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Balance Analog Magpha EQ Equalizer Plugins
Old 8th April 2018
  #1
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Balance Analog Magpha EQ

This looks interesting...

Balance Analog Magpha EQ plugin. — Balance Mastering

Not sure what constitutes 'true analogue phase' but I'm willing to give it an audition.

Definitely like the reduced interface philosophy, I tend to turn off graphic bells and whistles anyway.
Old 11th April 2018
  #2
Gear Head
 
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Hi all,

Here's some more info on our EQ from a discussion on another forum (see below).

If anyones demo'd or purchased I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks,
John.


Quote:
The plugin uses a hybrid technique to design the filter coefficients that capture the phase (as well as magnitude) of analogue. I might prepare a blog post to explain in more detail if I have time but here's a graph where we compared against a well regarded competing plugin (a maker I respect). You can see our plugin matches analogue phase very well...



This is a 9dB boost a ~6.3kHz and soundwise the difference is subtle but very audible. Basically our eq sounds smoother and more open than the competing plugin. Like it has removed a lid on the sound.

Zooming in on the magnitude we see some deviations of about 0.2dB. While it's hard to tell if a slight magnitude curve deviation like this would sound bad per se, it's good to know ours matches even more precisely to analogue vs. the competing plugin.

Old 11th April 2018
  #3
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Old 13th April 2018
  #4
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Anyone checked it out already? Yeah, I know; "do we really need another EQ plug in" and "man, that GUI..." and "Im able to great work with what I have already" and all that other stuff people love to say here. But to all naturally curious people and those with a open mind and those who believe in sonics not in look I really recommend to give it a try. John did deliver something special here. Digital plug ins slowly (ok very slowly) comes to a point, I think.
Old 13th April 2018
  #5
Just demo-ing it now. It's certainly got something, that's for sure. I find EQ plugins the hardest things to demo because, when working on clients' music, you obviously reach for the tools you know first - you never get the first 15 minutes working on a piece of music back. So the EQ you're demo-ing ends up being used for "supplementary" EQ only - not really a fair comparison, but there you go.

I do really appreciate the way the demo is structured - unlimited time but no saving of settings - as this will allow a proper period of reflection before deciding whetether to pull the trigger. Either way, on first impressions this is definitely a contender.
Old 16th April 2018
  #6
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Anyone else hears the same "analog buttery smoothness" without loosing tighness, better retained depth and without the added harsh greyness that most other digital EQs add? Or am I alone here? At first listen in direct comparisons it might sounds a bit soft, but I think its just that we are so used to that "typical digital artefacts" (which btw also comes from converters, so going analog isnt really helping here...)...
I need some more testing within the next days, but I think this is another contender to me helping to get away fighting artefacts in daily work (a bit like the DS1 plug in, but in a quite different way). ITB masters me coming...
Any opinions?
Old 16th April 2018
  #7
I'm still testing. I definitely hear that "buttery" quality that you refer to. I've used it on one master since I started testing, the rest of the time it has remained bypassed, but that's not necessarily an indictment.
Old 16th April 2018
  #8
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My testing practise is maybe a bit different then; I always do some direct comparisons to others first, incl. some trys to match values etc or use it a some older stuff I have mastered. If a tool fits my expectations here or even surprises me, I will use it with real work over a longer period of time, partly incl. shootouts back to back against my other go-to-tools (could took hours, or days or even a year). Before that I wanted to be really sure the tools worth the hassle. I really hate to try new tools when really working as this just distracts my focus (and confuses my chain). Most tools even never make it to this second real life round here...
So, I normally distinguish strictly between testing and working.

BTW: I get it nulled to around -75dBfs (yeah, yeah, I know pure perception bias then...) with a well regarded EQ, but to me it offers a quite different presentation of the music compared to other EQs. We might be still very sensible when it comes down to subtle phase distortion, I think.
Old 16th April 2018
  #9
Yeah, I do a bit of formal "testing" too, but I just can't ever get a real handle on how much I like something without using it on real sessions.

Also, I'd have to do the testing either at the beginning of the day when my ears are at their most fresh, which seems like a waste, or at the end of the day when there are often administrative tasks to do (invoicing, revisions, childcare!). For a product with a demo period like this there's no possibility of "losing" anything (at least in the medium term) - I can just note down settings in the same way I do for the analogue chain.

Anywway, I'll continue to demo the plugin and see if it warrants a purchase.
Old 16th April 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
My testing practise is maybe a bit different then; I always do some direct comparisons to others first, incl. some trys to match values etc or use it a some older stuff I have mastered. If a tool fits my expectations here or even surprises me, I will use it with real work over a longer period of time, partly incl. shootouts back to back against my other go-to-tools (could took hours, or days or even a year). Before that I wanted to be really sure the tools worth the hassle. I really hate to try new tools when really working as this just distracts my focus (and confuses my chain). Most tools even never make it to this second real life round here...
So, I normally distinguish strictly between testing and working.

