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Balance Mastering Analog Magpha EQ Plugin Equalizer Plugins
Old 9th April 2018
  #1
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DrAudioBot's Avatar
Balance Mastering Analog Magpha EQ Plugin

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Balance Analog Magpha EQ plugin. — Balance Mastering




A plugin EQ to rival analogue hardware

We wouldn't release a mastering equaliser unless it rivalled the sound and usability of the analogue hardware we have in our studio. But we are now ready with the Analog Magpha EQ.

This EQ is the result of years of mastering experience and has been a secret weapon in getting exactly the right sound for our clients. We hope it can help you too, whether placed on a track, subgroup or the master channel, this EQ delivers a silky smooth sound that's as warm as it is pure.
Features

Sound
Very open, smooth sounding curves.
True analogue phase behaviour right up to 20000Hz.
Optional very broad Q factors (<0.1), great for final wideband tone sculpting.
Technology
Extremely accurate match of analogue prototype curves in magnitude and phase.
Low latency performance.
Windows, Mac and Linux version available.
Interface
Minimal, zero-eye-candy interface reinforces the use-your-ears approach.
Stepped controls, carefully chosen to aid comparisons and guide decision making.
Stereo/Mid/Side band modes for full stereo field control.

True analogue phase

Under the hood we've developed a new technology that gives extremely accurate match of analogue prototype curves in both magnitude and phase. While most modern digital EQs do a good job at matching the magnitude of analogue filters, they do not match the analogue phase.

The lower panel shows that Analog Magpha EQ matches analogue phase right up to 20kHz, even at standard sample rates. This is often perceived as an "open", "pure" sound which is prized in analogue hardware by many engineers, especially when a few bands of mid or high frequency EQ is engaged.
Use-your-ears interface

We believe that key to creating great sounds is to use your ears. That's why our user interface is fully designed to reinforce the feedback loop between control and ear.

As engineers, it is easy to be distracted by visual feedback (consciously or unconsciously). Our UI design has minimal graphic elements, so that we don't dial in "shapes" by habit. This way we are constantly involved in the control-listen-evaluate working loop, which quickens the search for the best possible sound.
Old 9th April 2018
  #2
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No experience with this developer but giving it a shot since I have a Sonoris Mastering EQ up for a demo. Initial thoughts are this eq sounds good, clean, and so far really nice for notching out nasties and general shaping I but cant really judge since Im using it in Patchwork. Any plans for AAX?

Last edited by Asher Bay; 9th April 2018 at 07:12 PM..
Old 9th April 2018
  #3
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DrAudioBot's Avatar
Tried it. Not too impressed. It's pretty good but I have enough "pretty good" EQs.
Old 9th April 2018
  #4
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I must admit for a digital eq, this eq has some very musical eq curves. Similar to DMG Equality where I think a similar concept is in play. With the same curves cutting honk at 510hz Magpha sounds more natural and relaxed in the upper region while Equality starts to accentuate the upper mids and if any harshness is there it gets exposed quickly. Magpha sounds less eq's when using those settings and can be even used at more extreme settings.Equality at a certain point usually around -1.5-2db can start to sound unnatural, and when boosting, the honk is also more apparent than with Magpha. Im finding similar things happening with Sonoris MEQ and Toneboosters Eq4. They are all good but Im guessing it depends on the audio and the rest of the chain. Doesnt like the interface would lead you to believe lol but I appreciate it. Worth a demo at least.

Edit: Should say Im using it Patchwork and I have idea if that colors the signal at all.
Old 10th April 2018
  #5
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Hi-Lowpass filters?
Old 10th April 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lydpik View Post
Hi-Lowpass filters?
Unfortunately none. I was able to use the shelf for -1db but no actual hp and low pass. Used it yesterday and it handily beat out DMG Equality and Toneboosters Eq4. The end result sounded less eq'd and more natural/warm. I won't go as far to say it sounds like hardware but it is definitely musical like analogue. In my head Equilibrium has always been the standard for digital meets analogue so I may have to get another demo going.
Old 10th April 2018
  #7
Gear Head
 
balancemastering's Avatar
 

Thanks to anyone who downloaded the demo or purchased.

Our aim with this was to create a great sounding EQ that had quick useability/ergonomics.

I definitely respect DMG and everything Dave G does. In development, their filters were some of the ones that we tested against, to make sure were moving in the right direction. Then tried to push past what is already available in other plugins and create something new. Another way it's different from DMG is the UI ergonomics. I have a tendency to fiddle when there's a lot of controls, so I purposefully kept this restrictive and limited.

Re: LPF/HPF filters. We're thinking of releasing a standalone HPF for as personally I like to place them at a different sections of the chain (e.g. before analogue, before limiter). No plans for a LPF.

I'm happy to answer any questions here, if I can.

