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Manley Massive Passive Stereo Tube EQ
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A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS...

Perhaps, but would photographs of our Variable Mu® Limiter Compressor or VOXBOX® have created their successes alone? You have to hear this gear. You have to use this gear. Put your hands on the knobs and crank 'em. Engineers who have already gotten hold of the MASSIVE PASSIVE have told us: "Why does it make everything sound so much better?", "It's organic and orgasmic.", "It's a f%#king powerhouse.", "It's unlike any other EQ.", "This is IT. The sound I've always dreamt of but couldn't ever get until now."

GOT THE PICTURE?

The MASSIVE PASSIVE is a two channel, four band equalizer, with additional high pass and low pass filters. "Passive" refers to the tone shaping part of this clever new EQ design not using any active circuitry. Only metal film resistors, film capacitors and hand-wound inductors sculpt the sound, kinda like a Pultec EQ on hyper-steroids. Super-beefy, hugely-high-headroom Manley all-tube make-up gain amplifiers deliver your tunes into the next realm. "Massive".... it's a fitting word for this beast. You'll need to experience this.

Creating natural, organic, acoustic tone can only be done with an equalizer that treats the signal with natural methods. The Massive Passive uses simple passive components and exploits their natural qualities rather than forcing a complex circuit to meet an arbitrary clinical or scientific goal. Manley knows that recording and mastering equalizers are used by artists for artistic goals and we balanced this design with a little more art than science. The Massive Passive is intended both for the most radical EQ sometimes needed for tracking as well as the most subtle shadings for vocals and mastering. It is designed to be a fundamentally different EQ but incorporates the best strengths of Pultecs, choice console EQs, parametrics and graphics. The difference is that the Massive allows twice as much EQ with half the coloration. It allows huge HF boosts without sibilance problems and unbelievable fatness without mud. This is unique. Being different also gives it some quirks and idiosyncrasies that will spark your creativity and sense of audio adventure. We could attempt to use dozens of superlatives to describe the sounds, but really, you have to experience it yourself. Words cannot do it justice. The astute reader will notice a lack of "buzz words" and that the Massive Passive is not built around gimmicks, plagiarisms, or conventional techniques. However, it is built to complement our Variable Mu® Limiter Compressor for instance.... This combo could just be the ultimate processing chain. It's already a Mastering fave. To this end we finally have a new dedicated Mastering Version Massive Passive Stereo EQ available too.


The Filters

There are 5 High Pass Passive Filters and bypass, plus 5 Low Pass Passive Filters with bypass. We made them extra steep. Why? So you can remove the garbage and not mess up your music. The way these filters interface with the parametric EQ bands simply sound beautiful. The highest Low Pass filters get even steeper. Attack drums, guitar stacks, and other tough jobs. Make "telephone" voice sounds for special effects.

High Pass Filters = 22, 39, 68, 120, 220 Hz, OFF

Low Pass Filters = 6 kHz, 7K5, 9 kHz, 12 kHz, 18 kHz, OFF


Parametric Frequencies

LOW - 22, 33, 47, 68, 100, 150, 220, 330, 470, 680, 1K

LM - 82, 120, 180, 270, 390, 560, 820, 1K2, 1K8, 2K7, 3K9

HM - 220, 330, 470, 680, 1K, 1K5, 2K2, 3K3, 4K7, 6K8, 10K

HI - 560, 820, 1K2, 1K8, 2K7, 3K9, 5K6, 8K2, 12K, 16K, 27K

  • Each band can be bypassed or set to boost or cut. This provides twice the control resolution over conventional EQs. It also eliminates the problem of a center detent not guaranteeing flat response.
  • Each band is capable of 20 dB of boost or cut combined with amazing headroom and freedom from clipping.

  • Steep LP and HP filters for maximum effectiveness and achieved passively for minimal coloration. Low Pass Filters get progressively steeper as the frequency point rises. All of the High Pass Filters, and the Low Pass 6K, 7K5, and 9KHz Filter slopes are 18 dB/octave, the Low Pass 12kHz filter has a 24dB/octave slope and the 18kHz filter has a 60 dB per octave slope.

  • Transformer balanced floating outputs for ease of installation and a touch of desirable flavor. These too were custom designed for the Massive Passive to accommodate the huge boosts possible.
  • Manley quality, Manley engineering, and the "Manley Sound".


