Orban 642B Stereo Parametric Equaliser


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Bob Orban is one of the unsung heroes of recording & broadcasting. His products are in use all over the world and have been for around forty years. Orban is not as well-known in the UK as in the USA but, in the 80s and 90s, plenty of UK studios had an Orban De-esser, compressor or – if they were lucky – an equaliser. They’re not flashy or high-tech, but they’re flexible, accurate & sound great

Orban products were aimed primarily at the broadcast industry but found favour in recording studios. The things they bring from the broadcast environment – great build quality, modular construction and attention to detail – make them ideally-suited to the studio environment

The 642B is one of the later Orban equalisers and differs in construction & control layout to earlier models like the 621 and 622B. The 642B has a dedicated circuit board for each band. It’s a simpler unit to service & maintain but draws on the experience gained with the earlier models

Each channel has separate controls and there’s a Cascade switch to turn the unit into an 8-band mono equaliser. Each EQ band and filter has a separate bypass switch and there’s a per-channel EQ bypass. These bypass switches make with / without EQ comparisons quick & easy and it’s a feature that is hard to live without once you’ve used it

The 642B has coarse & fine frequency pots for each band. This is a neat idea, one I’ve not come across before. Each band has a wide frequency range so the ability to fine-tune the centre frequency is most welcome. They have a wide range of filter bandwidth or Q, from extremely broad sweeps to a notch filter response so, with the ability to fine-tune the frequency and up to 40 dB of cut, it’s possible to notch out a whistle or boost a narrow frequency band

Controls for channel A (repeat for channel B)

  • Input level control
  • Overload LED
  • Master EQ in / out switch
  • Low pass filter in / out switch
  • Low pass filter cut-off frequency
  • High pass frequency in / out switch
  • High pass filter cut-off frequency
  • Band 1 coarse frequency control
  • Band 1 fine frequency control
  • Band 1 Q control
  • Band 1 boost & cut control
  • Band 1 in / out switch
    (repeat for bands 2-4)

A few tech details:

  • Each band tunes over a 20:1 frequency range and bands overlap significantly
  • Q is variable from 0.29 to 5.0 approx
  • Low pass filter is 12 db / octave and high pass, 18 db / octave
  • Maximum boost is 16 dB, max cut is 40 dB
  • Noise & distortion figures significantly better than 16-Bit digital

Quotes from Gearslutz:

“Had a black-faced 642B for some time… Wish I still had it. Not an “everyday” unit by any stretch, but wonderful when you needed it”

“I have one and I like it a lot. Decent filters, cascade function, pretty tight bottom”

“i have a 642b which i love… its got some great color on it. and easy to dial in for sure”

“I currently have a 642b that is fun and useful”

Inputs & outputs are on XLR connectors, jacks & barrier strip. Power input is switchable 110 / 220 Volt with a back-panel fuse holder and captive three-core power cable with a UK power plug
Standard 2U device suitable for 19" racks. Switchable internally 220 / 110 Volt. Back-panel fuseholder, fixed mains cable with a new, standard UK mains plug
Operating manual ftp://ftp.orban.com/642B_642BSP/642B_Manual.pdf Original Orban Catalogue http://www.preservationsound.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/OrbanCondCatalog.pdf
Excellent condition, almost unmarked. The inside of the unit is clean & all the pots, knobs and switches look to be original. The front panel is in extremely condition with only the mildest rack rash & edge marks. All the pots & switches have been cleaned & lubricated. Tested & working 100%. This is a rare opportunity to buy a 642B in really good condition Vintage gear All vintage gear will have case scratches and marks. It may also have, or develop, noisy pots and switches. I make my descriptions as accurate as possible and note any existing defects. I test each item before shipping but please understand that vintage gear will not be perfect and adjust your expectations accordingly