After publishing the article MY FAV EQ FOR MIXING I've received tons of questions about Pultec EQs.
I've decided so to share with you some of my favorite tricks.
In the examples below I've used the IK-Multimedia EQP-1 but the market offers many valid alternatives. (Waves, UAD, Softube, etc.).
A BIT ABOUT IT
The first version of the Pultec (or Pulse Techniques) EQP-1 was created in 1951 and it was the first passive program equalizer 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 through 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 fascinated by the Pultec's sound and its texture, but let's check some tricks I often use when mixing with this EQ.
1- KICK (MY PULTEC TOP TRICKS)
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. The two controls (Boost and Atten) 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 happens when you boost and cut by the same amount a kick. You just have to hear it yourself. What I can hear is a smooth bump that adds body to the selected frequency without messing the sound with 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 and see if it works for you.
Interesting note: If you read the manual of the original EQP 1 it advises not to boost and cut the same frequency at the same time. It's funny as this became one of the most sought-after features of this eq.
2- DRUM ROOM (MY PULTEC TOP TRICKS)
This is a trick that I learned many years ago and I love it especially on a mono drum room mic or in what is called a "drummer's shoulder mic".
Simply insert a Plutec and massively boost the 30Hz. Then add an 1176 compressing quite a lot.
So due to the massive boost before the compressor, 1176 will probably start compressing first the low end creating a very nice harmonic enhancement. Blend the mono drum room to taste with the rest of the drum kit. Try it, and let me know if you like it.
3- 3KHz to 5 KHz (MY PULTEC TOP TRICKS)
In the middle session of EQP 1, we find the second band. The parameters available for this band are frequency, bandwidth, and only the capability to boost. Each of the frequencies is quite unique and can be helpful for many instruments. Try a boost at 3KHz to 5KHz with a broad bandwidth to bring guitars and vocals in the face and close to the listener without being worried about harshness.
4- BACKGROUND VOCALS (MY PULTEC TOP TRICKS)
This is one of my go-to tricks. I send (post-pan) all the BGVs in parallel to a bus where I have a Pultec. I boost the 8 or 10 KHz quite a lot (8/9 dBs) with a broad bandwidth, 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 (MY PULTEC TOP TRICKS)
Here is the last of my Pultec top tricks. Because of its unique character, I like it on the master bus as well. Usually, I have one Pultec on 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 but try not to exaggerate.