This month saw some major upgrades to our mastering studio. We decided to swap out our 500 series racks for 3 new mastering grade EQ's. Each EQ has it's own purpose in our mastering chain. In this article I will explain each EQ's purpose and why we have decided to swap out our 500 series racks.
The first thing I would like to say before continuing is a big thank you to Gavin at Kazbar Systems for hooking me up with all 3 EQ's. Kazbar Systems have supplied me with most of the equipment you will find in our mastering studio. Great pricing, speedy delivery and Gavin even dropped the Kush EQ to my door as he was passing. Customer service is always great. Honestly check out Kazbar Systems by clicking the button below, they are my go to equipment supplier.
The old 500 series rack which has now been removed used to include the following equipment...
- 2x Rupert Neve 542 Tape Emulation Units
- 2x Maag EQ4 EQ's
- 2x Kush Clariphonic EQ's
- Stereo Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph
- Stereo Elysia Xpressor
- Stereo Elysia Xfilter
- Stereo Elysia Nvelope 500
- Stereo IGS Bison 500 M/S Matrix
The new rack now consists of the following EQ's....
- Stereo SPL PQ
- Stereo Maag EQ4m
- Stereo Kush Clariphoic M/S
We wanted a primary EQ with more of a surgical EQ, rather than a coloured EQ, like a Curve Bender or Manley. We had a choice between a few mastering EQ's, Some we have used a few times before, some we had used extensively and knew inside and out. We had to choose between the following EQ's....
- SPL PQ
- Maselec MEA-2
- Crane Song Ibis
- Buzz Audio REQ-2.2
We decided to go with the SPL PQ for a number of reasons.
- We love the sound of the SPL PQ and know this sound very well.
- 5 highly detailed and precise EQ bands.
- Switch to 1/4 gain for more subtle gain increase.
- Price. At £5000 it is a steal.
All 4 of the above EQ's sound amazing and are well worth checking out. For me though the PQ has and always will tick all the boxes. If you ever get a chance to use one believe me your track will come out the other end sounding a million dollars.
Kush Clariphonic M/S
We previously had two Kush Clariphonic EQ's in our 500 series rack. There was no way we could live without the Clariphonic EQ in our mastering chain. Which made adding the new Clariphonic M/S a must have. What make this EQ even more attractive is the fact that we can switch it into M/S mode. Which is a feature only the rack version has. This means we are able to work with the Clariphonic in M/S mode but also add other units into it's M/S matrix. Previously we used an ISG Bison 500 M/S matrix in our 500 series to do this but now we have it built into the Clariphonic. This means we can now run the Kush Clariphonic and Maag EQ4m in mid / side mode.
The Clariphonic is an incredible EQ. What it is used for is to add presence and sheen to the top end. In M/S mode the Clariphonic can be used to widen the width in the sides while adding presence to the mid. I honestly couldn't live without this EQ. Ever had a client ask you to add more presence to the top end. Basically what they are saying is can you add a Kush Clariphonic to the mastering chain bring out the presence and sparkle.
This isn't an EQ that stand on it's own in a mastering chain. It's a special processing EQ that is a luxury unit. What it adds is something no other EQ does.
Adding this EQ to our mastering chain was a no brainer. We already had a stereo pair of EQ4 500 series EQ's in our mastering studio, so removing those and upgrading to the new mastering version just made sense. Every studio should have a pair of Maag EQ's. The main features I have always loved with the Maag EQ4 is the low end sub band and the air band. Even better when you use the Kush Clariphonic in M/S mode to turn the Maag EQ4m into a powerful and highly flexible M/S EQ. By adding the air band to the sides, you can really add a sense of air and space in the width. Then using the 3 low bands on the mid to add weight and body works wonders with all genres of music.