Over the past 15 years, F. Reid Shippen has mixed 10 Grammy Award–winning projects with artists such as Kenny Chesney, Jewel, Matthew West, Keith Urban, Jonny Lang, Ingrid Michaelson, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Shippen says that regardless of the genre, he relies on his Manley Massive Passive 2-channel, 4-band passive equalizer.
“The Massive Passive is capable of doing a wide range of stuff, from things that are really subtle to some pretty hardcore music,” Shippen explains. “As a mix EQ, it’s everything that you want and nothing that you don’t. It has stellar high- and lowpass filters, it’s incredibly musical, and it’s got a great top end that never gets harsh. You have tons of control, but if you don’t need all that, it’s simply a great all-around shaping tool.”
Recently Shippen mixed a major Disney project with the London Symphony Orchestra, recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. “[The Manley Massive Passive] was perfect,” he recalls. “Instead of trying to EQ individual instruments and sections, I ran the whole orchestra through it and shaped the entire tonality. It worked like a charm.”
The Massive Passive does create one issue, however. “My current second engineer is a longtime mastering engineer, and I have to fight him for my Massive Passive,” Shippen says, laughings. “He wants it all the time, and so do I!”
Shippen says he appreciates the way Manley has balanced art and science in the Massive Passive. “It’s a perfect combination between modern convenience and the great, classic, sweet EQs that I love, like the Pultecs,” he states. “It’s probably…no, almost definitely the best analog EQ in existence.”