Grammy award-winning mixing engineer Dave Pensado, has fitted his studio with an A-Designs EM-PEQ Pultec-style equaliser.
Pensado, who has mixed for such high-profile artists as Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Elton John and Michael Jackson, is using the EM-PEQ in tandem with a Pete’s Place Audio BAC-500 compressor.
He is also known for presenting his weekly web show Pensado’s Place, in which he and co-host Herb Trawick discuss a wide variety of music and recording topics with guest engineers, producers, record executives and artists.
Two of the things that Pensado has been talking about, both on and off his show, is his affinity for the EM-PEQ Pultec-style equalizer and Pete’s Place BAC-500 compressor, which are mounted together in an A-Designs Audio 500HR rack. According to the engineer, the two 500 Series modules have become an essential part of his mixes in Studio 3 of L.A.’s Larrabee Sound Studios, where Pensado is located and mixes between 200 and 250 songs a year.
“I originally thought the EM-PEQ might be a straight substitute for a Pultec EQP-1A, but it’s a little bit different, and I mean that in an extremely good way,” said Pensado. “Of course, the Pultec is one of the greatest pieces of gear ever built, but it tends to make you sound like everybody else because everyone and their mother uses one in some form or another. Plus, with the tubes and capacitors all aging on the vintage units, I might have to go through ten of them to find one that I actually like the high end on.
“Thankfully, the EM-PEQ is very predictable in what it delivers, which is a sound that works just as well as the Pultec but, at the same time, can be rather unique,” he added. “With the proliferation of dance music and the emphasis on bass frequencies, I find that I actually get a littler clearer low end – yet still equally fat – out of the EM-PEQ, which I really like. And the module’s top end sounds very, very nice as well, particularly on background vocals. I recently used it on mixes for Brandy and Keyshia Cole and it was really cool. Again, don’t expect it to sound exactly like a Pultec, but hope for something better and you won’t be disappointed. It’s just a great tool.”