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Signal Processing

Manley Labs
Universal Audio

Signal Processing

Many hardware tools that recording and mix engineers would consider essential fall under the umbrella of “signal processing”. In today’s world of digital mixing, there are software versions of most of these classic tools, but for many there is no replacement for hardware signal processing. Outboard signal processors are pieces of hardware that you run your signal through, and include microphone/line preamplifiers, channel strips, equalizers, dynamics processors, effects processors, and more.


Preamplifiers are essential for any recording studio. Most interfaces have built-in preamplifiers, but “outboard” preamps can provide additional warmth and vibe that are tough to emulate digitally. Instead of building your studio around a console, consider filling a rack with custom-selected preamplifiers for sonic variation.


Equalizers are also important tools of the trade. They are used to add or remove frequencies from audio sources, either to remove unwanted sounds or to get your track sitting in the mix better. Equalizers can be “surgical” and precise, while others have distinct character that affects your sound. While there are hundreds of software options, many prefer the feel and sound of hardware equalizers. Whether it’s graphic, parametric, Pultec-style, or any other style of EQ, we can help you find the right equalizer to suit your budget and your needs.


Another common type of hardware used in recording and mixing are dynamics processors, such as compressors, limiters, and de-essers. Like preamps and equalizers, these come in many shapes and sizes meant to serve different purposes. Looking for a compressor to tame a rowdy snare drum? Need a stereo bus compressor? We’re here to help you find the right piece for your budget and needs.

Channel Strips

A channel strip is a preamplifier that either includes an equalizer, compressor, or all three, in a single unit. They are great tools, and engineers love them because they are incredibly convenient; no need to patch into an equalizer or compressor – they’re already right there. Channel strips typically function as if they were a single channel on a mixing console – hence the name!


Other signal processors that don’t fall under the above categories include reverb, delay, chorus, flange, tremolo. Many purists still prefer to use outboard pieces of equipment for their effects, either in mixing or tracking.

If you’re looking for a piece of hardware, you’ve come to the right place. We carry all of the leading brands, including Universal Audio, API, BAE, Tube Tech, Focusrite, Avalon, Chandler Limited, and more. Our experts are here Monday – Friday from 9am-6pm PST to help you find the perfect product to fit your budget and needs, and with our Best Price Guarantee you won’t find a better price anywhere else.

We will beat any price, anywhere. We aim to provide the best service possible, and our staff of experts is ready to get you the gear you need with industry-leading service and support at the best price, guaranteed.