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matucha 28th January 2016 01:00 AM

Siemens W295b
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Siemens (Sitral) W295b belongs to the family of german modules developed mostly for broadcast use. These were one of the first ones that used transistor based amps to compensate for the gain lost within the passive filter network. All buffered with nice Haufe transformers on both input and output.

The sound character reminds me a bit of Gyraf G14 which uses tube amp. It's slightly softening the transients and you loose some subs (below 40hz?), so it's not a go to eq if you want to keep clean and extended bass.

The filters are pretty gentle and probably designed with program material in mind. The two shelves for example form tilt like curve if you cut with one and boost with other. Though most of the time it's just the high shelf that gets used (to get some nice smooth top/air). The low shelf can be quite thunderous on it's own, but I've used it mostly with high shelf to get that smiley curve eq, sometimes even with dip in the middle.

The mid band is quite colorful when used for boosting. Also the Q gets narrower the more you boost/cut. Sometimes I like to use it for obvious push between 2.3-5.6 (vocals, guitars...).

All the controls are stepped. In the case of the mid band the steps are 2dB and for the shelves it's 3dB. Which results in making bold moves or nothing at all. On the other hand the general soft character and gentle slopes make the giant steps much less drastic than one would think.

Where I find them useful? On overheads, drum buss, acoustic guitars, some electric guitars, percussion, vocals, backvocals... sometimes even on the masterbuss.

There are also W295a and W295 versions. All of them have the same shelves and differ with the 3rd band. W295 has midband boost only and it's controled by small faders. W295a has quite usefull tilt band.

W293 and W294 are surprisingly effective highpass and lowpass filter modules. with the filters off these modules have nice euphonic boxtone.

Potential pitfalls:

The 13pin connectors are rare and expensive so some units are being modded with substitutes. Which is fine for fixed rack jobs, though once you get more of these modules and some of them use original connectors and others some substitute it's harder to swap the modules in the rack.

The switches are not available anymore (to my knowledge) so don't break them.

All the modules are old and while most of them are still in working order, they may go bad any day. Caps dry out, transistors fail, switches get too scratchy... and in my case the most common problem is when the contacts between the boards get cold. Fortunatelly it's all still repairable and worth doing so.

Racking isn't cheap.