A-Designs Brings Down The Hammer 2

Certainly one of the most popular sound sculpting creations in A-Designs Audio’s product lineup has been the HM2EQ Hammer, a three-band, dual-mono tube/hybrid equalizer widely praised for its sound in the studio, both for tracking as well as across the main mix outputs. Now, after fielding input from many engineers and producers, A-Designs is proud to announce the immediate availability of a new version, dubbed the Hammer 2.

“Although the original Hammer has certainly developed a very loyal fan base over the past eight years, we’ve been asking our customers if there were ways that it could be made even better,” says A-Designs Audio President Peter Montessi. “Based on the input we got back, we’ve extended the frequencies on the new Hammer 2, as well as added shelving on the lows and highs. So the frequency bands can now nicely overlap into each other and you can really give the bottom end a bit more punch, thanks to the shelving.

“We’ve also now switched over from continuous-sweep pots to 31-detent controls, which will improve setting repeatability. With the new Hammer 2, musicians and engineers can easily recreate the same sounds they’ve loved with the previous model, but now also have access to even more options and tones. The new version really sounds incredible—especially the shelving—and it’s everything the old Hammer was and more!”

A-Designs’ world-class Hammer 2 is one of a very select few audio tools that enhances sound simply by running signal through it, thanks in part to an ingenious filtering system that passes musical, second-order tube harmonics while eliminating unwanted noise—the perfect “heating blanket” for any DAW.

The new product also ideal for adding “air” to vocals, carefully crafted punch to instruments, or just the right texture to an overall mix. Furthermore, a major benefit of its innovative design is the ability to push it hard without the worry of it sounding bad.

With an overall frequency range covering 30Hz to 40kHz, the Hammer 2 couldn’t be easier to use. Each channel features six detented rotary controls: three frequency selector knobs (Lo, Mid, Hi), which are stepped switches for easy recall, each with an accompanying gain knob providing continuously variable boost or cut of 12dB. Each band has a selectable center frequency and overlaps with the other bands in such a way that makes for a seamless transition throughout the entire spectrum.

Both channels also feature individual toggle switches for EQ In/Out as well as Lo Cut (84Hz) and Hi Cut (8kHZ), filters that allow engineers to perform utilitarian EQ chores while still being able to bring the full power of the Hammer 2’s three bands to bear. Mainly intended as a “broad stroke” equalizer, the product’s bandwidth (Q) is self-adjusting (floating), based on a combination of the amount of gain applied and the dynamics and frequency content of the program material.

The Hammer 2’s unique ability to have its Q “move with the music” is one the keys to its incredible musical performance and another reason why it’s practically impossible to make signals sound bad at any frequency or gain setting. Along with its innovative tube-harmonic filtering circuit, a pair of carefully selected 12AT7 tubes—offering the most consistent control of any tube—and a custom, heavy-duty toroidal power transformer add the final touches to the Hammer 2’s signal path.

Like its sibling—A-Designs Audio’s NAIL compressor—the Hammer 2 features a black, custom-milled, brushed 2U faceplate sporting custom-milled aluminum control knobs, a heavy-duty Carling toggle power switch, and a big blue jewel power indicator lamp—overall, a stunning combination of “modern-retro” looks that jump out of the rack.

“The Hammer 2 is an inspired design whose sonic signature is far greater than the sum of its components,” Montessi adds. “Equally at home in tracking applications or as an insert effect on individual channels, the product is the ultimate full-range finishing device for submixes and master outputs. After all, what audio toolbox would be complete without a Hammer 2?”

Hammer 2 features:
• World-class, three-band, dual-mono tube/hybrid equalizer
• Designed to sound highly musical for larger EQ functions typically found on expensive mastering
• Smooth, super-fidelity EQ, suitable for very high-end applications
• Beautiful-sounding broad EQ-shaping across several octaves with no adverse effect on tone
• Clean and airy high end
• Warmth, transparency, and quality sound
• Detented boost and cut controls
• Fixed frequency settings with highly musical overlapping bands and floating “Q”
• Low-cut and high-cut filters and bypass
• Transformerless 12AT7 output tubes
• Custom-milled aluminum knobs and faceplate with EQ In/Out, Low Cut (84Hz) and Hi Cut (8kHz) toggle switches
• Heavy-duty Carling power toggle switch

Immediately available, the new Hammer 2 carries a street price identical to that of its predecessor—$2,495.00 USD—bringing even more value to this A-Designs studio favorite.

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