Abbey Road turns to Manley for mastering solutions

The Abbey Road team have purchased five Manley Mastering Version Massive Passive stereo tube equalisers.

Two Massive Passive units have been installed in the world-famous facility’s new Gatehouse and Front Room Studios, while three more Massive Passives have found a place in three of the complex’s mastering suites.

With its metal-film resistors, film capacitors, and hand-wound inductors, the Manley Massive Passive can deliver a wide variety of tonal shaping, from subtle to vivid. Its tube stages handle huge high-frequency boosts without sibilance and deliver a “big, fat sound without mud”.

The Mastering Version of the Massive Passive, selected by Abbey Road, employs Manley’s custom-designed, repeatable, mechanically detented knobs. Range is clamped down for focus while filters go higher and lower for solving problems in the mastering stage. Users get 11dB boost or cut when bandwidth is fully clockwise (narrow) in Bell mode or fully counterclockwise in Shelf mode. At the widest bell, the maximum boost or cut is 6dB, and the narrowest shelf maxes out at 12dB. The bandwidth detents behave in a similar manner.

"The Massive Passive is pretty much always in my mastering chain," revealed mastering engineer Alex Wharton (pictured, above). "The make-up amplifier, with its multi valves, gives things real warmth and depth. The mid-range is so clean, and perfect for vocals and snare. A great bit of kit, brilliant for cutting purposes too. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves that analogue sound."

Added Gary Ash of Sable Marketing, Manley’s UK distributor: “Several of Abbey Road’s engineers worked with the units for a month or two on a wide range of projects before giving us the thumbs-up. I and the team at Manley Labs are delighted that Abbey Road chose the Massive Passive."