A Designs EM-EQ2, Stereo EQ


Pultec Style Dual mono/stereo EQ great for tracking, mixing and buss work

What we think:

When I first used the A-Designs EM-EQ2 I was magically transported back 20-25 years to when I used to work at a New York City studio called “Power Station” [which later became “Avatar Studios”, and is still one of the jewels of New York City recording studios].

Power Station was the creation of Tony Bongiovi, a legendary producer who had done some time at Motown, with a slew of "household name" recordings to his credit.  Much of the early Power Station staff came from Media Sound [who really had the best trained staff in all of New York at the time].  Guys like Bob Clearmountain, and technical director Ed Evans made Power Station THE destination studio in the 1980's.  Anyone who was anyone, from The Rolling Stones, to Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and of course “Power Station” recorded there.  Not only were the acoustic environments second to none, but the level of technical infrastructure was also without parallel.  It could be argued that had Power Station not installed one of the earliest SSL desks on the planet that SSL desks may very well not have caught on as they did, and staff engineer Bob Clearmountain became a legend while working at this facility.

At the time I was working there Power Station had 3 rooms [A, B, and C].  All of the rooms ran Studer A-800 mkIII tape machines.  The output of every channel of these tape machines was hardwired to a Pultec EQP-1A3.  These were some of the last Pultec EQP-1A3's ever built [the studio was created in 1977, and these Pultecs were built specifically for Power Station].  The interesting thing about these Pultecs were that they did not employ tube amplifiers.  Their input buffer amp and output gain makeup amp duties were handled by an API 2520 solid state operational amplifier.

These solid state Pultecs had a very unique sound. The low end was large, but had better detail and focus to their sonic characteristic.  They added little to no noise to the signal [unlike the tube Pultecs that came before the 2520 based units], and I dare say they were responsible for much of the unique sound that raised Power Station [and Avatar Studios to follow] to its absolutely legendary status.

Enter the A-Designs EM-EQ2.  This 2 channel unit employs the identical passive equalization circuit [originally developed by Western Electric] as the original Pultec EQP-1A3, along with a solid state input buffer amp and out EM-EQ2 put gain makeup amp.  Unlike the original Pultecs, which took up two rack spaces per channel, the EM-EQ2 gives you two channels in two rack spaces [and if rack space is at nearly as much of premium in your studio as it is in ours – you will absolutely appreciate the economy of size!!].

The EM-EQ2 delivers the same “low end punch” you will find in the legendary Power Station Pultecs, as well as nearly noise free operation, and shimmering top end.  You will find the same ability to sculpt the low end of a kick drum or bass as I remembered from so many years ago... and you will find the absolutely unparalleled high frequency “air” component you can add to a vocal.  You will find a shimmer you can add to acoustic guitars, and a highly opulent authority you've never experienced for piano recordings. 

Once you use the EM-EQ2 you will never understand how you were able to work before you had one... but I will warn you, they are habit forming.  If you're not careful you could find yourself with 24 channels of them... much like there were no fewer than 24 channels in every room at Power Station!!


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