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Maag EQ4 Vs. Plutec 500a (500 series) 500 Series EQ\'s
Old 30th January 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Maag EQ4 Vs. Plutec 500a (500 series)

Hey Everyone,

I am looking at these 2 units and am mainly looking for something to give me that "modern" upfront sound to sources and add some cool color. I have tried both the plugins under the UAD platform and really like the Maag, but was curious if anyone had tried both these units (500 series or other) and had any thoughts. My only hesitation would be if the 500 series Pultec would be a bit too understated color-wise due to the lack of tubes. Any thoughts would be really helpful as I am about to make a choice soon. For reference, I do mostly Top 40 sounding Pop stuff.
Old 31st January 2018
  #2
Gear Maniac
I have two Maag EQ4s and a rack version of A-Design EmPEQ. If I had to choose only one, it would be the MAAG...Why? Because I would find more use for them...Luckily I don't have to choose and I can keep both...Both excellent units that I use every day.


-- Mikko
Old 1st February 2018
  #3
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
Hey Everyone,

I am looking at these 2 units and am mainly looking for something to give me that "modern" upfront sound to sources and add some cool color. I have tried both the plugins under the UAD platform and really like the Maag, but was curious if anyone had tried both these units (500 series or other) and had any thoughts. My only hesitation would be if the 500 series Pultec would be a bit too understated color-wise due to the lack of tubes. Any thoughts would be really helpful as I am about to make a choice soon. For reference, I do mostly Top 40 sounding Pop stuff.

I love the Pultec and Pultec style or clone Eqs, the freakin mojo will drip.
But, if I was and when I am looking for that more tight what I would refer to as modern sound I will reach for one or a pair of only a handful of Eqs and the Magg Audio's are at the top of the list.
If you really like the Maag then I would recommend thats what you get.
They will do what ever you what. If you get a heavy colored Eq you may still want some not so heavily collared? Thats my thoughts.
Old 1st February 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
 
herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
Hey Everyone,

I am looking at these 2 units and am mainly looking for something to give me that "modern" upfront sound to sources and add some cool color. I have tried both the plugins under the UAD platform and really like the Maag, but was curious if anyone had tried both these units (500 series or other) and had any thoughts. My only hesitation would be if the 500 series Pultec would be a bit too understated color-wise due to the lack of tubes. Any thoughts would be really helpful as I am about to make a choice soon. For reference, I do mostly Top 40 sounding Pop stuff.

My 2 cents.

I would get a pair of EQ2's and a pair of EQ4's. Chain them and use it as one EQ for program mixing and mastering.

They're stepped, and this way you have input attenuation. This will DRAMATICALLY improve fidelilty (remember pushing a band on an EQ introduces gain and phasing on an exponential, not linear level; meaning the harder you push it, the more unnatural it will sound).

Now the Maag stuff is designed to minimize the phase issues despite adding gain, and with that input attenuation on the EQ2's you can compensate for any gain added by boosts (keeping things much, much cleaner and hi-fi).

Lastly, on some frequency points you can double up. Say you boosted 10Hz in the lowest end of the spectrum 0.5dB on the EQ2, and then another 0.5dB on the EQ4. This is always going to feel cleaner, less distorted, and more natural than boosting a whole 1dB on either EQ. To test what I'm talking about take the plugin versions from Brainworx which you can demo for free. Chain them in a row and try what I'm talking about yourself. The same thing will work in the analog world.

I love the Maag stuff, but I wish the Mastering EQ was 2U and had both EQ's in series with one power supply for higher headroom. I feel strongly that they always sound better in series. I wonder if Cliff Maag would make that for me custom if I paid him enough...hrm....

That said I adore pultec style EQ's...and the Pulse stuff is top notch. The problem is they haven't released stepped mastering versions of the 500 series variants. I really wish people would talk about it on forums like Gearslutz to hopefully convince them to take that leap. I would buy those tomorrow.

In the end I think the Maags are more flexible, modern and ultimately a bit more useful due to perfect recall via the stepped controls. But I love, love, love pultecs. I'm thinking hard about a Bettermaker just because of the recall and plugin control.
Old 1st February 2018
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 View Post
I love the Pultec and Pultec style or clone Eqs, the freakin mojo will drip.
But, if I was and when I am looking for that more tight what I would refer to as modern sound I will reach for one or a pair of only a handful of Eqs and the Magg Audio's are at the top of the list.
If you really like the Maag then I would recommend thats what you get.
They will do what ever you what. If you get a heavy colored Eq you may still want some not so heavily collared? Thats my thoughts.
Thanks for the reply! I forgot to mention that it would be paired with a Rupert Neve 551 & an API 550A. I did have an Electrodyne eq for a while. The sound was really great but it was kind of the same "transformer" heavy sound as my neve but a different flavor. Although I have not tried the 500 Pultec, I was thinking to myself today that the Electrodyne might have more in common with the Pultec than I thought, so why would I be selling one to get another similar unit? Do you think there are similarities between the Electrodyne and th Pultec? Not sure if you have tried both or not?

