Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kush Audio's Clariphonic Parallel Equalizer

Instantly & effortlessly add pristine analog focus, detail, clarity, and air to any sound

"The Clariphonic Parallel Equalizer is a mastering grade, parallel shelving EQ matrix with a new filter shape that allows a single band to lift both the top and the bottom, simultaneously but asymmetrically. To my ears the top gets lifted at about a 3:1 ratio compared to the bottom, but I have yet to test it to see what the proportions actually are.

The signal path is super minimal --- it's primarily a capacitance network made up of Wima and Panasonic caps --- but the switching architecture is extremely cool and allows for a lot of new possibilities. I wanted to create an eq that was artistic and right-brain in nature, to get you to think about sound in terms of textures and colors rather than numbers.

To that end, there are 2 engines per channel, the Focus Engine and the Clarity Engine, each of which can have 1 active band. I call them engines because they work on both ends of the spectrum despite being a single band. Anyway, there are 4 unique bands to choose from in each engine, each with its own slope and corner on top and bottom. So essentially it's a dual channel 2-band eq that behaves like a 4-band hi/low eq, with 8 available filter shapes per channel which, because of the switching network, can be configured in 16 possible combination's.

Sonically, the filters are insanely smooth up top and do crazy cool things to the bottom, but the general idea is tighten/define the lows and lift/open the top with minimal coloration or phase smear. Each engine does that in its own way.

Focus Engine is more of a broad push that totally clears the mud from sounds, lifts them up and forward, and can be aggressive at max boost but is always easy on the ears; combined with the tight-ass lows it brings a new level of detail and immediacy to the picture.

Clarity Engine works further out in the spectra, with the highest band's corners being somewhere in the 40hz area on the bottom and the 40k range up top (!). I've never heard air or shimmer like it. You have to be careful, the top on the Clarity Engine is like crack, it's highly addictive and really easy to do more than is wise because it always sounds good, it just takes the lid off the sound and opens it up. Use with caution!
But it gets better
When your signal comes into the Clarity Control, it is passed full bandwidth to the output. It is also multed to each of the bands, and you use the gain control of each engine to blend that band in parallel with your original signal via an internal mix buss. This is very different than your typical console and channel eq's, which pass your signal thru each band in series, with each band doing its thing on the phase-altered signal of the band before it.

The parallel mix architecture means the phase coherence of your signal remains completely intact, and the bands are blended in behind it. The effect is kinda holographic and super tight, no hash or harshness at all.

What's really cool is that the full range signal and each engine all have their own mute switches, so you can listen to just one or both filters in isolation and hear exactly what you're grabbing. You can also leave the full-range killed and bring the Clarity Control back in parallel on your own console, where you can compress, saturate, or otherwise play with the high and low freqs as their own entities. The creative possibilities here can't be overstated.

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