Golden Age state that the new GA EQ73 was not designed to work as a stand alone EQ but to complement the MKII Pre-73 by plugging into a stereo TRS 1/4 inch jack socket on the back of the preamp to create a channel strip with all the features of an original vintage Neve 1073. This was a disappointment to a lot of people who would have liked to use the EQ73 with their desks and other preamps but GA designed the unit to operate at 18dBu for reasons best known to themselves! HOWEVER initial revues on the internet suggested that there was plenty of available gain on the EQ73 and a number of people had used it perfectly well inserting it into their desks and other gear. Gearslutz
Just to make sure we plugged the EQ73 directly into one of the send/returns in our Soundcraft 2400 desk and it worked perfectly. Plenty of gain and a lovely punchy sounding EQ. There is a small (3db) drop in level but that's exactly the same as when you run it through the pre-73 so it seems to work fine interfacing with other gear which is great news as I'm sure GA will sell more!
...................So enough of the disclaimers how does it actually sound?......................
EQ 73-First Impressions
Finally had the chance to play with the new Golden Age EQ 73 unit when JR brought one over to Fairview along with a MkII Pre-73 mic preamp which the EQ 73 is designed specifically to interface with. I must point out that we spent just over an hour routing various things through the unit in differing configurations so this is by no means an in-depth review.....I've got a long tracking session coming up starting this weekend and hopefully in a few weeks I'll be able to write in more depth!
The EQ 73 feels well built and chunky, finished in the familiar Golden Age colour with clear screen printing on the controls. Both JR and I could have wished for a “big print” version given that we've probably got one good eye between us but anyone with normal eyesight will have no problem! When working, as a principle, I don't look at the details on controls, particularly with EQ....I just click around until I find something I like...or not... but I know many people like to see the particular frequency they're cutting or boosting....and by how much.
Our unit was racked up alongside a MkII Pre-73 and this makes for a very usable channel strip with the EQ 73 being plugged in via the insert socket in the preamp.
The two units are simply connected together using a patch lead which has a stereo ¼ inch jack on either end..this is wired using one side of the stereo for the input and the other side for the output which makes it slightly more difficult to use the EQ 73 as a stand alone piece...but really all you need to do is either source or make up a “Y” lead to fit into your system.
The first thing I noticed on patching a bass drum recording direct through the unit from my Radar multitrack was that the replay level was reduced by about 3db when coming out of the EQ with everything bypassed. This in itself is'nt a big problem...there's more than enough clean gain in the three bands to make up for this if necessary. I routed the recording through the line input of the Pre-73 and matched it with the original. On plugging the EQ 73 into the inserts the same 3db drop was noted.
I think that unity gain through the signal path would have been better or the addition of a gain make up control as someone who is not too conversant with good gain structure might be tempted to overload the input of the Pre 73, or the output to the final stage in order to compensate without realising it.
The three eq bands each have an in/out switch which is good though it would be really nice to have a global bypass button in order to quickly A-B the signal.
The unit works very well in terms of doing what it's supposed to. There's a good overlap of frequencies from the upper low end to the lower mid and the lower high end to the upper mid. I'll know better in a few weeks if the fixed notch frequencies are the useful ones though given the fact it is based on the design of Rupert Neve my money is on it being about right!. The unit seems to have a fairly broad Q on each band which is really what you want when tracking. Think of it as a broad brush adding warmth or presence in wide strokes. If you need to surgically remove troublesome frequencies by using a tight Q then one of the many software plugins is going to be a better option.
In my work as an engineer I meet many people who have recording equipment at home and a lot of them are not familiar with some of the fundamentals. In fact gain architecture, EQ and Compression are often regarded as part of the black arts! In many ways I think a unit like the EQ 73 is good for people like this. It's kind of “non specific” in that you can select a frequency range, crank up the gain and hear instantly what's happening. It's a broad approach but will ultimately end up creating a more usable piece of gear. My way of working is to spend time fine tuning the source sound, then selecting the best mic and getting it in the position that gives me the sound I want. Only then do I reach for EQ to just tweak what I already have.
I realise that this approach is not used by the majority of home recordists and today people seem fixated on recording everything flat so that they can mess around for hours at the mix. It's the mark of a pro that they will track with gentle cuts or boosts in EQ as they generally have the experience and confidence to know what sound they are looking for and with that in mind more people should have a powerful and sweet sounding EQ in their kit.
Watch this space.JS
Click for Video demo
Click to buy an EQ73
Another problem with the EQ73 was that it was initially claimed that it would only work with the MKII pre-73 but infact owners of the original MkI pre can easily mod their units to take the new EQ73
1.You can buy the upgrade kit at around £75
2. Or if you aren't using the TRS output you can do this simple mod Free!!
The EQ73 has class-A circuitry similar to the eq section in the original Neve 1073 but it doesn't have the originals high pass filter. However additional frequencies have been added and the mid frequency band uses two inductors, the higher value of the second one is used for the two lowest frequencies, 160 Hz and 240 Hz, to achieve a suitable response. All this means that the sound character is warm, punchy, sweet and musical and combined with the Pre73 you get the best sounding and flexible recording front end available anywhere under £500.
- Vintage Style electronics. No intergrated circuits in the signal path
- 3-band with a dual inductor based mid frequency band
- Stepped frequency selection
- A wide selection of frequencies from 20 Hz to 24 kHz
- Control range up to +/- 18 dB
- Separate Bypass switches for each band
- Tantalum capacitors in the signal path
- Made to be used together with one of our PRE-73 models with an Insert jack
- TRS jack for in-and output connection, the nominal working level is around 18 dBu
- Selectable ground lift switch
- External power supply to avoid interaction with the audio circuits
- Great sound that suits most sound sources and genres
Click to buy an EQ73