New EQ day: Rupert Neve Designs 551 (x2)

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Drew, May 2, 2018.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    In news that precicely 3 people here will give a fuck about, behold my new EQs!

    RND551.jpg

    Grabbed the pair of these off Reverb and wired them up last night in line behind my BAEs. So far, they're pretty damned nice - pushing the front end of the BAE and then running my shitty Squier bass (which honestly sounds surprisingly good) into it and then through one of these sounded pretty immediately great, and it was surprisingly enjoyable to do a little bit of EQ tweaking to, say, pull out the high end fizz or tighten up the midrange a little on rhythm guitars, or bake in the slight 1.5khz boost I usually end up putting on leads right from the get-go using a really musical sounding EQ.

    And, these really ARE musical sounding - it's been a LONG time since I've been as happy with the lead sound I was getting out of a single SM57 as I was from this with a little bit of a 8k shelf and a little bit taken off the low end at 220hz, as well as that aforementioned 1.5khz mild boost. I'm pretty happy with them.

    Besides, for the time being the AxeFX hasn't (to the best of my knowledge) gotten beyond modeling mics and into modeling botique channel equalization, so there's still that. :lol:
     
  2. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    One more like and you will have gotten all the fucks you where after :)

    So how are you using these? When tracking or in mixing? And if you do it in mixing I suppose you have to kinda 'reamp' through them to apply the effect to the signal? And doesn't that get a mess if you both keep the original track and the processed track if you are using it to EQ say 8 different drum channels?

    I have considered getting some ourboard gear, other than amps and pedals, but I would probably start with a mic pre and a compressor, and use that on the way in for bass and vocals and maybe a room drum mike - how did you start out with outboard gear?
     
  3. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Oh boy, I was the 3rd like. Might as well lock the thread since it's downhill silence from here...

    It's pretty cool to see actual hardware pop up in the monstrous sea of plugins. How does the hardware react compared to Neve based plugins? I have a few Neve EQ plugins that I always want to use more often, if it weren't for SSL being my go-to. I'm always amazed at how powerful a good EQ truly is.

    I'm also very curious to hear your response to Sumsar's questions.
     
  4. Djentlyman

    Djentlyman SS.org Regular

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    Nice rack, also enjoy the 4th like.
     
  5. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    Like.
     
  6. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied :: 2077 ::

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    Badass!!
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Holy shit, 8 people clicking like on a post about hardware gear? Faith in humanity restored! :lol:

    While it's possible in isolated instances I may "reamp" through these (and technically speaking, routing my whole mix through the BAE and then into these as part of a mastering workflow could be an interesting way to mix down and "glue" the mix together a bit, so at some point I'll be sure to try that), but for the most part I'm looking to EQ on the way in. It's a bit more of a gamble because any EQ decisions you make in tracking get printed to disc, and you can't (easily) go back and change them, but, well...

    One, while it varies a little bit from mix to mix, I have a general approach to EQing guitar tracks, so I'm pretty comfortable committing to some fairly broad EQ decisions (and Neve is known as a fairly broad "color" EQ rather than a surgical "corrective" one) while tracking guitars. Also, my one complaint with the BAE as a bass DI so far has been the low end is lacking; adding an EQ behind it allows me to fix that in a big way.

    And two, committing up front works well in my workflow. One of the reasons I've shied away from amp modeling or recording DIs to reamp in the past is that left to my own devices I can definitely fall into "analysis paralysis" where I start second guessing everything and going back and forth on very small changes in a mix, etc. If I could go back and fundamentally change the guitar tone after I'd tracked it, I suspect I would NEVER get anything done. :lol: Once I started to get into outboard gear, it was only a small step from "hey, I like how a good mic preamp makes everything sound a bit more solid" to "since I'm committing my guitar tone to tape, why not also grab some EQs and get my recorded tone even closer to where I want it to ultimately end up?

