How two guys in New Jersey created the most desirable equalizer: Pultec EQP-1A

After closing down in 1981, Gene Shenk received a call from NYC Power Station owner, Tony Bongiovi. Bongiovi wanted to place an order so large that Gene couldn’t say no. Eventually, 24 units, which were mostly the smaller 2U rack version of the 1A the EQP1A3, were produced for the last ever production run made by Gene Shenk.

Nile Rogers Pultecs
Nile Rodgers sitting in front of the racks of 24 Pultec EQP-1A3s in Power Station’s Studio C

Interestingly, the Q curves on a Pultec are so broad that adjusting 30 Hz can affect frequencies up to 1kHz. Also, the manual explicitly states, “do not attempt to boost and attenuate simultaneously on the low frequencies,” yet this is the very thing for which this EQ is famous. Boosting and cutting at the same time seems counterproductive, but by doing so, it makes the curve dip before the boost starts, which results in what can only be described as magic.

In the early 2000s, electrical engineer Steve Jackson decided to try and recreate Pultec with some guidance from Gene Shenk himself. He was able to secure the rights to the name and started producing EQP-1A3 again. Many others have tried to copy, clone and emulate, the Pultec EQP-1A. Many will argue that some do it quite well, but to most that have had the pleasure of using the original units, there’s an undeniable magic that just can’t seem to be captured in an algorithm or with modern components and manufacturing techniques.

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David Silverstein

David Silverstein began engineering at the age of 14 when he purchased a Fostex four track cassette recorder. After high school he enrolled at Five Towns College where he graduated with a Bachelors of Professional Studies in Business with a concentration in Audio Recording Technology. He has worked under renowned engineers and producers Jim Sabella (Marcy Playground, Nine Days, and Public Enemy) and Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Spacehog, The Ramones and The Lemonheads). David currently works out of Sabella Studios in Roslyn, NY.