Also, For some graphs and more technical information here's a discussion I got into on linuxmusicians.com
Balance Analog Magpha EQ plugin released - LinuxMusicians


Thanks,
John.
Old 10th April 2018
  #8
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sonicdefault's Avatar
Looks interesting, I'll try it


-SD
Old 10th April 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balancemastering View Post
Thanks to anyone who downloaded the demo or purchased.

Our aim with this was to create a great sounding EQ that had quick useability/ergonomics.

I definitely respect DMG and everything Dave G does. In development, their filters were some of the ones that we tested against, to make sure were moving in the right direction. Then tried to push past what is already available in other plugins and create something new. Another way it's different from DMG is the UI ergonomics. I have a tendency to fiddle when there's a lot of controls, so I purposefully kept this restrictive and limited.

Re: LPF/HPF filters. We're thinking of releasing a standalone HPF for as personally I like to place them at a different sections of the chain (e.g. before analogue, before limiter). No plans for a LPF.

I'm happy to answer any questions here, if I can.

Also, For some graphs and more technical information here's a discussion I got into on linuxmusicians.com
Balance Analog Magpha EQ plugin released - LinuxMusicians


Thanks,
John.
I completely agree with your logic for HP in the chain. A standalone HPF would be nice. I'll take a peak at the link you provided.

What went into the process of choosing the steps values for Gain and Freq and Q? They are seemingly quite random at first but all very musical and I could find exactly what I want without having to fiddle further to fine tune. Also where in the analogue chain would be using this? First to address "balance" issues and then off to hardware to sweeten?
Old 10th April 2018
  #10
OMU
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The big circles (knobs?) only seem to take up space while not indicating anything. I didn't download the demo, just judging by looking at the picture. An option to only display values could be better for a true no-nonsense, clean GUI, IMO.
Old 10th April 2018
  #11
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sonicdefault's Avatar
John, I just did a brief test with this including some comparisons with the "competing" EQ and Magpha certainly sounds great! I'm still considering the limited functionality.

I read your comments about filters/standalone version. Do you have any plans to enhance some of the functions to the plugin? I see you mentioned on the other forum about implementing the 65 sample filter, which was a good choice, still it would be nice to have some additional offline settings to perhaps increase this? I'd love to hear your perspectives concerning tradeoffs, etc.

Also, are some of the parameters a defined set of values rather that fully sweepable? I encountered some unexpected behavior when entering values (click/enter), which made me wonder if this plugin is emulating anything specific with predefined values. Sorry if I'm overlooking something. I haven't located a manual yet. My only other question is if there is indeed sheving band functionality... I thought at first it was all bell filters.

-SD
Old 10th April 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OMU View Post
The big circles (knobs?) only seem to take up space while not indicating anything. I didn't download the demo, just judging by looking at the picture. An option to only display values could be better for a true no-nonsense, clean GUI, IMO.
I personally like the big knobs but a stripped down version with just values could be could probably force to use their ears even more. lol I would be uncomfortable with that sort of GUI personally but opposed to having it as an option for sure. Definitely give it a try. Im always trying every new eq out as more of a way to keep to date on whats available and new methodology. I interested to hear how others feel.
Old 10th April 2018
  #13
Gear Head
 
balancemastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Bay View Post
What went into the process of choosing the steps values for Gain and Freq and Q? They are seemingly quite random at first but all very musical and I could find exactly what I want without having to fiddle further to fine tune.
Basically it equally divides the 20-20000 spectrum logarithmically. You can see the reasoning behind it here The significance of 632Hz (I) — Balance Mastering and The significance of 632Hz (II) — Balance Mastering

Also Sontec and other hardware mastering EQs take a similar approach for their frequency steps. And same with the live venue style, 32 band graphic EQs.

Quote:
Also where in the analogue chain would be using this? First to address "balance" issues and then off to hardware to sweeten?
Personally, I've been using this in lots of positions. Different people will have different uses but for me I like it as a sound enhancer/sweetener. So probably after correction, then either before or after analogue (usually try both ways).

I do a lot of broad work with it. if I do notches I usually complement with a wide boost, as in e.g. the preset entitled 'Smooth the 2.3k'.

It's been interesting to hear your thoughts on the notches vs. other eqs I must audition that.
Old 10th April 2018
  #14
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sonicdefault's Avatar
I don't mind the size of the knobs per se, however they do seem somewhat large in context of the GUI as a whole. I mean with knobs that big, I would prefer a larger UI as well. Bigger and more visibly-distinct numeric fields would also be helpful.


