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The PulTec EQ P-1A is a classic equalizer that has been used on countless recordings over the past several decades. It’s known for its warm, smooth sound and ability to shape the tonality of a track in a subtle yet effective way. All top audio engineering schools have this EQ to build new audio engineers who have a taste towards the classic sounding EQs and even music production courses in Pune.
The PulTec EQ P-1A has two main sections: a high shelf and a low shelf. The high shelf allows you to boost or cut frequencies above a certain point, while the low shelf allows you to boost or cut frequencies below a certain point. These two sections can be used independently or together to shape the overall tonality of a track.
One of the unique features of the PulTec EQ P-1A is its “boost and cut” design, which allows you to boost certain frequencies while simultaneously cutting others. This can be particularly useful for sculpting the frequency response of an instrument or vocal in a precise and natural-sounding way.
In addition to the high and low shelves, the EQP-1A also has a “peak” control, which allows you to boost or cut a specific frequency by a certain amount. This can be useful for fine-tuning the tonality of a track, or for fixing specific frequency problems such as resonances or mud.
One of the things that sets the PulTec EQ P-1A apart from other equalizers is its transformer-coupled circuitry, which gives it a unique sound that many engineers and producers find desirable. It’s a warm, smooth-sounding EQ that can add a touch of vintage character to any track.
Overall, the Pultec EQP-1A is a classic equalizer that is still highly sought after by engineers and producers today. Its unique design and signature sound make it a go-to choice for shaping the tonality of tracks in a subtle and musical way. So, it is a must have for any recording studio.
It’s crazy to think that a piece of equipment with such simple controls could change the face of the recording industry. 60 years on and Pultec designed gear is still being used by many of today’s top recording and mixing engineers, whether it be original, reproduction or of the plug-in variety.
It all started in 1953 with the PulTec EQ P-1, which was the first passive programmable equalizer on the market. This was a game changer in recording studios as you now had the ability to manipulate the sound even further than before, bringing it closer to the front of the mix and making it feel like you were in the room with the performer.
In the early days, each piece of Pultec was handcrafted to order by Ollie and Gene in their warehouse in Teaneck, New Jersey. To this day, we would be hard-pressed to find equipment that was made to Pultec quality, which is why many of them are still in working order. Many companies have tried to replicate the sound and build quality of the original Pultec design, and while some sound really good, there is nothing quite like the sound of a vintage EQP-1.
When it comes to EQP-1, the term “magical” seems appropriate. There’s something about the Pultec EQP-1 that enhances everything you put through it, even if you don’t use any EQ. There is a glow in the tubes and transformers that adds some weight to the bottom end and opens up the top end.
EQP - 1 Design
The original design used a custom passive circuit of Gene’s design. With a passive EQ, you need to apply 16dB of additional gain to the signal return to keep it at nominal level. Although most passive EQs sound great, they are a bit difficult to set up and the sound always changes depending on what you use to get the makeup, so you end up spending a lot of extra money for high quality. pure preamplifier used only to amplify the signal from the EQ.
The PulTec EQ P-1 used passive circuitry, but included a tube amplifier to get around the typical 16dB of gain lost by passive EQ. This made the standalone Pultec “lossless” because what went in came out at the same level, but the signal was actually enhanced by the additional tube circuits in all the right ways.
Pultec also made a solid state version of the EQP-1 which had a silver finish but didn’t add all the depth and color of the tubes. These days you’re more likely to see Lang’s solid state EQ than Pultec, which has a very similar sound and more availability.
Control is very simple, you can choose three frequency bands with the option of either boost, cut, or both. In the low band, you can choose between four fixed frequency bands ranging from 20 Hz to 100 Hz and have the option to either increase or decrease this frequency.
This part of the equalizer is one of the best tools for adding power to any source. Every band is smooth, one of the best things about the Pultec is the ability to dial in extreme amounts of EQ without destroying the frequencies around it or damaging the integrity of the original recording. The way Q works, when you increase the selected frequency, it causes all the other frequencies around it to respond in a complimentary way.
Even though the PulTec EQ P-1 manual says you shouldn’t boost and cut the same frequency, over the years engineers have found that if you set the gain and trim just right, something strange happens. This is because the gain has more gain than the attenuation cut, and the two controls affect slightly different frequencies. It’s hard to describe what it actually does, you have to hear it for yourself, but you can hear a smooth bump where the gain meets the cut, which adds a lot of body to the selected frequency without any muddy build-up underneath. This works wonders for vocals, kick, snare, toms, electric guitar, bass and acoustic guitar to give them weight and punch.
The high band has seven selectable frequencies ranging from 3kHz to 16kHz with gain only option. This band also uses a Bandwidth control that will determine the shape of the Q from narrow to wide. When set to taper, the gain will affect the selected frequency and a very small range above and below. When set to wide, it will act much like a low band, adding a wide and smooth gain to a larger range of frequencies above and below the selected band.
Each of these frequencies has a unique color and can be useful on almost any instrument. The wide bandwidth 3kHz – 5kHz bands are great for getting something close to the front of the mix. It adds some presence to the guitars and vocals without being harsh, and has a nice way of picking up the room mic vibe.
The 8kHz – 16kHz bands are used to open up the top end of whatever you’re going through. The 8kHz and 10kHz bands add a bit of bite and some punch to the mix, where the 12kHz and 16kHz bands are silky smooth and used to take the air out of the source.
The high band is where most of the magic happens in Pultec. Never be afraid to try extreme amounts of EQ, as most of the time whatever color it ends up adding will be pleasing. If not, the controls are so simple that you can easily set up a great sound.
Unlike the low end, the high frequency attenuation is not determined by the selected frequency, but by a small dial in the upper right corner of the EQ with 5 kHz, 10 kHz and 20 Khz options. When applying extreme amounts of boost, it’s always a good idea to work with attenuation as well. When you dial it right, the gain will be smooth around the selected band, highlighting a small band around it.
Once you’ve dialed in the sound you’re looking for, switch between the other available bands to see how the Pultec responds. Keep the gain, cut, and bandwidth settings the same, and just change the frequency selector to go back to the original sound if none of the other bands sound better.