The speck ASC is a no nonsense four band parametric EQ. It is available in a transformer balanced as well as an electronically balanced version. Actually the transformer version (ASC-T) can be used as an electronically balanced unit by using the TRS inputs which take the transformer out of the signal path
The low band is sweep-able from 20Hz up to 150Hz and can be used in either a bell curve or shelving filter mode, select-able via a push button.
Low/mid can be selected to operate from 40-800 Hz or 400Hz - 8kHz again select-able by a push button
Mid Frequency runs from 400Hz - 10kHz
High frequency from 4kHz - 25kHz
Low/mid and Mid frequencies have a controllable Q from 1/2 - 2 octave width
The Low and High controls have a Q that is variable depending on the center frequency. For example the low filter Q at 20Hz is 1/4 octave but at 150Hz is more like 1 & 1/2 octaves. Similarly the high frequency Q will be a tight 1/2 octave at 4kHz but widens out to almost 2 octaves at 25Khz
All four bands have +/- 15dB of gain
There is also an input trim that offers from -12dB to +6dB of trim/gain
All around this is a pretty versatile piece. The transformer offers a little flavor but even using this option the EQ is still not what I would call a color piece. If you are looking for some hardware to drop ini and give a track instant crunch/mojo/warmth/coloration this is not it
This unit is a great addition to any setup as it can go from surgical to wide cuts and boost and really is very flexible and easy to dial in good sound
Everything feels nicely put together, the controls are color coded by band for easy reference and the light colored face plate make everything nice and clear and easy to read. Has a kind of SSL vibe
The price new is very reasonable and on the used market can be found in excellent condition from the $400-$500 range (depending on if you get the transformer model or not)
This is a nice quality entry into the world of hardware EQ. I currently have 2 of these units and would buy another without any second thought
I tried this EQ in my studio and found it to be ok. It's not a high end sounding EQ like a Mini Massive, Great River, or Portico. Of course it's a lot cheaper than any of those Eq's as well, so it would probably not be fair to compare it to those Eq's, Though I thought the EQ was decent, many times I found my Waves SSL, or V series Plug in EQ's to give me more of the sound I was looking for.
I found the Speck to be mediocre in sound quality. Does not use inductors. The price for these is outrageous. I can't for the life of me understand what makes this thing worth the money they are asking for them. It would be an OK EQ if it was priced at about $150 or so. Save your money and get either a Square State
or the Black Lion AM-CHA-1. Both of those use inductors and sound very superior to the Speck. One other thing: the claim by Speck that the high band includes a "simulated inductor" is pure marketing B.S. All equalizers that are not inductor based use simulated inductors. A $20 used Radio Shack EQ at the Salvation Army store uses simulated inductors.
The Speck Electronics eqs are absolutely excellent in my opinion. Some may not favor them because they do not add any extra "spice" or "excitement" to the audio, but that is not what they're meant for. These are real-deal, professional audio tools. They get the job done, meat and potatoes, without a sugar coating. They have tons of control, a few fully parametric bands, etc, something that a lot of character eqs do NOT have. Bottom line, in the studio, you need an eq that can do what you need it to do... in this regard, the Speck never disappoints. Sure, a 1073 or 550A may have more "character" (and costs over twice as much or whatever), but you don't have a fraction of the eq control and thus often CANNOT do what needs to be done. The Specks are made for professional use, much like fully featured high-end desk eqs... they in fact are not too different than some of the SSL eqs in terms of layout and control. The only "extra" thing I miss compared to other pro-level desk-type eq tools would be filters (thus I gave the Specks a rating of just "9" instead of "10" in terms of features), but there isn't enough physical space to add anymore control on these things anyway, can't have it all. I do like the compactness of the Specks, can fit a whole bunch right near your mixing sweet spot, within reach, very handy. I tend to prefer the non-transformer version of this eq. Both versions are cool, but for critical, surgical equalizing, when you don't want to mess with the signal other than eq it, the non-transformer version is just that much cleaner and accurate... that's more often what I reach for.... but this is a personal choice of course. In my opinion these eqs are priced quite fairly, considering the incredible degree of control they offer and the quality of the sonics. They're an inexpensive way to obtain a few truly worthy analog eqs for those who might have trouble being able to afford some SSLs or whatever. These are also great little eqs to put in front of your 1073 or 550A when you wish to add classic character but still need real CONTROL. They won't alter the signal (the non-tranny version anyway) and give you the eq abilities you need.
Very good tool for clean problem fixing. Use transformer for slight transformer transient softening, use non transformer for clean sound. Sound quality gets a 4 because although very good clean tool for removing issues, the transformer transient saturation to my ear is not as deep and large as other transformer saturation like for instance in the Little Devil or Chameleon labs 7602 mk 11 with carnhill transformers.
It does not do the colour sheen of an e27, or the enlarging of a chandler little devil, but for invisible problem solving taking out unwanted frequencies it is great. It gets a use if there is a problem child area where other colour units are unable to solve the problem, for instance I have used the unit to fix a dud snare when all my other eqs including a great river eq32 was unable to solve the problem.
If you are using through a mixing desk/summing solution, you get the added bonus of some gain output as well.
It gets a 4 on features as the rack unit has no shelf on high end.
I can't stress enough how much I love & put to use my pair of Speck ASC-Ts. As stated in prior reviews some don't prefer them as much because of their lack of "color", but I do not fall under that category.
While these aren't super colored EQs they are very useful & musical EQs, extreme boost and cuts on cheaper EQs tend to sound thin/harsh which is the total opposite of what these bring to the table. The tranny option does add a nice transient softening effect but nothing to overzealous.
These were my first outboard equalizer purchase and at about $300 used on Ebay/Reverb I wouldn’t trade these for the world. They are a work horse and sound great on any source. Don’t get me wrong I would love some colored EQs but those can always be purchased later BUT I can guarantee I will never get rid of these EQs with how flexible & versatile they are.
The knobs turn very nicely and have a nice resistance to them, center dented gain controls, peak/shelf low band, great LED’s for quick recognition of what frequency range the “low mid band” is focusing on or if the unit is bypassed. Flexible I/O with the choice of having the tranny inline or not by simply cabling with XLR, TRS or TS. The ability to daisy chain up to 3 units together is a God send since the power supply is a wall wart. These all add up to a very useful unit.
My only complaint is I wish they had a way to rack 2 units together so they don’t move. I have racked them using a 19” rack shelve but the units tend to wander a bit with about a ¼-1/2 inch breathing room.
Overall if you’re looking for a great parametric EQ and don’t need it to be as colored as a Neve or something similar, these EQs are a exceptional choice, especially if you pick them up used!