Shadow Hills Industries Equinox by Preme Diesel
I bought the Equinox a couple years ago, to serve a couple purposes: I needed a monitoring section, a couple new preamps, and was interested in the world of analog summing.
First and foremost, this thing is the most attractive piece of gear I own. I almost feel bad mentioning esthetic before sound, but it is truly and eye catcher.
The construction is very good. Every switch, knob and pot feels 100% rock solid.
Monitoring section is absolutely pristine. It is easy to switch between monitoring systems, and the large Bakelite master volume knob is great.
The Gama preamps sound good. They are fast, and its great to have a stereo pair. I have had great luck with acoustic guitar, synths, electric guitar cabs and more. Each GAMA has its own pad, phased and transformer type switch.
I have not used other summing boxes, but summing through The Equinox clean sound pleasing and have a pleasing effect on bottom end and stereo image.
The talkback section Dims playback when engaged, making it useless to me. I use talk back to cue people, add encouragement during tracking, etc, so I have to use a separate talkback setup. I spoke to Peter at Shadow Hills about a mod for this, but he never ended up getting back to me, and several follow up queries have gone unanswered from both him and Stephanie.
No mono channels in summing mode. There is a dongle out there that adapts channels to mono, but i do not have one. The dongle is supposedly free, and again Peter said he would ship me one, but never did. Two strikes for customer service. This is strange, because I have heard good things about their service from others.
The whole concept of "3 transformer types" in the GAMAs is interesting, but borders on gimmick for me. The flavors are different, but the difference is extremely subtle. I would like to see far more dramatic difference in tone/colour.
The summing is not good on all source types. For clean pop/r&b/rap/dance mixes, I find I almost always prefer the ITB mix, for its cleaner more polished sound. On darker, more organic mixes, I find the summed mixes generally more pleasing. I have not used other summing boxes to compare, and I would guess I would feel the same about any analog summing.
I am glad I own an Equinox. I get good use of the preamps and use the summing on some, but certainly not all of my mixes. The build is high quality, and it is a stand out piece in my studio that attracts the eye of both clients and other engineers. There are things I would change about it, and I am disappointed with the customer service. Overall though, its been a good purchase and gets lots of use.