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Great River Electronics EQ-2NV

Great River EQ-2NV

4.6 4.6 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

This is my complete Review of the EQ-2NV. It was written and edited in chunks over the course of several weeks, so please forgive the length as I was only trying to give you (The readers) my thoughts after 7 years of using this marvelous EQ in a pro environment.

20th December 2011

Great River EQ-2NV by henge

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Great River Electronics EQ-2NV

The EQ2NV is a two channel digitally controlled analogue EQ that is based on the Neve 1081/1083 models. Great River has made some improvements to the original designs where they saw fit and the results are spectacular.
Each channel has controls for a high pass filter, low shelf ( switchable to notch ), low mid and high mid with Q adjustable between narrow, mid and wide and finally a high shelf which is switchable to notch. Each band can be defeated individually which is very cool. An input knob lets you drive the transformers at different levels as well as treat different incoming levels and also enables you to use the EQ in conjunction with the ME1NV pre. More on this later.
Each channel has a bypass for comparing what you’ve done to what was before. In and outs are standard xlr’s as well as a -10 output for both channels. Each channel also has a patch jack. This is where you interface with the ME1NV. Construction is top notch. I opened up the unit to look inside and the construction was GORGEOUS!! The knobs feel solid and smooth and the labelling is easy to read.
The EQ2NV is made to interface with an ME1NV or ME2NV via the patch points on the back of either unit, all you need is a TRS cable. This enables you to put the EQ between the in and out stages of the ME1NV. You get to drive the EQ with the pre and the sound is friggin HUGE. You can also use both the output on the EQ and Pre for even more variety. The EQ2NV practically becomes a different EQ. In fact the sound was so big and deep using the Pre, Eq combo…..I got scared. The EQ2NV is extremely versatile by itself, but pairing it with the MW1NV adds a whole different sonic palette which is also extremely versatile. As a one and only combo it’s (EQ2NV into ME1NV) it’s pretty incredible.
Ok on to real world use. Used on kick I sucked out a bunch of low mids using the low shelf set to notch and set to 330 Hz. I liked this setting better than using the low mid filter. The high pass was set to 33 Hz to get rid of any rumble. The sound was powerful, open and DEEP. All of a sudden there was this space around the sound which made it so easy to fit into the track. Snare benefited from a slight boost with medium Q at 220 Hz and a slight cut with narrow Q at 1.5 k. Again the depth and space around the sound were awesome. I could get used to this!! I went on to process the remaining drum tacks and was floored by the space and depth of each sound.
Bass was run through the ME1NV, EQ2NV combo and was massive. I sucked out 330 Hz with the low mid controls and was basking in huge bass heaven. Unfortunately the bass was too big so I went back to just using the EQ on its own. With the low mid cut and some high passing at 56 or 100 Hz I had my sound. Again easy and spacious.
I ended up running every track through the EQ2NV, UBK Fatso combo and the results were fantastic. I finally got the depth, clarity and separation that I always wanted with minimal effort. It was easy to carve out sonic space for each element in the mix.
Used on the 2 buss it,s pretty easy to match sides with the EQ2NV. It must be noted that the gain pots are not detented so you have to use your ears for level matching. For corrective buss eq’ing the EQ2NV was fabulous. I cut ever so slightly at 3.9k and 1.5 K using a narrow Q and the whole mix came together. Every element was defined and had space yet the mix was still cohesive.
This is a fabulous sounding EQ capable of sweet to surgical and it does what it does with wonderful sonics. A great all rounder! Thanks Great River.

  • 1
28th January 2012

Great River EQ-2NV by barforama

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Great River Electronics EQ-2NV

Initial impressions;
The Great River EQ-2NV is a 1 unit 19" rack unit housing a 2 channel 4 band parametric equalizer with a high pass filter and a 6 position input gain switch. The high and low filters offers 15dB of boost or cut @ 7 dirrerent frequencies with switchable bell or shelf filters. The two mid bands also offers 15dB's of cut or boost, has 10 position frequency switches and switchable bandwith (broad, normal and narrow bandwiths options).