    Rear View


    Massive Guts 12/2007


    Features & Specifications

    FEATURES:

    • All-Passive tone sculpting circuitry
    • Unique Shelf curves use the "bandwidth" control
    • Overlapping and Interleaved Frequency choices
    • Every band switchable to shelf or bell
    • Vacuum tube make-up gain and line drivers
    • Parallel symmetrical topology
    • Premium components throughout
    • Passive HP and LP Filters plus gain trims

    SPECIFICATIONS:

    • Ins & Outs Balanced XLR & 1/4" (accepts unbalanced)
    • Level +4 dBu nominal, internal switches for -10 operation
    • Bypass Switch bypasses EQ & tube circuits (not hardwire)
    • 44 Frequencies (roughly 1/4 octave spacing)
    • Frequency Range: 22 Hz to 27 kHz
    • EQ Boost/Cut Range : 20 dB boost, 20 dB cut
    • Nominal Q range: 1.5 to 3 (uniquely active in shelf modes)
    • Frequency Response: ±2 dB: 8 Hz to 60 KHz
    • Maximum Output @ 1.5% THD +37 dBv; +26dBv @ 20 Hz
    • THD & Noise (1KHz @ +4 dBu): 0.06%
    • Noise Floor (referred to +4dBu): -85 dB (A Weight)
    • Dynamic Range: 120 dB
    • Tube Complement: 2 x 12AT7 EH, 4 x 12BH7EH for serial MSMPX### after 3/2014
    • Tube Complement: 2 x 12AX7 EH, 4 x 6414 for serial MSMPX### after 2/2004
    • Tube Complement: 2 x 5751, 4 x 6414 for serial MSMP### until 2/2004
    • Power Consumption (120/240VAC): 72 watts
    • Unit is factory set for 100V, 120V or 220-240VAC operation for original destination country's mains voltage.
    • Operating Mains Voltage changeable with power transformer changeover switch and fuse value change.
    • Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~ 60Hz
    • Size (3U): 19" x 5.25" x 10"
    • Weight: Unit 21 lbs. Shipping Weight: 27 lbs.


    Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price

    • Massive Passive Stereo EQ: $5,600 USD
    • Mastering Version Massive Passive Suggested Retail Price: $6,300


    Massive Passive FAQ's

    1) How does the Massive Passive compare to other high end EQs?

    Answer: It probably can't be compared. In fact, it is so different, that perhaps we shouldn't have called it an "equalizer" so that people wouldn't expect that it is comparable. Because the Massive Passive has 3 knobs per band, experienced engineers expect that it would be similar to conventional parametric EQs. However, the "Massivo" is "passive" (hence the name) and because it is a parallel design and because it provides entirely different shelf curves, it is essentially a new breed of tone control. The controls are different in use and the sound is remarkably and refreshingly different. Are comparisons really necessary?

    2) Should I replace my favorite EQ with a Massive Passive?

    Answer: We hope your next favorite EQ is the "Massive" but don't sell off your current EQ yet. Each will do things the other doesn't, and the combination may be the ideal chain. You may discover that the Massive excels at major tasks and normally results in an "unprocessed", "natural" final sound but may not be so great at narrow Q notches or "bumps". Your favorite EQ will probably be more suited for touch-ups and little details but will tend to show its personality if used for more than 3 or 4 dB of boost or cut.

    3) What is the Q range?

    Answer: In basic terms, the range is about from 1 to 3 but... Again, this is not a conventional parametric and doesn't have a conventional Q knob. It is called "Bandwidth" on the Massive to differentiate it from "Q" and hopefully allow people to relate it to the "Bandwidth" control on Pultecs. To provide a normal "Q" control would require an "active opamp circuit" and cannot really be done in a purely passive design. The "Bandwidth" control is similar to "Q" but will interact with the "dB" control and does not have the wide range of most Q controls. Perhaps, more accurate names could have been "Damping" or "Resonance". However, the control range is musically useful and in many ways more natural than conventional "Q" knobs which are electronically contrived both in circuitry and sonically. Also the"Bandwidth" is extremely useful in "Shelf" modes which is unique and essentially a new EQ control that allows Pultec-like phatness and phresh "air".

    4) What is the primary intended application?

    Answer: Music..... This EQ is equally suited for tracking, mixing and mastering. It is intended as a primary EQ that you can use as a first choice for almost everything. It was also designed to sound different from other EQs so as not to be just a slightly differing flavor from your current parametrics and console EQs. Vive la difference.

    5) Is it a real "parametric EQ"?

