Having tried all the available Pro Tools TDM EQ plug- ins out there I was looking forward to Digidesign's new hardware and software updates to get me the step up in sound quality I was craving but these aren't planned until mid 2002. The wait was killing me! I track with vintage and classic outboard and have been a reluctant user of plug-in EQs. For me they were just "okay", doing much with them seemed a "risk" to the original sound and was a genuine worry. This new plug-in EQ offering from the Sony development team in the UK (the same department that make the world class Sony Oxford digital console) is in a TOTALLY higher quality bracket than any other plug-in EQ I have used to date . There are 4 flavours as standard - they can be crudely described as "SSL-like", "Good for drums", "Neve-like" and "Suitable for mastering". There is also a 5th "GML option" (which I have yet to try) designed with George Massenburg to emulate his classic GML 8200 EQ, and this should be stunning too. All EQ types are 5 band (each with a Q pot) with variable high pass and low pass slope filters. It seems as if a veil has been lifted from Pro Tools, the quality of the "cut" or high frequency boost is un-bogus - I was able to make a band's Fostex E16 session off tape (transferred into Pro Tools for overdubbing and a mix) "zing" like it was recorded on a Studer monolith with new heads! The mid boost has balls and not at the expense of other frequencies present. Boosting really makes the tones leap out at you. The low end, while not quite the retro "pillow hit to the chest" of the Bomb Factory Pultec plug-in, was "rude" and will slay dance heads and rockers alike with it's detailed punch. The DSP usage is quite heavy, especially if you wish to have the low and hi filters as well. It will not run at all on Nubus DSP Farm cards. Sony have taken the anti piracy action of issuing NO DEMOS. They have in place a strict "buy to try" policy. Your best bet is to visit the Sony and Pro Tools stands at trade fairs to get a hand to it. With a compressor on the way, Sony has come out with a stunning product that rejuvenates the current Pro Tools platform into a new- found, sparkling life. An RTAS version is planned for the future. (www.sonyplugins.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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