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Terry Audio CEQ

Six-band Stereo Equaliser By Neil Rogers
Published March 2023

Terry Audio CEQ

Some love a Pultec. Others prefer a Neumann or a Lang. Marshall Terry decided to combine his favourite aspects of these much‑loved equalisers in one box!

One thing you’ll notice over time if you get to try out lots high‑end outboard gear (which, happily, as a writer for SOS, I do!) is that once you discount the logos, knob choices, colour schemes and so on, lots of products are actually pretty similar from an aesthetic point of view. I don’t mean that to sound jaded or critical in any way, and in many ways it’s a positive thing: it means these tools tend to feel familiar, and that enables us to manipulate audio quickly and intuitively. But as you can see from the main photo, the product I’m evaluating here bucks that trend in quite spectacular fashion! Terry Audio’s CEQ is, without a doubt, the boldest, most original‑looking piece of outboard I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing to date.


Spread over 5U of rack space, the CEQ is a six‑band stereo EQ with a combination of active and passive bands (it’s mostly passive, as I’ll explain). Its front panel displays no obvious settings or values, with just a handful of hieroglyph‑esque markings giving the most basic indication of what control is doing what, and some coloured dots and lines hinting at a scale around the knobs. Boutique, artisan, call it what you like: it takes a very confident audio equipment designer to develop and release a high‑end product that looks like this!

That designer is Marshall Terry, who some readers may know best as the chief technician at Shadow Hills Industries. There, he’s played a major role in developing and building the various products for which that well‑respected brand is known, and through both that role and his own endeavours, Terry has become involved in a number of bespoke builds for high‑end clients. That perhaps gives a little insight into how Terry Audio and this distinctive EQ came into being.

Developed over five years, the big idea behind the CEQ was to combine the best elements of Terry’s favourite vintage inductor‑based EQs, from the likes of Pultec, Lang and Neumann, into a single hand‑wired device. A modern unit that collected together the ‘greatest hits’ of all these designs would offer an engineer access to their magic without any of the burden of maintaining old, rare equipment.

While the CEQ may not come ‘cheap’, it’s certainly much less expensive than acquiring (and maintaining) several expensive vintage EQs and cascading them to achieve a similar thing. But Terry also makes the point that even those who can afford to do that can quickly run into problems. For example, using several such units inherently means the presence of multiple line amplifier and transformer stages in the signal path, and that can easily lead to excessive coloration. Balancing all these considerations to create a device that mastering engineers are happy to use is a technically challenging and expensive endeavour, and I think that puts the price into perspective somewhat.

Listen To The Bands

When you mention the words ‘vintage passive EQ’, most people’s thoughts will turn first to the classic Pultec equalisers, and at least two of the CEQ’s six sections look to these devices for their inspiration.

Starting with the bottom end, the CEQ provides ‘cut’ and ‘boost’ resonant shelves which are designed to offer the low‑end magic of a Pultec EQP‑1A, but with some additional flexibility. The bass boost section has frequency options that range from 40 to 200 Hz, and when used in combination with the bass cut, provide access to more options for shaping the bottom end of a mix than you might expect with this style of EQ. This section was comfortably my favourite during the review period; thanks to the ability of the low‑cut control to...

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