introducing the AL‑12 mastering equaliser - Gearspace.com
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introducing the AL‑12 mastering equaliser
Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Maniac
peter sikking's Avatar
Hardware introducing the AL‑12 mastering equaliser

The AL‑12 combines sublime sound quality with extensive shaping capability and innovative design, in a hand-built unit that can be highly customised. And it comes in two sizes:

first things first
The primary reason this EQ exists is the ‘transparent analog’ sound quality of the peqex 5+—very transparent and very analog. Experiencing this sound quality made mastering engineer Bob Macciochi twist my arm to create a mastering EQ. And here we are.

People who own the peqex (same architecture, same sound), or user-tested the AL‑12, describe this sound quality as—

“It’s smooth, natural and quite beautiful. It’s what EQ sounds like in my head.”

“The 4–8kHz cut is as soft as a cat’s paw and works on a subconscious level––in a way I can’t quite get from my digital EQs.”

“The high shelf really is magical.”

“Not electronic at all; the EQing comes from within the music.”

My customers have schooled me in the value of transparent analog sound: works with any music genre (and sound design), in every chain—from fully transparent to major mojo. The AL‑12 just adds this ‘EQing from within’ without messing anything up.

the kick inside
The secret of transparent analog sound quality is… no secret at all. It consist of puristic implementation of passive EQ. This guarantees transparency, both measured and subjectively.

The AL‑12 is chockfull of inductors and takes a leaf from way back, when consoles were not commercially manufactured and record labels built their own studios and mastering rooms. Brute-force application of reliable, high-quality circuits is the name of this game.

Unlike the legends of the 50/60s, this EQ is full-function, equipped for today’s music. An astonishing variety of subtle and complex EQ curves is available through the completely separate boost & cut controls for every band. You can read quite a lot more about it on the product page.

design innovation
While doing research for this product right here on GS, a number of everyday user needs and problems came out of the woodwork. These led to three innovations—

shelves: fixed
Many engineers have stopped trusting the frequency labels of shelf bands. solution: In the first place ensure that shelves do not shift in frequency when changing gain. Second: exact labelling. A shelf consists of two plateaus and a slope in between. The two frequencies where the slope crosses the plateaux tells you exactly where each of them sits in the frequency spectrum. These two frequencies (start & stop) are the labels for all the shelf bands.

higher lows, lower highs
For the low shelf to reach way into the midrange. solution: Shelving makes sense across the whole spectrum—introduce a mid shelf to link up with the high and low shelves. Should it work like low shelving or high shelving? It depends, so make it both high & low shelving. As a side-effect of this approach there is also a bonus bell available with Q=0.81, centred between the corner frequencies.

filters don’t cut it
Do high passing with a shelf cut. solution: instead of bringing the high passing to the low shelf, bring the shelf to the hpf—introducing: shelving filters, for both hpf and lpf. The story is right-sizing the extreme frequencies, instead of just cutting them. Also, a minimum of phase shift is used to get the job done, and then it returns to zero at the very extremes.

fact sheet
The information below is for the standard version of the AL‑12. It is also the starting point for customisation.
  • Completely passive EQ; there is no make-up gain, no power cord. Insertion loss is 7dB. The circuit is direct-coupled, input to output (sole exception: hpf engaged in full roll-off mode).
  • There are 5×2 bands: independent cut & boost bands for three shelves—low, mid, high—and two bells—lower mids and high mids.
  • Controls are all stepped and stereo-ganged using ELMA switches. In the ‘out’ position the band/filter is literally out of the circuit.
  • Gain is 5dB in ¼dB steps for both boost and cut.
  • The mid shelves can be switched to act low-shelving or high-shelving at the same corner frequencies. In the middle there is a bonus bell with Q=0.81, centred between the corner frequencies.
  • Bell bands are of the scaling type; the 5dB gain bell has a Q of 1 and all other gains are are exactly the same bell shape, scaled in dB. The Q control is 6-step, traditional-resistive that blunts the bell, each steps takes 10% off the gain, halving it at the broadest setting.
  • The shelving filters sport a modern frequency set; 10–50Hz, 8–32kHz. The roll-off is first-order. Additionally there are five shelving levels.
  • The hard bypass maintains the 7dB insertion loss.
  • The chassis size is either 3RU, or 4RU.
  • Construction is point–to–point, with no printed circuit boards.
  • For prices see: the pricing + ordering info page.

Every unit I build is on a custom basis, so there is a lot of opportunity for customisation. You can read all about it on the product page.

ready, steady, go!
The AL‑12 is now available for order. This build is elaborate and not many of them will be made every year. But I’d love to build one for you; so let’s start a conversation: send me an email.

51dB audio recording studio equipment is designed and built by peter sikking.

Old 2 weeks ago
Lives for gear
Base price? I skimmed the product page and don’t see one, sorry if I missed it. I get there are many customizable options, but maybe just like what would the price be for the standard version or starting point, thanks
Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Maniac
peter sikking's Avatar
hey Artcutech,

for prices see: the pricing + ordering info page.

thanks for asking, —ps
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by peter sikking ➡️
hey Artcutech,

for prices see: the pricing + ordering info page.

thanks for asking, —ps
Got it! Thank you
Old 1 week ago
Gear Addict
🎧 5 years
What a dream EQ. Would love to see a 3D rendering if possible (mainly for the drool and GAS factor as it's sadly out of my price range). For anyone that gets one, happy EQing, more magic music, and hats off to you!
Old 1 week ago
Gear Addict
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Any photos of a built unit? Love the design and philosophy.
Old 1 week ago
Gear Maniac
peter sikking's Avatar
thanks for the encouraging words, they make my day.

building everything custom-to-order has many benefits, but a
side effect is that there is no inventory of finished units.

it always feels bad then when I cannot fulfil peoples’ requests
because there is no inventory. but I believe in making equipment
artisanally, so that it is special and valuable in perpetuity for
those who purchase it and others who get to use it.

I just have to live with the side effect.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
Gear Maniac
peter sikking's Avatar
Originally Posted by millionmiles ➡️
What a dream EQ. Would love to see a 3D rendering if possible (mainly for the drool and GAS factor as it's sadly out of my price range). For anyone that gets one, happy EQing, more magic music, and hats off to you!
here is a issue where custom builds really can help: with the price.
by ordering less bands/filters for your unit, the price goes down

the standard unit has 12 bands & filters; if you can pick 6 of them and
order that (with custom frequencies &c, if you like), it will cost pretty
much half the price of a standard unit.

included in that is a redesigned faceplate (optimum size, or glorious size)
for your configuration and re-engineering.
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