Kit Plugins reinvents an infamous Motown EQ: the BB Mo-Q –

Nashville-based Kit Plugins has modeled one of the original custom Motown EQ units, taken from the famed, well-stocked Blackbird Studios, to now easily appear in DAW sessions around the world as the BB Mo-Q .

The pre-1972 Motown studio holds a place in recording history as a secret world of legendary sounds with ground-locked magic-toned drums, bass that never saw a single string change, multiple echo chambers in roof cavities and an entire control room of custom or modified equipment specially designed to satisfy Berry Gordy’s revolutionary and successful cravings.

The word “Motown” means different things to many people. Like the drunken asshole haughtily demanding “Motown” when you’re spinning records at a soul party, only to be both disgusted and disappointed by the awesome Velveteen 45s you dig up on the Lionel Ritchie mp3 they really craved .

However, in the world of producers, sound engineers and reducers, it is assumed that we are talking about the “golden years” – from the late 50s to the pre-72 era, when capitalism and opportunity took hold and that the whole Motown operation moved west. meet LA’s scintillating and slimy opportunities.

Over the stunts of time, the stock of Motown legend has continuously increased with each classic reissuemovie theater or unfortunate death of its stars of yesteryear. And with every mention, so-called magic intertwines with the production equipment used in the manufacturing process in Gordy’s alleged sweatshop.

At this point in the war of gears, every budding engineer should be aware that the gear doesn’t make the sound itself, but a mix of expertise, ingenuity and, above all, a killer talent behind it. the microphone being much more vital to the musical process.

However, the hit factory machinery does indeed play a *certain* role in the tone and workflow aspect of some of these heavy tunes. And it’s hard to ignore the small burst of accomplishment that accompanies EQ’s press release which aptly mentions his involvement in hits like Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Martha and The Vandellas (respectively ‘let’s go‘, ‘Dad Was A Rollin’ Stone’ and ‘Dancing in the Street’).

The BB Mo-Q is basically a 7-band graphic equalizer with a little something extra; as you turn up (or turn off) the boost, the width of the Q narrows, making EQ selections with Unity more fluid and intuitive. In a world of GUI EQs leveraging nearly unlimited selectable frequency points, it’s truly refreshing to be able to EQ again without the burden of a visual interface and work directly by ear again – something that seems too often forgotten in the world of DAW operation.

The frequency points offered by the BB Mo-Q are: 50Hz, 130Hz, 320Hz, 800Hz, 2000Hz, 5000Hz and 12500Hz on top, with 8dB of gain available to step up or down in any direction you wish. Kind of like messing around with 7 instances of the super-soft Pultec MEQ center band.

The original Motown EQ units were passive units based on Langevin’s designs, customized for use in the famed Detroit studio. Langevin units were notorious for eventually having rough pots and lacked amplifier makeup, so in the 60s Motown went ahead and rectified that with their own box of inductors, capacitors, resistors, with an OpAmp Labs amplifier, with newer models having a gain stage modeled on Spectra Sonics amplifiers.

Obviously, rather than being a precise surgical piece, this is a broad stroke sound sculpting tool that will happily sit on individual instruments, on buses or easily on the bus master to gently engrave and shape your latest attempted masterpiece.

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To be honest, it’s hard to find anything that sounds bad – the Mo-Q shapes the bass area well, cuts the mids mud or pushes them well, and doesn’t seem to get too gross on the highs. Need extra air, weight, girth or any of these removed concepts? The MO-Q can take care of that.

Apparently earlier versions of the BB Mo-Q potentially became CPU hogs when oversampling was pushed to 8x, but this has now been fixed as I could barely get delay compensation to increase with 24 channels running simultaneously at 96k .

When purchasing remakes of vintage equipment, it is generally expected that the device, hardware or software, will impart some sort of special, magical “mojo”. Or in realistic terms, a kind of saturation to help reminisce about old times. This is something the BB Mo-Q does not do.

It was originally designed as a clean EQ unit, and that’s what it gives the audio that passes through it – clean, fixed EQ frequency curves with a musical Q, with frequencies tuned to what the Motown techs thought were the most important bands to play with.

The BB Mo-Q comes with plenty of EQ presets for an easy start and retails for US$99 (around AUD$144).

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