Noted TV and film composer John Lunn has recently acquired a Prism Sound/Maselec MEA-2 analogue equaliser, which he has been using to create the score for the ITV/Carnival Films and Television period drama Downtown Abbey.
Lunn, who received Emmys in 2012 and 2013 for Downton Abbey, has a highly intelligent and sensitive approach to sound that allows his compositions to hit at the emotional heart of a piece. His award tally also includes an RTS Award in 2010, nominations for a BAFTA and Ivor Novello for Sky's Going Postal and a BAFTA Award for the BBC Dickens adaptation, Little Dorrit. Classically-trained yet contemporary in attitude, he combines the highest production values with a continual desire to discover new colours and sounds, and is continuously in great demand.
Lunn's audio setup embraces an eclectic mix of equipment, which has been assembled to suit his needs.
Most of it analogue, as I'm not convinced by digital emulations," he explains. "A couple of months back, I bought the Maselec MLA-2 tri-band compressor for a project I was working on, The White Queen, which used lots of low percussion and sound design, plus a real orchestra. However, the mastering EQ I had been using up to that point suddenly needed repair and I thought I would take the opportunity to try a few things out."
As an existing Prism Sound user he already owns a Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel converter and an Orpheus FireWire interface - Lunn needed little persuading to try the companys Maselec MEA-2. Once he did, he says it was immediately obvious that this was the Equaliser he was looking for.
He explains: "It was particularly relevant for Downton Abbey where I needed a very clean and totally transparent treble boost for the piano and strings to cut through the dialogue. KMR gave me the unit to demo and it worked immediately with absolutely no problems."
Lunn says that he now uses his MEA-2 unit as mastering EQ for all of his film and TV work. The latest series of Downton Abbey, mixed using Lunn's MEA-2, has been a runaway ratings hit, peaking at 10.4m viewers, a 39.4% market share of the British TV market (source: The Hollywood Reporter).
Prism Sound's MEA-2 is a stereo or two-channel, four-band precision analogue equaliser with stepped Q/shelf, frequency and cut/boost controls on each band. Designed for recording and mastering applications where ultimate sonic performance, musicality and precision are required, it provides fully-stepped controls for precision and repeatability, across all parameters.
The MEA-2 is extensively used in mastering but also works well on an insertion point in recording or mixing. The MEA-2 features a fine 0.5dB gain adjustment at low cut/boost settings, and a maximum cut/boost per band of 8dB. The MEA-2 can provide precise equalisation with minimal side effects, as it is designed to provide a very transparent signal path where only the desired equalisation effect is obtained without adding any particular sonic signature.