Manuel's here from masteryourtrack.com
After publishing the article about my favourite EQs for mixing (click here) I've received tons of questions about Pultec EQs. I decide so to share with you some of my favourites tricks.
In the examples below I use the IK-Multimedia EQP-1 as it's one on my favourites Pultec emulation but there are other valid alternatives out there (Waves, UAD, etc...they are all valid plugins).
A BIT ABOUT IT
The first version of the Pultec (or Pulse Techniques) EQP-1 was created in the 1951 and it was the first passive program equaliser on the market. This was a game changer as it gave the engineers the ability to manipulate the sound bringing it closer to the listener (more in front).
The EQP-1 is a quite magic EQ capable to enhances anything you run trough it, even if no EQ is applied.
The main characteristics of this EQ are: a massive low end and silky top end...basically all we want in any mix.
The EQP-1 is based on three bands with the option of either boost, cut or both...yes you can boost and cut at the same time ;)
I've always been fascinating by the Pultec's sound and its texture, but let's check some tricks I often use when mixing with this EQ.
On the lower band try to select 60 Hz (experiment also with 30 Hz and 100 Hz) and start to boost and cut at the same time. In the reality, the two controls don't work exactly at the same frequency. The cut's always a bit above the selected frequency taming some muddiness. Also although the two pots have the same numeration the boost it's a little bit more powerful than the cut. It's very hard to describe what happen when you boost and cut by the same amount a kick, you just have to hear it yourself. For me, I can hear a smooth bump which add body to the selected frequency without any muddiness...it's magic.
In the past I have had great results applying this trick also on bass and acoustic guitars..just give it a try ;)
What is interesting is the if that is you read the manual of the original EQP 1 they tell you that you shouldn't boost and cut the same frequency at the same time. It's funny as this became one of the most sought after feature of this eq ;)
2- DRUM ROOM
This is a trick that I've learned many years ago and I love it especially on the mono drum room mic.
What I do is insert a Plutec and boost massively the 30Hz. Then I run it though an 1176 compressing quite a lot. So the 1176 will probably start to compress first the low end creating a very nice harmonic enhancement. Try it, and let me know if you like it.
3- 3KHz to 5 KHz
On the middle session of the EQP 1 we find the second band. This band has only the boost capability, you can select the frequency and the Q. Each of these frequencies is quite unique and can be helpful for many instruments. Try a boost of 3KHz to 5KHz with a broad bandwidth to bring guitars and vocals in face and close to the listener without any harshness.
4- BACKGROUND VOCALS
This is one of my go-to trick. I send all the BGVs in parallel to a sub group where I have a Pultec. I boost the 8 or 10 KHz quite a lot (8/9 dBs). I keep the Q at the max and then I blend the parallel with the unprocessed vocals. What I get is an open, silky, glued and airy sound. I cannot ask for more.
5- MASTER BUS
Yes! Because of its unique character I like it on the master bus as well. Usually I have one from the very beginning of the mix. I make it smiling by boosting a bit the low end (30Hz or 60Hz) and the top end (8KHz or 10KHz). How much boost it really depends on the song. I play a bit with it once I've done with the rough mix, anyway I tend not to exaggerate.