-SD
Old 10th April 2018
  #15
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balancemastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicdefault View Post
Do you have any plans to enhance some of the functions to the plugin? I see you mentioned on the other forum about implementing the 65 sample filter, which was a good choice, still it would be nice to have some additional offline settings to perhaps increase this? I'd love to hear your perspectives concerning tradeoffs, etc.
I was thinking of allowing maybe 4 settings for version 2.0 if there's enough demand for it. e.g. length 5 - 33 - 65 - 127 which would correspond roughly to low, med, high, extreme
The advantage of length 5 is that it's pretty decent sounding filter and you could not report latency to the DAW. So if people need a zero-latency DAW environment and can live with 2 samples delay it's a kind of near-zero-latency mode.

Quote:
Also, are some of the parameters a defined set of values rather that fully sweepable? I encountered some unexpected behavior when entering values (click/enter), which made me wonder if this plugin is emulating anything specific with predefined values.
Yes it snaps to the predefined value steps (even when using keyboard entry). The steps are a design choice. Perhaps not everybody likes this way of working, but I really like this workflow where you are forced to choose between 2 neighbouring frequencies. For me when I'm mastering I can get the sound I need much quicker when the step neighbours are audibly different.

Quote:
Sorry if I'm overlooking something. I haven't located a manual yet. My only other question is if there is indeed sheving band functionality... I thought at first it was all bell filters.
Sorry haven't written a manual yet! And no shelves. I was thinking about shelves but personally I use broad Q peaks set low or set high instead of shelves. If there's enough demand it wouldn't be too hard to make it in the next version.

Thanks for all feedback everyone, both positive and negative.
Old 10th April 2018
  #16
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balancemastering's Avatar
 

RE: Knobs: Would a corner resizeable GUI swing some people?
Old 10th April 2018
  #17
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sonicdefault's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by balancemastering View Post
I was thinking of allowing maybe 4 settings for version 2.0 if there's enough demand for it. e.g. length 5 - 33 - 65 - 127 which would correspond roughly to low, med, high, extreme
The advantage of length 5 is that it's pretty decent sounding filter and you could not report latency to the DAW. So if people need a zero-latency DAW environment and can live with 2 samples delay it's a kind of near-zero-latency mode.



Yes it snaps to the predefined value steps (even when using keyboard entry). The steps are a design choice. Perhaps not everybody likes this way of working, but I really like this workflow where you are forced to choose between 2 neighbouring frequencies. For me when I'm mastering I can get the sound I need much quicker when the step neighbours are audibly different.



Sorry haven't written a manual yet! And no shelves. I was thinking about shelves but personally I use broad Q peaks set low or set high instead of shelves. If there's enough demand it wouldn't be too hard to make it in the next version.

Thanks for all feedback everyone, both positive and negative.
Thanks for the response! I think I have a decent grasp of Magpha now. Here's my honest opinion... this plugin sounds good enough to buy right now. However for me to use it in mastering where I wouldn't in certain scenarios need to use another EQ, I would definitely want a few added features such as-

- Offline render settings (127, yes please
- I apprecite stepped values too, but having an option to go fully sweepable is necessary for me personally.
- Shelving options definitely
- LP/HP would be nice, but not critical for me with this plugin
- Scalable GUI is not critical, but more visible numeric values would be very welcome.

I'm going to continue demoing Magpha- I really like what I'm hearing! Thanks for being receptive to everyone's suggestions!


-SD
Old 10th April 2018
  #18
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sonicdefault's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by balancemastering View Post
RE: Knobs: Would a corner resizeable GUI swing some people?
I would like it a little bigger, and to be able to fully resize would be great. Still, with this type of plugin (especially with no RTA), the most important thing is visibility of the numeric fields, since that's really all you're adjusting. What I'd be most impressed by is primarily the smoothness of the knobs/switches, and a very legible UI. The knobs seem smooth, but without detents the number values become even more important since that's the primary visual feedback.


-SD
Old 10th April 2018
  #19
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Digital Crush's Avatar
Great sounding Eq
Old 11th April 2018
  #20
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I'm amazed by the tremendous clarity. Less of overwhelming distortion...
I want the AAX version right now!!!!!
Old 11th April 2018
  #21
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This needs to be PluginDoctored! Sounds really different from Basic Algo digital EQs..
'Smooth the 2.3k' is a really interesting starting point for the shoot out indeed..

Edit: unfotunately neither AU or VST show up in PDoc
could you please check this out..?
Thank you!
Old 11th April 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balancemastering View Post
I was thinking of allowing maybe 4 settings for version 2.0 if there's enough demand for it. e.g. length 5 - 33 - 65 - 127 which would correspond roughly to low, med, high, extreme
The advantage of length 5 is that it's pretty decent sounding filter and you could not report latency to the DAW. So if people need a zero-latency DAW environment and can live with 2 samples delay it's a kind of near-zero-latency mode.



