Professional Sound - August 2017 - Page 24

PRODUCT
PRODUCT

TESTS

Warm Audio EQP-WA Tube Equalizer

By Adam Gallant

Warm Audio has been providing pro and home studios with affordable hardware solutions since the company officially launched in 2011 . Warm Audio ’ s competitive advantage is its ability to produce quality equipment at an impressively low price point . With a focus on cloning the most widely used hardware processors and microphones ( such as a 1176 compressor , LA-2A compressor , U87 microphone , and others ), Warm Audio has made incredible strides in the last six years and has quickly become a familiar name among audio professionals around the globe .

Up for review is Warm Audio ’ s revered 2015 release , the EQP-WA . This EQ is a faithful reproduction of one of the most iconic tools in recording history , the Pultec EQP-1A , and I ’ ll say now that Warm Audio did a marvelous job modelling and modifying the classic Pultec design .
Out of the Box Overall , the 2 U rack-mountable unit has an impressive build quality . The front panel is robust , the finish has a very nice gloss , and the colour is elegant . It ’ s identifiable as a Warm product with an obviously Pultecstyle layout . The knobs are stepped and of top quality .
There is nothing perceivably “ cheap ” about this unit ( aside from its price ). The EQP-WA is not as deep as a traditional Pultec , measuring in at 19 x 3.5 x 6 in . All of the controls are clearly visible and easy to handle . As an engineer who is used to a 500-series rack crammed with knobs , the added real estate of the 2 U size was a welcome benefit during operation .
Inside the Box The EQP-WA uses premium-grade input and output CineMag USA transformers and operates on two tubes : one 12AX7 and one 12AU7 . Tung-Sol brand tubes are used and sit under shielded covers with springs . I suspect we ’ ll hear of users modding these EQs since there is little risk with such a reasonably priced unit . The internal components are well shielded and immaculately clean in their layout . For connectivity , we have XLR ins and outs as well as TRS ins and outs on the back . Also , we have a switchable 115 / 230-volt IEC power inlet .
In Operation The first instrument I ran through the WA was a vintage Gibson acoustic with olderthan-ideal strings . I was using an AKG c451 mic to an API 512c to the WA into an RME interface . I was far less careful boosting with this unit than I would be EQing with a software Pultec . Pushing 5 kHz and cutting 20 kHz led to a present and far-from-harsh correction of the dead strings with added character in the low mids .
A feature that Warm Audio added that is not native to the original Pultec design is three additional frequency bands in the low end : 200 , 400 , and 800 Hz . This makes the unit all the more versatile for low-mid problem areas often encountered with acoustic instruments or vocals suffering from too much proximity effect from a dynamic or ribbon microphone .
During mix sessions , I found myself running our mono drum mic ( a Royer 122 ) through the WA with great results . My go-to treatment for that mic is to reduce the high end and crank 60 Hz . This EQ is perfectly suited for the job and adds a pleasant amount of saturation .
A Waves PuigTec lives on our master buss at the studio . It ’ s a go-to software solution for adding harmonic content across a mix . Two EQP-WAs are a step up from this approach . Having hardware at my fingertips is always a little more exciting and inspiring when mixing . A pair on the master bus is a perfect fixture for anyone looking to add some harmonic colour and the “ gluing ” effect this style of EQ is known for .
