommendation I'm making to you prior to this have all been inductor based EQ Designs. While the Maag stuff has a color, they are far more "transparent" than the other options I'm throwing out. If you like your mixes to stay roughly where they are, this will flatter what you already can do the most without having to remix things back into an EQ with a "sound/tone" from the start. I love the metering, limited though they might be, on each of these designs, since that helps you avoid adding too much gain to any bands. Lastly...and this is important. They both have stepped input attenuation. WHICH IS FRIGGIN GREAT. Very powerful when it comes to gain staging. The Manley has input attenuation too...but there's no way to meter if your gain is staged without any of your bands starting to clip on the Manley, so you have to use your ears care fully lIke you with tye othere too. Being able to ballpark safe boosts saves a lot of time with the Maag. And this is the cheapest option by far.


Final thoughts...

There's other good eq's too...but either they're expensive beyond these choices, or potentially, too complicated for someone who has no experience with professional mastering...or they are simply better as secondary EQ's to compliment your first choice. For someone starting down this road these are my top picks for ease of use/flexibility, since they will work equally well with tracking, or processing tracks for mixing on top of 2 Bus duties.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by herecomesyourman; 2nd February 2016 at 05:56 AM..
Old 30th January 2016
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
A Designs Nail is nice for shaping. Great tube sound but very subtle. Not 'sheen' machine though. Massive Passive is great but slathers the syrup on thick and doesn't work for everything. Pultecs can be great for a little thump and and sheen. So Retro fits that mode. Maybe add a pair of warm pultecs to your list.
maybe you meant the hammer?
Old 30th January 2016
  #18
Sounds like for your setup and tastes you couldn't go wrong with the Curve Bender. But really, all amazing options.
Old 30th January 2016
  #19
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Black Ninja's Avatar
 

Fearn VT5!
Sounds Greeeeeeat!!!
One set of controls for L,R!
Old 31st January 2016
  #20
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CJ1973's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
I would consider the following:

Final thoughts...

There's other good eq's too...but either they're expensive beyond these choices, or potentially, too complicated for someone who has no experience with professional mastering...or they are simply better as secondary EQ's to compliment your first choice. For someone starting down this road these are my top picks for ease of use/flexibility, since they will work equally well with tracking, or processing tracks for mixing on top of 2 Bus duties.

Hope this helps.
Hi
Thanks heaps for your well thought out answer. I appreciate it!! Lots of fantastic options there!! I am going to have a chance to listen to a pair of vintage pultecs one of these days so that should be helpful in determining things further.
I am certainly curious to find out your thoughts on the Curve Bender.
Also in my case, my console is like a vintage API (RCA with Melcor parts) and my go-to mix buss comp is the 33609. So I am thinking either I go after some Tube gear here for some tube color (though I use CL1B and some other tube pieces in mixing)....
Have you used any Inward Connections Vac Rac EQs at all?
Thanks again!
Old 31st January 2016
  #21
Also check out the Michelangelo tube EQ from Hendy Amps. Michelangelo | Hendyamps
Nice box tone. Good price. Good sound. Good luck
Old 31st January 2016
  #22
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Slug1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hansest View Post
maybe you meant the hammer?
Blah! Yes Hammer. Slip!
Old 1st February 2016
  #23
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Ninja View Post
Fearn VT5!
Sounds Greeeeeeat!!!
One set of controls for L,R!
This is a GREAT pick too. I put the new Pulses up above it moreso for the 0.5dB steps. But the Fearn is GREAT even with 2dB steps...the stereo version can't be beat if you're looking for ease of use, if I could own both I would.
Old 1st February 2016
  #24
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Hi
Thanks heaps for your well thought out answer. I appreciate it!! Lots of fantastic options there!! I am going to have a chance to listen to a pair of vintage pultecs one of these days so that should be helpful in determining things further.
I am certainly curious to find out your thoughts on the Curve Bender.
Also in my case, my console is like a vintage API (RCA with Melcor parts) and my go-to mix buss comp is the 33609. So I am thinking either I go after some Tube gear here for some tube color (though I use CL1B and some other tube pieces in mixing)....
Have you used any Inward Connections Vac Rac EQs at all?
Thanks again!

I prefer compressors with parallel compression built in for 2Bus (Matched Chandler Germanium Compressors, or Dave Hill Titans. Or...even better, both in series with EQ's in front of both.)


The Chandlers can almost get in the territory of that 33609ish thing despite being a FET design...and be fine tuned to mimic several other great compressors with the six knees they have and different distortion controls.

The Titans can shape the knee from scratch, so they make a great second compressor in that chain...or can handle being the only comp on the 2Bus if you EQ a bit more low-mid-mud-range out prior to using them to squish. Also if you measure knees, curves and distortions, you can mimic a great many other compressors with it too...however, it's always going to be cleaner to squeaky clean compared to how dirty the Germ Comps can go comparatively speaking.

I haven't used the Curve Bender...I'm sure it's nice, I'm a huge Chandler LTD fan and have had Germanium Compressors for years (Just bought a new matched pair after selling my old mismatched ones, but they were always a favorite.)

The Titan is better with recall, since a few Germ Comp controls aren't stepped...but the Chandlers get dirtier and fatter...and have a great stepped side chain which the Titans lack.

There's other interesting color pieces I think are great...but plugins have spoiled me when it comes to parallel compression.

As for the Curve Bender...anyone know if all the controls are stepped? With EQ's moreso than compressors that's a big factor for me ATM.

Also you're totally welcome, and your console sounds really wicked!
Old 1st February 2016
  #25
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TheAmpFactory's Avatar
I'd totally recommend the Manley Massive Passive. - it lives (and loves) it on my mixbuss here..its just the most juicy ive tried to this day. (and I have a lot of EQ's)
Old 1st February 2016
  #26
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myles's Avatar
 

As the poster above mentioned, stepped controls are good, especially when this is the only (or one of the only - I'm using a Fearn comp and a Hammer) external box in your chain. If you need to do recalls, being able to actually go back to a specific setting is a good thing. If you don't get stepped controls - and good ones will add to the price - then true linked stereo operation with one set of knobs controlling both channels is pretty important. I really like my Hammer, but it doesn't have either, so it's a little fiddly if you're coming back to a mix after your settings have changed, no matter how many photos you have of the front plate.
Old 1st February 2016
  #27
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Pulse PEQM 1S3's and GML 8200 covers me.kinda overkill but hey...
Old 1st February 2016
  #28
^Love the GML8200,
Im partial to the Retro 2A3 on the mix
Old 1st February 2016
  #29
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
^Love the GML8200,
Im partial to the Retro 2A3 on the mix
Yeah I'll swap the pulse' for the retro when a little more tubeyness is required.
Old 2nd February 2016
  #30
Great thread with files to check: I'm shooting out Mastering EQs...
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