Quick Start Guide – Rupert Neve Designs Master Bus Transformer

In this Quick Start Guide, we provide four easy steps, an overview of the key sections and controls, and a few bonus tips to help you get started with the MBT.  

Quick Start Guide - Rupert Neve Designs Master Bus Transformer

The Master Bus Transformer (MBT), a brand-new box from Rupert Neve Designs, is quickly becoming a must-have tool for audio professionals and enthusiasts alike.

The MBT is high-end audio processing unit designed to provide tonal shaping and dynamics control for mix buses, stems, or individual tracks. It is a serious sound sculpting device with features like Super Silk, Equalizer, Color Comp, and Width.  The MBT will sweeten, enhance, drive, widen, and transform any audio source material for musical coloration.   

From adding sheen and presence to your mixes to giving masters that final polish, you will find the MBT an invaluable device for your audio.

Four Steps to Get You Started

Step 1: Engage the Super Silk

Engage the Super Silk section and drive the input until the drive light gently flickers.

This light shows the signal level entering the inter‑stage transformers and reaching the optimal range for producing the beautiful Super Silk harmonic distortion. Push the input gain of the Access Analog Plugin if you need a little extra juice to get you there. Play with the Blue (low-end fatness) and Red (Midrange/top-end bite) silk knobs and fine-tune the Harmonics knob to taste.

This is a fantastic sweet spot, but there are many! You should always experiment with gain on Input/Output. Try overloading the MBT output transformer for extra push – simply lower down the output gain of the Access Analog plugin after to gain match for easy A/B testing.

Step 2: Engage the Equalizer

Engage the Equalizer and use the tone controls to sculpt your sound. This is one of the most forgiving and gorgeous-sounding EQs on the market; you’ll be grinning like a madman tweaking this.

Step 3: Slap on the Color Comp

Slap on the Color Comp and select your ratio. Low is gentle and silky, and High is thicker and forward. Both work incredibly well on any track/bus, but they absolutely sing on the master channel.

Fine-tune your compression with threshold/release and play with the S/C HPF Knob. This can be used to allow bass to pass through the compression circuit unaffected, excellent for mastering and getting the track punchy. Play with the Blend knob to allow more of the original transients through. This Opto compressor is very smooth (20ms Attack) and extremely forgiving; it is perfect for shaving harsh digital transient heavy tracks and has never left my mix bus ;).

Step 4: Engage the Width Section

Engage the Width section. This requires experimentation, select your frequency start point and raise the width knob to add magic to the stereo sound field. This is a fantastic way to open up a track post-compression and add expensive-sounding dimension to your mix.

The width knob at around 20% works on everything, but please experiment and push this as it sounds very lush. My clients dig it, yours will too.

Bonus Tips

Play with the HPF knob on the input to reduce rumble and improve your headroom going into the MBT. This helps you get much louder without bringing up nasty, unmusical frequencies that will eat into your limiter. 15hz is always active for me on low-end focused tracks; you can push this up further for Rock/Pop/Jazz, etc.

If you are mastering, slap a digital limiter after the Access Analog Plugin and master into it with the MBT. Prepare to be shocked at how loud you can go without a lot of gain reduction on the limiter; don’t ask me how or why it just works.

The Red Silk knob can add a lot of perceived loudness without needing to smash a limiter; this can be just the ticket to finishing a master quickly without nasty heavy limiting artifacts.

Engage the Zener Drive and push the output transformers for aggressive/punchy saturation – tickle the drive LED for extra bite. This is glued to my drum bus but also sounds incredible on pop mixes. To my ears, this sounds much more natural than clipping a fancy audio interface. Crispy punchy magic, and I absolutely love it. Now go and play!

For additional information please visit the Master Bus Transformer product page at Rupert Neve Designs.

Give it a Try!

Photo of RND MBT with Plugin and Robotics
Stream real-time audio to a robotically controlled Rupert Neve Designs Master Bus Transformer using the Analog Matrix Plugin.

The Rupert Neve Designs MBT packs a ton of analog magic!  Between its signature transformer circuits, flexible dynamics, and tone-shaping tools, it offers extensive sound-shaping possibilities.

We hope this Quick Start Guide gets you up and running quickly with the MBT. Remember to experiment with the different settings and find the sweet spots that work best for your sound.

With the tips and tricks provided in this guide, you can transform your tone and create something truly unique. May your creations echo with the lush, vibrant, and expansive sounds that the MBT masterfully helps sculpt.

Accessing this fantastic new device is easy with the Analog Matrix Plugin!

Thank you for reading, and happy mixing!

A big thanks to Karl Barnes of Loom Sound Studio for putting this guide together.

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