I am currently using an IZ ADA II for my conversion and the Electrodyne wasn't really cutting through enough, thats why the though of the hardware version of the Maag became suddenly appealing. I just didn't know if the Pultec cuts through enough sound-wise.
Old 1st February 2018
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
My 2 cents.

I would get a pair of EQ2's and a pair of EQ4's. Chain them and use it as one EQ for program mixing and mastering.

They're stepped, and this way you have input attenuation. This will DRAMATICALLY improve fidelilty (remember pushing a band on an EQ introduces gain and phasing on an exponential, not linear level; meaning the harder you push it, the more unnatural it will sound).

Now the Maag stuff is designed to minimize the phase issues despite adding gain, and with that input attenuation on the EQ2's you can compensate for any gain added by boosts (keeping things much, much cleaner and hi-fi).

Lastly, on some frequency points you can double up. Say you boosted 10Hz in the lowest end of the spectrum 0.5dB on the EQ2, and then another 0.5dB on the EQ4. This is always going to feel cleaner, less distorted, and more natural than boosting a whole 1dB on either EQ. To test what I'm talking about take the plugin versions from Brainworx which you can demo for free. Chain them in a row and try what I'm talking about yourself. The same thing will work in the analog world.

I love the Maag stuff, but I wish the Mastering EQ was 2U and had both EQ's in series with one power supply for higher headroom. I feel strongly that they always sound better in series. I wonder if Cliff Maag would make that for me custom if I paid him enough...hrm....

That said I adore pultec style EQ's...and the Pulse stuff is top notch. The problem is they haven't released stepped mastering versions of the 500 series variants. I really wish people would talk about it on forums like Gearslutz to hopefully convince them to take that leap. I would buy those tomorrow.

In the end I think the Maags are more flexible, modern and ultimately a bit more useful due to perfect recall via the stepped controls. But I love, love, love pultecs. I'm thinking hard about a Bettermaker just because of the recall and plugin control.
Cool thanks for the suggestions! So had you had a chance to try the Pulse 500 series Pultec's yet? It's hard to find anything on the net about them. I would be pairing this new eq with a Rupert Neve 551 & an API 550A. I wasn't sure if the Maag or Pultec would compliment that combination more. I recently sold an Electrodyne eq, not because I didn't like the sound (it was great) I just needed something that cut's through or lights up the sound sources more, not just more tranny saturation. I just wasn't sure how similar the Electrodyne and the Pultec might be in sound. If they are in the same ballpark for what they do, the Pultec probably wouldn't be the right choice for me. But not hearing both, it's hard to decide ha.
Old 1st February 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
 
herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
Cool thanks for the suggestions! So had you had a chance to try the Pulse 500 series Pultec's yet? It's hard to find anything on the net about them. I would be pairing this new eq with a Rupert Neve 551 & an API 550A. I wasn't sure if the Maag or Pultec would compliment that combination more. I recently sold an Electrodyne eq, not because I didn't like the sound (it was great) I just needed something that cut's through or lights up the sound sources more, not just more tranny saturation. I just wasn't sure how similar the Electrodyne and the Pultec might be in sound. If they are in the same ballpark for what they do, the Pultec probably wouldn't be the right choice for me. But not hearing both, it's hard to decide ha.
I've heard the full sized rack units in person and they are excellent.

Steve Jackson worked with Eugene Shenk for 10 years on the Pulse stuff until his unfortunate death. Mr. Shenk invented the Pultec...so that's a thing.

I've spoken with Steve once on the phone and it was an absolute pleasure, so I don't know what to tell you. Very few of the current clones are going to get into that territory. Some will get close (I love the sound of the AML as it's almost there legitimately). But recognize that audio is always a war of inches.

Now some notes for you on the 500 series.

First off Fletcher (formally of Mercenary Audio) always used to say he preferred the solid state pultecs for program because the bottom end was tighter. So the advantage of the 500 series unit is that it's everything that the solid state Pulse EQ's have in terms of parts and design in a smaller format. It's literally the same unit. So it's a real pultec, just smaller.

