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looking for great Master Bus EQ Equalizer Plugins
Old 11th March 2014
  #1
looking for great Master Bus EQ

Hi guys. I'm looking for some recommendations for a great, master buss eq. Just for context, I use a few things on the master bus, but only for minor adjustments. Generally, I try to get the mix sounding good with nothing on the master bus, but i do use alittle gentle compression (just barely bumping,) a little eq and tape for "glue" and then ill use some limiting if its something that is not going out for mastering.

I am using (or try to use) the UA Manley Massive Passive MST eq, but since it takes up almost 65% of one of the two chips in my Apollo every time i turn it on, it's not an effective tool for me to use on more DSP intensive projects. I have also tried the millennia EQ that UA emulated, and while its nice and transparent, it seems a little to "surgical" for use on a master bus. The nice thing about the Manley is the frequency crosstalk, so the adjustments you make can be very subtile if you want them to be.

Just a note, the EQ does NOT have to be a UA product. I use lots of other things as well. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Old 11th March 2014
  #2
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phas3d's Avatar
 

Try the NI Passive EQ. It's also a Manley emulation created by Softube. It's a great EQ and you have the bonus of being able to use it in stereo or M/S mode.
Old 11th March 2014
  #3
I prefer several different ones, at different stages on the output, for different jobs. To me, certain EQs do certain things well, and utilizing their strengths is important. Its the benefit of being ITB.

Overall best: Brainworx Digital ; a mid-side mastering eq, that could be used to great success even with almost no experience. Has a monomaker which I love turning up to about 250-300Hz giving a clean and focused low end. Also, the stereo widening, is the only stereo widening I've ever used that actually does something without causing phase issues.

Clean: FabFilter Pro-Q. For cutting highs and lows. Can put it in Linear phase mode which I usually do during the master. Also, in mid-side mode you can mono the low end and at times I like its sound better than the BX, just depends on the track. Not so great with boosts. Flux makes a really high quality surgical EQ like this also.

Boosting: I usually do this after the buss compression, if at all, and I use either Softube Tubetech PE-1C (Pultec style) or the Trident A-Range. Both with a high shelf at 12kHz for some added air. The Summit Grand isn't bad at this either, but usually prefer the first two. If I ever bump the low end a tad, it is with the PE-1C as well. I absolutely love all of the Softube EQs. Pretty much the only plug-in EQs I own that sound "musical" at all. Not a dog in the bunch, the ToneluxTilt is great, the Focusing EQ has a great saturation, and the Active/Passive has a real character all its own.

I've heard good things about the Maag EQ for boosting, but not tried it.

Plug-in EQs have come a long way, and this will likely only continue. I'm not a Nebula guy, yet. But from what everyone seems to think, the EQs are one of their real strengths. I's a little bit up front, but the libraries seem quite reasonable.

Best of luck in your search.
Old 11th March 2014
  #4
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I demo'ed the Waves RS56 when it released a little while ago and I loved what it did on the mix bus.
Old 11th March 2014
  #5
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AudioGaff's Avatar
You know you don't have to do everything at the same time. You could always do the old school method that is still used and preferred by many. Do your best mix without the Manley (or anything else), and then import your mix and then Eq or continue to process as required or desired.
Old 11th March 2014
  #6
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Peter - IK's Avatar
 

We just released T-RackS CS Master EQ 432 which is based on a sought-after mastering EQ and many here have expressed that they really like how it sounds.
Old 11th March 2014
  #7
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djanthonyw's Avatar
 

EQuilibrium.
Old 11th March 2014
  #8
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Can anyone explain why you'd necessarily need a different EQ on the master versus what you use on tracks?

I use Pro-Q for everything, from extreme sound-shaping on tracks to gentle correction and width-widening on busses. What am I missing out on?
Old 11th March 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

for my money the two best EQ's I am using for the "final sheen" just to give the 2 buss it's final treatment are the UAD Dangerous BAX EQ and the TRacks CS Master EQ 432.

both are fantastic and extremely valuable tools for me.
Old 11th March 2014
  #10
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Are you considering outboard gear, or just all in the box?
Old 11th March 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclerico12 View Post
Are you considering outboard gear, or just all in the box?

i would love to own those boxes......but for this thread I was commenting on the plugs......I own both and use both on a regular basis and I consider them to be essential in providing the final secret sauce to my mixes.
Old 11th March 2014
  #12
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mike vee's Avatar
Baxter EQ is AWESOME!!!

