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Parametric EQ to complement Clariphonic and Mini Massive
Old 12th May 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Parametric EQ for rock mastering

Hi,

First mastering post here. I'm working on more mastering projects lately, while learning the trade, so I'd like to have parametric eq.

I work almost exclusively in rock projects - retro, punk, hard rock, indie...-.
I'm looking for something that complements my current chain: Clariphonic and or Mini Massive/Manley Varimu or Api 2500 / Link Hilo) giving me more options/ bands and filters.
I was thinking about a "clean" eq, but given the genres I usually work with, the fact I might use it for tracking or the mixbus (specially if I get the mix-master Crookwood module) and the expectations of my clients (usually small indie bands looking for some nice but evident sheen), probably it's better something with more "mojo", while I'm making the surgical stuff ITB.
I like the Clariphonic and Mini Massive highs and lows so I guess I'm mainly looking for more options for the mid low and mid high bands and filters.

At the moment, I'm between:

-Curve Bender. I have nothing of Chandler in my palette, it seems that his tone is great for the styles I usually work but maybe it's too aggressive?
-Api 5500: It seems to fit the bill, but is it not Api2500 + 5500 too of the same character?
-Massive Passive. I dig those mids but as with Api, VArimu + Massive is not too much of one sound? And I guess it would make my Mini massive redundant, although it could stay in the mix bus.

-Gyratex G14. I heard some demos, very nice and warm ( a bit darkish?) but it doesn't has filters or shelves.
So maybe I could get and used Gyratec G14 or even the Api 2500 ( as they are not as expensive as the Curve Bender and the Massive) and a BAX EQ (I use the plugin filters and for enhacing lows quite a bit).
Right now I'm leaning towards the Curve Bender or Gyratec/Api 2500 in combination with the BAX.
Thanks.

Last edited by MAXRB; 12th May 2019 at 09:02 PM.. Reason: misprints
Old 13th May 2019
  #2
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teebaum's Avatar
i would see a knif eksa, custom audio germany 250, hcl thermos or maselec mea-2 as a better compination.

check maybe also the bereich03audio modules, i like them a lot and use them together with much more expensive gear.

the api5500 is great, but before i would check a tube unit in combination with your 2 eq's.

i also think that the mini massive and the clariphonic functionally overlap a little bit, maybe you can sell the clariphonic and then add a clean - eq and a tube - eq (or a api 5500).

Last edited by teebaum; 13th May 2019 at 01:25 PM..
Old 14th May 2019
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
i would see a knif eksa, custom audio germany 250, hcl thermos or maselec mea-2 as a better compination.

the api5500 is great, but before i would check a tube unit in combination with your 2 eq's.
Thanks Teebaum for your advice.
Probably your are right about choosing a "clean" eq first. Although I dig the Curve Bender tone, for it's price I could get a couple of used eqs.

Unfortunely Knif is too expensive for me , but I've contacted Custom Audio Germany requesting info. They have this 250 with M/S and transformers for a nice price. Other option could be an used Maselec ME-2, although it's 1200 euros more.

And if I get a clean parametric certainly a tube one as secondary eq makes sense.
What do you think of the Michelangelo? Better than the G14 or the Massive? Thanks again.
Old 14th May 2019
  #4
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAXRB View Post
What do you think of the Michelangelo? Better than the G14 or the Massive? Thanks again.
no better, but very different

the g23s is a nice option, IMHO more versetaile than a g14 (i know both very good).
Old 14th May 2019
  #5
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

...or there is a G14-S in the works.
Old 14th May 2019
  #6
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
...or there is a G14-S in the works.
it's a great idea from jakob to make also a g14-s.
i had a g14 and a g23, own now a g23-s.
personaly i prefer the g23-filters over the g12-filters for mastering, but this could be the other way in a other chain.
Old 15th May 2019
  #7
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Mr. Bars's Avatar
From the units you are interested in for now I have in my setup Curve Bender, Massive Passive, API 5500 and some others. Also recently purchased MAQ-2NV. Had version 1 and version 2 of HDE-250 by Steffen (CAG) too.

For those music you mostly work with (although it doesn't really matter) I would advise you first to stock up a decent amount of colorful equalizers because this is exactly the enjoyment for any acoustic sources that you get in the analog domain.

CAG 250 is very good EQ, but at the end of manifold analog chain — this is exactly the place where it show itself best.

API 5500 — super color, I would say that this is the most colorful EQ from all mentioned, its sonic footprint is so special and obvious. Due transformers it turns any thin sine wave into a baseball bat with a molten halo around it. 2500 + 5500 is truly a wall of color — sometimes it's too much, but personally I like this vibe and use it very often. I have three original brands' EQ + compressor pairs (Curve Bender & Zener, 2500 & 5500, Massive Passive & Variable Mu) and API's impression is the most huge and raw for my test.

