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focusrite blue 315 - who is using one?
Old 3rd February 2009
  #1
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Ben F's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
focusrite blue 315 - who is using one?

I've seen a few focusrite blue 315s in some mastering studios. I'm interested in peoples experiences with this sexy looking EQ, and what modifications, if any, are required to make it sound better?
Old 3rd February 2009
  #2
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
I used a 315 for a couple years in conjunction with a GML 8200. For me the 315 seemed more suited for broad stroke (wide band) EQing while the GML was more surgical (notch + shelving).

The 315 was and still is used by some of the big guns. I've been told there are a couple mods that can be done involving the transformer that increase the performance. Over all it's a great box, but just didn't bring enough to the table for me to justify keeping it. It seemed like I had to work pretty hard to make the eq speak where other EQ's seem to deliver a lot quicker. I am sort of going with the less is more approach now when it comes to EQ and the GML and plugs give me all I need, although I am looking forward to checking out NSEQ-FF at some point.

TW
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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I've got one at the studio right now. The studio is a tracking/mixing room; I don't do much mastering, but I have been experimenting with it on tracks, busses, and the 2-mix.

Overall, my biggest problem with it is the interface. It's the least intuitive processor I've ever come across, period. I can't seem to wrap my head around the controls, the knobs feel kinda funny to me (simultaneously sticky and loose), the whole thing just feels sorta "off". Every time I've tried to use it, I spend more time squinting at the labeling trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing than I do listening, which is pretty lame (not to mention a huge waste of time).

Sonically, it's exactly what you'd expect: very clean, very surgical, very precise. Not particularly useful for 99% of my needs (mixing rock n roll music), but I can certainly see it serving as a go-to "clean" EQ in a mastering lab. That is, assuming the ME has better luck and intuition with regards to the unit's controls.
Old 4th February 2009
  #4
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lucey's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F ➑️
I've seen a few focusrite blue 315s in some mastering studios. I'm interested in peoples experiences with this sexy looking EQ, and what modifications, if any, are required to make it sound better?
The 315 mkii as stock sounds like **** IMO and I'm shocked that they were used by anyone for mastering, but they were, and they billed plenty for the time! If modified with better ICs and less caps it then has all the features I need for a basically clean eq with a bit of a sonic character that's good for my chain.

The bottom line of the unit is that the freq points and steps are comprehensive and useful, but the 60+ 5534 ICs are hazy and distorted in this circuit. It's not clean enough to be called clean as stock and it's not a truly nice color. The Sontecs do a better job with this IC. The ICs can be replaced with any number of cleaner chips. We settled on the OPA627 and a few AD chips as well 8xx? ... I forget. We also were able to remove over 40 caps, and to simplify the input gain section with 2 or 3, not 5 ICs.

The result is a much cleaner and still slightly forward IC tone, that is a perfect balance to the slightly seated tube effect of the Fairman TMEQ. I had the Weiss and prefer the modded Blue's tone by a mile. Would the modded tone I use work well for you? Can't say. Would you be better off with a digital eq? Likely so. It's not a piece I can recommend heartily because it takes a lot of money/effort to get it to where it MAY be useful. The lower circuit board is very hard to get to, as well.

Ultimately, the best it can do is clean with a little attitude that's musical, not the messy clean as stock. I use it every day for steep cuts, the 33 hi pass and like to drive it at times for a touch of compression/limiting ... I would replace it if I had to. The input side is touchy to overs, so use it early in the chain and boost mostly after. If you do get one the OPA 2134 is a nice choice that's used by Phil Demetro last I checked ... he prefers that to my uber fast OPA 627s. 2134s are cheapish and retain some musical warmth but open up the top, and beat 5534s so there you go ...
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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phild's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Can't believe I didn't see this thread...

Brian nailed the description as usual. It was also Brian who helped get the mod done and done very well! So Brian, if I've never thanked you for this.... thank you!

I have come to love this thing a lot.
The expensive 627's were a bit zingy in my system - but that was 2 years ago (?).
I might prefer them now as so much has changed in my system. I still have all those 627's. A project for another day. Yes, i have the 2134 and 134's in mine. They're ok.

I also have the 330 compressor which has had a similar mod done to it by Bob Alach @ Alactronics - that I just got back. Less caps and newer IC's. It's a cool compressor which I might sell because I'm so lite on the compression these days...
The last one I've seen recently is the one in Greg Calbi's rack. My guess is that his is close to stock.

