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A Designs Audio HM2EQ Hammer Review Pan60 pan60 - The Hammer! Wow, this is sweet! But, before I talk about the review, let's just chat a bit. Most know I have a great deal of A-Designs gear and I am a very big fan of your gear. So, how did you get into the wide, wide world of pro audio? pan60 - The Hammer! Wow, this is sweet! But, before I talk about the review, let's just chat a bit. Most know I have a great deal of A-Designs gear and I am a very big fan of your gear. So, how did you get into the wide, wide world of pro audio? Peter - I played music for most of my life and my family was highly involved with music in one way or another. After touring and studio, work I settled down and worked in the industry. I was also vice president of CM Automation and at that time there were some strange things going on between the owners and I was caught in the middle. I just came home one day from work and told my wife, I quit my job and was tired of making other people successful. Well, that didn't go over well with her, but she was very supportive. I knew exactly what I wanted to do.But, it also meant that I had to work a job outside the audio world until I could stand on my own. pan60 - Give us some top secret info, ( or at least what the government will allow you to offer:) So, what made you want to do the Hammer? Peter - What secrets;) It seemed like the next natural thing in the line to do! pan60 - Where did you get the idea? Peter - I didn't...people kept telling me that's what I should be doing next. But now that I'm a little wiser ......I can see why they asked. pan60 - It does seem like you should be doing one.  This thing is wicked:) Peter - Thank you! pan60 - I think we have chatted enough over time that you know I can be a pain in the *** when it comes to gear, as well, you know how I feel about build quality and customer service. For those who don't, I want to say now, if I do not like the build quality, and as well, the companies service policies, then I really do not care how something sounds, junk is junk. Yes, I may miss out on a few things, maybe, but I just do not have time for cheaply made gear and the B.S that generally follows. Peter, it seems you just keep putting out great gear.  You have such a reputation for being a great guy, as well, how do you do it? Peter Thanks Pan, In response to your question...... "A lot of Vaseline". pan60 LOL Peter - No really.....having good products and providing good customer service makes for a solid business platform in my opinion. I think the two go hand-in-hand in order to be successful. pan60 - How do you maintain this kind of quality and service? Do you live at the factory, ( LOL )? Peter - I don't sleep!!!!! pan60 - I think many people would not be aware of this, but it seems most of the great people in this industry, ( audio manufacturing, and I am talking more so about the smaller boutique companies, here ) seem to be work-a-holics.  Do you think you fit this bill?  Already I feel I know the answer to this, but please :)? Peter - I don't know if I would consider myself a "work-a-holic".  There are very few people in this world that really love what they do and in most cases (where you love what you do) you will find them to be very passionate about their craft and fairly successful. You may consider them to be "work-a-holics," but, to me, when I love what I'm doing, the time flies by and it just doesn't seem to be work.  It's like playing music for a living.........you love the art and the creativity and I think (to me anyway) that if you love playing your own music......you wouldn't consider that work. To those that do feel it's work .....I think people would pick up on that fact and maybe (in my opinion) it would show through in their product, be it a song or a piece of audio gear. Did I answer your question? ;>) Thanks Pan. pan60 - Aside from service and just being a great guy, how do you keep your product out in the forefront?  I see companies pop up all the time and they are the buzz of the month,  then they are gone.  How have you overcome this? Peter - This is a VERY good question and one that I'm not real sure on how to answer, but I will give it a try. I have always been a sucker for "Start-ups" and I have had some great people to watch and learn from in the marketing field.  In the past 6 to 7 years marketing has changed so much and this is something that larger companies don't understand, but are just NOW catching on. They mostly relied on the traditional method of advertising ( Magazines, Trade Shows,  Hard copy Reviews, etc etc..).  As well, you would have to think of these companies like they are a very large freighter in the ocean and to make a turn they need a wide berth.  Being a smaller company has its benefits in the fact that you can make a 180 in a "Heartbeat" ...almost like being a little motor boat.   But, at the same time. you could get swamped, so it is a very risky thing to do. And you have to watch your Ps and Qs all the time. In short, persistence  ;>) pan60 - It seems to me when someone mentions A-Designs you are as much at the top of your game as ever, give me your secret! Peter - Having GREAT friends helps ALOT! I'm a believer that you would always want GOOD things said about your products.......of course you don't always get what you want. But, on the other hand, there is the camp that would say "any Press is good Press".....I don't go with that considering there is the Internet now-a-days. In the past, people would throw a news paper away and forget about it......TODAY, that doesn't apply.  So, you have to be there and on top of it all the time - to correct any issues or mis-information that comes out and make sure the story is 100% straight. pan60 - When you come out with a new product such as the new Hammer, do you ever worry that possibly you may have missed something?  