In use;
There are no frequency overlap between the two mid bands, but plenty between high / upper mid and low / low mid bands.
I have been using the eq mainly for tracking or single track processing / sub group processing in the mixing process. It really has a great "grap" on the signal. No matter weather you add mids on electric guitars, low ends on a kick or presence to a snare it does the job extremely well! I really don't need the extra flexibility of a stepless Q-control. The three way bandwidth switch does the job for me.
You can get som very cool lows when cutting with the high pass filter and boosting shelfs with the low filter. A standard trick that in particular works very well on this eq!

Expensive, but worth every penny for the versatility and GREAT sound!

3rd October 2013

Great River EQ-2NV by herecomesyourman

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Great River Electronics EQ-2NV


UPDATE: The review is complete now! I tried to include top-shelf technical specs in engineer vernacular for the discerning professional, as well as basic EQ knowledge for people who are just starting out and wondering how they would approach using this EQ in a work environment.


- Cary Miller (Herecomesyourman.)


First of all I would like to offer two stories up for consideration. I have owned two EQ-2NV's over the past 7 years. At one point I slimmed my rig down to one and now I distinctly regret it. But over those 7 years during two occasion my EQ's found themselves needing maintenance from all the heavy use.

The first time I had to send one back was after an accident occurring during a job where I found redoing my whole in preparation for the new building we were moving my gear into at the time. My EQ was on the floor of a workspace and my friend who was helping me out tripped and kind of slammed into some of my gear. on the floor.

Everything was OK except for a knob on one of my EQ-2NV's. Sturdy as these things are (And they are built like tanks!) A gain knob for the high band broke right off that day.

I remember calling Great River...speaking with Dan Kennedy directly...and even though I was out for shipping costs it was fixed and polished up in under 7 days (Back to me in 8!) - At no cost to me.

Fast-forward to this year. The PSU died in the EQ I kept...I was honestly distraught. This was the first time I'd ever had a problem with a Great River product. Not only did Dan fix it himself, replacing the PSU and going through my EQ with great care in order to make sure it was working like new. But again, it was fixed for free, and back to me in under two weeks.

I was originally going to give the EQ-2NV a 4.75 out of 5 stars...because it retails at close to $3,000 and it's not a "Neve", "API", or "SSL" piece of kit that can cash in on it's brand name recognition. Nor is it a Fairchild...or a Pultec...or even a vintage LA2A or it's not so ubiquitous that you would see one in a photo in every issue of Mix Magazine ever published.

I thought that I had to dock points because of it's price range, not so much that I don't think of it as fairly priced for what it is and how it's built, but because it's expensive in general. Especially when you look at things like the 500 series format where EQ's like the new Lindell Audio Pultec clone can be had for $299...the fiscally crazy side of my brain can't get over each channel on my EQ being $1,450 almost by comparison. I thought that docking points in this criteria would be fair...nothing is perfect right?

Then I think about how good this thing really is. How trusty it's been during our 7 year run. How I really want more again, not because of the familiarity. But because I've shot it out time and again with API and Neve EQ's and it keeps winning as my basic parametric EQ of choice in the field even after all of this time. It's maybe not always my first choice on everything, but I could do anything with just these EQ's alone. Tracking...Mixing...buss's all really something this thing can do with flair when you get down to it.

I've only written three reviews so far for Gearslutz, and this one I'm going to be chunking up as it comes to me due to time restraints with work, but you have to understand me when I say this. The customer support...genuine love for the customers who keep Great River Electronics making great kit mind second to none. This is a company that primarily makes elevators and other electronic-industrial devices we take for granted every day...but this special division dubbed Great River...this purely for the love of the game thing that Dan Kennedy has going's just special.

So there is a reason why I have no choice to but give it 5 stars...because you're a valued for customer for life when you buy from Great River.

(Neve 1081 meets API 5500...meets SSL E Series EQ? Oh yeah and it somehow just works.)

The EQ-2NV has it's roots in the 1881 design. But months ago in passing I spoke with Fletcher about it's design and he confessed that this was merely where they started. The concept of the MP-NV and the EQ-NV was to take classic Neve devices people love and modernize them with the best features of the best versions. Ultimately the 1066/1073 Mic Preamp is what people know and love best...but the EQ in the 1081 was a full four bands with it was a more powerful EQ using a class A/B preamp which wasn't quite as nice sounding as the 1073 era. A compromise Dan Kennedy didn't have to make.