Like Brian, I sold my weiss as I preferred the 315. Can't heartily suggest that anyone get a 315.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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When I was doing some work at sterling last year TJ used a 315 on just about every track on the record.

I would bet they are modified.

TW
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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phild's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering ➑️
When I was doing some work at sterling last year TJ used a 315 on just about every track on the record.

I would bet they are modified.

TW
I know I tend to exploit my gear based on individual strengths and weakness'.
This eq has a plastic sheen and is mid-forward to a certain extent.

The 315 I use sparingly for boosts. Generally cuts in the low mids. Boosts in the hi and mid-highs.

How did TJ use the 315? Cutting? Boosting?
If it was heavy handed - a dB and a half or more - his may be modified. Because they've tendency toward mushy and murky otherwise.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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Ben F's Avatar
 
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Interesting...Thanks Brian and Phil for your input. There is one not being used a friend has and I really like the layout and design of this EQ, plus the 0.3dB increments. It's actually very well built inside- perhaps they over engineered it? I suppose Focusrite has always been renowned for that 'safe' but kind of 'soulless' sound.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild ➑️

How did TJ use the 315? Cutting? Boosting?
If it was heavy handed - a dB and a half or more - his may be modified. Because they've tendency toward mushy and murky otherwise.
We talked shop but didn't get into the 315 to much.
He works pretty fast, one or two passes then print. 10-15 minutes a song tops. He had the older db technology converters some tube tech, some custom stuff. One things for sure, he made the tracks sound awesome.

Chris Muth of Dangerous used to do a lot of the tech work at sterling so maybe he modded their 315's. I've heard the mods on the 315 are really what make it shine.

TW
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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phild's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering ➑️
We talked shop but didn't get into the 315 to much.
He works pretty fast, one or two passes then print. 10-15 minutes a song tops. He had the older db technology converters some tube tech, some custom stuff. One things for sure, he made the tracks sound awesome.

Chris Muth of Dangerous used to do a lot of the tech work at sterling so maybe he modded their 315's. I've heard the mods on the 315 are really what make it shine.

TW
There is a bunch of custom stuff there. Did he mention his David Smith/Sony Mastering console? That's totally rare! That Neumannn Acceleration limiter is pretty uncommon too.

Did he do any digital processing on your tracks?
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
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He did use some pretty common plugs that get trashed on GS a lot.
I didn't see any weiss stuff though. I wouldn't feel right sayin to much.
There is a pretty long thread on GS were Chris Athens gets into some details.
For the most part we were concentrating on the task at hand.

Cheers, TW
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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phild's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Fair enough... i know the answer to my own questions anyway.
I'm kinda funny that way...

Athens was a huge lift to this forum but he's been more-or-less chased off. Too bad.

One more thing about the 315. Anyone can say what they want about the focusrite tone but there is simply NO other EQ that I'm aware of that can add a modern voluminous character to a track. it's not glue... it's not level.. it's a non-descript character that fills in frequency holes like nothing else. Tighter with more smear than a Sontec. Less sweet but sits in the pocket more.

Just finished a rock track and it wasn't close to being done until the 315 was in.

TJ uses one on everything he does as of late. I can hear it as easily as picking my kid out of a picture full of strangers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering ➑️
He did use some pretty common plugs that get trashed on GS a lot.
I didn't see any weiss stuff though. I wouldn't feel right sayin to much.
There is a pretty long thread on GS were Chris Athens gets into some details.
For the most part we were concentrating on the task at hand.

Cheers, TW
Old 11th February 2009
  #13
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PureHeat's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm certainly no mastering engineer, but I had a chance to play around with this unit and the blue compressor a few years back in a mix room full of goodies.

It was an annoying beast to say the least. Funny thing is I would patch it in... fiddle with it longer than I should have, and hate where I ended up. Then I would patch in whatever else I should have patched in first and be ruined. What I mean is I didn't quite like the 315 but it was so precise that it made me have to recalibrate my mind\ears to the ol' 550A broad strokes. I repeated this excercise more frequently than I should have.

Overall a real love\hate relationship for me... wasn't my flavor.

In the words of Fletcher "Your mileage may vary".

E.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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six_wax's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phild ➑️
TJ uses one on everything he does as of late. I can hear it as easily as picking my kid out of a picture full of strangers.
Hey phild, can I direct your attention to another thread I started? I'd be curious to hear what other "kids" you can pick out!

Examples of colorful mastering chains in commercial recordings
πŸ“ Reply

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