M/S, level control, stepped, amazing, and FREE
Old 11th March 2014
  #13
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mike vee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by masque13 View Post
for my money the two best EQ's I am using for the "final sheen" just to give the 2 buss it's final treatment are the UAD Dangerous BAX EQ and the TRacks CS Master EQ 432.

both are fantastic and extremely valuable tools for me.
hey, can that T-racks do levels in MS mode, as in, widen?
Old 11th March 2014
  #14
Gear Maniac
Another vote for Equilibrium here. Clean and precise, with a huge range of options to customise it to different tasks, mastering included!
Old 11th March 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike vee View Post
hey, can that T-racks do levels in MS mode, as in, widen?

yes
Old 11th March 2014
  #16
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John The Cut's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D View Post
I prefer several different ones, at different stages on the output, for different jobs. To me, certain EQs do certain things well, and utilizing their strengths is important. Its the benefit of being ITB.
Classic newbie overprocessing.

OP, Why not just get more UAD power - A solo? Or use UAD Pultec, great for master EQ... but since the Manley is such a monster, I would use that at the cost of other DSP in the project - so maybe there's some other UAD stuff you can turn off?... or replace with native
Old 11th March 2014
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitflipper View Post
Can anyone explain why you'd necessarily need a different EQ on the master versus what you use on tracks?

I use Pro-Q for everything, from extreme sound-shaping on tracks to gentle correction and width-widening on busses. What am I missing out on?
If I had to use one on everything it would be Pro-Q or Brainworx Digital. It is not that any EQ, especially one like these can't do all jobs, it is just that all of them sound different. Traditionally, these paragraphic EQs will distort more easily at extremes settings. However, I have found that Pro-Q, even if you put it on a 48dB/oct slope, it may just barely. Thats a lot different than say Logic's Channel EQ.

Over time, I have just figured out what I like to use for different jobs because they consistently sound better to my ears for that job.

Heck, even for cuts sometimes, to dirty things up a bit, I'll use a filter plug-in like Soundtoys FilterFreak instead of a clean EQ like the Pro-Q.

It's like having a favorite synth or compressor. You could use them for everything. But sometimes there are better options, and it depends what you are trying to do.

Traditional "Mastering" EQs typically are not graphic, and boost or cut with small increments and a high Q. They also don't seem to go very high or low like +/- 8dB or so. I guess to discourage the ME from ruining the mix, IDK. If you need to use that much EQ anyhow on the master then something is really wrong.

Nothing wrong at all with only using Pro-Q. Just sometimes variety is the spice of life. And I maintain that their are most definitely better options for hi/low shelf boosts.
Old 11th March 2014
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by John The Cut View Post
Classic newbie overprocessing.

OP, Why not just get more UAD power - A solo? Or use UAD Pultec, great for master EQ... but since the Manley is such a monster, I would use that at the cost of other DSP in the project - so maybe there's some other UAD stuff you can turn off?... or replace with native
Did I even mention a word about EQing technique or how much? No, I didn't. Nor do I feed trolls.

You've determined that I overprocess based on a list of EQs I like. That is what the OP asked for.
Old 11th March 2014
  #19
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phas3d's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitflipper View Post
Can anyone explain why you'd necessarily need a different EQ on the master versus what you use on tracks?

