Harrison Consoles 32C Channel


Emulation of the original Harrison 32C EQ with compressor and filters – Mac/PC VST AU AAX

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In 1975, Dave Harrison launched the 32Series console. For nearly a decade, the 32Series remained the go-to console for new studio construction around the world.
Predating the modern parametric EQ, the 32Series equalizer had to serve many purposes and remain easy to use.  The middle 2 bands use a proportional-Q design:  small gain changes provide for gentle classical-style tone controls; but cut a little harder and the filters become sharper, allowing you to hunt down and then notch-out troublesome frequences. The high and low bands are a shelving design with a huge gain range, allowing you to add dramatic punch and shimmer to any source. If you needed more surgical work, however, you could switch the high and low bands to operate as additional proportional-Q ‘bell’ filters. The effort put into voicing this eq was unmatched at the time, and its signature remains on some of the biggest records ever made.

The 32C Channel Plugin provides a complex emulation of the original Harrison 32C EQ. Every resistor, capacitor, and transistor is included in the model.  When combined with the 32C Filter section, a huge range of tonal possibilities are available with just a few knob turns.

A channelstrip plugin isn’t complete without a great compressor.  The story of the 32C Channel compressor starts in 2009 when Harrison developed the Mixbus workstation.
Harrison has a unique history with digitally-controlled-analog consoles, allowing us to compile the settings that are most often used on our large-format consoles.  To match the flexibility and ease of the 32C EQ, Harrison delved into our records to see what settings would be most appropriate for a general purpose channel compressor.  We found 3 ‘types’ of settings were favored by our users:

  • a ‘compressor’ mode with an adjustable ratio, moderate attack, and program-dependent auto-release:  for general purpose guitar, keyboard and overall-mix compression
  • a ‘leveler’ mode with an adjustable attack, a fast release, and a very gentle ratio: for “always on” vocal compression
  • a ‘limiter’ mode with adjustable release timing, instant attack, aggressive ratio, and a multistage hold+release envelope for drums and other percussive sources

The 32 Series consoles provided a pair of steep high-pass and low-pass filters to accommodate sources with undersired rumble or hiss.
These unique filters took advantage of newly developed ‘dual log’ potentiometers to cover an extraordinarily wide sweep range:  so wide that you could effectively overlap the filters until the passband was eliminated.  Mixing engineers like Bruce Swedien used this feature to pack more instruments into a mix without interfering with each other, and credited the 32C filters as a critical part of their arsenal.

The “bump” button recreates the slight resonance of the original filter, resulting in extra low-end punch just above the filter’s cutoff frequency.  Use the ‘bump’ button to retain the presence of a vocal while filtering out the unwanted rumble picked up by the microphone.

The Master input & out section provides level controls at the start and end of the signal chain, as well as a polarity switch.
Combined with the Routing section, below,  the 32C Channel plugin provides a multitude of ways to gain-stage your signal.
The final output meter provides a visual reference of your track’s output level.   The meter’s ballistic movement is carefully tuned so you can match the level of your bass, kick, and lead vocal for an explosive pop mix.

The routing section provides automatable routing order of the Filters, EQ, and Compressor stages.
Every stage has an Audition (‘Ear’) button to solo an individual stage.  And the routing section also provides an Audition button for each point in the signal flow, between each element.  This allows you to listen to the effect of one, two, or all three elements in their assigned order.
This was a game-changing feature for our post & film users, and is now available in the 32C Channel plugin for music mixing!

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