Building on a decade of the world’s most intensive modeling research, UA has recreated the famed Pultec EQ experience as a plug-in – one that’s nearly indistinguishable from the original analog hardware.
Testimonials from top mixer/producers
Neal Cappellino, Jeff Balding,
Richard Dodd, and Vance Powell
When Ollie Summerland and Gene Shenk hand-crafted the first Pulse Techniques passive program equalizer in 1951, they had no idea they were transforming an industry. But like a Stradivarius, their little garage-built, made-to-order device was copied by every EQ-maker for decades, and their early EQP-1A's still bring $4,000 plus on the used market — if you’re lucky enough to find one.
The reason for all the fuss is the Pultec’s unparalleled sound and control. Words like “airy,” “silky,” and “warm” are often used to describe the Pultec's effect on vocals, guitar, bass, kick drums, and full mixes — pretty much everything.
The new Pultec Passive EQ Collection for UAD-2 and Apollo hardware is the ultimate plug-in emulation of Pulse Techniques’ original passive EQs. With painstaking amplifier section modeling now onboard, the Pultec EQ Collection "breathes" like the original hardware.
Going far beyond UA’s original standard-setting Pultec plug-ins, the EQP-1A faithfully models the overbuilt transformers and complex tube amplifiers of the original hardware. Simply running a full mix or single instrument through it imbues the track with the legendary Pultec analog warmth. And, with these new plug-ins, you can actually hear the signature Pultec amplifier overload effects — just as you would with the hardware — unleashing a bounty of sublime results.
The Pultec EQP-1A’s signature effect, unintended by its designers, is its ability to seemingly boost and cut the same frequency simultaneously. In reality, the filters actually alter adjacent frequencies, but the naturally interactive resonant dip has an amazing boosting and tightening effect — especially on bass guitar and kick drums — that you’ve heard many times without knowing it. Just select your bass frequency then play with the balance of Boost and Cut to tune the effect.
The MEQ-5 Mid-Range Equalizer is the richly colorful tube-amplified companion to the EQP-1A. With two bands of midrange boost and one band of midrange dip, the MEQ-5 gets the very best out of the “power region” where guitars and vocals can make or break a mix. The unique band overlap and filter interaction unleash the vibrancy of these instruments in the track – without fighting your overall mix.
The never-before-available HLF-3C completes the Pultec Passive EQ Collection. This new plug-in adds 12 dB per octave low and high cut filters, for broad retro-tonal sculpting or bygone-era special effects. You can easily subtract the unnecessary frequencies in any instrument and sub-group so they stay wonderfully musical in the mix.
In developing the Pultec EQ Collection, UA commissioned some of the brightest names in the business to develop custom presets. Check out John Paterno’s (Steve Gadd, The Black Crowes, Bonnie Raitt) “Clear, Big-Body Acoustic” and his “U-47” and “U-67” settings. Also demo Jacknife Lee’s (The Cars, U2, Taylor Swift) “Drum Buss Earth and Air” and “Acoustic Guitar Tamer.” See a list of Pultec presets here.
How does the new Pultec Passive EQ Collection compare to the previous Pultec plug-ins offered by Universal Audio?
The plug-ins in the Pultec Passive EQ Collection benefit from the additional processing power afforded by the UAD-2, plus more than 10 years of UA’s evolving sophistication in plug-in design. While our original Pultec plug-ins remain an excellent rendition of the hardware, the new Pultec Passive EQ Collection plug-ins add the transformer and complex tube amplifier nonlinearities to these must-have tools. The sophisticated modeling technology used today in this new plug-in collection captures all of these tone-enhancing characteristics for individual sources to full program material.
Does the Pultec Passive EQ Collection replace the "old" Pultec plug-ins?
No, the original Pultec EQP-1A Legacy plug-in will continue to be included in the “Analog Classics” bundle, which is provided with the purchase of any UAD DSP product. The UAD Pultec EQP-1A (Legacy) and UAD Pultec-Pro (Legacy) remain useful, in that they consume less DSP, and are less sonically “colored” — which may be desirable in some instances.
Can I still purchase the “old” Pultec-Pro plug-in?
For the few UAD customers who do not already own the UAD Pultec-Pro (Legacy) EQP-1A/MEQ-5 combo plug-in, they will get it as a fourth plug-in title with the purchase of the Pultec Passive EQ Collection.
The layout of the EQP-1A is a bit confusing. What are the parameter associations?
The EQP-1A is a three band EQ with a layout that may be less than intuitive to a new user. Here’s a visual breakdown of the controls associated with each of the bands;
Low Shelf, High Peak and High Shelf.
The Low shelf can boosted or attenuated, or boosted and attenuated for a special effect that creates a shelf boost with a resonant dip near the cutoff frequency. The High Peak filter is boost only and has an adjustable bandwidth or Q, and the High Shelf is attenuation only. The MEQ-5 is more straightforward, with three bands of frequency dependent, constant Q equalization (Peak/Dip/Peak respectively), with dedicated gain controls for each.
How does the EQP-1A boost and cut the same frequency?
In the documentation supplied with original hardware EQP-1A, it is recommended that the Boost and Attenuation not be applied simultaneously to the low frequencies because in theory, they would cancel each other out. In actual use however, the Boost control has slightly higher gain than the Attenuation has cut, and the frequencies they affect are slightly different. Really, there are two shelf filters present that can interact due to the fact that the Pultec is a passive EQ with no buffering between the boost and cut filter stages; this allows the boost and cut filters to be tuned in their interaction with each other, and the cut becomes a slightly resonant dip along with the shelf boost.
What defines a passive EQ design, and why is it special?
A passive EQ is a variable equalizer requiring no external power to operate, consisting only of passive components. Passive designs are favored for their high dynamic range, low noise, and reliability. The downsides of passive designs are insertion loss (the signal gain is significantly reduced) and frequency roll-off (depending on impedance). The Pultec HLF-3C is such a design (but is gain compensated in the plug-in). The EQP-1A began life as the fully passive EQP-1, but the updated EQP-1A was fitted with tube amplification and transformer isolation to make up for the insertion and frequency loss. Make-up amplifiers are now common to most modern passive EQ designs, like the Manley Massive Passive.
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