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Author Topic: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins  (Read 8525 times)

jlapointe

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Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« on: February 21, 2005, 02:44:27 pm »

A while back someone mentioned that they would be soon comparing the eq in their Quantum to a Z-Qualizer.  Just wondering how they stack up.  

I ask because I'm looking for some decent digital processing to complement my analog chain.  Something that can do subtle MS stuff mostly - usually just eq but MS compression might be useful once in a while.  

In the past I've used plugins for these (normally infrequent) chores, but honestly I can't stand to look at the damned computer screen any longer.  The moment I see a graphical rendition of the eq "curve", any hope of actually listening and reacting is lost, and I find myself adjusting settings based on the look of the display.  A terrible admission, I know ...

Despite this, I've tried a number of plugin eqs.  While none of them are as instantly gratifying as my analog eqs, I've found the  Waves Linear Phase Eq to be useful at times, and the Sonalksis eq is interesting, but I do find that it narrows the stereo image slightly.  

So, I guess I'm looking for comments re the eqs in the Quantum, vs the Z-Qualizer, vs the above mentions plugs.  Any experiences to share?

Thanks!

J Schroder

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2005, 09:37:59 pm »

I use the Z-Q for M/S and light eq and I far prefer it to the plugins I have, including the Waves Linear.  No experience with the Quantum, sorry.  Maybe Brad can shed some light on that unit.

John
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mikepecchio

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2005, 10:30:09 pm »

Ive been using the z-qualizer for about 2 months now.  In my opinion it really is a killer EQ.  granted I never used a weiss but Ive never heard any other digital EQ that sounds ANYTHING like it. BUT the user interface is kindof crappy.  I hate having to turn the knob 20 times to go from +4 to -2. it really does take considerable time and effort.  but im still loving it!

mike p
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bblackwood

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2005, 05:00:15 am »

The Quantum EQ isn't bad, especially for small nips and tucks. Though it's not as easy to navigate as a Weiss, it's light years better than navigating the Z-qualizer. I Had the Z-qualizer here for a bit when Glenn first unveiled it and though I thought it sounded fine, simply could not ever imagine actually using it in the mastering room.

If he had some PC interface software with GUI, perhaps, but as it is now is it is unwelcome here due tot he horrific interface.
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Brad Blackwood
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jlapointe

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2005, 07:12:37 am »

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 22 February 2005 06:00

The Quantum EQ isn't bad, especially for small nips and tucks. Though it's not as easy to navigate as a Weiss, it's light years better than navigating the Z-qualizer. I Had the Z-qualizer here for a bit when Glenn first unveiled it and though I thought it sounded fine, simply could not ever imagine actually using it in the mastering room.


Interesting. Having used neither, the Z-qualizer looks like it would be the easier one to operate.  

The Weiss is obviously the first choice, but until the budget allows it I'm still searching for a stop gap measure.

I'm trying out the Algorithmix Red and Orange eqs today.  The interface looks daunting, but I'm very interested to see if the sound lives up to the hype.  Perhaps I'll report later.
 
Thanks for your responses.

bblackwood

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2005, 07:14:18 am »

JLaPointe wrote on Tue, 22 February 2005 06:12

I'm trying out the Algorithmix Red and Orange eqs today.  The interface looks daunting, but I'm very interested to see if the sound lives up to the hype.  Perhaps I'll report later.

Please do report back - I'm interested in these as well...

Are you trying them in Sequoia or have they released standalone versions? Is there a demo available now?

[Edit: I see they now have demos available - click here...]
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Brad Blackwood
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jlapointe

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2005, 07:19:13 am »

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 22 February 2005 08:14


Are you trying them in Sequoia or have they released standalone versions? Is there a demo available now?



In Samplitude.  There are DirectX demos available now.  I'm just about to install them, so we'll see how that goes.

lowland

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2005, 02:51:47 pm »

I have a Quantum and like the EQ, including the variable-slope shelves. As Brad says, good for touches, plus MS mode can be a lifesaver.

I also like the Sonalksis EQ and use it perhaps 25% of the time in mastering. Strengths for me are the  HPF/LPF and the low end shelf /parametric control though it does nothing badly as far as I can see and the 'styles' can be very handy for more musicality or precision as you require. Price-wise it's hard to fault too.

I had the z-Qualizer on appro. and found the interface to be a deal-breaker - it drove me nuts, and I couldn't entertain having to put up with that all day, every day. Very frustrating as the sound was great and would fit into my setup well for broad strokes. To be fair, z-Systems say they're having manufacturing problems and expect to fix things soon, but ever since the unit came out people have been saying that the encoders are wobbly - if this eventually gets sorted out I'd be prepared to look again as the price is good for a hardware box.
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Nigel Palmer
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jlapointe

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Algorithmix EQs (Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins)
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2005, 03:12:19 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 22 February 2005 08:14


Please do report back - I'm interested in these as well...



Spent most of the afternoon playing with the Algorithmix RED EQ.  It does live up to the hype.  It sounds really, really good.  Head and shoulders above any other plugin EQ I've used, and definitely up there with the best analog stuff I have here.  

