Square State EQ test drive - under way! Post thoughts here!

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

User avatar
trodden
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5241
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 8:21 am
Location: C-attle
Contact:

Post by trodden » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:20 pm

drumsound wrote:Well said, Subatomic!
Yes. Thanks for the info.

User avatar
rhythm ranch
mixes from purgatory
Posts: 2791
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 8:45 pm
Location: Corrales, NM

Post by rhythm ranch » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:14 pm

Still getting my thoughts together, will post them soon.
Last edited by rhythm ranch on Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rhythm ranch
mixes from purgatory
Posts: 2791
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 8:45 pm
Location: Corrales, NM

Post by rhythm ranch » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:08 am

Other than using digital recorders (HD24, MasterLink, etc.), my studio is still analog. There are no computers in sight. Beyond questions of the sound of ITB or OTB, I just prefer the visceral experience of adjusting all the various, actual knobs, faders and switches ? each with their own personality and performance ? I want to get my hands into the process.

Others have covered a lot of my thoughts on the eq ? the great feel of the knobs, the excellent build quality, the ability to go extremes with the eq while still sounding real, musically useful frequencies, etc. But the thing that really got me excited was similar to Mr. Pieces? note above, ?It actually brought out some of the sound of the room that I didn't even know the microphone captured!?

In my tests with the Model 1B, I was amazed at how I could sculpt an instrument as well as its environment. I?d been working on a drum mix for a few days. The snare was just too big, too flabby and took up way too much room. I?d equalized it with various other units (including my beloved Moog parametrics) to no avail. ?Fixing? the problems just seemed to take the life out of the drum. When the SSSSEQ arrived, I immediately put it to work on the snare track. With just a couple of tweaks the snare lost its excessive girth without losing body, the top end opened up and the snare settled beautifully in to the mix. But the amazing thing was how the entire character of the snare and the room around it tightened up.

The SSSS Model 1B is to tone and ambience what the SPL Transient Designer is to dynamics and envelope!

I also tried it on electric guitar track (Strat > Super Reverb) that had been recorded with a 57. Again, the EQ1B came through, removing the offending honk and solidifying the track. On a mono OH track I was able to remove an overbearing ring in the ride while adding air that really opened up the drums.

Minor quibble: I agree with Subatomic Pieces that the bypass switch seems to operate backwards.

Part of my happy experience was just luck ? the selected frequencies of the unit all worked with the tracks I was working on. I imagine that there will be times when another eq will be a better choice depending on the need, but Square State has created a true classic with the EQ1B ? great sound, great feel and a great look. This box more than fulfills my need for a visceral experience in the studio!

The Scum
resurrected
Posts: 2405
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:26 pm
Location: Denver, CO
Contact:

Post by The Scum » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:30 pm

Hey guys!

I was hoping to be a little more involved as this thread unfolded, but my day gig has been swamping me recently...add the holidays and flu to the equation, and I've been stretched a little thin.

I just wanted to follow up on a few things:

Switch labeling - ya know, you're right. You aren't the first people to bring this up. The label will be changing on the next production run to read something affirmative like active or engage or something similar. Anyone got a good word for the new silkscreen?

I'll have some old-fashioned embossed Dymo tape "upgrades" for existing customers who are unhappy with the legend. Just send a SASE. :lol:

The LED on the next rev gets a little more definitively green when engaged, too.

Knobs - when we were stepping from the original model one to the one b, we looked at a lot of options, including cramming it down into a half-rack. We mocked up a half size panel with smaller knobs...and it obviously lost some of it's mojo with smaller knobs. The big skirted knobs are here to stay - they're pretty integral.

Kick drum resuscitation - definitely one of my original design goals - counter my console EQs with something more flexible around 100 Hz. Any more, I'm lucky to have 2+ channels of these guys hanging around, so I can have one on kick, one on bass, and maybe a pair for a drum subgroup or the 2 mix.

Interesting to see that in at least a couple of the photos here, the low end is boosted! The ol' "cut only, never boost" guideline doesn't apply when you've got good EQ.