Since Fletcher is famous for helping launch careers, and is one of the nicest dudes / most important figures in the boutique analog world, I am going to say some extremely flattering things in this review that I think are warranted.

They wanted to take this EQ into the future, and one thing that modern digital plugins have are presets. The computer REMEMBERS where you left the digital Q control which stays where you left it resembles a plugin EQ in some respect, and this becomes the single most abused feature for new users overnight. If you turn the EQ off to save on power it will power up exactly where you left off.

If you shell out the extra bucks for the MAQ-2NV (Mastering version) then all controls become stepped, which makes things even easier to deal with if you're coming from a digital background rather than an analog studio.

Since the NV designs use sowter transformers (75% Nickle) the MP-NV output transformer is not iron like the vintage Neves...nor is is Steel like API style designs...instead it's actually a cleaner (less total harmonic distortion) sound than either classic design to start, and the voicing of other key components (such as inductor coils) become even more potent factors with achieving the sound.

API EQ's use Gyrators, and have a "harder" sound than 80's series Neves by comparison, and the side effect of the proportional EQ they use to compensate for this leaves things with a very broad-stroke and wide Q range that narrows exponentially as you crank things up. But there is no transformer on the output of this EQ to to round the edges so to speak.

The API designs are also unbalanced (Except the 5500.)

By comparison the transformer driven input AND output on the 80's series Neves combined with the inductors in their designs are loading signal in series with the additional transformers on the preamp stage. This creates a smooth and wide sound which cannot get more surgical as you crank it like the API. It will always stay wide and saturated. The Neve design is (I believe) balanced.

The Great River is transformerless on the output (unlike the API EQ's which have transformers on the output), and features a transformer on the input section like it's Neve ancestors, it's also balanced like the Neve and the API 5500...with three fixed Q ranges you can toggle through on the High Mid and Low Mid well as shelf and Bell curves for the Low and High bands each...this right off the bat gives you much more flexibility than either design (Almost SSL E series EQ control on each band.) but with the inductor based topology of the 1081 still in tow to smooth things out ever so slightly...even without an MP-2NV to compliment the EQ-NV you will have a starting point which to me feels like a cross between the Neve and API EQ sounds as a result...but leaning a bit more in the direction of the API style vibe in tone.

Then if you feed the output transformer of the MP-2N via the patch 1/4" points in the rear you can mix signals through the EQ using the sowter transformer in series to saturate the signal a bit you something cleaner, but even more reminiscent of the vintage 80's series Neve channels with multiple transformer stages on it's preamp I/O, and EQ.

Dan Kennedy designed this monster...but Fletcher kept using the prototypes in field and supplying feedback in order to tune it into something far more effective than any design by either Neve or API. I don't know if it's just the Frequency selections, or the final width chosen for the fixed Q choices, but there's something a bit "hard" about certain Q settings which is extremely reminiscent of the API designs with wider Q settings on your bell curves even though they sport a proportional Q. Being that Fletcher is unabashed API lover with a ton of history behind them and similar sounding consoles I would think that subconsciously his personal tastes helped to guide the final sound of the EQ-2NV a lot.



Since this EQ is capable of both an API like quality meets Neve-like quality depending of if you're patching in the transformer from an MP-2NV preamp, it's really a multipurpose tracking EQ capable of broad-strokes and some delicate fine tuning when it's needed. Sonically, your signal will change just from running through it so I can't quality it as a transparent or surgical EQ.

It excels at being paired up with all types of microphones however because of it's design. The HPF is great in light or large doses depending on your source, but never offensive. While the Low and Low-Mid bands are both interactive with it to a certain degree and can easily yield a lot of sculpting potential with the different digitally selectable Q controls.

I find that I love it as a first round pick for tracking vocals. Sometimes I'll pair it up with a Vintage Neve 1272 instead of a Great River pre depending on the vocalist, but some of the best vocal sounds I've ever gotten have resulted from using this EQ.

Also I know of no better EQ for tracking acoustic guitars of all's just too easy to dial things in fast until even the worst sounding acoustics feel like they're many times more expensive somehow.

