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Sontec MEP-250EX in 2013 Equalisers (HW)
Old 7th June 2013
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Sontec MEP-250EX in 2013

Hi guys, what are the current opinions on this piece, as to how they sound and reliability?

Looking to add a nice solid state EQ to an existing pair of pultecs on the stereo buss.

Was also looking at the Lang mini massive as an option for this, the lack of controls compared to the Sontec aren’t an issue, its purely just a little extra tone and nice lift im after to go with the tubey sonics from the pultecs.
Old 8th June 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I have a vintage MEP-250EX, had it for basically... forever.

In the early digital days I liked it less, but with great converters it's starting to sound good to me again. There is something special about the low and high shelves, especially the high shelf at the 25.6khz setting.

Coincidentally, I'm working on an EQ boost shootout for my little youtube channel... should be ready in a few days. The Sontec is compared with some other vintage EQ's and a Manley Langevin mic pre/eq. Stay tuned here:
jephthastudios's channel - YouTube
Old 8th June 2013
  #3
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Is t comparing the sontec to a Lang like comparing lazer to a buck shot rifle? Both do their jobs admirably but useless as a comparison. A forsell to a 1073? Sorta a hard game but I hope you catch my drift?
Old 8th June 2013
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff D. View Post
I have a vintage MEP-250EX, had it for basically... forever.

In the early digital days I liked it less, but with great converters it's starting to sound good to me again. There is something special about the low and high shelves, especially the high shelf at the 25.6khz setting.

Coincidentally, I'm working on an EQ boost shootout for my little youtube channel... should be ready in a few days. The Sontec is compared with some other vintage EQ's and a Manley Langevin mic pre/eq. Stay tuned here:
jephthastudios's channel - YouTube

Hey Jeff D, that's so cool , I actually found your channel a few weeks back... totally unrelated. Great videos! Loved the compressor death match. Looking forward to EQ video now!!

@dogma, of course, no way would I compare the Lang to the Sontec, was just another unit I threw my eye to, totally different in terms of sound and capability for sure.
Old 4th July 2013
  #5
Gear Addict
 

So does anybody know if there are still reliability issues with the new 250Ex's these days? Is there still issues with the opamps?
Old 4th July 2013
  #6
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Apparently the hs1000 Opamps where made by a video guy and drew so much current that they would simply catch on fire! There was a thread where people where waiting up to a year or more for theirs with little or no replay from burgess. Check out regular John recordings - I've been talking to him and he's doing a bax stereo for me - it'll take six months because he builds them one at a time but the build quality is amazing - same frequencies as the dangerous bax. He's charging me $800. He does many other designs though - I highly recommend getting in contact with him
Old 4th July 2013
  #7
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im hearing that the latest batches on 250ex's are a bit more reliable...perhaps the opamp issues have been resolved?
Old 4th July 2013
  #8
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thermos's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma View Post
Apparently the hs1000 Opamps where made by a video guy and drew so much current that they would simply catch on fire! There was a thread where people where waiting up to a year or more for theirs with little or no replay from burgess. Check out regular John recordings - I've been talking to him and he's doing a bax stereo for me - it'll take six months because he builds them one at a time but the build quality is amazing - same frequencies as the dangerous bax. He's charging me $800. He does many other designs though - I highly recommend getting in contact with him
250 EX does not use HS 1000s, it uses HS 2000s which are more reliable.
Old 4th July 2013
  #9
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Apologies - I think it was the 430? Anyway true story and yes I'd imagine they've rectified the situation
Old 5th July 2013
  #10
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thermos's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma View Post
Apologies - I think it was the 430? Anyway true story and yes I'd imagine they've rectified the situation
Yep, that would be the one. That has HS1000s
Old 6th July 2013
  #11
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Just finished refurbishing a 250c for a client. I have to admit that it sounds great. But built quality is some of the worst I´ve ever seen. And by looking at the price of these I´d even quadruple this statement. Hopefully the EX version is better made than the C.
Old 6th July 2013
  #12
Gear Nut
 

I have a reissue 250EX that's had no problems for over a year now. Had a mini massive too, which was excellent as well, but I preferred the control and functionality of the Sontec more.

The mini massive sounded more natural when boosting mids (similar to a massive passive) and it was nice as a simple tracking EQ, but I prefer the Sontec for highs and lows and across the mix buss. On the 2 buss, I struggled with the highs on the mini massive, the bands interact a lot and it took more effort to get what I wanted. On the Sontec, you just find your frequency and are good to go.