BTW: I get it nulled to around -75dBfs (yeah, yeah, I know pure perception bias then...) with a well regarded EQ, but to me it offers a quite different presentation of the music compared to other EQs. We might be still very sensible when it comes down to subtle phase distortion, I think.
I'm glad this eq is catching on. I'm not a mastering engineer but my two ears and similar testing concur with this.

ITB, outside of Acustica, I've never experienced "buttery" from a digital eq null or not. This was puzzling after my usual tests. Equilibrium can definitely have an analog vibe, but not this smooth imo. I'm interested in reading what you guys and gals conclude.
Old 16th April 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
Yeah, I do a bit of formal "testing" too, but I just can't ever get a real handle on how much I like something without using it on real sessions.

Also, I'd have to do the testing either at the beginning of the day when my ears are at their most fresh, which seems like a waste, or at the end of the day when there are often administrative tasks to do (invoicing, revisions, childcare!). For a product with a demo period like this there's no possibility of "losing" anything (at least in the medium term) - I can just note down settings in the same way I do for the analogue chain.

Anywway, I'll continue to demo the plugin and see if it warrants a purchase.
Curious to hear your further thoughts.

Last edited by JP__; 16th April 2018 at 01:14 PM..
Old 16th April 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Bay View Post
I'm glad this eq is catching on. I'm not a mastering engineer but my two ears and similar testing concur with this.

ITB, outside of Acustica, I've never experienced "buttery" from a digital eq null or not. This was puzzling after my usual tests. Equilibrium can definitely have an analog vibe, but not this smooth imo. I'm interested in reading what you guys and gals conclude.
Im not much into their Aqua plug ins, cool for certain colors, but with their own strange sonic signature in my ears.
This sounds just clean to me, but in a positive way. Not that "clean" thats so boring and annoying (and the reason people tend to add a lot of color in mastering to overcome it).

Last edited by JP__; 16th April 2018 at 02:14 PM..
Old 16th April 2018
  #13
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Update v1.1.0 – GUI options



Hi all, thanks to everyone who's auditioned the demo or purchased.

In response to some constructive criticisms I've added some GUI options.

v1.1.0 is now available and has

- Optional smaller, more compact user interface.
- Optional knob markers for extra visual feedback.
- Option to truncate textbox values to 2 decimal places.
- Fix issue where sometimes default JUCE widget controls display.

See the 'Settings' page just below the main bypass button for the GUI options.
Old 16th April 2018
  #14
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Thanks all for the feedback and comments, much appreciated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
This sounds just clean to me, but in a positive way. Not that "clean" thats so boring and annoying (and the reason people tend to add a lot of color in mastering to overcome it).
As a bit of a tangent...

In creating this I was influenced by the shifting tastes in the film/tv industry (an area I used to work in). When early digital cameras were used in Hollywood they didn't look great (e.g. Collateral 2004 w/ Cruise & Foxx??). They were rough looking especially in scenes of high contrast. 35mm still was hard to beat in terms of look.

However, technology moved on and cameras such as the Arri Alexa (2010 onward) give great images that don't look like 35mm, but do look good in their own way. It's clarity was something I didn't like initially, but it grew on me. It has an aesthetic that's pleasing. Now it seems the majority of films are shot on the Alexa or similar, and when I now see a modern 35mm production, it looks stylised.

If this all sounds familiar, it's probably because production preferences and, correspondingly music tools have followed a similar path in the past 20 years. Like the film world, I think there's definitely room for analogue and good sounding digital to co-exist.
Old 18th April 2018
  #15
I'm 90% sure I'm going to buy this now. I've mostly been using it for upper midrange boosts - it often handles this area better than any other EQ I own, analogue or digital.

I do occasionally wish the stepped values could be defeated - I love them for speed of workflow, but occasionally I do wish I could set, for example, the gain of a band "in between" two prescribed values. Perhaps this could be an option in a future update? Being able to manually (by keyboard) enter any value but all mouse movement snapping to the previously defined steps would work perfectly for me.
Old 18th April 2018
  #16
In fact, I just bought the plugin (writing the above made me realise I may as well pull the trigger as I'm using it quite a lot now), and I see my suggestion has already been implemented!
Old 18th April 2018
  #17
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Update v1.2.0 – GUI & non-stepped



Hi all,

We've taken a lot of the feedback on board to improve usability (and still fit with the original idea). Here's the new look, a bit more tactile but still minimal.

v1.2.0 is now available

- Optional non-stepped, continuous knobs/textbox values (in settings)
- Improved user interface:
- More tactile buttons & knobs.
- More usable in low light conditions.