That being said, I wish I had a console made from these EQ's...they work on everything, drums open up and feel more solid immediately...Bass tightens up fast but never feels like it's lost it's magic. It's got a sound that becomes part of the signal inherently, but I personally love that sound and usually can't get enough of it. Electric guitars in the heavy metal variety are the only tricky thing here...sometimes it works...sometimes I just want something more transparent in that case if the tone of things needs to be cutting and percussive. This is strange because on drums it doesn't really soften transients so much, but maybe guitars are just funky that way. (I wish I could explain what I mean a bit more fluidly, but hopefully this makes sense.)


Strap this to a mult of acoustic guitars panned out however you like them and try not to die smiling! It's fantastic on the 2Bus much of the time...and superb for drum bus as well...for whatever reason it's not my first pick to EQ electric guitars on a bus, but in all genres aside from newer generation metal it seems to work amazingly well on just about anything I can throw at it. For Metal...again...some guitar sounds just don't translate as well after running through this thing. The second transformer state with the MP-2NV pre helps a lot in those cases though and pushes things into a broader stroke area where a more clinical 2Bus EQ can shape things for the better later...on things like a VOX AC30 however it's amazing every time...and paired with tracks cut with nice ribbon mics it can be extremely complimentary to guitars.

At this point I'd prefer to use Pultec style EQ's if I've tracked vocals with the EQ-2NV, but it can really help with badly recorded vocals fast if they need to be fleshed out with more body as well.


As a program EQ for mastering this EQ has a sound that Fletcher and Dan Kennedy both thought wasn't as suited to the task as the input transformer in the mastering version of this EQ. So since things are more colored in the EQ-2NV design Vs the MAQ-2NV intentionally one can conclude that the MAQ is probably better to pick initially if that's what you want out of the design.

However...that would mean that the inverse is probably true as well...that more often than not the EQ-2NV has a broader stroke kind of color which helps to shape individual sounds faster.

That's not to say there are no times when one can't pick up where the other leaves off...maybe some things don't need as much of a saturated total harmonic distortion when you're tracking and the MAQ-2NV would be fine as a clearer but similar choice. Certainly the reverse can be said to be true with mastering since I have mastered literally over 150 indie releases with this EQ in 7 years.

It sounds great, and both versions of the EQ have the ability to patch in the sowter transformer from the that's saying something...that means if you own both that you are capable of really getting four distinctive starting tones between both EQ's...all slightly different variants on body and depth with THD...all musical and easy to dial in since the controls are virtually identical. Also since there are no stepped gain stages on the bands with the EQ-2NV you can get a lot of "in-between" sounds when trying to find the right amounts of volume to boost and cut.

I would use it in place of an API 5500 without the additional transformer, or in place of two Neve style channel strips with the transformer and get similar, yet superior results each time. Ultimately, I decided to keep my EQ-2NV and MP-2NV and my vintage 1272's without EQ that should tell you something. It can however be described as a "harder" sound without the MP-2NV, so don't get too aggressive when using it as a mastering EQ.


It's never an outright clone of either Neve nor API sounds yet somehow I find it to be superior to either in almost every respect 90% of the time (Sometimes I do want that 550a/550b thing on the occasional source since the proportional Q is so distinctively wide, hard sounding, and self compressing on those API's..but I don't really miss Neve EQ's at all.)...and since it functions more like a cross between an SSL E series meeting the 1081 in terms of's always very intuitive and easy to set up.

This is why I love that it remembers where you left the Q buttons when it powers up. Over longer projects it just becomes a joy to use with fairly easy recall. If you factor in the incredible attention to customer service then I would have to highly recommend an EQ-2NV and MP-2NV combo to anyone who is looking for their first pair of dedicated pres and EQ's, or to anyone looking to expand their roster by two more pres and EQs. I will however reserve the right to say that the 19" 2NV units are by far the most flexible / cost effective when you think about it, even though they're more expensive products than a single or a 500 series MP-NV.

(Skip over this unless you really want to wade into the technical side of the pool...for those who are interested though I am including settings I particularly enjoy to give you a frame of reference.)