Manley Massive Passive is the most versatile analog EQ I ever used and have. I would like its functionality to be the default for all modern equalizers. Provides unique slopes that can not be replicated on other equalizer. If it had doubled frequency step for each band like IBIS, then I would call it the equalizer of all time. Very gentle and mellow equalization but with obvious rich tube / transformers saturation at the same time. 18K low-pass filter is a king.

Curve Bender is a pure high-end of color — you don't hear it so much as you feel it (at least in normal X1 mode). Switch to X1.5 mode and you have another EQ actually: another curves, another color, another energy. Amazing gain stage by the way! Not so much frequencies point as I'd like, but well selected. For mastering work and 2-bus applications is must have.

GR MAQ-2NV is my new addition and I'm so glad with this purchase. Absolutely not like anything else (although it can be said about any other mentioned devices). I am not yet ready to give it a comprehensive verdict, but the fact is this unit will never leave my studio.

I hope it helps you.
Old 15th May 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
For clean: GML8200 or it's big brother mastering version.
For color: Curve bender, already brought up in the thread.
For tilt: Pultic, but I don't think that would compliment the clariphonic as well as a traditional perametric.

GML8200 defined the term perametric EQ, literally. I think that's what you are looking for.

It's the EQ that, after you adjust the signal, it does not sound like it went through an EQ at all. It sound like the source/Mic EQ spectrum changed. Nothing else does that as well.


I have an 8200 and the UAD plug curve bender....oh man now I have to try those two EQ's in parallel to see what the sounds are like with a blend.
Old 15th May 2019
  #9
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Adam Dempsey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Keep in mind also that the Massive Passive can alternatively be run via its unbalanced 1/4" transformerless outputs – a great pairing with the Vari-Mu (in which its tone can be as much due to its transformer circuit as the tubes).
Not having heard a Chandler Curvebender, the LTD-2 compressors can also be run flat, as line amps, to complement a clean sounding solid state EQ.
Old 16th May 2019
  #10
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Magnus Lindberg's Avatar
 

I can highly recommend the Buzz Audio REQ, and I just happen to have one for sale=)
Old 16th May 2019
  #11
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Thanks for your opinions. It has helped me to get a clearer picture of what I'm after.
Having a look at used prices, I could get just one of these: Curve Bender, Mastering Massive Passive or a GML 8200.
But in true Gearslutz fashion, I could get two - a clean one and a character one - of the less expensive ones, which would give more flexibility, I think:

- Clean: CAG 250 or Maselec ME-2.
The Maselec (REV 6) is maybe the safe bet? . The CAG 250 is 1200 euros less, it has M/S and optional transformers but I don't want to buy just because it is cheaper.
- Color: Massive Passive or Api 2500.
Massive Passive would be the normal version. I wonder if that's a problem (I'm used to calibrate my mini massive).

- Or as Mr. Bars suggested, I could get the colourful pack: Massive Passive as the "clean" one -using it as Adam suggested without transformers- and the Api 2500 for extra color.

Suggestions?

[BTW, I forget to say I have a pair of good Pultecs clones, basically like Cartecs, but don't get too much use for mastering (but a lot tracking and mixing). I find they soften the lows too much (I might try with different NOS tubes)]
Old 16th May 2019
  #12
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Mr. Bars's Avatar
Despite I recommended to you to get colorful EQ firstly, in your current particular situation I’d go with Massive Passive and CAG HDE-250: in my opinion versatility is more important now for you than diversity of saturation characteristics. And being in this game long time I'm sure EQ fever will lead you to API 5500 anyway as soon as these two wonderful super versatile units become an integral part of your studio..

Also please keep in mind that last week Steffen announced a new stepping feature for all controls of his HDE-250: it is much cheaper than expensive Elma switches that was only available before. It may become a new standard for this unit in the near future with a slight price increasing and may require redesign a faceplate. I think it worth to wait a bit or contact Steffen for more info.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MAXRB View Post
Thanks for your opinions. It has helped me to get a clearer picture of what I'm after.
Having a look at used prices, I could get just one of these: Curve Bender, Mastering Massive Passive or a GML 8200.
But in true Gearslutz fashion, I could get two - a clean one and a character one - of the less expensive ones, which would give more flexibility, I think:

- Clean: CAG 250 or Maselec ME-2.
The Maselec (REV 6) is maybe the safe bet? . The CAG 250 is 1200 euros less, it has M/S and optional transformers but I don't want to buy just because it is cheaper.
- Color: Massive Passive or Api 2500.
Massive Passive would be the normal version. I wonder if that's a problem (I'm used to calibrate my mini massive).