New users:
Balance Analog Magpha EQ plugin. — Balance Mastering

Existing users (demo or purchase), please check your email for the direct link.
Old 18th April 2018
  #18
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Thanks for purchasing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
I do occasionally wish the stepped values could be defeated - I love them for speed of workflow, but occasionally I do wish I could set, for example, the gain of a band "in between" two prescribed values. Perhaps this could be an option in a future update? Being able to manually (by keyboard) enter any value but all mouse movement snapping to the previously defined steps would work perfectly for me.
We've added a new option in 'Settings' to fully turn on/off stepped controls.

I like the sound of the behaviour you've described. I'll look into this as an option at some point, but for now I felt it was best to be able to fully turn off steps. Since there seems to be a lot of people who don't like working in steps at all.
Old 18th April 2018
  #19
Ah, I didn't realise you couldn't do that already. Yeah, I think it would be a great way of working, personally - I don't want to turn off the steps completely (though I appreciate that I now can if I really need to) as working with stepped controls is so much quicker, workflow-wise.
Old 19th April 2018
  #20
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Excited to give this a try!
Old 3rd May 2018
  #21
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Been testing this the last few days, have "cloned" some of my analogue chain EQ settings so I could A/B, and have to say I am very impressed. Does sound very natural/analogue, for lack of better descriptors!
Old 14th May 2018
  #22
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I really cant understand why there's not much more attention to this plug in...
In a way it really reminds me of my Porter EQ; the same invisible, "ghost" EQ-behaviour but with a lesser "analog" footprint (which depends on the individual build and the interaction within the chain of course). On the other sides it really behaves precise, controlled and accurate (or with stepped values if you prefer this) like any digital EQ, but without the unwanted side effects.
A real winner to me
Old 14th May 2018
  #23
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I went back to Slick EQ M. Magpha is nice but after a lot of testing dosn’t give me anything Slick can’t, so I decided not to purchase it.
Old 14th May 2018
  #24
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Taste is different. I never got happy with Slick at all.
Old 15th May 2018
  #25
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Re-demoed this EQ and it's really good. Like JP__ stated when you bypass it you really notice what it is doing...very much like a Porter EQ. The only thing that is holding me back from purchasing it is that fact that it has no shelving option.
@balancemastering are their any plans to add shelves to the EQ?
Old 15th May 2018
  #26
Gear Head
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarra View Post
@balancemastering are their any plans to add shelves to the EQ?
Thanks yes we do hope to add shelves after the AAX update! I'm speaking at Milan AES next week about this EQ so I hope to get that to you soon after that.

Speaking of which...
Old 15th May 2018
  #27
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ProTools AAX

Tentative AAX for ProTools users released now

Paid customers have been emailed already, demo users download here...

Balance Analog Magpha EQ plugin. — Balance Mastering

We have a couple of small fixes/features in the pipeline, so these and any AAX fixes will be rolled out the week after next (after Milan AES).

Note, we are extending the introductory price in order to be fair to AAX users
Old 16th May 2018
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
I really cant understand why there's not much more attention to this plug in...
In a way it really reminds me of my Porter EQ; the same invisible, "ghost" EQ-behaviour but with a lesser "analog" footprint (which depends on the individual build and the interaction within the chain of course). On the other sides it really behaves precise, controlled and accurate (or with stepped values if you prefer this) like any digital EQ, but without the unwanted side effects.
A real winner to me
Interesting, I haven't heard the Porter yet. Used to see it mentioned often. I've loved Magpha since day 1 though.
Old 16th May 2018
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
I really cant understand why there's not much more attention to this plug in...
In a way it really reminds me of my Porter EQ; the same invisible, "ghost" EQ-behaviour but with a lesser "analog" footprint (which depends on the individual build and the interaction within the chain of course). On the other sides it really behaves precise, controlled and accurate (or with stepped values if you prefer this) like any digital EQ, but without the unwanted side effects.
A real winner to me
I fully agree with you.
I can not judge to what extent the phase is the same as the analog pattern. Anyway, this EQ has very little roughness and roughness of digital EQ. It is my impression compared to excellent EQ such as Equilibrium and Slick and anymore. This may be related to the Q curve.
Old 17th May 2018
  #30
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@JP__ How does this EQ compare to your hardware? Obviously you've commented some, especially regarding the Porter, but what about other EQs that you have? Do you mind sharing some thoughts?

I've downloaded Magpha and tested a bit. It sounds very good.
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