Turn a knob and be amazed
Turn a knob and be amazed
There's not a lot you can say to describe this piece that hasn't already been said, and indeed, I think this is one of the rare pieces out there that actually lives up to the manufacturer hype. I could wax poetic for days about just how much it can open up your mix, but I'll simply put it this way: the outputs on my Matrix2 are hard-patched into an Obsidian buss compressor, and that in turn is hard patched into the Clariphonic. Every single mix I do goes through it. I wouldn't even think about not using it.
I am a big Kush Audio fan. All their products are unique and incredibly useful, not just another typical product in a saturated market. The UBK Fatso was my first outboard piece, and after buying 7 more pieces, i still love it and will never sell it... But that is another review (and one that i will write right after i am done with this one).
The Clariphonic is absolutely incredible at opening up the top end and bringing the midrange forward. You can do both, or one or the other. That is whats great about having the two engines and controlling them independently. It does these things in a very pleasing way. I have a few other EQs including an API 5500 and have used a wide variety of hardware and software EQs.. and let me tell you, this product is totally unique. It pops the lid off your sounds and whole mixes in exactly how you want it to. I use it on almost everything, including whole mixes, whether on the 2bus after analog summing, or during mastering.
An awesome box! If you want the best mid and high end boosting device available, here it is! Greg you are a genius!
Pure audio witchery! I installed this at the end of my mix bus. (Porticico II MPE>Dangeous Music BAX EQ> Clariphonic) I was hoping for some shimmer and the end of the processing and I got the shimmer and whole lot more! This is amazing how it helps define all the sonic's in the mix. Highly recommended. Not a subtle device....you WILL here what it does. It has moved into being one of my can't live without items for the studio.
I do my own mixing and mastering. I already have a solid work horse - GML- 9500 and a super modern 50K capable Chartered Oak PEQ1 so buying another mastering equaliser seemed excessive.
I was skeptical at first when I was told about the Clariphonic by a respectable producer friend. I did some research and checked out all the demos and reviews. I liked what I heard and decided to check it out.
I have been using it for over a month now. I must say I am still experimenting with the settings. The results I was able to get has been astounding to say the least. I have a rough idea how each setting does but I still see myself playing with different settings each time to see what comes up. I am holding back the temptation to add too much as this is addictive stuff.
I use it in conjunction with my other EQ units as I think the Clariphonic is more of a finishing touch than a corrective one.
The final verdict: The Clariphonic has opened up sonic qualities that may be impossible to achieve by traditional equaliser units. I can't quantify this scientifically but I do like the end results.
The Kush Clariphonic provides the kind of '3D audio spectacles' experience that we all yearn for. It needs to be used with care (the effect is smooth, transparent, and you find yourself wanting to add 'just that bit more'), but when dialed in right, it lends a sheen and 'finished' quality that I haven't got with any other EQ. The most surprising thing is how it appears to 'de-mudd' the mids even though you are affecting the spectral balance way higher than that. A really unique product - not your 'swiss army' EQ by any means (it only offers boost, and only on your 'highs'), but a wonderful addition to your arsenal.
After owning this EQ for a few weeks, it does provide access to a number of alternative sound shaping tools that will liven up a mix without destroying the intent and integrity of the source material. I have a massive passive right next to the Kush, and while the Kush won't be usurping it as my go-to piece (not that the Kush is marketed or intended to do so) it will provide another take on the final shaping of the source - and is built with an attention to quality and detail that allows it to hang as well as a piece 1/4 of the price of the Manley, Summit, and Great River pieces I use regularly.
In use: The only way I've found to achieve my goals with the Kush has been to literally randomly turn knobs and rely on my ears, as opposed to my normal operating procedure of, at least, knowing what knob I wantto grab and knowing exactly what I should expect (not that, in the grand scheme, using your ears is the ONLY way to get a quality end product no matter if you have the top of the top end, unlimited amount of gear...) The Kush, therefore, is truly a device you can use blindfolded.
Re: Kush themselves/support... I spoke at length multiple times with one of their reps, and if his enthusiasm and knowledge are indicative of the rest of the company, you shouldn't have any disappointments on that front... As (I was told) the first person to order one of these from sweetwater, my sales rep (Mark Magdich) went above and beyond to check this piece out, give me constructive feedback, and follow up after the sale. Big plusses on both the company and the dealer,
I have yet to find anything that sounds "bad.". Technically, the sonics are quiet, clean, and what you would expect in this price range (and frankly, beyond) and the tool adds character that wouldn't be as easily achieved using what I would say are "typical" means when working in the box on a DAW.
So - to end... If you a) already have invested in a pristine front end b) already have the key outboard pieces you prefer use to liven up, color up, warm up, and c) need another tool, or would like another "sound" that will help you to rid yourself of that "mixed totally in the box" sound that can be tough to avoid if you aren't careful, this box gives you some nice additional shaping options. I'm not disappointed with the result for the investment.
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