    Answer: It depends how one defines "parametric EQs". We call it "quasi-parametric" or "passive-parametric" because of the difference between "Q" and "Bandwidth" knobs. We define a "true parametric" by George Massenburg's original description which was a non-interacting continuously variable boost/cut, frequency and Q on bell curves. The Massive uses a switch for frequency, allows shelf curves and the "dB" and "Bandwidth" controls interact and even the 4 bands interact. But it does have 3 knobs per band, if that is your definition.

    6) Isn't the various interactions a problem?

    Answer: No..... This is why the Massive Passive tends to sound "natural" and "organic" and other EQs tend to sound electronic and synthetic. Interactions are natural and part of real life and the physics of sound and music. It may require the user to learn a little and may result in some bizzarre "looking" knob settings but the proof is in the listening.

    7) Can I order a "mastering version"?

    Answer: Yes, now you can! Check out the Mastering Version Massive Passive.


    In the "By the Way", trivia department:

    The very first Massive Passive concept was based on 24 position switches for the "dB" controls and 11 position switches for the "Bandwidth". We dropped the idea when we saw that this approach increased the base price by a million dollars. Instead, we used dual reverse-log pots.

    The "mastering version" Pultecs that Manley used to build were based on the 1 dB step size with the "Bandwidth" at 12:00. The minimum steps are about 1/2 dB and the maximum step size is 1.5 dB. This is OK according to the engineers that use them. The markings are 1/2 dB steps.

    We have seen lots of magazine reviews of the Massive and they are all good with virtually nothing bad to say (except perhaps the price but not the value). Some of the superlatives written include: "I can't recommend it highly enough. It would have to be the best EQ device I've used in my life. My hat comes off to what will undoubtedly become a modern classic." "With its innovative circuit design, feature set, stunning audio clarity and its sound the Massive Passive is clearly in a league of its own. Refinance your house and get several for your rack. "Parallel passive design produces curves virtually unobtainable by any other equalizer; overall sound quality is second to none. An immediate classic piece of gear; a must for anyone working in the analog domain. Never had I previously imagined that one device could make everything sound so much better. My favorite EQ at the end of the century. I love this box." And from the mastering engineers: "Absolutely stunning! It doesn't sound processed!! Nothing sounds like This. Period." and "This is the most bomb-ass-chronic-cough-up-your-lungs-and-drool-all-over-yourself-bong-hit of a piece of gear we've ever had a close encounter with." (well said, there)


    MANLEY MASSIVE PASSIVE Awarded 2008 Product of the Year by TONE Audio Magazine

    "Laugh all you want about using an equalizer in a high end system, but let's face it, there are so many records and CD's out there with less than stellar sound, the Massive Passive will set you free if you take the time to learn its intricacies. There's still no substitute for over compression, but a lot of things can still be improved by the Massive Passive's scalpel like ability to boost and cut selective frequencies. A great tool for the music lover and obsessive audiophile, to use it is to love it."

  • Awards
    Reviews
    Word on the Street
    PDF Downloads
    TECH Pages
    Memorable Remarks
    Five ultimate statements from Charlie Watts:

    1. The Manley Massive Passive EQ is the one piece of gear I own that I simply cannot do without. On any project, Analogue or Digital. Period.

    2. The Manley Passive EQ is an ABSOLUTE MUST if you are cutting Vinyl Masters or Dub Plates. With this EQ, I can get the music at least 5 db louder than without it. If you're serious about the best sounding Vinyl, you MUST have one of these.

    3. There is no other way to get that "air" into the mix than to use the Manley Massive Passive. An absolute MUST for anything I Master. From the Gap Band, thru Lalo Schifrin, to 4 on the floor house, and pumpin' Drum and Bass, it's Da Bomb. Word.

    4. I thought the Massive Passive was great at Mastering, but you should hear it in the recording studio. A MUST for the Kick and Bass, and I wouldn't cut a keyboard, guitar or vocal track without one ever again.

    5. This IS the EQ I have wanted for twenty-five years. It's finally here. One listen and turn of the knobs, you'll understand, and have to own one.


    Wow! I didn't think it was possible to get something that sounds better than a Pultec... It is the ultimate companion to my Manley Variable Mu. What great gear you make!!!

    David Horrocks,
    Infinite Wave Mastering


    EveAnna, you and Hutch have totally outdone yourself this time. If it's possible, give yourselves a pat on the back for a job well done. My order is in and I can't wait for it to arrive.

    Mark A. Rodriguez
    Sony Pictures Entertainment, ADSG
    Mastering Engineer, Vision Mastering

    Manley & Langevin Dynamic Controllers