For those of you who have been following our three year journey to build a new studio and upgrade our gear, we are pleased to announce that we have finally reached the last item on our list. When we tell our regulars that we are done they chuckle in disbelief, remembering that almost every time they came to the studio in recent times, one of the engineers would be proudly showing them something new and interesting (at least interesting to the engineer!).
But really this is it! We now have a new studio, a new monitoring system, all new mastering wire and a gear list that puts Silverbirch in the same company as the elite mastering studios found world-wide.
So, the last major piece of our upgrade puzzle was to find the right analog precision solid state equalizer.
A good mastering studio has to have an excellent selection of equalizers in order to handle a wide variety of musical styles and the many different scenarios that may present themselves during the various mastering sessions.
We already have "colour" eq with the wonderful sounding Manley Massive Passive tube eq and the quirky Nightpro EQ3-D, with its amazing sounding airband and thumping sub frequencies. Our Weiss EQ1 MK2 LP-DYN is a most impressive, transparent sounding digital outboard eq, suitable for dynamically controlled equalization or general equalizing work. And occasionally, we will turn to our Massenburg Design Works TDM High-Res Parametric EQ plug-in and the eq in our TC 6000 mastering unit.
Clearly what is missing here is an analog precision solid state equalizer. Analog because we already have a great digital outboard piece in the Weiss and our mastering engineer prefers not to use plug-ins. Precision because the Manley and the Nightpro colour with broad strokes. Solid state because we don't need any more tube gear, already owning three wonderful tube compressors and the Manley tube eq.
Careful research pointed us to the Prism Sound Maselec MEA-2 Master Series Equalizer as the best equalizer to compliment the gear we had already have. This is a unit that is found in the majority of A-list mastering studio's gear lists. Once we brought it in for trial, it was obvious why.
It meets all of our criterion including stepped pots for accurate stereo imaging and precision recall. The sound is not exactly neutral but is not excessively coloured either. It goes about its work in a fairly subtle way. The frequency bands are well chosen and they all sound good, even when pushed.
So, not as sexy or spectacular as some of our other upgrades but a welcome one that just arrived one day and is now being used on almost every session.