Page Text

MTMReviews Cartec Audio EQP-1A

Cartec Audio

EQP-1A

The original EQP-1A was a classic that inspired many imitations. Is Cartec’s re-take a legend reborn? John Pickford finds out.

The high-end section works in a slightly different way. The larger of two slightly different way. The larger of two switches facilitates the selection of

The high-end section works in a slightly different way. The larger of two switches facilitates the selection of seven frequencies at 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12 and 16kHz. The Boost pot provides up to 18dB of peak boost while the continuously variable Bandwidth pot determines the shape of the EQ curve, from narrow to broad. A smaller switch to the right allows for the selection of three frequencies at 5, 10 and 12kHz. The Attenuation pot controls these frequencies, providing up to 16dB of shelf cut. Equalisation is switched in or out via a chunky toggle switch. The back panel is simplicity itself: one XLR in, one XLR out and an IEC power socket.

EQP-1A Manufacturer Cartec Audio Price £1,992 Contact KMR Audio 020 8445 2446 Web www.cartecaudio.com

This year, the EQP-1 will be 60 years old. But its manufacturer today, Cartec, was founded just two years ago. The original EQP-1 was launched in 1951 by US company Pulse Techniques of Teaneck, New Jersey (the town in which Les Paul built his first studio with an eight-track recorder). Pultec – as the company became known – comprised Ollie Summerland and Gene Shank, who between them handled all aspects of the business. Each unit was hand-made and, following an early modification, the Pultec EQP-1A remained in production for almost 30 years.

Fast-forward to 2009, when Liam Carter formed Cartec Audio in London and re-created the EQP-1A in fine detail – operationally, that is. The original Pultec was a 3U behemoth in blue. The new Cartec has been slimmed down to a more rack-friendly 2U design and the anodised brushed-aluminium front panel is finished in a shade of British racing green reminiscent of 60s MG sports cars. Front-panel legends are in

KeyFeatures ●Hand-wired construction ●All-valve gain stages ●3-year warranty a complimentary shade of yellow. Inside the box the components accurately emulate the original design, right down to the rectifying valve in the power supply (not found in other commercially available Pultec wannabes). And no, this isn’t the first Pultec copy – and we’re sure it won’t be the last – but while others take their inspiration from the original, the Cartec is the real deal – an authentic EQP-1A for the 21st century.

The front panel is laid out traditionally, albeit in a slightly more compact form. Cartec has even adopted the terms CPS (Cycles per Second) and KCS (Kilocycles per Second) to

Passive aggressive The EQP-1A is a no-loss passive equalizer, which means that the signal level going in to it is reduced (insertion loss around 16dB) and then restored by an onboard amplifier. This means that there is no change in signal level when equalization is switched in or out. The amplifier stage remains in circuit when the EQ is bypassed and adds character to sounds passing through it, largely due to the valves driving the amp. Three valves are used: an EEC-82, an EEC-83

The original Pultec EQP-1A has become a studio icon in the same league as Fairchild limiters determine frequency rather than the more common Hz and kHz. For the sake of modernity, we’ll stick with the more familiar Hz and kHz for this review.

At the low end, a stepped rotary switch provides four selectable frequencies at 20, 30, 60 and 100Hz. Two continuously variable pots allow for up to 13.5dB of shelf boost and 17.5dB of shelf attenuation respectively.

and a 6x4 rectifier. Liam Carter uses JJ valves, which, like all components in this unit, are chosen for performance.

Model EQ The original Pultec EQP-1A has become a studio icon in the same league as Fairchild limiters or even the legendary Neumann U47 microphone. It is undoubtedly the most famous EQ ever

110 | February 2011 magazine