New Toys: Metric Halo/Make Believe Studios Sontec MES 432-D9D EQ

The Sontec MES 432-D9D plug-in is a software recreation of the parametric mastering equalizer originally released in 1972. Burgess Macneal shares the original parametric EQ invention and design with George Massenburg.

Metric Halo uses a new technology called State Space Model Extraction to capture all the analog character, nuance and built-in interaction of the original MES-432D9's filters. In fact you can change the overall sound of the equalizer with three choices: Pure Analog is the default 1:1 model of the Sontec hardware, the Aggressive mode includes the sound of analog-to-digital conversion, and the no analog model is free of all analog character. The Sontec has a resizable GUI up to 150% and a switchable graphical window to show the actual EQ curves in play.

The Sontec went to work immediately across the stereo bus in a Pro Tools mix, even though I thought nothing much was required. The producer wanted to go for an overall brighter sound and wanted me to try and clear up the low mid-range frequency area.

The Sontec has three peaking bands with switchable Qs of 5, 6, 9, 11, and 15. The high and low shelving EQs have both 8kHz or 12kHz high frequency choices and 50Hz or 100Hz low frequency points respectively. All sections link/unlink so the MES makes a good set of two, mono track EQs but for the stereo bus, you'd want them linked.  

I liked the nice big knobs you can grab with the mouse—looking for the "spot" just like the hardware Sontec EQs I remember! The mix opened up with a smooth boost of +2dB of shelving EQ at 12kHz. The Q of 15 is not too sharp but still surgical and good to tame down nasty resonances on individual tracks.

The new Metric Halo/Make Believe Studios Sontec MES 432-D9D EQ is a winner and sells for $299.99 as a download.