AMS Neve 88RS EQ Section as a Template for the Cubase Channel EQ

Hi again and welcome to another post here at orthogonalrecords blog.

I found it an appealing notion to use an equalizer inside a daw (digital audio workstation) based on the settings of some large format mixing console. To be honest, I didn’t think about that before attending the IMPMOOC at coursera. On the other hand it’s quite clear that manufacturers of large format recording consoles spare many a thought on how to incorporate an equalizer that is useful in most situations and sounds pristine while still keeping the costs at a reasonable level. Thus, as my assignment for week 5 of the IMPMOOC I will discover that concept in more detail.

One of those magnificient consoles, at least if you ask me, is the AMS Neve 88RS, that is used, e.g., at Abbey Road or British Grove studios among many others. It’s so-called formant spectrum eq section is pictured just below.

neve_88RS_eq

This parametric equalization features four bands with overlapping frequency ranges. These are
  • HF band with a frequency range 1.5kHz – 18kHz, up to 20dB cut/boost, switchable Q (0.7 or 2) and peak or shelf characteristic
  • M2 band with a frequency range of 0.8kHz – 9kHz, up to 20dB cut/boost, variable Q (0.4 to 10) and peak characteristic
  • M1 band with a frequency range of 120Hz – 2kHz, up to 20dB cut/boost, variable Q (0.4 to 10) and peak characteristic
  • LF band with a frequency range 33Hz – 440Hz, up to 20dB cut/boost, switchable Q (0.7 or 2) and peak or shelf characteristic

Remarkably, both mid-bands (M1 & M2) feature automatical adaption of the Q-factor with changing gain. As gain is increased, Q is also increased automatically. This is obviously some crucial functionality that cannot be automatically recreated with Cubase’s channel eq, unfortunately.

Now let’s transfer those settings to the channel eq found in Cubase. When opening the Edit dialog, we find the virgin “Equalizer” tab looking like this.

pic_1

Omitting the “Pre” section we already see four bands to resemble the Neve equalizer. Since the eq settings on the 88RS are quite variable, I dialed in some example settings, which you can see in the picture below.

pic_2

Something you can do is to save those settings as the channel eq’s standard preset by clicking on the cube in the top right corner of the “Equalizer” panel.

Cubase8 26.05.2015 , 20:11:47 Kanaleinstellungen : Group 1 [stereo]

This was already it. I have to say that, while the concept itself is quite appealing, it was hard to save some standard settings for the channel eq based on the Neve 88RS recording console, because it’s eq section is already extremely versatile.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that the Cubase channel eq does in principle already provide all the functionality that you would find in a high-end large format recording console. What this means is, that one should probably try to stick with the channel eq so far as it is possible before incorporating external eq plugins. If some colorations by specific eq emulations are desired or surgical interventions are necessary one can still resort to external plugins. This will not only speed up your workflow but also take some strain from your computers processor.

I hope you found that short post interesting and thank you very much for reading my stuff.

All the best,
Markus

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