MANLEY MASSIVE PASSIVE - 4 BAND TUBE EQ
Introducing the Manley Massive Passive 4 band parametric tube EQ. This beast of a machine is the newest addition to The Submarine Studio and has been a sweet compliment to the Aurora GT4-2 parametric we have in here also. The latter being solid state and used mainly for tracking and mixing with the Manley primarily used for mastering though it has definitely been seeing use in the vocal chain and for re-amping and damn I have to say this thing really lives up to the hype. And so it should as it has been a studio staple in control rooms around the world since well before the start of my own career in production and engineering.
To begin I will state for the record that I am by no means a super hi-tech guy so I will keep this gear review fairly straight forward and totally from a user standpoint without getting too bogged down in the machine's specs. So this piece of outboard is a 4 band parametric EQ, tube design with transformer balanced floating outputs designed to accommodate huge boosts in gain after processing. Each band has switchable (toggle) boost and cut and a switchable shelf and bell curve with the center position bypassing both available selections. The top dial manages the gain either boosting or cutting depending on which position the toggle switch has been set. There is 20db of gain adjust either way which allows for insane headroom and freedom from clipping. The middle pot is the Q select either creating a wide or narrow band with the bell curve active or with the shelf select a smooth gentle lift/cut or a tight cut or boost from the frequency point with a dip just before the boost or a bump just before the cut. It's an interesting way the shelves work as the bands will interact with each other also when engaged not too dissimilar to a Pultec style EQ. And then finally there is the frequency select dial at the bottom. A huge range of selectable frequencies with each band overlapping so there a multiple tone shaping capabilities with this box.
The center section of this EQ has five high pass and five low pass filters available. The highs can be used for cleaning up mud in the sub sonic region of finished tracks or pushed all the way up for a telephone type effect. Similarly you can use the low pass filters for softening brittle high end and allowing it to sound more natural, darkening the source slightly and giving it that super smooth analogue feel. And then finally the outputs. This is where you can really experiment to get that final sound pushing it hard into breakup or keeping it subtle depending on what your trying to go for this box delivers such an amazing sound!
In conclusion this is an awesome EQ. There were a some other brands I was looking at around that time, The Gyraf G14 was a top contender but I'm glad this guy made it in to the studio. It also definitely requires a little patience and research before approaching this machine but in the end it's all up to your ears and from what I've experienced so far this EQ sounds absolutely insane, beautiful and organic with a lot of power and tone shaping possibilities.
Come by The Submarine and check out how this beast can sound on your masters!!!!