Universal Audio’s Manley Massive Passive EQ plugin has been getting an increasing amount of great reviews since it’s release this spring. It’s modeled after Manley Labs’ Massive Passive hardware EQ: a stereo four-band tube equalizer that is favored by many engineers both as a mixing and a mastering tool. However, the price tag of the hardware unit is over $4,000, putting it well out of reach for most users. UA’s plugin version is in a more comfortable price range with a MSRP of $299, though it still requires a UAD-2 DSP Accelerator card.
The Massive Passive plugin was initially well-received, earning a “Thumbs up” from EQ Magazine and described by MusicRadar.com as “Perhaps the most impressive EQ yet from Universal Audio.” Lately, it seems everyone has been test driving it, and subsequently falling in love.
Pro Audio Review landed solidly in the ‘love it’ category with this review:
“It is seriously one of the best-sounding software equalizers available. I just wish I could have more of them. If you can’t strap this across a mix and make it sound better than it did before, there’s a job in a little yellow car in New York City with your name on it.”
While Electronic Musician was equally starstruck:
“The unit’s 27kHz is magical, making the mixes pop out of the speakers unlike any software EQ I’ve used.”
While all of the reviews I’ve found declare the Massive Passive to be sonically brilliant and true to the original unit, most reviews do acknowledge the one downside of the plugin is it’s incredible strain on DSP (you can only run one stereo instance of it on a UAD Solo card). Since I don’t have UAD card myself, I’m not able to try it out – but you can hear some high quality audio samples provided by Sound On Sound and judge for yourself whether the Massive Passive plugin deserves your love too. –Mike Bauer