User avatar
trodden
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5241
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 8:21 am
Location: C-attle
Contact:

Post by trodden » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:57 pm

The Scum wrote:Hey guys!

I was hoping to be a little more involved as this thread unfolded, but my day gig has been swamping me recently...add the holidays and flu to the equation, and I've been stretched a little thin..
Thanks for the info! yeah that flu.. my girl was out for a freakin WEEK with it, and I was tracking a band at our place the whole time.. not fun for her.. but she's a good sport.

User avatar
rhythm ranch
mixes from purgatory
Posts: 2791
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 8:45 pm
Location: Corrales, NM

Post by rhythm ranch » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:22 pm

The Scum wrote: The ol' "cut only, never boost" guideline doesn't apply when you've got good EQ.
Absolutely! I've never subscribed to the "cut only" school, but the EQ1B definitely makes it a non-issue. The box sounds great no matter how much you abuse it!

drumsound
zen recordist
Posts: 6499
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Bloomington IL
Contact:

Post by drumsound » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:14 pm

Good idea to relable the bypass switch, IN and OUT works great.

User avatar
weatherbox
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 771
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:59 am
Location: arlington, va
Contact:

Post by weatherbox » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:35 am

Ordered one today. Looking forward to getting it back in the rack.

User avatar
Nick Sevilla
speech impediment
Posts: 4677
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:34 pm
Location: Los Angeles California USA
Contact:

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:41 pm

I am supposed to be the next one in line.

I have a FedEx door tag. But since there was no communications with whomever was last...(Recording Engineer?) I have no idea if this is actually the unit, or some X-Mas present from anyone else.

Either way, I'll report on it once it's in.
Re Amping Fart Noises.

User avatar
Nick Sevilla
speech impediment
Posts: 4677
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:34 pm
Location: Los Angeles California USA
Contact:

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:12 pm

Got the EQ!!!

Review and pics will come soon.
Re Amping Fart Noises.

User avatar
Nick Sevilla
speech impediment
Posts: 4677
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:34 pm
Location: Los Angeles California USA
Contact:

First impressions - UPDATE

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:49 pm

First impressions :

LOVE IT.

My favorite thing to do with this EQ right now is tighten electric bass and kick.
Being able to boost the low 80 or 100 Hz while reducing the 220 or 350 Hz to get an interesting sounding curve is very nice.
Next, I'll experiment on the top end of the unit. I love the shelving so far. Does what it should do.
However, in this endeavor, I do wish there was a second top end band and level knob... to be able to make interesting eq curves in the mid range.
A question arises, and it is this, will we ever see a 4 band version of this unit? I mostly mix, so to me a good 4 band is crucial.
To me, as this EQ is now with 3 bands, it will be great at tracking duties, where broad strokes are needed, instead of any real tweaking.

Cheers

UPDATE :

Sorry about the long delay in updating my post on this EQ.

I did get to use it a bit more, and really like it a lot. I got to compare it to my AMEK 9098 EQs, my Joe Meek VC6Q's, as well as my console, an Allen & Heath 8200 series.

It does not sound like other EQs I own, and it does have it's own thing going on. I believe this EQ will do very well as a recording EQ, to gently shape incoming signals prior to recording them.
My favorite feature is that you can make interesting curve shapes with only the few controls provided. By providing separate boost and cut knobs, I could hone in on a better shape than if I were limited to only boost or cut.

Cheers, and best of luck with this great EQ!!!
Last edited by Nick Sevilla on Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Re Amping Fart Noises.

The Scum
resurrected
Posts: 2405
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:26 pm
Location: Denver, CO
Contact:

Post by The Scum » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:38 pm

I'll experiment on the top end of the unit
Try the HF bells on overheads - it can be like a volume control on the hihat!

I also like it for adding presence to whispery vocals.
will we ever see a 4 band version of this unit?
Only if you'd be happy with an EQ that had completely different mojo all around.

One of my initial breadboards had 4 bands, but I could never get the magic into a version that used all 4...I'd disconnect one them them, and everything would fall back into place.