To my ears it exhibits none of the common plugin eq traits, like weird high end edginess or boxy mids.  It's the only digital eq I've ever used that doesn't kill the low end when using it to cut low freq mud.  Very, very smooth and transparent, yet not sterile at all.    

So sonically, it is excellent.  The only drawback as far as I'm concerned, is that it is still a plugin - meaning that you're limited to mousing around a graphic display.  In my case that means looking far off to the side at the monitor, which bothers me to no end.  I feel like I have all this power at my finger tips, yet I can't possibly dial in the settings I want as fast as I want.  That, to me, is very important.

I'm thinking about installing a small monitor into the console in front of me, just to display the EQs.  Argh.  

Anyway, well done, Algorithmix.  I'm sold.    


prozak

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Re: Algorithmix EQs (Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins)
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2005, 02:12:38 pm »

>Very, very smooth and transparent, yet not sterile at all

Yeah, thats about what I felt. Every other plug-eq I have auditioned since just gets a "nope" the moment I turn up the HF.
Took me 1 second to decide not to buy the UAD Precision EQ plug Very Happy

greets

Tim
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Tim Lengfeld
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2007, 03:51:58 am »

lowland wrote on Tue, 22 February 2005 13:51

I had the z-Qualizer on appro. and found the interface to be a deal-breaker - it drove me nuts, and I couldn't entertain having to put up with that all day, every day. Very frustrating as the sound was great and would fit into my setup well for broad strokes. To be fair, z-Systems say they're having manufacturing problems and expect to fix things soon, but ever since the unit came out people have been saying that the encoders are wobbly - if this eventually gets sorted out I'd be prepared to look again as the price is good for a hardware box.


I've been using a Z-Qualizer for about a year. Bought it cheap on eB*y and had Z-Sys repair it & install the latest firmware update. It works and sounds fine... very transparent. The interface is a bit fiddly, but entirely workable, maybe the firmware improved the stability of the knobs. I like using it for occasional surgical repairs, just before the Lavry DAC that feeds my analog path... NSEQ-F - Sontec - Manley...

It sounds far better than any digital plug-in EQ I've tried.

Nick uses a ZQ1 in our B room, gets a lot of mileage out that one as well.

Anyone else... opinions?

JT
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Terra Nova Mastering
Celebrating 20 years of Mastering!

lowland

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2007, 05:16:10 am »

I have now bought the Algorithmix Blue EQ. The trouble with being an occasional reviewer is that the item being reviewed may become indipensable, and so it was with this - for my purposes it's proved capable of doing anything I'd have wanted the z-Qualizer to do and is easier to use than the box I had here, though hopefully the z's interface is now sorted as Jerry suggests.

Although it does much else I think the Blue's HPFs are excellent, incredibly musical but precise, and have superceded those in the Sonalksis EQ I kept only for this purpose (and they weren't bad IMO). I'll now be unlikely to use the Quantum's EQ, haven't used it for some time in fact, but it still might come in handy for a little remedial spike here or there if the Blue is doing something broader: you can stack multiple iterations of Blue with different models, but I'm usually happy to use one at a time and keep playback delay to a minimum.

If I need hardware pure digital EQ (as opposed to sampled) the trusty Sintefex still does the trick - its 'pseudo Baxandall' HF curve made by taking a bell to 20k and then applying a gentle boost with a Q of around 1 is still the one to beat here - so far I haven't been able to coax the Blue to do this as effectively, but I'm more than happy with its other star qualities!
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Nigel Palmer
Lowland Masters
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masterhse

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2007, 06:43:28 am »

There was a fairly brief thread before, but has anyone else tried the bx-digital EQ?

http://www.brainworx-music.de/index.php?nav=12&um=2& lang=en

I plan on checking it out later in the week.
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Tom Volpicelli
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carlsaff

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2007, 07:01:35 am »

I've been demoing the Algorithmix Blue, too. The interface is not as usable as my usual plugin EQs, but the sound alone has me thinking I should try to get used to it.

lowland

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Re: Z-Qualizer vs DBX Quantum vs plugins
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2007, 09:39:16 am »

carlsaff wrote on Tue, 20 March 2007 11:01

I've been demoing the Algorithmix Blue, too. The interface is not as usable as my usual plugin EQs, but the sound alone has me thinking I should try to get used to it.

On a philosophical note, one of my little soapboxes (and this is not a swipe at you, Carl) is that this is one of many things that weed out the serious from the not-so-serious: the desire to fully understand a valuable tool for its primary (sound quality) values despite secondary (interface and other) niggles. For example I'm sure lots of people have been put off the dbx Quantum because it's not exactly one knob per function, but that doesn't mean it's not great at what does - and I found that with familiarity I could navigate as fast as I needed. Likewise with Blue: if you have an idea where you're going to begin with you hopefully shouldn't find the interface holding you up too much - it seems quite 'learnable' for faster operation.

Having said all that, sometimes the non-sound issue burden is just too much: it was for me with the z-Qualizer which I gave several days before I threw in the towel, despite the very good sound. I suppose it's all about what you're prepared to put up with as you grow and achieve in what you do.
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Nigel Palmer
Lowland Masters
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