  • The single best customer service I have ever encountered from any boutique audio equipment company in the USA.

  • Design that's partially based on the Neve 1081 EQ with features that give it a sonic signature that in my opinion is superior to any design ever made by Neve or API.

  • Some of the best components ever used in a class A discrete design for an equalizer.

  • Stress tested and partially co-designed by Fletcher with Dan Kennedy. (Former Mercenary Audio Founder and famed award winning engineer.)

  • Two channel, discrete Class-A design

  • Multiple In/Out connections: XLR balanced line in and out; ¼" -10dbV output for 'no-latency' DAW monitoring.

  • TRS ¼” insert patch point for NV Series mic preamp. (Inserts EQ between NV preamp gain stages.)

  • Wide range of input sensitivity from +8dbm to -20dbm with selection between line in and insert patch point.

  • Internal low-noise shielded power supply. (Externally selectable for 110 / 220 volt; 50 / 60 Hz.)

  • 3 year warranty with registration. (Might as well be lifetime honestly. They treat you so well.)

  • Single rack space with internal power supply.

  • 3rd order selectable frequency high pass filter featuring the following six bands and a hard bypass labeled "OFF":
    • OFF (All OFF positions are digitally controlled hard bypasses which removes the bandwidth from being interactive with other bands.)
    • 2K2Hz (2,200KHz)
    • 17Hz
    • 27Hz*
    • 47Hz
    • 82Hz
    • 150Hz
    • 270Hz

    (*27Hz: Even on program material going up to 27Hz will feel natural and smooth if you're looking to keep the bottom in check on something. Otherwise this is a very natural sounding HPF which will serve you well during tracking and mixing.)

  • 4 bands independently enabled with +/-15db boost/cut.

  • Hi and low bands selectable between peaking and shelving with Fixed Q's.
    (These are labeled as slightly extended shelves and medium sized Q's for the bells.)

  • Hi-mid and low-mid bands each have 3 selectable fixed Q positions.
    (There are three bell Q shapes, narrow, medium, and wide.)

  • Selectable frequency low-bands featuring the following seven bands and a hard bypass labeled "OFF":
    • OFF (All OFF positions are digitally controlled hard bypasses which removes the bandwidth from being interactive with other bands.)
    • 2K2Hz (2,200KHz)
    • 22Hz
    • 33Hz
    • 56Hz*
    • 100Hz**
    • 150Hz
    • 330Hz***
    • 470Hz

    (*56Hz: Great place for boosting the meat of a kick drum using the shelf or medium Q.)

    (*100Hz: Fantastic starting point for a slight shelf boost of the overall low-end, very musical and intuitive.)

    (*330Hz: Interactive with the 330Hz band in the Low Mid section...trying boosting or cutting both lightly in equal amounts when you want to really cut a lot without things sounding pushed.)

  • Selectable frequency low-mid bands featuring the following nine bands and a hard bypass labeled "OFF":

    • OFF (All OFF positions are digitally controlled hard bypasses which removes the bandwidth from being interactive with other bands.)
    • 2K2Hz (2,200KHz)
    • 220Hz*
    • 270Hz**
    • 330Hz
    • 390Hz
    • 560Hz
    • 680Hz***
    • 820Hz****
    • 1K (1,000K)
    • 1K2 (1,200KHz)*****

    (*220Hz: A slightly lower band than 270 which can also be good for cutting or boosting bass guitars or the bottom end of a snare drum more than 270Hz.)

    (**270Hz: The "Mud-band" good for general cutting on most non-bass heavy signals.)

    (***680Hz: Can kind of do that Maag EQ thing with 650Hz only with a general bell instead of a broad exciter style frequency boost. Will sound more like a vintage EQ doing it, but it's interesting since it's only about 30Hz away from that kind of thing to start with. Make sure to use a wider Q setting if you attempt this since it can easily net you similar results on program material.)

    (****820Hz: A great band to cut with on vocals or drums in order to bring out the snare.)

    (*****1K2: Fantastic near-1K band, really effective with small doses of boosting or cutting, great on program material. The problem with boost at 1K directly is that we're most sensitive to that frequency range due to the Fletcher Munson curve. If you use the most narrow fixed Q at this range you're slightly above where things can get pushed too hard if you decide you want to add "Presence" on a mix like a presence knob on a guitar amp works.)