Next, I happen to agree with him on that subject. Now here's what's going to be different in the 500 series. since the PSU will be part of the rack unit you have, I'm sure there will be a slight drop in headroom but nothing significant. This is typically how the 500 series works out. Due to this, there will be a tad more noise floor...but nothing anyone would ever really notice.

And that's it. It will sound like a Pultec, because it IS a pultec. It's just got tiny knobs that I wish were all stepped. Hopefully a mastering version will come for the 500 series format someday.

I will say that I would think about the 1S3 version for the 10K shelf and the 70Hz Vs the 60Hz low end of a 1A3. I'm a huge fan of 1A3's, but I would see if you could try both out and choose the one you prefer.

All that being said, the Maag will cut through more if that's what your after. I think of Pultecs as a great way to shape your stereo imaging. Both would sound great tracking or mixing, but I tend to think about how something sounds on program as a pair or in stereo/dual mono at first.

Last edited by herecomesyourman; 1st February 2018 at 06:40 AM..
Old 1st February 2018
  #8
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
I just wasn't sure how similar the Electrodyne and the Pultec might be in sound. If they are in the same ballpark for what they do, the Pultec probably wouldn't be the right choice for me. But not hearing both, it's hard to decide ha.
They are not at all similar in my mind but I have both and they are deferent beasts.
The Electrodyne as that mojo it is simple sweet and I love it for tracking. But it has a sound and that is color, the Pultecs come with color included.
So in that sense I guess they are similar.

personally would not trade any of the Pultec eqs I have for the Maggs nor would I trade off the Maggs for the Pultecs. I will have and continue to use both.

I only point out that the Pultecs will come with color you said you wanted that "modern" upfront sound, and you liked the Maggs so that is what I would go with.

As for the 500 format power supplies as long as you don't go with some of the off stuff I've seen it's really a non issue.
Old 1st February 2018
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 View Post
They are not at all similar in my mind but I have both and they are deferent beasts.
The Electrodyne as that mojo it is simple sweet and I love it for tracking. But it has a sound and that is color, the Pultecs come with color included.
So in that sense I guess they are similar.

personally would not trade any of the Pultec eqs I have for the Maggs nor would I trade off the Maggs for the Pultecs. I will have and continue to use both.

I only point out that the Pultecs will come with color you said you wanted that "modern" upfront sound, and you liked the Maggs so that is what I would go with.

As for the 500 format power supplies as long as you don't go with some of the off stuff I've seen it's really a non issue.
Thanks so much for the info. on the Electrodyne comparison. You helped me a great deal!
Old 1st February 2018
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
I've heard the full sized rack units in person and they are excellent.

Steve Jackson worked with Eugene Shenk for 10 years on the Pulse stuff until his unfortunate death. Mr. Shenk invented the Pultec...so that's a thing.

I've spoken with Steve once on the phone and it was an absolute pleasure, so I don't know what to tell you. Very few of the current clones are going to get into that territory. Some will get close (I love the sound of the AML as it's almost there legitimately). But recognize that audio is always a war of inches.

Now some notes for you on the 500 series.

First off Fletcher (formally of Mercenary Audio) always used to say he preferred the solid state pultecs for program because the bottom end was tighter. So the advantage of the 500 series unit is that it's everything that the solid state Pulse EQ's have in terms of parts and design in a smaller format. It's literally the same unit. So it's a real pultec, just smaller.

Next, I happen to agree with him on that subject. Now here's what's going to be different in the 500 series. since the PSU will be part of the rack unit you have, I'm sure there will be a slight drop in headroom but nothing significant. This is typically how the 500 series works out. Due to this, there will be a tad more noise floor...but nothing anyone would ever really notice.

And that's it. It will sound like a Pultec, because it IS a pultec. It's just got tiny knobs that I wish were all stepped. Hopefully a mastering version will come for the 500 series format someday.

I will say that I would think about the 1S3 version for the 10K shelf and the 70Hz Vs the 60Hz low end of a 1A3. I'm a huge fan of 1A3's, but I would see if you could try both out and choose the one you prefer.

All that being said, the Maag will cut through more if that's what your after. I think of Pultecs as a great way to shape your stereo imaging. Both would sound great tracking or mixing, but I tend to think about how something sounds on program as a pair or in stereo/dual mono at first.
Thanks so much for the insightful reply! Pulse does seem like a great company, it seems like everyone has nice things to say about them. Thanks again for the helpful input!
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