In the latest Hardware Focus, we examine the first parametric EQ ever made, a unit that remains one of the most versatile ever made.

One of the industry standard tools for mixing and mastering engineers, the GML 8200 can be found in many top-tier facilities around the world. It has changed the face of the recording industry since the early 1970s by giving us not only another colour to work with, but a new and improved tool to sculpt sound.

The 8200 is a very musical tool – it’s a fine piece of tone shaping equipment meant to provide the best of boosting and cutting, from very broad strokes to surgical precision cuts. Mixing and mastering engineer Brian Schwab of Schwab Music tells us it’s his go-to ‘desert island’ piece of gear when it comes to EQs. He adds: “The 8200 is like a finely crafted musical instrument. I use it on just about everything that I engineer. If I could, I’d take this thing with me everywhere I go.”

Brian especially rates the 8200 for mastering: “It is my go-to equaliser for mastering. Because of the accuracy, ease of use, and five bands of overlapping parametric EQ, the GML is the perfect sonic sculpting tool. All the way down to 20 Hz, the low-end punch it creates is clean and powerful, and the high end reacts in a pleasing way. It’s easy to get high-end clarity without the harshness usually associated with boosting those frequencies.” While mixing, the GML is typically used on bass parts or kick drums to fine-tune the bottom-end punch. “It shines on every track imaginable,” Brian adds. “I love it on strings and acoustic piano as well.”

When working on electronic music, Brian’s GML is always nearby, again mainly used to shape kicks and low end. It also finds uses for adding power to the music without muddying up the mids. As Brian explains: “The GML reacts differently to an in-the-box solution; something about it seems more musical or more pleasing to my ears than many of the digital EQs I have used. I am able to even out a synth bass all the way down to 20 Hz without making it sound too clinical. When mastering, you can open up the sides and focus the centre with clinical precision. It’s truly remarkable what this thing can do.”

All in all, in an arsenal of amazing analogue equipment, the GML is at the top of the list. Its retail price is fairly steep, but it can add a touch of pure musical tonal shaping, open up the highs, focus the mids, control the subs and balance out the frequencies. To find out what it can do for your music, contact Brian over at The Audio Hunt.

5th August, 2016

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