The choice of EQ is very much a matter of personal preference and it is very difficult for us to comment on their relative merits. What we can say is that SSL produced 4 types:
O2 type (Brown Knob) – this is the oldest, less popular and hence the cheapest but used to great effect by many engineers.
232 type (Orange Knob) – sometimes referred to as Pultec.
242 type (Black Knob) – rare and possibly the most difficult EQ to pin down as views on this one are very polarised. For example, at customers request it was often built into new G series consoles however many studios retro-fitted G EQs into their previously Black EQ desks. It has as many critics as fans.
292 type (G Series Pink Knob) – Black and G series seem to be equal favourites in the EQ stakes, making them the most expensive choice. Many commercial studios offer a mix of EQ types to meet client requirements.
We strongly recommend our clients to talk to other users and if possible visit a studio where the EQ can be tested using the genre of material that you want to use them on.
Take 2 engineers get 3 opinions – some comments on SSL EQs cut and pasted from the forums
Now, the 4000 black EQ’s has so many capacitors in the audio path, it would make an audiophile shudder. But, they had a cool sound all themselves, although suffered from some smearing (which was still cool, actually). – Tony Belmont
The Orange is a passive EQ similar to the Pultec in design, so is not really like the G at all. – Jim@SSL
On the Black EQ you can bypass the filters.On the Brown EQ even when turned all the way down it still goes through the circuit.Sonically the Black EQ’s are leaner,cleaner and a tad more open.The Brown EQ’s at times sound a little bit gritier.They are both still useful.Heck sometimes the gritier Brown is exactly what a track needs in terms of character.But the Black EQ would be preferred sonically for a vocal lets say. I actually have 202 browns and 242 Black EQ’s. I mix and match them per track.Drums get the browns and vocal get the Blacks etc. – thethrillfactor
SSL brown eq for hard plastic baseball bat in your face. – Reptil
I still have a warm place in my heart for the E242! – Tony Belmont
the Xrack does not have the 4000 console EQ. Although it has a button saying ‘E/G’ it is not the 4000 series E/G eq.Totally different design and sound. – theother
242 bell EQs are the heat for me. – 84K
BrownEq’s rock on drums and bass.v Black Eq’s do better for vocals and acoustics. They both rock on electric guitars. – thethrillfactor
You have to be careful with the whole brown and black EQ thing… You know how many studio owners just bought different knob caps and said they were black EQ’s … – Tony Belmont
Nothing sounds so punchy and mighty as a healthy good old SSL. – Tinsken
Half bell 242 EQs and Half G EQs. Awesome. For mixing, I’ll take that over anything ever made. bar none. – 84K
The Black E EQ has a nicer curve. Especially in the bass. Sorta like the GML 8200 where when you crank the bass it doesn’t distort but saturates nicely while staying steady. When you look at the amount of gain you can add to the lows you are amazed that its not distorting. It just sounds great on drums and guitars. I’ve never liked the G EQ too much. Too bland. – Thethrillfactor
Basically that’s the big difference. In E series, as the mountain gets taller, the sides get steeper and the base of the mountain remains the same width. In the G series, the sides remain the same steepness as the boost is altered, and so as the mountain gets taller, the base gets wider … more fascinating stuff can be read here.
My first impression with E vs. G EQ was that E was more pleasing and easy to get results from. from the coupla days i spent on it, if a had to choose between E and G EQs it would no doubt be the Es.- raal
In Summary: E/G Series EQs (as found in the 4-6-8K Series and the SL 384 rack). Three main versions were made, and depend on the daughter card. The 202, often referred to as the E-Series Brown EQ, the 242 card, the widely available “E-Series Black EQ” and the 292 card, the “G and G+ Series EQ”. E and G (ie 242 and 292) differ in their characteristics. One is constant Q, the other constant bandwidth. Some think the E Series is more “musical”, some others the G Series is “smoother”. Take 2 engineers, you’ll have 3 opinions. – woodworm
While I tend to prefer the black 242 EQs for most everything, there are some applications where the G EQs shine. When you want to cut/boost any narrow band above 7K or below 200, the G EQ can be your friend. Things like adding “air” to a track come to mind. Even the 9K EQ’s can’t reach the places a G did. – Okden