With multiple awards and more than ninety-seven million albums sold, producer Michael Wagener is best known for metal recordings since the 1980s from Ozzy Osborne, Mötley Crüe, Metallica, and Dokken to Skid Row, W.A.S.P., Poison, Great White, Megadeth, and more.
One of the key elements behind nearly all of Wagener’s heavy mixes is Manley Labs‘ Massive Passive EQ.
Wagener eschews adding EQ to individual instruments while recording, preferring to get the sounds he’s after during the tracking phase.
“I generally record flat, without EQ,” he explains, “so I only add EQ once during the final mixdown. And the Massive Passive is a big part of that final mix.”
While many audio pros call on the Massive Passive as a tracking tool, Wagener swears by the EQ as an intrinsic part of his final mix.
“I use the Massive Passive on what I call my master chain,” says Wagener. “It’s on every single song I do – it’s the final EQ on my final stereo mix. I love the way it sounds.”
Not surprisingly, Wagener credits his mastering engineer with turning him on to Manley gear. “He had a Massive Passive and was using it on pretty much everything I would give him,” he recalls. “It was obviously a part of my sound, and I finally figured it would be a good piece to integrate into my final mixes. I’ve had it about 18 years now, and I use it all the time.”
“The Massive Passive gives me what I call my hi fi sound,” Wagener concludes. “It tightens everything up, and helps everything sit nicely in the mix. It gives the mix a certain openness and gives it a really nice sheen. I have other EQs, but the Massive Passive is really my go-to mixdown EQ.”