- Or as Mr. Bars suggested, I could get the colourful pack: Massive Passive as the "clean" one -using it as Adam suggested without transformers- and the Api 2500 for extra color.

Suggestions?

[BTW, I forget to say I have a pair of good Pultecs clones, basically like Cartecs, but don't get too much use for mastering (but a lot tracking and mixing). I find they soften the lows too much (I might try with different NOS tubes)]

Last edited by Mr. Bars; 16th May 2019 at 06:21 PM..
Old 18th May 2019
  #13
Another vote for the Curve bender in your situation, as It sounds amazing, and totally different from the Mini massive. Also an Api 5500, but it's not for everything even in indie / rock etc, so more as complementary eq,
whereas the Chandler would be your primary Eq. Use it in MS mode and it becomes a monster

Now beware to grab the "Mastering" version of the CHandler, as it is stepped in +/6 db wich is more than enough and the precision you want to have in a mastering situation.
Old 18th May 2019
  #14
Another +1 for the CAG HDE-250 happy user here. I would say the high shelf is one of the most sweeeet I’ve ever listened from an eq, been working with Maselec before, although its a super clean and precise unit, I feel its not as sweet and magic as the CAG HDE, Maselec sounds to me more clinical and precise, like a razor, super useful, not a bad thing, but also not a special addition for my own needs.

The HDE has a direct Wow factor in its sound, I allways feel depressed when I engage the bypass button of this unit... when active, it gives more punch and 3Dness to the sound in a way its hard to explain, maybe would say more euphonic and focused. No ITB plugin can do that at the level of this beast.

Don’t hesitate because its cheaper than Maselec, the prize means nothing, the quality its everything.

My approach is to give color to the sound through other units such as the RND MBP II, Silver Bullet, Tube-Tech SMC2B or the BM Mastering Limiter with harmonic generation, the CAG HDE gives balls, sweetening and make the perfect marriage with colored tools without being “grey”.

My 2 cents!
Old 18th May 2019
  #15
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Verified Member
Quick note on the EMI TG12345 Curve Bender EQ, since 2011, we’ve combined “tracking” & mastering versions in one unit. The user can select 1.5 or .5 dB cut/boost increments per band using the X1.5 X1.5 switches; this provides the ultimate flexibility for the engineer to accommodate a given scenario.
Old 19th May 2019
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam_f View Post
Quick note on the EMI TG12345 Curve Bender EQ, since 2011, we’ve combined “tracking” & mastering versions in one unit. The user can select 1.5 or .5 dB cut/boost increments per band using the X1.5 X1.5 switches; this provides the ultimate flexibility for the engineer to accommodate a given scenario.
I didn't know that, thanks for the precision
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

I've been looking at a very similar group of EQ's, for my first mix bus unit. Any thoughts on whether the transformers on an HDE-250 are useful additions if you're planning to have another character EQ in the chain, say a 2A3 or something else similarly Pultec inspired? It also runs into a board with transformers in the path.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmfreeland View Post
I've been looking at a very similar group of EQ's, for my first mix bus unit. Any thoughts on whether the transformers on an HDE-250 are useful additions if you're planning to have another character EQ in the chain, say a 2A3 or something else similarly Pultec inspired? It also runs into a board with transformers in the path.
My HDE 250 has Lundahls and Carnhills, and they are quite useful from time to time, and they are SWITCHABLE, so you can take them in or out of the path, that means more options at the click of a button.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Of all the para EQ's I rework here, the Meyer CP-10 stands out as the best. Total transparency until you twist a knob.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
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BOMI's Avatar
Hi everyone, an intelligent choice could also be an IBIS eq, the standard version used could be found at a great price. Parametric Eq with high transparent pass filters but that can be characterize the sound of a beautiful color thanks to its saturation options.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for all your suggestions. I finally chose an CAG HDE-250 A as my main/clean eq. Steff from Custom Audio Germany is a great guy to deal with, very attentive and communicative. I was lucky and I bought an ex-demo unit for a nice price, so Iwill be able toget an used Massive or something similar for color. I still dig the Curve Bender but this is more expensive and not so usual in the second hand market. Let's see.
About the CAG, I'm happy with the purchase. I was a bit unsure about the "clone" thing but this is not a cheap copy by any means. I don't know how it will compare with a real Sontec or the Maselec but honestly I don't care. Mootiv was right and this on par with Manley, Api in terms of sound and construction and although on the clean side it's very euphonic.
The transformers are more tools than intended for full time use. I think the input one adds some extra flavour to the mids and the output one controls the sub lows acting like a subtle filter.
Mine is the 6dB version which is cool for mastering but I wouldn't mind to have the regular one and use the 12dBs for mixing.
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