    The end goal is to get to a point where after tracking, I basically need to just set pan and levels and add ambient effects, and already have something that sounds pretty much like a mix, before I even reach for an EQ plugin or a compressor (though, that's probably a matter of time, I'd love to have some variant of a LA-2A in my desk for tracking acoustics and the occasional vocal, I'm a sucker for opto compression. Pricey, though...).

    Not shown in the picture above, by the way, is a pair of CAPI V28s, which I don't like as much as the BAE on distorted guitars (they sound very "modern" to me), but IO fucking love on acoustic guitar. At some point I'll want to grab a pair of EQs to run behind them, likely the CAPI API clones, and that's the channel that I'll probably route through a compressor, but at that point I'll probably want to switch out the (just barely visible) Sansamp RBI for a 1U patch bay so I can start routing preamps and eqs and compressors into each other from the front panel, rather than pulling my desk away from the wall and unhooking and moving XLR cables. :lol: Or, you know, just buy a desk with more rackspace. :lol:

    EDIT - also, I'll say this... While I am definitely in the camp where you low-pass guitars to pull away some of that high end rasp and fizz, I've always found it's a matter of walking a fine line between cleaning up fizz, and having the solo'd tracks sound like there's a blanket over your speakers. It's less of a problem in the mix since the cymbals fill up a lot of that space anyway, but it's not really ideal... I've done very little experimenting so far, but a slight cut at the 8k indent surprised me by just how transparent it sounded. It didn't sound like an EQ'd guitar... it sounded like a guitar that just wasn't raspy in the high end.
     
  8. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    Neve's are great, stellar quality.
    We recording bass & drums on a Neve at Expression Media in Emeryville, Ca in 2000, and those eq's & comps on that console rule. It also had the Flying Faders which was cool.
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, they're REALLY musical sounding EQs. While I'm definitely an ITB guy when it comes to mixing, I could see it being a blast to work with a large format board with a ton of these.
     
  10. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    Yaaaaaaaaas!

    These are amazing
     
  11. newamerikangospel

    newamerikangospel Tonight.......you

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    Fun trick I found is running two in series, especially for locking down low end on kick/bass. Its hard to guage without running both at once, but for kick drums I drop down the 220 shelf on one, while pushing 60hz on the other. Or boost 220 for snare and highpass 160 on the other.

    I had been using plugins in for this, but recently got the wa273eq. The 273 has a nice resonance on the high pass, which adds to the effect of running them in series. I also find cutting then boosting to be more clean for lowend work with the 273eq, but boosting then sweetens and thickens in a really cool way, depending on source.
     
  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, I haven't done much with them so far (I spent the weekend mixing, and I still mix ITB and haven't tried to route anything through them) but what little I HAVE done, they're quite nice.

    I ended up grabbing the Sonimus Burnley 73 plugin after grabbing these, since it was on sale and I've generally dug the Sonimus stuff I've used, and sure enough it's kind of liberating getting used to using such a simple EQ, and it does seem to add a lot of color and a hint of saturation - I found almost immediately I liked what I was getting with these over ReaEQ, and the acoustics and lead vocals I was putting it on seemed to gel better with the rest of the mix. And the Sonimus version is nice and all, but I wouldn't expect it to compare to one of these.
     
  13. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    The underrate power of these is in the sweepable mid functions, very powerful in fine tweaking.
     
  14. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, the midrange control on these is pretty huge.

    So far the only thing I DON'T like about them, is the silkscreening on the labels doesn't seem overly robust - the one on the right is already showing signs of rubbing off. :lol: The powder coating below that looks great though.
     
  15. newamerikangospel

    newamerikangospel Tonight.......you

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    Ironically, the sonimus is actually very close to the 273eq section, it just doesnt saturate when boosting. It and the waves api550 eqs are my go to ITB eqs
     
  16. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I mean, considering they're both modeled off the same piece of gear, they SHOULD sound pretty similar - they're both takes on a Neve 1073 EQ section.