Yes it snaps to the predefined value steps (even when using keyboard entry). The steps are a design choice. Perhaps not everybody likes this way of working, but I really like this workflow where you are forced to choose between 2 neighbouring frequencies. For me when I'm mastering I can get the sound I need much quicker when the step neighbours are audibly different.



Sorry haven't written a manual yet! And no shelves. I was thinking about shelves but personally I use broad Q peaks set low or set high instead of shelves. If there's enough demand it wouldn't be too hard to make it in the next version.

Thanks for all feedback everyone, both positive and negative.
I personally think it is perfect as is. After a couple days, Im able to work lightening fast. No second guessing settings, I end up settling between two or three options at most but can easily narrow it down to one. Imo to expand it too far it may lose the essence of the confinement feeling to not fiddle and rely on ears.

Resizable gui and a numerical values only appearance are nice options but more values to choose from etc. may start to lean the product in a different direction imo. As long as there is some kind of toggle between the released version and the update I'd be totally on board.
Old 11th April 2018
  #23
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balancemastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsblack View Post
'Smooth the 2.3k' is a really interesting starting point for the shoot out indeed..
This simultaneous cut & boost technique is a trick we've used for a long time here. Very useful for most mixes.

We're developing a plugin that will perform this as one band

Quote:
Edit: unfotunately neither AU or VST show up in PDoc
could you please check this out..?!
VST works for me in the DDMF Plugin Doctor?

Here's some graphs and some more info from another forum. Give you an idea of what's going on...

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
  #24
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Thanks for those infos, very interesting.
About My PDoc Issue, i'm running PDoc (1.0.5) on sierra.. could it be because of Magma EQ demo limitations..?
AU don't show.. VST Crashes..
FWIW
error for object 0x7fba1f995800: incorrect checksum for freed object - object was probably modified after being freed

Thanks
Old 11th April 2018
  #25
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balancemastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsblack View Post
Thanks for those infos, very interesting.
About My PDoc Issue, i'm running PDoc (1.0.5) on sierra.. could it be because of Magma EQ demo limitations..?
AU don't show.. VST Crashes..
FWIW
error for object 0x7fba1f995800: incorrect checksum for freed object - object was probably modified after being freed

Thanks
Hi an issue has been fixed in v1.0.1 on Monday which sounds similar. This may fix this?

For the link, email subject is "Analog Magpha EQ v1.0.1 update – Fix Logic validation" or email me at info at balancemastering dot com

Ah okay, I see I didn't update the version number but to know if it's v1.0.1, the file should be created 9 April 2018 22:55 for Mac (v1.0.0 was created 6 April)

Otherwise, since the demo does not save parameters, this may not play well with Plugin Doctor.
Old 11th April 2018
  #26
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Okay, thanks,
and for the record.. i was messing wrongly with the "Q" factor of Magma EQ..(bad reading.. my fault)
Now the differnce is less obvious with competitors, but still effective in it's own way during a classic mastering situation.
Old 11th April 2018
  #27
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SilverCrucifix's Avatar
 

Seriously terrible GUI.
Old 12th April 2018
  #28
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DrAudioBot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverCrucifix View Post
Seriously terrible GUI.
I have nothing against simple basic GUIs (Love valhalla GUIs) but in this case
I agree, it all seems hard to look at and no color coded sections. When I tried the EQ I constantly had to "think" and concentrate what is gain, Q and frequency.

Lowest and highest band should also be able to switch from peak to shelf.

I will give this EQ another try and see what it's all about once more
Old 12th April 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrAudioBot View Post
I have nothing against simple basic GUIs (Love valhalla GUIs) but in this case
I agree, it all seems hard to look at and no color coded sections. When I tried the EQ I constantly had to "think" and concentrate what is gain, Q and frequency.

Lowest and highest band should also be able to switch from peak to shelf.

I will give this EQ another try and see what it's all about once more
Dont need no stinking eyes for this eq, they only hurt the process lol.

Seriously though try this on an old mix you havent touched in a while and play with Magpha. I did this only occasionally using my eyes for placement which is how I mix in general.

I was able to clearly hear, and highlight small details in a mix in way that I completely missed the first time when comparing the previous version. Background vocal clarity and spacing, and effects more specifically. This completely dictated the changes in my eq choices. I was actually boosting 3.5k which was usually a big nope for a lot home recorded ITB mixes, but combined with the other settings I landed on I got sweet results. Pushed the vocals and affects slightly forward and gave them clarity. I need more time with this but this might actually have my shift some of my purchases. Thanks for sharing this here or I would have definitely missed it.
Old 13th April 2018
  #30
OMU
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Installed the demo. First impression: those big circles are completely meaningless, not indicating any position, while dragging the values themselves doesn't work.

Will come back with impressions on sound but the first contact with the GUI is bad.

Edit: I really like how this thing sounds! Please fix the GUI, this is a really good eq.
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