I'll mod my 250EX to reduce the boost/cut at some point, the center detents make fine tuning tricky sometimes. YMMV.
Old 6th July 2013
  #13
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Ben F's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jensenmann View Post
Just finished refurbishing a 250c for a client. I have to admit that it sounds great. But built quality is some of the worst I´ve ever seen. And by looking at the price of these I´d even quadruple this statement. Hopefully the EX version is better made than the C.
The 430 series is the same. Inconsistent build quality.
Old 7th July 2013
  #14
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 

I've got both the 250EX and a 430C9. They share the same description:

- Very musical sounding filters
- Very ****ty build quality and reliability

We've been working on getting precise digital models of these boxes because frankly, I have little faith in their future. But couldn't live without their tone.

Cheers,
Steven
Old 8th July 2013
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
I've got both the 250EX and a 430C9. They share the same description:

- Very musical sounding filters
- Very ****ty build quality and reliability

We've been working on getting precise digital models of these boxes because frankly, I have little faith in their future. But couldn't live without their tone.

Cheers,
Steven
Do they still have the hs1000 or hs2000? I'm about to take delivery of a 250ex with gml high and low shelving filters but the best Opamps currently available.
I'm thinking of replacing them with the best opamp available which is app ings 992. Steve, you've got coin, ill hook you up with pier the maker - I'd love to see your face when you hear them. Jlm makes a hs / 2520/990 pinout.
Old 8th July 2013
  #16
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anybody ever have the chance to use a MEP-230 alongside the later models like the 250EX?
i love the low end heft, and the midrange cutting ability of the 230, but frankly have never been in love with boosting the top end. it gets shrill pretty darn fast. although the low shelf, at 50 or 100Hz is worth the price alone. mine has been fully serviced and I did manage to get a lot of spare parts from Burgess a few years ago. Just wondering if the top end is similar between the old ITI and later Sontec 250 line. Not the 430.
thanks,
David
Old 8th July 2013
  #17
Music 1
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
I've got both the 250EX and a 430C9. They share the same description:

- Very musical sounding filters
- Very ****ty build quality and reliability

We've been working on getting precise digital models of these boxes because frankly, I have little faith in their future. But couldn't live without their tone.
Yeah, Burgess is definitely a hack and his units are built pretty ****ty.

You can tell because his Eq's that were built in the 70's, 80's. 90's, 00's, and 10's are still being used in top of the line mastering studios around the world... ..sometimes needing routine tech work, ..and the 4XX and 6XX series being sold second hand these days for more than they cost new.

It's time you step in and show him how it's done..and carry that legacy forward .. with software. C'mon Man...
Old 9th July 2013
  #18
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thermos's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music 1 View Post
Yeah, Burgess is definitely a hack and his units are built pretty ****ty.

You can tell because his Eq's that were built in the 70's, 80's. 90's, 00's, and 10's are still being used in top of the line mastering studios around the world... ..sometimes needing routine tech work, ..and the 4XX and 6XX series being sold second hand these days for more than they cost new.

It's time you step in and show him how it's done..and carry that legacy forward .. with software. C'mon Man...
Its not a bad goal actually. They aren't built that great, especially lately unfortunately. it is very hard to get parts from Burgess, as nice a fellow as he is. You can get other op amps that will work (at least for the older HS 1000 models), but they don't really sound the same. They are hard to fix if they break, as many techs are scared of them and the ones that do know how to fix them are also scared of them.

Software is coming a LONG way really fast and its just a matter of time before solid state clean eqs are pretty much nailed by software. DMG Equilibrium with the super high CPU intensive settings is pretty damn amazing. Next to my Sontec and Barry Porter net eq it holds its own. Not selling my hardware yet, but who knows what the future will bring.
Old 9th July 2013
  #19
Music 1
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by thermos View Post
Software is coming a LONG way
I hear ya, and we've all heard that kind of stuff for over the last decade.
I use Equalibrium as well and it's great software, but it won't do what my 9500 or Bax do.. and I don't want or expect it to.

Software and hardware can live side by side in my world. I don't need to be sold on the idea that one will replicate or be exactly as the other. That's just sales bull**** for the un-initiated.
Old 9th July 2013
  #20
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
Burgess should follow his original partner G M...and have his stuff built by Manley. That would be the end of build quality issues !
Old 9th July 2013
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAKmusic View Post
I have a reissue 250EX that's had no problems for over a year now. Had a mini massive too, which was excellent as well, but I preferred the control and functionality of the Sontec more.

