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Which hardware first?
Old 28th October 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Which hardware first?

Hello, im just starting out in the mastering world. I'm using Prism Lyra converters, a Fabfilter Pro Limiter and FF Pro Q 2 and getting to know them inside out.

Eventually I would like to move to hardware and would love to know what you seasoned mastering heads would choose as your first bit of serious hardware if you were in my boots and looking to move out of the box.

Thank you.
Old 28th October 2018
  #2
A nice mastering console, like the The Manley Backbone. then you can start adding your analog mastering gear to it.

Or some nice B&W (Bowers & Wilkins) monitors, like the 800 series

Or tune your room, if its not already

Or a nice mastering desk, like the Sterling audio plan D ( I have it, its nice )
Old 29th October 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
 
SmoothTone's Avatar
 

Before you do anything else, I would suggest you take a look at the Magpha eq plugin. It's a really nice counterpart to ProQ.

Now, assuming you've got your room sorted and you're happy with your monitoring and conversion, it's really worth considering holding out for one main mastering EQ that will give you lots of options and will be with you for life. I use an SPL PQ and it's great for this because it has the "two sounds in one box" with constant/proportional Q modes. It's hard to justify this much expense if you're just starting out though.

A great value alternative is the Gyraf G23-S. It also has two sounds in one box with both a tube circuit and a solid state circuit. The SS is quite transparent and works with most material and the tube is very smooth and vibey. The curves are very musical and this box is a great counterpart to digital: it can handle the broad tone shaping while you can take care of any surgical stuff ITB.

Another option for a bit more colour and vibe is the Hendyamps Michelangelo. It's not as versatile as those above but it's a lot of fun to use and a great counterpart to digital.

Also keep in mind that if your tools match the way you think/work then they'll be more intuitive to use. Ergonomics and workflow are almost as important as sound IMO.

Hope that gives you some ideas.
Old 29th October 2018
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
A nice mastering console, like the The Manley Backbone. then you can start adding your analog mastering gear to it.

Or some nice B&W (Bowers & Wilkins) monitors, like the 800 series

Or tune your room, if its not already

Or a nice mastering desk, like the Sterling audio plan D ( I have it, its nice )
Fantastic. Thank you CJ Mastering.
Old 29th October 2018
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
Before you do anything else, I would suggest you take a look at the Magpha eq plugin. It's a really nice counterpart to ProQ.

Now, assuming you've got your room sorted and you're happy with your monitoring and conversion, it's really worth considering holding out for one main mastering EQ that will give you lots of options and will be with you for life. I use an SPL PQ and it's great for this because it has the "two sounds in one box" with constant/proportional Q modes. It's hard to justify this much expense if you're just starting out though.

A great value alternative is the Gyraf G23-S. It also has two sounds in one box with both a tube circuit and a solid state circuit. The SS is quite transparent and works with most material and the tube is very smooth and vibey. The curves are very musical and this box is a great counterpart to digital: it can handle the broad tone shaping while you can take care of any surgical stuff ITB.

Another option for a bit more colour and vibe is the Hendyamps Michelangelo. It's not as versatile as those above but it's a lot of fun to use and a great counterpart to digital.

Also keep in mind that if your tools match the way you think/work then they'll be more intuitive to use. Ergonomics and workflow are almost as important as sound IMO.

Hope that gives you some ideas.
Thank you Smooth Tone. I shall research all of the above. I've seen a lot studios with Maselec and Sontec eqs. What are your thoughts on these?
Old 29th October 2018
  #6
Lives for gear
 
SmoothTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fragment67 View Post
Thank you Smooth Tone. I shall research all of the above. I've seen a lot studios with Maselec and Sontec eqs. What are your thoughts on these?
I've not used either of them. Maselec are well laid out and known for being very clean. Some people have found them a bit boring. The Sontec are kinda the holy grail of mastering EQs. Known for being clean and very musical. Also known for being very temperamental. The MES series are not in production any more and parts no longer available. So if you did happen to find a used one it wouldn't be cheap and you'd need a good gear tech on hand to keep it working for you.

An alternative is the EQs made by Custom Audio Germany. They seem to be great quality and are based on the Sontecs.

Another classic design that is a favourite among MEs is the Barry Porter. Also known for being clean and musical. The ones being made at PCB Grinder are getting some good reviews. A cheaper version of the Porter EQ called Thermos is also made by Hand Crafted Labs.

There was a monster thread a couple of years back in the mastering forum titled "I'm shooting out mastering EQs" with lots of talk about the main mastering EQs and people posted audio samples as well.
Old 29th October 2018
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
I've not used either of them. Maselec are well laid out and known for being very clean. Some people have found them a bit boring. The Sontec are kinda the holy grail of mastering EQs. Known for being clean and very musical. Also known for being very temperamental. The MES series are not in production any more and parts no longer available. So if you did happen to find a used one it wouldn't be cheap and you'd need a good gear tech on hand to keep it working for you.

An alternative is the EQs made by Custom Audio Germany. They seem to be great quality and are based on the Sontecs.

Another classic design that is a favourite among MEs is the Barry Porter. Also known for being clean and musical. The ones being made at PCB Grinder are getting some good reviews. A cheaper version of the Porter EQ called Thermos is also made by Hand Crafted Labs.

There was a monster thread a couple of years back in the mastering forum titled "I'm shooting out mastering EQs" with lots of talk about the main mastering EQs and people posted audio samples as well.
Thank you again. Really appreciate your information. Plenty here to be getting stuck into.
Old 31st October 2018
  #8
Gear Nut
 

I'll second the Custom Audio Germany recommendation. I have the HDE-250a and love it. It's not a character EQ, which you may want to consider for your first hardware. Since you have and are learning the FF Pro Q 2, I would look into the Hendyamps MA or maybe an API 5500 depending on your preference/needs. I am currently debating between these two for complimenting the HDE-250a.
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