Orban 674A Paragraphic Stereo 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. They definitely have mojo!

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 ideal in a studio environment

The Orban 674A is one of the later equalisers and has a different control layout to the 621 and 622. In the 674, frequency and Q are set by concentric pots whilst boost & cut uses a fader like a graphic equaliser. Orban described this sometimes as a “Paragraphic” equaliser – quite a neat description

With eight bands of parametric equalisation, high and low-pass filters, gain pots and separate controls for each channel, the paragraphic is a super-flexible equaliser suitable for bus eq and many other jobs. The 674A has two sets of outputs and, with appropriate switching of the high and low-pass filters, can be used as a two-way electronic crossover as well as an equaliser

It’s easy to convert the 674A to XLR inputs & outputs – just add Switchcraft XLR sockets & wire them to the terminal strip. The rear panel is punched for six XLR connectors and a blanking panel is fitted to hide the mounting holes. I can perform this modification as an option – enquire for details. Also available as an option is a set of new, hand-made XLR pigtails with Neutrik XLR connectors

The 674A is a two-channel device in a shallow but tall 3U box. It has eight bands of parametric eq, bypass switch, input gain trim, overload LED and high & low-pass filters controls for each channel. There’s plenty of overlap between the EQ bands so it’s a very flexible tool

Controls for channel A (repeat for channel B)

  • Gain control
  • Overload LED
  • Channel bypass switch
  • Low pass filter frequency control
  • Low pass filter frequency x10 switch
  • Low pass filter bypass switch
  • High pass filter frequency control
  • High pass filter frequency x10 switch
  • High pass filter bypass switch
  • Boost & cut controls for Band 1, channel A (repeat for bands 2-8 and for channel B)
  • Band 1 frequency control
  • Band 1 Q control
  • Band 1 boost & cut control

A few quotes from Gearslutz:

“I have one of these and they are amazing – a very unique para-graphic EQ (freq and Q controls on all 8 graph channels + variable freq on High and low shelves which are seperate knobs not sliders on the left). This thing can paint in broad strokes or get really super surgical”

“I use them on drum bus all the time; it pretty much lives there”

“It really shines on drum bus; you can get right in there or just smooth things out a bit. Enjoy”

“It also worked great on heavy distorted guitars. It gave a nice presence when I boosted the mids. It was pretty fun doing surgical cuts and boosts as well, it worked like a charm!”

“I really liked their old blue faced parametric EQ’s (like the 622)…wish I still had access to them. Built to last…”

“With 8 parametric bands, they’re great for creating altered-perspective sounds out of anything. Great in a synth rack, great for skewing drumloops… just fun boxes”

“I had much fun with the 672A, which is an 8-band para-graphic. I really regret selling mine”

“It is really good for “carving”. If something just doesn’t sit right and a simple EQ wont cut it, this thing can really shape a sound. 8 fully parametric bands with a VERY wide spectrum of Q. It’s quite versatile. It has saved some bass sounds for me in the past. It is not something to add flavor or spice though, pretty bland sounding in that respect”

“I’ve got a 674A, and I like it. It’s not a “character” piece like a Pultec, but it’s very usable for normal tweaks–kind of like a flexible, expanded console EQ.”

“Spoke to one mastering engineer who cut his teeth in the biz using a 674 and was waxing lyrical about it”

Inputs and outputs are balanced on a barrier strip connector. Inputs are electronically balanced and the two main outputs are transformer balanced (see photos). There are mounting points for optional transformers for outputs 3 & 4. The rear panel is pre-punched for Switchcraft XLR input & output sockets. These are covered by a removeable blanking panel (see photos).

Mains input is 220 Volt AC (switchable internally to 110 V) via a captive power lead with a standard UK power plug. Power input feeds the transformer via a pair of chokes (inductors) and ferrite beads on the live & neutral connections. These reduce mains-borne radio frequency interference typically found in radio transmitter installations


Operating manual


Original Orban Catalogue


A&M Studio Gear List, November 1997


Sunset Sound Gear List (current)



Excellent condition, almost unmarked. It has the original pale blue front panel & grey knobs of the early Orban products. All parts look to be original. The case, knobs & front panel are in superb condition. I'm tempted to say "like new', but nothing nearly forty years old can really be described as "like new". All the pots & switches have been cleaned & lubricated. Tested & working 100%. This is a rare opportunity to buy a 674A in really good condition

Pigtails with Neutrik XLR or panel-mounted XLRs are available as options. Contact me for details

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, and and supply a test sheet for it, but please understand that vintage gear will not be perfect and adjust your expectations accordingly