The mini massive sounded more natural when boosting mids (similar to a massive passive) and it was nice as a simple tracking EQ, but I prefer the Sontec for highs and lows and across the mix buss. On the 2 buss, I struggled with the highs on the mini massive, the bands interact a lot and it took more effort to get what I wanted. On the Sontec, you just find your frequency and are good to go.

I'll mod my 250EX to reduce the boost/cut at some point, the center detents make fine tuning tricky sometimes. YMMV.
Thanks man...just sent you a pm
Old 22nd July 2014
  #22
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Seditionary's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davehall6162 View Post
So does anybody know if there are still reliability issues with the new 250Ex's these days? Is there still issues with the opamps?
The new 250EX EQs come with an extra op amp taped inside!

Last edited by Seditionary; 8th December 2015 at 12:37 PM..
Old 23rd July 2014
  #23
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Slug1's Avatar
I have the 250EX. Bought it about a year ago and love it. I see Somas, REQ2.2s, and even larger Sontecs swooned over. But I LOVE my 250EX. It is VERY musical and can really sound BIG. The low end and hi shelf are sublime. I use it for mastering and the only thing that I don't like is that it doesn't have detents or switches.
Old 23rd July 2014
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
I have the 250EX. Bought it about a year ago and love it. I see Somas, REQ2.2s, and even larger Sontecs swooned over. But I LOVE my 250EX. It is VERY musical and can really sound BIG. The low end and hi shelf are sublime. I use it for mastering and the only thing that I don't like is that it doesn't have detents or switches.


We should change this thread title to Sontecs in 2014.
Old 1st March 2016
  #25
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

I really wanted to give this EQ a chance and look past all the previous issues about these having a ****ty build and hope that improvements had been made since then, but I just picked one up and it was dead on arrival.

When it wouldn't power up, I double checked to make sure the power cable was fully seated and it was, but I noticed that applying a touch more pressure than I normally would made the lights flicker on/off and the back panel would flex slightly making a popping noise.

That's the only way I could get any sign of power but obviously it can't operate like that.

I'm no tech and I hate downtime with gear so I'm going to have to return it and try something entirely different. I'm sure when it's working great it might sound awesome but I was already on the fence about the quality of this product and this definitely made up my mind. I'm just looking for something clean to compliment the Massive Passive EQ I have but I don't want to deal with this poor build quality.
Old 14th May 2017
  #26
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Are there any Sontec repair guy's based in Europe?

Im looking to buy a MEP-250EX but im very concerned about the reliability reports i've been reading online.

Im not a commercial studio owner and only produce my own material so this is a worry as i want this to sit on the 2buss and just do it's thing. Cant afford the time or the money having it constantly repaired.

Any advice is most welcomed
Old 14th May 2017
  #27
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I have refurbished quite a few Sontecs over the years. Drop me a pm if you like.
Currently I´m evaluating a DIY 250A from this project: the DON classics
Sonically it´s very very close to the original Sontec, even with IC-opamps. For further investigations I need to find time to throw in some DOAs and compare them to the stock chips.
Old 14th May 2017
  #28
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Silvertone's Avatar
I've always loved Burgess as a person but could never afford the downtime. Talking to him is a pleasure.

I've shot out enough EQ's in my life to know you don't need a Sontec. I've bought and owned many a mastering EQ but never a Sontec for this very reason. The one time I almost bought one Denny Purcell got it instead. Burgess did the install at his place in Nashville. One side was dead, Burgess managed to get it up and running that day but it died a couple days later.

I ran into Denny at AES three months after that and he still didn't have it up and running. I was so glad I went with the GML9500 instead.

YMWV

Silvertone Mastering
Old 14th May 2017
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Thanks for chiming in Silver

Thats a very sobering thought. Do you happen to know if theres a difference with regards to reliability depending on the production timeline?

If im correct these go back to the early 70's but were reintroduced in the mid 2000's. Does this have any baring with regards to component failure?
Old 15th May 2017
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
I've got both the 250EX and a 430C9. They share the same description:

- Very musical sounding filters
- Very ****ty build quality and reliability

We've been working on getting precise digital models of these boxes because frankly, I have little faith in their future. But couldn't live without their tone.

Cheers,
Steven
Yeah I do agree Steven, they are indeed lovely sound Equalisers though to say each sounds or was built the same, nope! Sadly!

Nice to know you enjoy good Hardware!
Cheers
TLB
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