Cartec EQP-1A

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



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In the Studio

I first used the EQP-1A in recording an album for a Belarusian singer. This was the perfect time and opportunity to insert the Cartec into the signal chain and track a few vocals. I was already using a great microphone, Bees Neez Jade, and preamp, Focusrite Liquid Channel, so I was not expecting a massive change. I was amazed by the result. Switching the unit in, with all the frequencies flat, made a very audible and satisfying difference.

I guess many of us tend to get a little jaded about gear. Some manufacturers turn out new units like software developers release upgrades. And all of us end users are struggling to keep up because, let’s face it, we’re gear sluts and our clients expect us to run the latest gear available. That’s why it’s exciting when a piece of equipment comes along that makes such a difference in recording, mixing and mastering situations.

We already established that the EQP-1A in flat mode smooths out the sound. It warms up the signal chain and has that “going-to-tape”-like quality. Clicking through the frequencies you discover that it behaves exactly like an old Pultec. The 30-60 CPS range for kick drums, 100 for bass or warming up thin vocals, the 3-8 KPS for bringing out vocals in the mix, sparkling up guitars, and 10-16 KPS for air.

Our vocal session that day was on the taxing side to say the least. We were dealing with a particularly tricky vocal part we’d abandoned the night before, in a difficult area of the singer’s range. Because it was a fresh start, I decided to sling the EQP-1A into the chain to see if I could add something to get everyone excited. Not only did the producer raise his eyebrows, but the singer also noticed the change in sound immediately, and the vibe in both the control room and the vocal booth improved, and we managed to record a very cool vocal performance in no time. The unit remained in the signal chain for the next day and all the backing vocals went down the same route.

Killer EQ Reprise

Unfortunately I had the Cartec for only a very short time. As I’d had the chance to use it only on vocals, I felt I hadn’t had the opportunity to properly put it through its paces. The unit I used for this particular vocal session had to go pretty swiftly as it was sold to a client. Liam Carter and Kevin Walker at Cartec kindly arranged a brand new box for me to use a little longer.

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