This time I will be reviewing the “Harrison 32” 500-series equalizer, manufactured/revived by Great River. Having two open spaces in our 500-series rack at Uranus, I knew we had to “fill the gap” and we were also short on analog equalizers. At that point, I had owned and been using the UAD-2 plug-in version (Harrison 32/SE) for about a year and was/am very fond of it’s sound, range and overall ease of operation. It also CERTAINLY didn’t hurt knowing that much of Michael Jackson’s legendary works were recorded and mixed (by Bruce Swedien) using this equalizer’s forefathers.
We had been using our Neve Melbourn Royston console, API 5500 stereo eq, Toft AFC-2 and before that, a ZEDR16 console for all analog equalization. My crew and I could instantly hear and feel a difference in this new 500-series eq. Smooth, clean, “musical”, warm and “liquid” are some descriptions I remember saying and hearing after starting to use the “32”…Oh, did I mention that my favorite number also happens to be 32? Sheer coincidence- now I think not!
I now use this equalizer more than any one other equalizer in the studio(s). I trust it to always get the sound right, without adding anything other than sonic beauty. Every vocal in the last few months had this in-line somewhere, and the high-pass is almost always in. It is perfect to add or subtract “just a bit” when the sound that’s coming through the speakers needs a little love. It also does large boosts and cuts with an elegance I have only heard in a few other analog eqs, namely- the Speck ASC-T, Neve 88RS console EQs and our API 5500 ($1,250/channel!).
Tomorrow we’ll be tracking drums for a rock group and I plan to use this on the kick drum (in). Why? well, I just know that it will shape the drum without any negative artifacts, but has enough gain to make it happen; whatever is needed. If and when I do need a lot of cut/boost, I know that any artifacts it may add, will be sonically gorgeous; only adding to the intended sound quality- now that’s confidence! At that tracking session, I am opting to use our Chameleon 7602 for bass, rather than the “32” because the 7602’s have a great 1073-like grit on rock bass. The overheads will go API5500, simply because I actually have two channels there. After being on kick duty for drum tracking, The Great River/Harrison will probably end up being used on lead guitars and most definitely lead vocals. The only real downside here is this EQ can’t do “surgical” (no “Q” knob, no detents); but that is why I have the SSL 611 (500-series) and API 5500.
It would be very fair to call this my “go-to” analog equalizer. The only reason I haven’t given it a “10” below is because of the missing “Q” controls and also that I just can’t call it my “favorite” yet- I have too many left to try!
CLOSEST OWNED/TESTED COMPETITIVE PRODUCTS-
Harrison 32 (UAD plug-in), Speck ASC-T Equalizer