I use Pro-Q for everything, from extreme sound-shaping on tracks to gentle correction and width-widening on busses. What am I missing out on?
For color. For a general purpose clean EQ, Pro-Q is great but I don't think it's what the op is looking for.
Old 12th March 2014
  #20
good feedback all around, thank you! I am not opposed to the idea of an external EQ ( i.e. bouncs the track down with no EQ or comp on the master bus, then feed it through some analog gear to warm and adjust tone,) it just adds another level to my workflow which I hadn't really seriously entertained. Would certainly up the end quality of my mixes wouldn't it... can beat real analogue.
Old 12th March 2014
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by phas3d View Post
For color. For a general purpose clean EQ, Pro-Q is great but I don't think it's what the op is looking for.
well i am looking for options, and obviously i wont know until i demo a few of these, but to someone elses point, if im making huge ajustments on the master buss with an eq, then something is wrong with my mix. So generally I use the eq on the master bus very gently to just boost low end a hair, clean up a little mud, brighten a little or add air. Actually someone mentioned the Softube Summit Audio Grand Channel. That looks very much like what the Manley does. Anyone have any experience with it?
Old 12th March 2014
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by terraamb01 View Post
well i am looking for options, and obviously i wont know until i demo a few of these, but to someone elses point, if im making huge ajustments on the master buss with an eq, then something is wrong with my mix. So generally I use the eq on the master bus very gently to just boost low end a hair, clean up a little mud, brighten a little or add air. Actually someone mentioned the Softube Summit Audio Grand Channel. That looks very much like what the Manley does. Anyone have any experience with it?
Yes. I think in general it is a fine substitute for the Pultec. Not quite as beefy, or thick sounding with its low end boosts as the PE-1C, but I find that with the high end, it does quite nicely. I'm def not the only one who has said this, you can find it many places in a search. The only criticism I have of that EQ is that its HP/LP filters have a very steep slope. Way more than I was expecting. It must be 4-pole, but it just sounds too severe for my ears. That compressor is great too, and the saturation knob is tits. As a channel, for the money, it's at least as good as the Tubetech.
Old 12th March 2014
  #23
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phas3d's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by terraamb01 View Post
So generally I use the eq on the master bus very gently to just boost low end a hair, clean up a little mud, brighten a little or add air.
Of course. But my answer to the other post was more about mastering. Having an EQ on the master chain is something that is very common when mixing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terraamb01 View Post
Actually someone mentioned the Softube Summit Audio Grand Channel. That looks very much like what the Manley does. Anyone have any experience with it?
I only mentioned NI Passive EQ which was also made by Softube because you said you liked UAD2's Manley. The Passive EQ is also modelled after the Manley, doesn't use DSP from your UAD2 card and also provides you with the option of using it in M/S mode. Of course there are plenty of other good mastering EQ plug-ins...
Old 12th March 2014
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by phas3d View Post
Of course. But my answer to the other post was more about mastering. Having an EQ on the master chain is something that is very common when mixing.
This is something I'll have to experiment with. I used to mix into a 2 buss compressor. Then I found that I'd rather get everything sounding as good as possible with nothing on the 2 buss, then polish it off after bouncing to a single file. However, I almost always add a little warmth bump and a 1-2dB high shelf. At times though, when I do this, suddenly a hat or something becomes a tad harsh, while everything else sounds great. Then I have to go back and adjust my LP on said hat, rebounce.......time, time, time.
Old 12th March 2014
  #25
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phas3d's Avatar
 

It's perfectly ok to leave the EQ on all the time as that will usually have a positive effect on your mix as long as it's mild. If you're going to send it out to master then I would advise you to remove any dynamic processing (compressors, limiters) from the master chain.
Old 12th March 2014
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D View Post
This is something I'll have to experiment with. I used to mix into a 2 buss compressor. Then I found that I'd rather get everything sounding as good as possible with nothing on the 2 buss, then polish it off after bouncing to a single file. However, I almost always add a little warmth bump and a 1-2dB high shelf. At times though, when I do this, suddenly a hat or something becomes a tad harsh, while everything else sounds great. Then I have to go back and adjust my LP on said hat, rebounce.......time, time, time.
That is kind of my thinking. Im trying to find tools that can streamline my workflow, not add layers if possible. Ill take a look at the NI passive as well. I actually already have it since i have NI Komplete, but i've never played with any of their processing tools.
Old 12th March 2014
  #27
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zvukofor's Avatar
Personally, I hate to use any kind of "precise" EQ on master/subgroups. Baxendall or Pultec-style seems more appropriate here.

The one i use is Sknote Stripbus channel, it has very gentle curves, you can use shelves or HP/LP.
Also it has very gentle (not to say "analog") dynamic EQ option - it limits boost range if there're too much of any freq band in a program...there're even more nice features in this one, it's a very nice console channel modelling plugin, but it's EQ is great for non-abusive, character EQuing.

Sonimus SonEQ is another great one for this role, PTEq-1a is one more pultec-style plugin.
There're also good free Baxendall EQ - Kuassa BasiQ
Old 12th March 2014
  #28
I like Elysia Museq EQ.
Old 12th March 2014
  #29
Yep, Elysia, Equilibrium and Tubetechs.
But I rarely eq on the m bus when working on a project, PT or Logic.
Realy keep that for the mastering stage.
Old 12th March 2014
  #30
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Flux Epure is excellent on master!
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