As a mastering engineer, a good analog EQ is not only one of many very important tools, but the one I am most critical of. Having had the opportunity to use almost every EQ made, up to this point the only EQ that really blew my hair back was an old 8 rack-space Sontec mastering EQ that, even if you could find one, it might not be in working order. When I heard that Rupert Neve and Summit Audio had teamed up to build the ultimate analog EQ, the Summit EQ-200, I was no doubt curious to hear the result. What literally caught me off-guard about this unit is how smooth the EQ sounds while boosting high frequencies. A smoothness that I have previously only heard in the vintage Sontec. One common factor in EQs with a smooth top end is that they often use output transformers rather than IC chips. This is more costly in the manufacturing process but in my opinion well worth it. If you're starting to drool, take a minute to clean up before you read on because things get even better. The EQ-200 is an analog EQ with a digitally-controlled interface. This means that you get the sound of a top-of-the-line, transformer- coupled, analog EQ with the flexibility to store and recall all of your settings instantly via the front panel display or MIDI. Summit also makes a free plug-in that's available on their web site for Pro Tools MIX+ users to interface with the EQ-200, with other platforms to follow. The unit can be used in dual-mono mode, for recording or mixing, or in stereo mode, so you don't have to adjust the L-R channels separately when applying EQ to a mix. The front panel is very intuitive, with four sweepable bands of EQ that include shelving and bell curves with adjustable bandwidth. The EQ-200 also includes a high-pass filter that can be set between 20 to 320 Hz and a low-pass filter that can be adjusted from 4 to 30 kHz, both in 17 steps. The frequency response of this unit is a very impressive: 10 Hz to 100 kHz, -0.5 dB. Output noise at unity gain is less than -100 dBu. THD is below .003% from 20 Hz to 20 kHz with filters in and set flat. Each band of EQ has its own LCD display that not only makes it easy to see what you are doing but also acts as a bypass switch. Summit also makes the MPE-200 (the same EQ with the addition of two mic preamp channels) and the EQ-200S (an EQ-200 without front panel controls that can be slaved/controlled from an EQ-200) If there's an EQ heaven, I'm there. Check out the Summit/Rupert Neve designed EQ-200, and there is a chance you could be saved as well. ($4500,

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

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