Warm Audio EQP

For those of us who love hybrid recording environments (in the box, out of the box, beside the box) you’re thinking a Pultec  EQ for tracking and mixing would be very beneficial – and you would be right! But the cost of a genuine Pultec is out of reach for most mortals. This has spurred an industry of “clone” producers that manufacture replicas of these expensive and highly sought after pieces of equipment. A wide range of price points are available, some of which are beyond the budgets of small studios, not as much as an original Pultec, but still out of range. There are some clever designers that have found ways to reduce manufacturing costs while retaining the design elements and component quality of the originals. Welcome the Warm Audio EQP-WA. We acquired two of these and have run tests on various instruments but find that we like them best sitting on the master bus as part of the final mixdown tool set.

First thing you’ll realize is that the units take a awhile to warm up and get to spec. As with most audio tool tweaks, a little goes a long way. When you start working with the unit, push settings to the extreme initially, just to see what they do, but then back off to avoid either over boosted lows or over crispy high-end shelving. The units are designed to come off the conveyor within a 1db output gain variance. Testing proved they are within 1db. We ordered matched tubes to make sure it wasn’t the tubes that were causing the misalignment, but  still the meters were about 1db hotter on one side. The company’s new versions come with trim pots, since so many people were using these in a stereo configuration. We make any necessary level changes in the mastering process.

If you have a quality plugin like the PuigChild EQP from Waves….. you’re pretty close to the original and maybe don’t need the extra expense of the hardware. But, if you have a fetish for hardware (OK, I admit it) and have the budget ($699 x 2 = $1,400, because you’ll want two), then you can indeed integrate the greatness of a Pultec style tube powered EQ into your workflow. The question when it comes to all major capital outlays: is it really that “great” and will it get my songs closer to that final 10% polished state that will make them sound like a record? The answer is a  big”yes”, for sure.

Reliance on hardware tools to get that extra vibe continues to be standard procedure for most professional audio engineers. Look at the studio photos of every big name mixer and there’s a rack of hardware. Sure they also have their own line of plug-in products, but people gotta make a living and for most people software is the best choice.