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Pultec EQP1A. The Quest is over.
Old 18th February 2010
  #1
Pultec EQP1A. The Quest is over.

In my quest to find myself some good pultecs I have listened carefully and tested a few of them this past year, including most of the clones. I talked to a lot of people with a lot of knowledge and specific preferences regarding why some of them work better than others in specific applications. Mainly how the EQP1A3 works better in buss duties than the EQP1A and the opposite for individual instruments.

I specifically tested 4 Pultec EQP1A3, 2 EAR 825, 2 Amtec PEQ10, 2 Tubetech PE1C, 1 Retro 2A3, 2 Pulse Techniques EQP1A3 and 1 stereo Manley Pultec.

In this lengthy process it became apparent that the benchmark would be the EQP1A I bought years ago because of its very smooth lows and highs. There is something magical about it (looks super beat up though!). That was the only EQP1A experience I ever had until last week - when I received Wundercap's beautiful EQP1A's and had a chance to test them thoroughly.

Well... the quest is over. Apparently I am an EQP1A guy. I like the curves on these units more than any other. Obviously YMMV but I prefer these guys on everything. They have the magic of my other one. Huge smooth lows and highs. Yes not as tight as an EQP1A3 but in my ears more pleasing.

That's not to say I don't like EQP1A3's. Actually let me get this out of the way. A lot of the clones did a great job and are extremely useful tools. BUT after I spent hours listening carefully to all of the above, only a PULTEC is a PULTEC. Be it an EQP1A or EQP1A3. And that's the end of it IMO.

So I really like EQP1A3's. It just happens that I am IN LOVE with EQP1A's. My quest is over. Good luck with yours.
Old 18th February 2010
  #2
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
heh
now I get your old one!!!!

Kiddin!

You scored!
Old 18th February 2010 | Show parent
  #3
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

syra,

If you have to do a recall of a mix where you used EQP1A's.... what unit(s) would you grab for FIRST if the EQP1A when not available at that moment? heh
Old 18th February 2010 | Show parent
  #4
eq

You could always wait for my upcoming gizmo

We just finished te last steps and starting to betatest next month.
Old 18th February 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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Rob King's Avatar
Syra is still in love with the low end of my Amtec EQP-10's, Don't let him fool ya...

I have had the pleasure of attending just about all those EQ shootouts and I have to agree, overall the EQP1A is in a class by itself. Especially the 4 sitting in Syra's studio at the moment.
Old 18th February 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

I also judge Pultec clones on their own merits. Every time I compare them to the originals I am disappointed in one way or another, so now I just view them as their own thing (and I agree that several of them are really cool). I also have not been able to get rid of my originals and probably never will. There is no direct replacement for an original Pultec.
Old 18th February 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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tapehiss's Avatar
although not mentioned above.... i agree with mr. E-prod that it's best just to judge them as equalizers rather than compare, as far as making music is concerned....(because a pultec is a pultec)

i also really respect syra's intricate process of finding the "tone" that is purely his, and the sound he likes best..

but in mention of mastering, although i don't master... i have found my mercury eqp1's indispensable when it comes to buss, for that magic little option called "I.S.T."...... i love that switch...

allowing between a cleaner / more colored tone
Old 19th February 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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DONNX's Avatar
 

Nice post Syra. Yea, those old parts are hard to replicate. Just too many variables. metal composition, Caps, resistors, trannies, inductors, wire. The old stuff is what it is.

I am glad to see their are some good attempts to replicate it. Hope they don't stop trying.
Old 19th February 2010 | Show parent
  #9
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Mike O's Avatar
 

Hopefully, at some point, someone will do for the EQP1A what Pulse Techniques did for the EQP1A3.
Old 19th February 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss View Post
although not mentioned above.... i agree with mr. E-prod that it's best just to judge them as equalizers rather than compare, as far as making music is concerned....(because a pultec is a pultec)

i also really respect syra's intricate process of finding the "tone" that is purely his, and the sound he likes best..

but in mention of mastering, although i don't master... i have found my mercury eqp1's indispensable when it comes to buss, for that magic little option called "I.S.T."...... i love that switch...

allowing between a cleaner / more colored tone
Ahhh, I just ordered one of the Mercury EQ-P1's, and it should arrive on Monday. I was wondering about the H1, but the I.S.T. feature and the ability to change the Q got me. So you are loving yours? Are you just using them on the busses or are you tracking/mixing other instruments with them? - paul
Old 19th February 2010
  #11
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
... only a PULTEC is a PULTEC... And that's the end of it IMO.

Quoted for truth.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 19th February 2010 | Show parent
  #12
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tapehiss's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by riffmachine View Post
Ahhh, I just ordered one of the Mercury EQ-P1's, and it should arrive on Monday. I was wondering about the H1, but the I.S.T. feature and the ability to change the Q got me. So you are loving yours? Are you just using them on the busses or are you tracking/mixing other instruments with them? - paul
i mostly track with them, very minimal eq, more for tone....

i've only had them since christmas.... so the few times i used them on buss, the ist came in handy....

no doubt you will love them, they are great..........

(disclaimer: i have minimal use will originals, and am not using them in regards to how close they sound to originals, but am using them for their great tone)
Old 19th February 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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marcykid's Avatar
 

Gear Slut Fail! You forgot to try the Lang PEQ-2. Go back two squares...
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcykid View Post
Gear Slut Fail! You forgot to try the Lang PEQ-2. Go back two squares...
heh I assure you of these two things -

1. Syra has used Lang PEQ-2's

2. Lang PEQ-2's are not Pultec EQP1A's
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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Surbitone's Avatar
How would you say the VT4 fairs up in comparison? For mix buss duties in particular....
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss View Post
i mostly track with them, very minimal eq, more for tone....

i've only had them since christmas.... so the few times i used them on buss, the ist came in handy....

no doubt you will love them, they are great..........

(disclaimer: i have minimal use will originals, and am not using them in regards to how close they sound to originals, but am using them for their great tone)
Cool, thanks for the reply. I only got one but if I end up loving it, a second could come into play everntually. It just came today, and so far it's giving me big love on kick and vocals. The I.S.T. switch is a really nice option, as is the knob for shaping the Q. I'll give bass a go on Monday. This is my first experience with a Pultec style EQ. So far, very useful for sweetening, thickening or adding some air on top. Is that pretty much what they are known for? - p

p.s. - if this seems like hijacking, I will cease.
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surbitone View Post
How would you say the VT4 fairs up in comparison? For mix buss duties in particular....
Really REALLY well.
I've been switching btw EQP1a3's the Fearns and the Retro eq.
No joke,they all completetey ROCK on mix buss
Old 20th February 2010
  #18
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jpupo74's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
Wundercap's beautiful EQP1A's.
Which ones?
Havent heard about them...link?
Pupo
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
marcykid's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empire Prod View Post
heh I assure you of these two things -

1. Syra has used Lang PEQ-2's
I'm just saying... it's not on the list, and it should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empire Prod View Post
2. Lang PEQ-2's are not Pultec EQP1A's
Were any of the other EQ's he tried EQP-1A's? What's your point?

Look, my experience (and I've been using these things for 15 years) is that EQP-1A's aren't even EQP-1A's. Our first two albums are ALL Pultec (Both recorded using Jim Sabella's famous "wall of Pultecs" at: SABELLA STUDIOS, HERE!) I've got 3 EQP-1A's that I've owned since the late 90's, and they each sound different. I've got 2 EQH-2's, and they sound different from each other too. That's just the nature of Pultecs, notoriously inconsistent. These things aren't plugins. They were hand-made to order for 2 decades, so they all vary in character. -- Although, my MEQ-5's are from the same batch, and they sound the same.-- I've got 2 Lang PEQ-2's and... well actually they sound the same too. And by the way... my Lang PEQ-2's are actually slightly sweeter than my Pultecs. I don't know if you've ever used one, or seen the back of one, but those things pack some serious iron. If they have a flaw it's that they're too powerful. If you don't know what you're doing, forget it... get a Pultec. Pultecs are *not* powerful. That's why they're popular. You don't have to be a good engineer to make them sound musical. Newbie engineers can crank them mindlessly and it still sounds great. You can't **** up a sound when, by default, your options are limited to pre-determined musical frequencies and soft swoopy gain changes.

Woz.
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcykid View Post
I'm just saying... it's not on the list, and it should be.


Newbie engineers can crank them mindlessly and it still sounds great. You can't **** up a sound when, by default, your options are limited to pre-determined musical frequencies and soft swoopy gain changes.

Woz.
Send some my way and i'll prove you wrong. Go on.
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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jpupo74's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpupo74 View Post
Which ones?
Havent heard about them...link?
Pupo


I didnt understand...I visited the Wunder Audio page because I thought they had a new EQ.
No i saw the thread.
Congrats man!
PICTURES!
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 
marcykid's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bell Head View Post
Send some my way and i'll prove you wrong. Go on.
LOL! No f'n way... I love my Pultecs! You can't have them! Keep away. Just because they're simple tools for simple people doesn't mean they don't kick the living liquid sh*t out of everything else out there. Haha. These things are awesome... *sheesh*

"I didn't say I was bigger than Jesus... or better than Jesus... I was just sayin'." -- Quote from my wife, Raine. She's British/Canadian, born in Liverpool in 1962, and loves paraphrasing the Beatles. Makes me laugh every time...

Woz.
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Yes I am still very fond of the Amtec's low end... very smooth indeed.

Regarding Langs, Empire Prod is almost right heh ...I have only tried one PEQ-2 and that was not in my studio having to face the extreme testing conditions the other ones went through

I remember the low end being beautiful and very flexible with the frequency points, but the highs were too narrow for my taste and not suitable for the mix buss. It would be nice to properly spend some time with a pair in my own room since I don't like to form final opinions until I really get to "know" a piece - but since the EQP1A I already had was magic, it made sense for me to go towards that route. And obviously I got lucky because one of the EQP1A's Wundercap sent me is a perfect match to that one. The other ones are very close too but I wouldn't call them "matched".

They are all great EQs - originals, clones or not... but when you need an EQP1A only an EQP1A will do!
Old 20th February 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
hi Syra,
what i don't fully understand is that the Pulse Techniques EQP1A3s are supposed to be exact EQP1A clones down to the last detail excepting for the 2U format.

if they're exact clones, unless newer components make the difference, the low end shouldn't sound any 'tighter' should it?
Old 21st February 2010 | Show parent
  #25
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marcykid's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by raal View Post
hi Syra,
what i don't fully understand is that the Pulse Techniques EQP1A3s are supposed to be exact EQP1A clones down to the last detail excepting for the 2U format.

if they're exact clones, unless newer components make the tonal difference, the low end shouldn't sound any 'tighter' should it?
The difference in sound comes from the difference in the input, output, and interstage transformers. Original Pultecs used the very hard to find Peerless S-217-D output tranny, as well as a Triad HS-56 input tranny. Without those it *isn't* an exact clone, no matter what the Pulse Techniques guys say. The EQ curves may be the same, but the sound won't be.

Woz.
Old 21st February 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Yes, the curves on the Pulse Techniques I heard were the closest to identical to the original EQP1A3's. When EQing a snare drum with them in extreme settings you couldn't tell the difference compared to the real deal. Only thing is a snare drum through a 57 doesn't have deep lows and much highs... Once we put them in the buss and run a full frequency mix through them, you could easily tell the difference between those and the originals. The originals had more mojo and sounded more alive... there was magic there... Now to be fair, I think there has been another revision on the Pulse EQP1A3 and apparently they are closer now but I haven't heard those.

Having said all of the above though...we're still talking about EQP1A3's. Which are not EQP1A's contrary to popular belief. And as it was mentioned before... I LOVE EQP1A's!!! heh heh heh
Old 21st February 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcykid View Post
The difference in sound comes from the difference in the input, output, and interstage transformers. Original Pultecs used the very hard to find Peerless S-217-D output tranny, as well as a Triad HS-56 input tranny. Without those it *isn't* an exact clone, no matter what the Pulse Techniques guys say. The EQ curves may be the same, but the sound won't be.

Woz.
thank you marcykid. i understand that all transformers (peerless and triad) were reverse engineered, and are manufactured by them as well (see posts # 286, 301, etc. on thread New Pultec At AES Show this fall???).

seems to me they were quite diligent, but i haven't heard the new units. if they have reproduced the x-formers, could the difference in sound be the new components (caps, et.)?
Old 21st February 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
Yes, the curves on the Pulse Techniques I heard were the closest to identical to the original EQP1A3's. When EQing a snare drum with them in extreme settings you couldn't tell the difference compared to the real deal. Only thing is a snare drum through a 57 doesn't have deep lows and much highs... Once we put them in the buss and run a full frequency mix through them, you could easily tell the difference between those and the originals. The originals had more mojo and sounded more alive... there was magic there... Now to be fair, I think there has been another revision on the Pulse EQP1A3 and apparently they are closer now but I haven't heard those.

Having said all of the above though...we're still talking about EQP1A3's. Which are not EQP1A's contrary to popular belief. And as it was mentioned before... I LOVE EQP1A's!!! heh heh heh
i love EQP1As too Syra. in fact i'm trying to get another one now to round out our pultec rack for tracking, but a matched pair for buss duties would be amazing, so i'm hoping the new ones do go all the way.
Old 21st February 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
Yes, the curves on the Pulse Techniques I heard were the closest to identical to the original EQP1A3's. When EQing a snare drum with them in extreme settings you couldn't tell the difference compared to the real deal. Only thing is a snare drum through a 57 doesn't have deep lows and much highs... Once we put them in the buss and run a full frequency mix through them, you could easily tell the difference between those and the originals. The originals had more mojo and sounded more alive... there was magic there... Now to be fair, I think there has been another revision on the Pulse EQP1A3 and apparently they are closer now but I haven't heard those.

Having said all of the above though...we're still talking about EQP1A3's. Which are not EQP1A's contrary to popular belief. And as it was mentioned before... I LOVE EQP1A's!!! heh heh heh
Thats exactly the question I wanted answered- thanks!

BTW- Im getting my 2nd Bricasti but those pultecs from wunder almost stopped me... As if you could ever find a better person to buy vintage gear from... For once mint and function were truly 100%... Damn. I just couldn't justify that much on stereo EQ... Let alone mono!
Old 21st February 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcykid View Post
I'm just saying... it's not on the list, and it should be.



Were any of the other EQ's he tried EQP-1A's? What's your point?

Look, my experience (and I've been using these things for 15 years) is that EQP-1A's aren't even EQP-1A's. Our first two albums are ALL Pultec (Both recorded using Jim Sabella's famous "wall of Pultecs" at: SABELLA STUDIOS, HERE!) I've got 3 EQP-1A's that I've owned since the late 90's, and they each sound different. I've got 2 EQH-2's, and they sound different from each other too. That's just the nature of Pultecs, notoriously inconsistent. These things aren't plugins. They were hand-made to order for 2 decades, so they all vary in character. -- Although, my MEQ-5's are from the same batch, and they sound the same.-- I've got 2 Lang PEQ-2's and... well actually they sound the same too. And by the way... my Lang PEQ-2's are actually slightly sweeter than my Pultecs. I don't know if you've ever used one, or seen the back of one, but those things pack some serious iron. If they have a flaw it's that they're too powerful. If you don't know what you're doing, forget it... get a Pultec. Pultecs are *not* powerful. That's why they're popular. You don't have to be a good engineer to make them sound musical. Newbie engineers can crank them mindlessly and it still sounds great. You can't **** up a sound when, by default, your options are limited to pre-determined musical frequencies and soft swoopy gain changes.

Woz.
Jim's Pultec rack is perfect example where you can have a bunch of Pultecs and none will totally sound alike. Having used that rack a couple of times, i can tell you that one particular i prefered on vocals and another on bass. Just by looking at the rack one would think that a Pultec is a Pultec so they are interchangeable right?

But in reality in real world uses its really not the case.

Also add me to the list of the "dummies" who just couldn't get on with the Lang PEQ2. I had a pair for years and when i sold them i never missed them. By the way i thought a PEQ1 is closer to the Pultec sonically than a PEQ2. Harder to find though.
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