Gear reviews

Shadow Hills – Equinox

Generally speaking

The Shadow Hills Equinox is a discrete summing/preamp/monitor controller unit. It’s built like a tank. It’s also heavy as a tank (a small one… ). It comes with an external PSU the size of 2 half rack units and it has nice knobs.

The input/output routing is done via SubD25/XLR connectors. You have 30 channels of summing available, 2 preamps and you can switch 3 independent monitor pairs. The unit features the same principal as other Shadow Hills units. You can choose from 2 different “transformer-types” or the discrete OP-amp saturation mode. You have no headphones outputs.

Problems & technicalities

I used the Equinox on 2 albums and it worked straight away. Of course I had to make some SubD25 cables but that was done in 45 minutes/each. I ran out of a MOTU 192 Systems straight into the Equinox while having some outboard gear in between the converter and the Equinox. The sumout-put was connected to a Cranesong Avocet.

The thing with the unit is, that you got only stereo inputs. there are mono combiner plugs, but they need to be custom ordered as far as I know. I just used a stereo bus for summing the bass, kick and snare. It was not such a big deal for me.

Sound

Wow. I am impressed. I ran an old mix straight into the equinox without any other gear plugged in.

The difference is found in the details:
– more depth
– more width
– a much more stable representation of the bass-area
– much more defined soundstage (signals sound more compact)
– more FX detail. I could hear more FX while running the mix trough it, so it was easier to adjust them.

I usually had the unit on Iron or Nickel. there was a bit more bass. The difference where subtile tough.

I can not comment on how much coloring the Shadow Hills introduced, as I had to adjust my mixing and gain staging several times.

Conclusion

The mixes did not sound “better” in terms of punch but they were clearer concerning the sonics and obviously the depth/width was “better”. I had a hard time first putting the mix together. Every instrument sounded kind of separated and not very well blended with the other instruments. This was espacially annoying first with the kick/bass/guitar lowend. I made several adjustments and I can say now, that it sounds more analog. The highend had more clarity to it. It was also having a hard time getting stuff sound in your face. Pretty easy inside the box (mixing mostly with cubase 5 or samplitude 11 pro) it was tough to achieve this outside the box. I used a TK audio BC-1 to make the mix more “together” sounding.

After these mix adjustments I can say, I am pretty happy with the results. this is one of my favourite units out there, feature wise and sound wise. If I need something modern-sounding, in your face, hardcore limited I will stay in the box. If I am going for something more analog-sounding the equinox is the way to go. I let the unit go with one crying and one laughing eye. The crying one, because I am not able to get this “sound” again, the laughing one because of the money I can spend for holidays or beers.

I like beer, do you?

Problems & technicalities

I used the Equinox on 2 albums and it worked straight away. Of course I had to make some SubD25 cables but that was done in 45 minutes/each. I ran out of a MOTU 192 Systems straight into the Equinox while having some outboard gear in between the converter and the Equinox. The sumout-put was connected to a Cranesong Avocet.

The thing with the unit is, that you got only stereo inputs. there are mono combiner plugs, but they need to be custom ordered as far as I know. I just used a stereo bus for summing the bass, kick and snare. It was not such a big deal for me.

Sound

Wow. I am impressed. I ran an old mix straight into the equinox without any other gear plugged in.

The difference is found in the details:
– more depth
– more width
– a much more stable representation of the bass-area
– much more defined soundstage (signals sound more compact)
– more FX detail. I could hear more FX while running the mix trough it, so it was easier to adjust them.

I usually had the unit on Iron or Nickel. there was a bit more bass. The difference where subtile tough.

I can not comment on how much coloring the Shadow Hills introduced, as I had to adjust my mixing and gain staging several times.

Conclusion

The mixes did not sound “better” in terms of punch but they were clearer concerning the sonics and obviously the depth/width was “better”. I had a hard time first putting the mix together. Every instrument sounded kind of separated and not very well blended with the other instruments. This was espacially annoying first with the kick/bass/guitar lowend. I made several adjustments and I can say now, that it sounds more analog. The highend had more clarity to it. It was also having a hard time getting stuff sound in your face. Pretty easy inside the box (mixing mostly with cubase 5 or samplitude 11 pro) it was tough to achieve this outside the box. I used a TK audio BC-1 to make the mix more “together” sounding.

After these mix adjustments I can say, I am pretty happy with the results. this is one of my favourite units out there, feature wise and sound wise. If I need something modern-sounding, in your face, hardcore limited I will stay in the box. If I am going for something more analog-sounding the equinox is the way to go. I let the unit go with one crying and one laughing eye. The crying one, because I am not able to get this “sound” again, the laughing one because of the money I can spend for holidays or beers.

I like beer, do you?

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