Whilst Chandler have painstakingly recreated and customised ancient EMI/Abbey Road circuit designs to great effect in hardware form, many DAW users have also been enjoying the TG12413 Limiter plugins. The follow up to those is this pair of EQ plugins. These are based on modules from EMI’s TG12410 Transfer Desks, or mastering consoles as we would now call them. Both designs date from around 1972, and the pair are supplied together for Pro Tools LE, or in a more expensive TDM version for Pro Tools HD (the licence for which includes authorization for the RTAS version). VST and AU versions are promised in coming months.
The TG12412 Mastering EQ is a four band mono or multi-mono plugin. Each band includes five switchable frequencies which are different for each band – there is no overlap. Interestingly, it is claimed that these are all based on the frequency of the note ‘C’ and spaced in half and third octaves, although the legending doesn’t entirely bear this out exactly if one assumes A=440Hz – a set of tones at the indicated frequencies would sound somewhat out-of-tune!
The other extraordinary feature which I have never come across elsewhere is the possibility of creating a high or low shelf on all bands from all frequencies. This caused some eyebrow raising at a mastering session at Abbey Road some years back, when the engineer concerned stated he was applying a high frequency shelf boost of 2dB from 500Hz upwards! Apparently such tricks have been something of a ‘secret weapon’ at Abbey Road for some years!
The legending for the controls for selecting these shelves or the three different bell curves also require explanation, as they are marked LOW-BL-MED-SH-HIGH. Low and High of course refer to the shelf settings, and Med is Medium, but you might need an explanation that BL is Blunt, and SH is Sharp, in terms of the shapes of the bell curves! Despite the limited selection of frequencies, it’s usually easy to get near enough to dial out rogue resonances and overtones.
Each band offers +/-10dB Gain in steps of one-third of a dB. The TG EQ has an openness, subtlety and honesty along the lines of the API 550, but with touch of Neve grunt perhaps. It sounds very sweet, adds no nastiness, (unless the original signal includes something nasty), and is certainly not as brutal as, say, SSL E Series; the latter could perhaps be described as ‘poky’ by comparison. The frequency choices are excellent (although this has little to do with musical notes!) An overall Level control usefully allows trim of +/-10dB.
The TG12414 Presence Filter features Low and High Pass filters at 18dB per octave, with five and four fixed frequencies respectively, plus bypass (confusingly labelled High and Low respectively!) Additionally there is one band of bell-curve EQ (named Presence and fixed at roughly the MED setting of the 12412) with eight selectable frequencies which, interestingly, are those found on the famous TG12345 console used for Beatles and Pink Floyd recordings. Again, an overall Level trim is provided. In the digital age, the High Pass filter is particularly useful for disposing of unwanted rumblings, the lowest setting of 40Hz coming in handy for many different situations.
The surprise is the Low Pass, which makes things sound very Beatles-ey when used selectively – settings range from 8 to 20kHz, and a mix can be very effectively enhanced with selective use of both filter bands. The Peak band is also very useful, with a set of frequencies not duplicated on the 12412.
Pros: Very low latency; Frugal with processor usage; Surprisingly flexible; Pleasantly characterful; Beatles-related
Reproduced with kind permission from www.georgeshilling.com. Copyright ©