Gyraf Gyratec XIV
The art of mastering demands a lot from an equaliser. Precision, accuracy and the ability to match channels and recall settings are a given, but beyond that things get a lot more subjective. Character can be good, but it’s not always desirable. The material itself will determine the priorities to some extent: are you looking for an ultra-crisp, bright poppy sheen or a more gritty sound?
Matt Colton offers up the Chandler TG12345 as an example of a great EQ which just doesn’t suit most dance music. “It’s a nice recreation of some of the classic EMI desk EQs used on albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon,” he tells us. “Unsurprisingly it sounds brilliant on 60s or 70s sounding recordings, but for me it would rarely if ever be the right choice for a modern electronic recording. It tends to slow down the transients and lacks the sweet open top end of other EQs.”
Having tried pretty much every mastering EQ on the market (and owned a fair selection of them along the way), Matt has settled on the Danish-made Gyraf Gyratec XIV, a two-channel passive model with five bands and valve-based gain circuits. “It’s a fantastic passive parallel five-band EQ,” he explains, “and incredible value for money. Being passive it offers tons of headroom, so you can dial in more gain than other types of EQ, and it has sweet top end for days, although the sub bass is a bit indistinct. The valve make-up gain gives some very pleasing colouration, but it’s cleaner than many valve designs.”
For comparison, Matt offers his thoughts on some of the other top options on the market. The Avalon AD2077 “weighs a ton, costs a fortune and it’s not subtle. Serious weight and character. When its tone’s appropriate for the recording it sounds incredible. A nice option to have rather than a go-to, everyday EQ”. The GML 9500 is “super fast, really lets the transients through and keeps things sounding sharp”. The Crane Song Ibis is “very clean and accurate, but also allows the option of dialling in distortion. Super tweaky – you might have to spend a while playing with it to get something good”. The Maselec MEA-2 is “not a character EQ, but the latest incarnation is a winner”.
A fantastic passive parallel five-band EQ, and incredible value for money.
The good news is that the G14 is relatively affordable by the standards of top-level mastering EQs. The bad news is that’s still a hell of a lot of money and there aren’t any software emulations available.