Red Dog Music | Oct 9, 2018 | 0
Hands on with the Alta Moda AM-25 EQ
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the 500 series format has been a resounding success. With a vast selection of preamps, eqs, compressors, saturation and distortion devices, de-essers, channel strips and more from which to choose, you can assemble the perfect selection of outboard equipment for your needs, and the Alta Moda AM-25 can make a good case to be in there.
The Alta Moda AM-25 Review!
Well, I may have given away the ending of this tale at the end of that first paragraph so, if you’re still reading, thank you. The thing is though, this is was an easy product to review. So, if you’re pressed for time and you’re looking for a workhorse eq for your 500 series rack, buy the Alta Moda AM-25 for a bargain £329.
If you want to know more, then read on…
The Alta Moda AM-25 is a 4-band equaliser for the API standard 500 series format. It’s not a fancy Pultec-inspired EQ to sweeten your tops and your bottoms, nor is it a unit full of transformers to make everything sound like it was recorded in 1967. The AM-25 is the sort of EQ you use when you want to make a sound sound like you want that sound to sound.
And that’s a job it does very well.
Let’s start at the low end. The bottom band gives you the choice of bell or shelving, with a frequency range of 20 – 120 Hz and – as with the other bands – 12 dB of boost or cut available.
The two mid bands are fully parametric, with frequency ranges of 65 Hz – 2 kHz and 1 – 7.5 kHz. The top band is a shelf-only design with a range of 4 – 20 kHz.
The overlapping frequency ranges of the bands mean that nothing lies annoying untouchable, and the adjustable width of those two mid bands is perfect for creating as much space, removing as much harshness or pushing as much presence as you want or want and be as surgical as you need.
The Alta Moda AM-25 in use
I tested the AM-25 on a recent, mostly in-the-box, mix that I was just in the process of wrapping up. I popped it in as a hardware plugin in my DAW, inactivated my plugins and put it to work.
Running through the channels from kick, snare and bass, the guitars and ending up with the vocals, I was able to shape the sounds into pretty much where I wanted them to be fairly quickly. I was particularly impressed with how much boost I could get away with on vocals, a full +12 dB of top end really helped bring the vocals to where I wanted them to be, but all still sounded smooth and sweet.
As I often find with hardware, it seemed that I was able to get a sound I was happy with faster than I would normally do with a plugin, although I’ll admit that might very well be a personal thing! While I’ll say this was a great eq, and I could use it to make all the sounds I ran through it sound closer to the sound I wanted them to be, it may not be the only eq you want…
The best workhorse 500 series eq?
The AM-25 is a great workhorse get the sound into shape eq, but it might not be for you if you’re looking for that final magic on a track or on a buss. If you’ve already got a workhorse eq, then maybe a unit like the Kush Clariphonic or Rupert Neve 551 might be more of what you’re after for a bit of extra mixing magic.
Also, the lack of a high pass filter means you might need to be careful with those low end boosts, unless you follow it with a filter module such as the API 565 Filterbank. Given the two fully parametric mid bands, adjusting the knobs could be found by some to be slightly fiddly, but I can’t say I really had any problems making adjustments.
So, maybe a couple of negative points there, but a 4-band eq, made in the USA, detented gain pots, bypass switch for £329? I’ll take that!
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