Like the Pultec , the EQ section on the WA is bypassable . Signal still passes through tubes and transformers for a warming effect , even when the EQ is disengaged . Bypassing then engaging treatments has always been a part of my decision making process when compressing and EQing , so it ’ s great to see that no corners were cut here .
Summary The EQP-WA , like all of the Warm Audio products , offers unprecedented value . This EQ is a no-brainer for anyone looking for a hardware solution that offers the colour and ease of use that Pultecs are renowned for . There is no struggling to improve source sounds with this unit . Even bypassed , it complements whatever signal passes through it . This unit is a worthy investment by my standards , and after thoroughly testing it , I ’ m left wondering , can the team at Warm Audio get us a Fairchild clone at a reasonable price , too ?
Adam Gallant has worked in all facets of digital audio production , from music composition to location and post audio for television and film . He currently owns and operates The Hill Sound Studio in Charlottetown , PE .
24 PROFESSIONAL SOUND
PRODUCT TESTS Warm Audio EQP-WA Tube Equalizer By Adam Gallant W arm Audio has been provid- ing pro and home studios with affordable hardware solutions since the com- pany officially launched in 2011. Warm Audio’s competitive advantage is its ability to produce quality equipment at an impressively low price point. With a focus on cloning the most widely used hardware processors and microphones (such as a 1176 compressor, LA-2A com- pressor, U87 microphone, and others), Warm Audio has made incredible strides in the last six years and has quickly become a familiar name among audio professionals around the globe. Up for review is Warm Audio’s revered 2015 release, the EQP-WA. This EQ is a faithful reproduction of one of the most iconic tools in recording history, the Pultec EQP-1A, and I’ll say now that Warm Audio did a marvelous job modelling and modify- ing the classic Pultec design. Out of the Box Overall, the 2 U rack-mountable unit has an impressive build quality. The front panel is robust, the finish has a very nice gloss, and the colour is elegant. It’s identifiable as a Warm product with an obviously Pultec- style layout. The knobs are stepped and of top quality. There is nothing perceivably “cheap” about this unit (aside from its price). The EQP-WA is not as deep as a traditional Pultec, measuring in at 19 x 3.5 x 6 in. All of the controls are clearly visible and easy to handle. As an engineer who is used to a 500-series rack crammed with knobs, the added real estate of the 2 U size was a welcome benefit during operation. 24 PROFESSIONAL SOUND Inside the Box The EQP-WA uses premium-grade input and output CineMag USA transformers and oper- ates on two tubes: one 12AX7 and one 12AU7. Tung-Sol brand tubes are used and sit under shielded covers with springs. I suspect we’ll hear of users modding these EQs since there is little risk with such a reasonably priced unit. The internal components are well shielded and immaculately clean in their layout. For connectivity, we have XLR ins and outs as w )́QIĹ́ѡͼݔٔ)ݥэԼٽЁ% ݕȁи)%=Ʌѥ)QЁյЁ$Ʌѡɽ՝ѡ])݅́٥хͽѥݥѠȴ)ѡɥ̸$݅́ͥ-)ѼA$ɌѼѡ]ѼI5)ѕə$݅́ȁ́ɕհѥ)ݥѠѡ́չЁѡ$ݽձEݥѠ)ͽ݅ɔAձѕA͡ԁ!聅ѥ(!聱Ѽɕ͕Ёȵɽ͠)ɕѥѡɥ́ݥѠ)Ʌѕȁѡ܁̸)ɔѡЁ]ɴՑѡ)́ЁѥٔѼѡɥAձѕͥ)ѡɕѥɕՕ䁉́ѡ)!踁Q́́ѡ)չЁѡɔٕͅѥȁܵɽ)ɕ́ѕչѕɕݥѠѥ)յ́ȁٽ́ՙɥɽѽ)Սɽ᥵䁕Ёɽ幅)ɥɽ)ɥ͕̰ͥ$չ͕)չȁմIȀȤ)ѡɽ՝ѡ]ݥѠɕЁɕձ̸5䁝Ѽ)ɕѵЁȁѡЁ́ѼɕՍѡ)Ʌ!踁Q́D́əѱ)եѕȁѡ́ͅ)չЁͅɅѥ)]ٕ́AեQٕ́ȁѕ)́ЁѡՑ%ӊéѼͽ݅ɔͽԴ)ѥȁɵѕЁɽ́)กQݼE@]́ɔѕɽѡ)ɽ!٥ɑ݅ɔЁ䁙ѥ)́݅́ѱɔ፥ѥɥ)ݡ᥹ȁѡѕȁ́)əЁɔȁ役Ѽ)ͽɵȁѡqեt)Ёѡ́屔D́ݸȸ)1ѡAձѕѡD͕ѥѡ)]́ͅMѥ͕́ѡɽ՝)Չ́Ʌ͙ɵ́ȁ݅ɵа)ٕݡѡD͕́ ͥ)ѡɕѵ́́݅́)Ё䁑ͥɽ́ݡ)ɕͥEͼӊéɕЁѼ͕)ѡЁɹ́ݕɔЁɔ)Mյ)QE@]ѡ]ɴՑ)ɽՍ̰́չɕѕمՔQ)D́Ʌȁȁ役ȁ)ɑ݅ɔͽѥѡЁ́ѡȁ)͔͔ѡЁAձѕ́ɔɕݹȸ)Qɔ́՝Ѽɽٔͽɍ)ͽչ́ݥѠѡ́չиٕ͕)́ݡѕٕȁ͕ͥ)ѡɽ՝иQ́չЁ́ݽѡ䁥ٕѵ)䁵хɑ̰ѕȁѡɽ՝)ѕѥа'eЁݽɥѡѕ)Ё]ɴՑЁ́ɍЁ)ɕͽɥѽ)Ё́ݽɭ́)хՑɽՍѥɽͥͥѥ)ѼѥЁՑȁѕ٥ͥ) !ɕѱ䁽ݹ́Ʌѕ́Q!)MչMՑ ɱѕѽݸA