Cartec EQP-1A

Sep 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Wes Maebe

PULTEC-MODELED EQ FROM THE UK

Polls


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Cartec EQP-1A

The EQP-1A features point-to-point wiring and custom-made transformers.

Is there an engineer out there who doesn’t love the old Pultec EQs? I think it’s safe to say we all have a Pultec on our wish lists. The two factors that keep us from owning a few is that they are hard to come by, and if you do find one, it will cost you an arm and a leg. Despair no longer. Liam Carter at Cartec has set out to re-create the vintage Pultec magic—and he succeeded.

The Old

Cartec has been around only three short years and has released three high-end analog hardware units. The company’s two 500 Series units are the Fe-Q5, an inductor-based EQ; the PRE-Q5, a preamp/EQ combo; and the rackmounted EQP-1A tested here.

The original EQP-1A was developed in the early 1950s by Eugene Shank and Ollie Summerland from Pulse Technologies in New Jersey. Eugene and Ollie both built their units by hand, and when the company sadly closed its doors in the ’70s, the Pultec EQ became one of the most desired EQs in the world. The Pultec EQP-1A is a passive valve mono unit, and its main characteristics are its smooth tone and the possibility to simultaneously boost and cut the same frequency. Over the years there have been quite a few great hardware versions, and of course there are various software emulations on the market as well.

You could easily ask yourself: “Why invest in one hardware unit if I can just spend a couple of hundred bucks and have a plug-in I can use all over the session?” In our world of mixing in the box, there’s always the choice to go with hardware or software. If you’re working completely in the box and you don’t want to be troubled by recall issues, the solution is pretty clear: plug-ins. If, on the other hand, you like to get your hands on real controls and feel the unit react to the signal, hardware is the way to go. Whatever the scenario, getting your hands on one of the Cartecs will make up your mind for you.

The New

Like its predecessor, the Cartec EQP-1A has a valve gain stage and valve power rectification stage, giving the unit the classic “compression” sound due to the PSU sag. The inputs and outputs are transformer-balanced, and all the wiring is point-to-point (no circuit boards inside, people).

The custom-made transformers have been hand-wound, and the switches and pots are military-grade Grayhill and PEC models. The green front panel with the warm yellow etching makes the unit very easy on the eyes. This color combo allows you to see the frequencies, bandwidth and boost/attenuate amounts easily, even under cozy studio lighting. It’s refreshing to see that Liam didn’t yield to the temptation to add extra features; he’s stayed true to the original design. Everything you expect to see on the front panel is there: LF range from 20-100 CPS, HF range from 3-16 KPS, Boost and Attenuation from 0-10, sharp to broad bandwidth, the Atten selector 5-10-20, bypass switch, On/Off selector, and a cool bright light.






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