    I've used the Burnley 73 for all of one weekend now, so I can't say I'm really an expert on it... But, it seems like the saturation may be less immediately based on EQ settings, so much as the Mic/Line knob on the far right seems to control overall saturation separately. It's a little noisy especially at higher settings, but it adds a nice fairly subtle grit to the sound - it's hard to describe, it's not really a distortion or a tape sim type saturation, it seems more even than that... But, it does kind of make things sound a little more glued together, be it from the grit or possibly from a little bit of compression...? I'd want to visually compare .wav files in an audio editor to see if there's any subtle compression being added. It doesn't seem like a "use on everything" EQ partly because I think if you stacked 30 instances on a mix the noise floor would probably audibly come up a little, but it's definitely a great "color" equalizer. Heck, then again, maybe the noise floor would be worth it on a full mix and might become more of a feature than a bug, contributing to the overall "vibe" of the track. I should try it sometime, it actually might work nicely on the roots-rock stuff I've been working on. :lol:
     
  17. newamerikangospel

    newamerikangospel Tonight.......you

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    Agreed, but out of all of the "73 inspired" plugins, its the only on that doesnt sound too neutered. I had mine all over the mix and havent had any issues with noise. Are you cranking the mic gain?

    Are the mid bands completely sweepable or stepped on the 551s?
     
  18. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Oh, so we ARE talking about the Burnley? I couldn't tell if you were talking about the 273, which I assume is another plugin and not hardware...?

    Either way, not flat-out cranking it, but giving it a fairly good boost - I've found 20-25 on the Mic side is a pretty good sweet spot for the roots rock stuff I'm working on. There's a little bit of audible background hiss at these settings (though, I'm using an Apogee Element and pair of Yamaha HS80m's that have very low combined self-noise, so it's maybe more obvious than it might be on a different setup), though it's inaudible on playback in the mix, of course, it's just barely audible when the EQ is engaged on the track itself. Compared to, say, the typical ambient noise on an acoustic tracked with a good LDC, or regular amp hum, it's probably immaterial, but it IS there. It's just not nearly enough to make me not want to use the plugin on places where I think a little more character is in order. :D

    The mids are stepped, but have a couple slightly different step points - 1.6k vs 1.5, 3.2 vs 3, a 4.8k that isn't there, and a 7.2k rather than the 6k. Though, honestly, I haven't yet really found myself using the 4.8 and the 7.2k, and while the manual doesn't really specify what the HF shelf control is at, it's gotta be right around the 7.2k at the top of the mid frequency spectrum (on the 551, it's at 8k and switchable to 16, so right above the top of the midrange sweep).

    EDIT - while we're on the section, what are your thoughts on the Waves API550? Where do you find yourself tending to use it, and is it more of a "color" EQ or a corrective EQ for you? I've had this vague preference for some EQs over others for kind of a while now (I mostly started using the Sonimus stuff because I really liked the high-pass filter on their Satson channnel sim, though since I've been using a Neve-inspired pre on most of my electric guitars lately I've started primarily using Britson in its place, and the Blue Cat Audio EQ is one I've tended to use on lead guitar tracks a bit more than ReaEQ because for some reason it always seems to sound sweeter to me), but I generally just use ReaEQ on everything for convenience, and while it's a very effective tool it's also a very transparent one that doesn't really add (or subtract) anything to the sound, so I should probably start diversifying. Waves does sales often enough, so I can probably grab it for $29 or $39 next time around, and if it's complimentary enough to what I'm already using that's money well spent.

    EDIT #2 - and who am I, I've become that guy talking about "color" EQs and the character of different software equalizers. 18 year old me would be scandalized. :lol: (18 year old me would also be blown away by some of the recordings I've used them on, so whatever, it's cool. :D)
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  19. newamerikangospel

    newamerikangospel Tonight.......you

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    The 273eq is the Warm Audio 73 clone (hardware).

    The 550a is really good for subtle cutting out of mud frequencies. But with its stepped gain, its not my final eq. I would solo cut with the 550b, solo boost with the burnley73, and then into the Gchannel to get it to sit in the mix.
     
  20. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Oh, gotcha. :yesway:
     

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