The difficulty is that the capacitor/inductor filter on each band loads the other bands. With 3 bands, the loading and interaction is less significant than with 4 bands. With 4 bands, the Q becomes even wider, the min/max depths not as deep, and chances for one band to interact with it's neighbor even greater.

G-reg
studio intern
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:45 pm
Location: San Diego

Post by G-reg » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:39 am

I recently got a chance to test out this EQ. This is a well built, solid piece of gear. I especially like that the frequency select knobs give a satisfying click when switching frequencies.

It is a very useful tool. Not only is it great at tightening up the low end of a kick drum, but it also is incredibly useful for making guitars cut through the mix.

This is a great EQ and I agree with what the majority of posters have reported. It is very musical and frequencies can take quite a bit of boost without sounding bad. Plus Joe of Square State Solid State was very accommodating and quick to reply to e-mails. Oh, and I am pleased to read that the bypass switch is going to be re-labeled.

The price point on this unit is excellent. It is a piece of gear that can hold its own in the racks of world class studios while still being affordable for a hobbyist who wants to start getting into outboard gear without having to spend a fortune.

Thanks again to Square State Solid State for putting together this tour!

User avatar
Dakota
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:14 am
Location: West of Boston
Contact:

Post by Dakota » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:01 am

I hadn't had a chance to share my experience in more detail. Here goes:

I think the demographic for this EQ is for serious independent recordists stepping up to "real" EQ, and studios rounding out what they already have for EQ. I think the EQ1B is brilliant at the price point, great choice for "real" EQ for comparatively low $. (Meaning yes, it hangs co-equally with substantially more expensive EQs).

1st off, this is very "inductor" in flavor. For those that haven't had the chance to get the feel of inductors (LC) vs RC EQ... it's hard to put into words. Cheaply handled inductor circuits ring or distort, possibly in charming ways, but aren't necessarily transparent. Well handled inductors can be (perceptively at least) cleaner and more "musical sounding" than RC designs. RC EQ often sounds more opaque and flat and grainy in comparison. Audio companies increasingly walked away from inductor EQ designs after the 70's, as there are challenges, and RC can be cheaper per unit and more flexible in application. But inductors have specific magic not available elsewhere. A funny "3D life" thing.

So you know, the EQ1B is in the clean inductor category. Clean but way not sterile. It gives a certain "grace" that's not obtrusive but does add extra hardware dimension as it does its thing.

For those looking to step up from plug in EQs and get first good hardware EQ, yes, this kills plugins. Way prettier sounding doing any equivalent curves. Particularly obvious in the high end, where digital EQ shows its brittle shortcomings. But also more perceived "muscle" in the lows, and "personality" in the mids.

As others have noted, an unusual and special capability of this EQ is how much one can boost and still get great sounding results. Crazy amounts of boost that don't clip. This is liberating. Knobs-up kapow, less tip-toe than usual. Fun and sounds great. This is a playful knob-twister.

I actually had a really hard time getting the EQ to clip or unpleasantly distort at any usual levels I work at - even pretty damn hot up above robust +4s that get others of my gear in the danger range.

It's really great at drums. Pretty much could make any samples/loops have a lot more vitality and life, and big-ify tracked drums. As it should! This EQ is unequivocally excellent with drums, could sell anybody.

Guitars love pushing the mids into funky voicings. Strings and ribbon mic'd tracks love the air bands.

Vocals: great for overall tone shaping, but keep in mind this EQ is not designed to do surgical sweeping narrow Q cuts - which is something that comes up a lot when I get vocal tracks from other people - taming bad room resonances and/or odd piercing nasal vowel overtones. The EQ1B does however do overall vocal sweetening very nicely after a surgical EQ does the narrow fixes.

And it looks and behaves in a way reminiscent of great vintage gear, but is freshly new and hand built and won't need re-capping or babying for a long time. Sort of "new vintage", real win. And it's hand-made in America with a maximum of American available components. This appeals to me.

I recommend this EQ with no reservations. It's a new classic.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest