JLM Audio Equipment PEQ500 by phantomcenter
Just got a pair of these with the hybrid opamps, to replace the pair of Filtek mk3 that have been on the mix bus for the last 2 years. they are VERY sturdy and well laid out, the chickenhead knobs for frequency are great for actually seeing what frequency you are working with, a rarity in the 500 format. It's an opamp based Pultec style, with additional frequency selections as well as the option to boost high shelf... otherwise it functions exactly the way you'd expect a Pultec to. I do have the stock 99v opamps, and after a bunch of back and forth opamp auditioning I settled on the clarity of the hybrids for mixing into.
This is an incredible sounding EQ, everything it does adds life and excitement to any audio passing through it. I'm especially thrilled about what this thing does to percussion heavy tracks, transients literally jumping out of the speakers. It's really easy to over-do it with this eq because it sounds so good, and is so true to the source. It's not a heavy handed color, but more of a focus machine, really bringing out the best of the material. It's not surgical, it's a Pultec after all, but it doesn't added any kind of heavy-handed tone that I felt needed correcting or that betrayed the detail of the recorded material. The boost can be subtle or huge, and you can really dig below the material with the 10hz frequency center, the one I've been using the most. The high goes all the way to 25khz, so it can almost behave as a Baxandall style eq. The 4 for ease of use is just because I have to squint and sometimes one-eye it to line up the boost and cut knobs to the markings, and the Q knob moves very freely, so you have to be careful with that. Also, if you have a sideways rack, you'll be fine with an A Designs (what I'm using) as the card is made to sit that way (left down). If you use the Radial, the opamps will be upside down and you will probably need to be zip-tied in to be sure they don't come out, which is the way mine were shipped. I don't think you'll need to tie them down if they're going to live in a normal vertical 500 rack or console.
I got these EQ for the mix bus, and they have been living there ever since they arrived, parked right after a Pendulum ES8... except for one mix that I used an Overstayer Stereo Compressor on... I've had alot of acoustic stuff going on recently, strings, oud, hand drums, but also beatboxing, some pretty anthemic accordion-heavy psych-indie pop... I'll be mastering a brass band tomorrow and I can assure you these will be on the mix bus. They work effortlessly over many styles, and I can feel this thing becoming an essential part of my process.
The thing about those 99v opamps, I would really love to have another pair of these EQ with those to use on vocals and bass... Its a slightly more colored, saturated sound. uh oh, here we go again!! I dealt directly with Joe, the designer, on my purchase which gave the whole experience of getting these a nice and very appreciated personal touch.
Don't hesitate, these are one of the best equipment investments I've ever made in my career!