  • Selectable frequency high-mid bands featuring the following nine bands and a hard bypass labeled "OFF":
    • OFF (All OFF positions are digitally controlled hard bypasses which removes the bandwidth from being interactive with other bands.)
    • 1K5 (1,500KHz)*
    • 1K8 (1,800KHz)**
    • 2K2 (2,200KHz)
    • 3K3 (3,300KHz)
    • 3K9 (3,900KHz)***
    • 4K7 (4,700KHz)****
    • 5K6 (5,600KHz)*****
    • 6K8 (6,800KHz)******
    • 8K2 (8,200KHz)*******

    (*1K5: Great for snare drums! Just kind of nudges things the right way without pushing 1K too much.)

    (**1K8: Another fantastic near-1K band, works in a similar manner to 1K2...but if that proves just a bit too "hard" sounding on a whole mix 1K8 will work in a similar manner using a medium fixed Q. 2K2 and 3K3 can also work in this regard depending if there's something that needs more of an "exciter" type boost.

    (***3K9: This is the dominant frequency range of a guitar amp (Near 4K), so narrow or medium Q settings will work well depending on how much you want a guitar to stand out.

    (****4K7: This is where your cymbals and your horns live! When using this EQ on overheads or high-hat 4K7 boosts on a narrow or medium Q can be really potent on live drums. I also like this range on kick drum since it will boost the cut of the beater in a heavy yet definable way. 5K is about where people associate these sounds, but by moving things down 300Hz it's actually a bit more usable / musical due to the fact that 5K is getting closer to a sibilant range.

    (*****5K6: More of a sibilant frequency than not cutting with this range using all types of fixed Q settings (even wide ones) can be quick and to the point if you're finding something screechy below the 7K range.

    (******6K8: Straight sibilance town. This is where things normally are their most piercing when it comes to upper mid range. Don't be shy when cutting at this range when needed at all Q's musical even at extreme settings...just be careful not to kill the "life" out of your signal by going too aggressive with it.

    (*******8K2: This is leaning towards the harmonic top of the electric guitar amp upper mid-range. Pushing this on a guitar bus for example will really bring out definition on guitars in a pleasing way that isn't subtle. NOTE: 8K is in the sibilant range (6K-9K), so you have to be careful about how much you push things here, subtle pushes with narrow Q's when mixing are best, and I find it's not worth pushing this over 3K9 when tracking...things get brittle fast. Also this range is great for boosting violins, harps, chello's and other stringed instruments in albeit light doses.

  • Selectable frequency high bands featuring the following seven bands and a hard bypass labeled "OFF":
    • OFF (All OFF positions are digitally controlled hard bypasses which removes the bandwidth from being interactive with other bands.)
    • 2K2Hz (2,200KHz)*
    • 3K3Hz (3,300KHz)**
    • 4K7Hz (4,700KHz)***
    • 6K8Hz (6,800KHz)****
    • 10KHz (10,000KHz)*****
    • 15KHz (15,000KHz)
    • 18KHz (18,000KHz)

    (*2K2: Interactive with the 2K2Hz band in the High Mid section...trying boosting or cutting both lightly in equal amounts when you want to really cut a lot without things sounding pushed.)

    (*3K3: Interactive with the 3K3Hz band in the High Mid section...trying boosting or cutting both lightly in equal amounts when you want to really cut a lot without things sounding pushed.)

    (*4K7: Interactive with the 4K7Hz band in the High Mid section...trying boosting or cutting both lightly in equal amounts when you want to really cut a lot without things sounding pushed.)

    (*6K8: Interactive with the 6K8Hz band in the High Mid section...trying boosting or cutting both lightly in equal amounts when you want to really cut a lot without things sounding pushed. Stop me if you've heard this one before? )

    (*10K: The "Air" band...great on medium bell or shelf mode depending on what your needs are. Shelf will extend outward to 20KHz, so if you're trying to boost around 12K-12.5K than shelf is for you. Bell works better if you're only trying to isolate the 10K band.

  • Hardwired bypass of equalizer section.

  • 7
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