Retro 2A3 Dual Program EQ


Providing all the tone and character we've come to love and expect from a quality Pultec design, the 2A3 EQ introduces a wider range of selectable frequencies for more control and versatility while imparting a beautifully open and harmonically rich tone to the program material.

What we think:

One big word comes to mind when we think of Retro Instruments: COLOR! Retro never disappoints in delivering faithful recreations of vintage classics but with a few modern features. They’ve gone to great lengths to capture the vibe of these classic EQs, pres, and compressors, so if you’re after color, tone, warmth, vibe, mojo (insert appropriate buzzword here), Retro is a perfect choice for you. 

The strength of the Pultec style EQ is how aggressive you’re able to be with your boosts. And to make the 2A3 a little more versatile, Retro has added additional frequency options than what the classic models provided, giving the modern engineer even more power and control over their audio. Often the limited frequency options of the original units left engineers feeling like they spend a whole lot of money for an EQ that couldn’t always be dialed in, so this addition of more frequency options was a fantastic improvement.


The 2A3 boasts the powerful low-end shaping and upper-mid to high-end tone control that you’ve come to expect from a world-class Pultec style equalizer, but it’s rich harmonic color provides a signature sonic footprint that’s unique to the 2A3. It’s not uncommon to think of just rich and full lows and mids when you think of “warmth”, and the Retro absolutely embodies that, but what it also adds is a top-end polish that feels more open and airy. This all results in a warm vintage-inspired box with a built in safety net that prevents it from becoming too heavy, muddy, or enclosed. Because of this versatility in tone, I think it may be my personal favorite Pultec EQ for everything from vocals, bass, kick, guitars, over-heads, and even my entire mix. 

Manufacturer Description:


Vintage Tube Amplifiers and Custom-Designed Transformers set the soundstage. True Passive Equalization creates Bountiful and Musical Equalization curves. The new RETRO 2A3 is designed as an ultra High-Fidelity Program Equalizer whose sonic benefits go beyond the equalization process. Accurate to the industry-standard Pultec EQ performance, the RETRO 2A3 adds HF boost frequencies in several new sweet spots. Carefully implemented HF boost circuits capture the signature sound of the original passive equalizers. Use these settings to make individual tracks fit in place. Make a vocal shine and add distinct presence. There are many satisfying applications, most notably the stereo mix buss. 


A new Subsonic Filter allows you to do peaking low frequency boosts that tame the excessive subsonic energy exhibited in the original design if that’s what you want. Utilizing the interstage transformer, the filter not only reduces the subsonic energy but also provides distinct transformer tonal characteristics for tracking and mixing. The filter has settings of 40 and 90 Hz with a peaking response and sharp cutoff. The 40 Hz setting has no apparent loss of lows as it adds excitement to the 35-40 Hz region that is golden in many listening environments. The smoothing effect is pleasantly apparent throughout the midrange. It is easily switched-out for applications that require tight, accurate low frequency response. 

In consideration of the limited real estate in your rack, the RETRO 2A3 packs two EQ channels into one 2U space with surprising freedom of movement, ease of adjustment and familiarity. Use the two channels for stereo, separately on independent tracks or cascaded for extended equalization possibilities. The channel separation exceeds 70 dB. 

The RETRO 2A3 passive equalizer circuits do not rely on amplifier feedback, which can cause a harsh and clinical sound in typical active equalizer designs. By incorporating pure passive Capacitor - Inductor based equalization; the RETRO 2A3 sounds so natural and effortless even with extreme boosts and cuts. We also gave special attention to the Pultec-style bass boost/bass cut method that is essential to a powerful bass and kick drum EQ. This involves simultaneous low frequency boosts and lower-mid cuts that can scoop out the mud and add real punch. Quite simply, there are benefits to having the RETRO 2A3 in line without even equalizing, as the tube amplification has it’s own unique musicality. The RETRO 2A3 Dual Channel Tube Program Equalizer provides a very useful palette of colors and textures ready for tracking, mixing and mastering.

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