I know you cannot have every feature that everyone wants, so how do you choose what features stay and which ones don't? Peter - Pan, where are you getting these questions???? You're killing me here ;>) Well, you have to have a basic solid tool to work with first and then you add features from there. The features would almost have to be as basic as the unit itself....they have to be common number one....something that everyone can use a majority of the time. Then you can start to add on the frosting. I know after years in this industry, that you can't please EVERYONE, no matter how hard you try. And yes, you are going to get people with after-thoughts and it's one of those things you have to deal with. You also have to look at the larger picture.  It's like the two camps of thinking on pots.....some want to have the knobs click when you turn them, so there is re-call. The other half want continuous, stating that there are a million values within each small movement of the knob.  Both have their points, but which camp do you go with?  It's always a hard call on things of that nature and what features to add and not to add....is there enough room on the PCB to add THAT feature or will it effect the over-all sound by adding THAT feature? What if we add THIS feature...what will THAT do to the over all cost of the product???  You also have to look at it this way.....that's why we have different products with Rev.1, Rev.2, Rev.3 ......;>) Almost like the film industry ....what is Sly at now?....Rocky 10? pan60 - Man, I can not believe you would bring up the knobs that click verses the one that do not! Personally, I do not care for a potentiometer that just clicks.  I feel, if they click, they need to be high quality ladder type step switches.  Personally, I feel too often, people are fooled by detent potentiometers versus actual switches. Peter - Should I take that out? pan60 - I don't think so. I think people should understand there is a difference, and a detent pot is just limited! Peter - Okay Boss!!! pan60 - LOL! :) Tell me a bit about the specks on the HAMMER. Peter - When I get them I will!!!  ;>) pan60 - Tell me what makes it tick? Not that it matters all that much, as you can not have this back! Peter - It's those eeeteee beeetee elfs and they signed an NDA so I can take them to court if they say ANYTHING! They also hate daylight..... If you don't give it back the Elfs have strick orders to attack!!! ;>) pan60 - What will the retail be on this and what do you think it will street for? Peter - The Retail $2,695.00 usd and street will be about $2,300.00 usd. pan60 - So everyone knows I believe in A-Designs gear, no question!  You get the service, the quality, and one of the greatest guys currently in this industry.  So, how does it sound, that's the big question? Absolutely amazing!!!!! For those of you that follow the forums, I am sure you have already heard the talk. The HAMMER has an amazingly smooth top-end.But be warned, it will sneak up on you very fast!  It is just too easy to keep adding boost at a set frequency, so buttery, you will just want more.  I was boosting 7.5K on a vocal track the other day and like butter and jam on a hot biscuit, you just want more:)  Be warned. The selected frequencies are well thought out ( and though you may want others ), trust me, these are just where they need to be.  The mid's are up front and once again silky silky smooth.  Here again, be warned when boosting, you will want to dial in more and more. I think the HAMMER really shines in the upper and mid frequency ranges, although the bottom does not have the mojo you would get with some of the PE-version eq's out there ( you get the point I do not like mentioning other products in a review so ), it is solid and tight.  I like the bottom it is very solid and tight, hi-fi like!  Trying to find a way to describe the sound has not been easy. You can have a glass and think its the greatest thing in the world, but, when you stack it up to some really really fine crystal, you know!  There's something extra in that shimmer and shine! So, please, do not think the bottom on the eq isn't going to cut it.  If you do, you will be making a flawed judgment call, a major mistake.  Just because it ain't got a little MOJO does in no way mean it lacks any cojones, it holds up. And hold up it will,  it hold's up solid, any where from spanking acoustic jazz clean kind of vibe, to da boom da boom boom da boom squeezed and pumped! da boom kind of vibe!  The Hammer just says quality, luxury, craftsmanship. Now we have to talk about the HI-CUT  and the LOW-CUT.  The HI-CUT is set @ 8K. It is a nice wide bell ( or "Q" if you prefer ). The LOW-CUT is @ 84HZ, and has a nice gentle roll- off.  At first, I was thinking HI-CUT ( as in LOW-PASS ), as in everything below a said point is passed and all frequencies above attenuated. Alas, I am not correct?  Although I have not confirmed my conclusion, I do feel the HI-CUT must indeed be a HI-CUT NOTCH  FILTER.  Now, if the HI-CUT is engaged, you can still boost 10K, and hear the effect.  So, this leads me to the conclusion and indicates to me this is, indeed, a NOTCH FILTER.  This is very cool, as now, if the HI-CUT is in and 7.5K and or 10K boosted, it seems the slope of the bell is affected, and for those nasty, nasty ''SSSSSS'' engage the HI-CUT and tune to taste. I have had the HAMMER for some time and I am very pleased to say! The HAMMER now has a home, here, in my studio!  Just passing a signal through this makes everything a bit more open, some shine on the top.  Something magical is definitely going on in this bad boy! Sorry, Peter, you can not have it back! It is staying in my rack!!!!!!
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