MASSIVE PASSIVE
STEREO TUBE EQ

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Colossal, timbre-twisting passive equalization using metal-film resistors, film capacitors, and hand-wound inductors to organically sculpt the tone from subtle to vivid. Manley’s tube stages handle huge HF boosts without sibilance and unbelievable fatness without mud. “It’s like a Pultec on steroids.”

 
 
 

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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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DETAILS

 

THE FILTERS

HIGH PASS FILTERS
22, 39, 68, 120, 220 Hz, OFF

LOW PASS FILTERS
6 kHz, 7K5, 9 kHz, 12 kHz, 18 kHz, OFF

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.

 

PARAMETRIC FREQUENCIES

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

LOW MID
82, 120, 180, 270, 390, 560, 820, 1K2, 1K8, 2K7, 3K9

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

HIGH
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".

 
 
 

SPECIFICATIONS

 

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.

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 subject to change because they just might.
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RESOURCES

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

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?

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?

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?

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"?

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) Aren't the various interactions a problem?

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"?

Yes! Just scroll down.

 
 
 

THE MASTERING VERSION

 
WE CAME UP WITH A CLEVER WAY TO PULL THIS OFF...

...WITHOUT breaking your bank account, thanks to these interesting mechanically detented knobs for the GAIN and BANDWIDTH controls! These knobs are of our own design. They are a clever two-part metal design using a ball and spring detent system. They ensure repeatability and a good, positive feel, without the incredible cost and space problems tons of Grayhill switches would have caused.
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Some notes pertinent to the Mastering Version:

The Massive Passive is a passive design and not a "true parametric". A true parametric implies non-interacting controls. In the Massive Passive, the "GAIN" and "BANDWIDTH" controls DO interact (on purpose). We cannot create a "GAIN" switch that is set up for "consistent" 1/2 dB steps. When you change the "BANDWIDTH" the step size must and will change. On the regular version, you get a full 20dB boost or cut only when: the bandwidth is fully clockwise (narrow) in bell mode or fully counter-clockwise in shelf mode. Here on the Mastering Version, this maximum boost or cut is 11dB. Conversely at the widest bell, the maximum boost or cut is 6dB and the narrowest shelf maxes out at 12 dB. A similar situation is also true for the bandwidth detents. So in this new Mastering Version, do not expect a certain dB change per step as it will vary according to where the bandwidth is set. But whatever the step sizes are, they will be repeatably 16 steps. The FREQUENCY select is already detented as it is and always has been a Grayhill switch. It also interacts in shelf mode.

 

On a similar note, the Massive Passive is a "parallel design" and not the conventional "series design". This means the bands interact with each other too. It is possible, to set a band to boost 20 dB but if another band is boosting near or at that frequency, very little will happen. On a conventional EQ the two bands "add" and you would be boosting 40 dB into clipping. Because the bands interact, predictable step sizes are unrealistic, however, with the Mastering Version, you will be able to repeat settings (if you log them of course). The price paid for interacting bands, is a better sounding EQ and bizarre looking settings (on purpose).

Unlike virtually every other EQ, the Massive Passive allows much more EQ without sounding "processed". Where 5 or 6 dB is about all one could attempt with other EQs in mastering, the Massivo amazes engineers with how much EQ they can do and get more "natural" results at the same time. We could have squeezed 11 position Grayhill switches in the modules if we had wanted 1/2 dB steps but then the maximum range would have become only 5.5 dB. Remembering what we stated above, the minimum range would then become about 1.5 dB with approximately 0.2 dB steps. This approach would have essentially thrown away most of the useful range the unit is capable of. Going with these special mechanically detented knobs which use the same pots underneath that the normal Massivo uses, we get nearly all the range of the normal version, but with the repeatability of the detents.

 

We have also custom tailored the FILTERS in the Mastering Version specifically for Mastering purposes, moving them lower and higher than the normal version, with mastering engineers specifically in mind. The slopes are all 18dB per octave on the mastering filters except for the highest 52kHz Low Pass filter which has a 30 dB/octave slope. If you are looking for drastic effects (like telephone sounds) then get the normal version. These filters are really geared for mastering engineers.

High Pass Filters: OFF, 12, 16, 23, 30, 39 Hz
Low Pass Filters: OFF, 52kHz, 40kHz, 27kHz, 20kHz, 15 kHz

Additionally, the Master Gain Trim controls in the Mastering Version are true 11 position 1/2 dB stepped Grayhill switches set up for a range between -2.5 to +2.5 dB of master gain trim. This allows more confidence in left/right matching and calibration. The gain change voltage divider occurs before the final tube amplifier stag and after all of the passive EQ circuits.

 
 
 
The best advice is, before you decide - or even form an opinion - about whether to go with a normal or mastering version Massivo, is to use a regular Massive Passive for a session or two in your own room.

We have seen in the past that the only engineers who have asked about a mastering version had yet to try the Massive. Using your previous extensive and intensive experience with other EQs may be a mistake, especially if you expect the Massive Passive to be roughly similar to them. It isn't. Please, try it first, then decide.
 
 

MASTERING VERSION 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 
  • HP and LP Filters
  • STEPPED GAIN trims -2.5 to +2.5dB in 11 steps of 1/2dB each
  • Metal Manley mechanically detented GAIN and BANDWIDTH control knobs 

MASTERING VERSION SPECIFICATIONS

  • Ins & Outs Balanced XLR & 1/4" (accepts unbalanced) 
  • Level +4 dBu nominal, internal switches for -10 operation 
  • HARDWIRE Bypass Switch (unit does pass audio when powered off) 
  • 44 Frequencies (roughly 1/4 octave spacing) 
  • Frequency Range: 22 Hz to 27 kHz 
  • EQ Boost/Cut Range: Maximum 11dB boost or 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 12AU7, 4 x 6414 
  • 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.