The Pultec EQ is one piece of vintage gear that most audio hardware collectors would like to get their hands on. If you could find an original then it would cost you an arm and a leg to buy, there are a few very nice clones from the likes of Tubetec, Cartec and Manley, but for most mere mortals the closest we get is a nice plug-in emulation.
So when someone offers you a hardware ‘Pultec EQ’ for around £229 ($300) the immediate thought is ‘what is wrong with it?’
So we set out to find out to see if the old adage ‘if something is too good to be true, then it is too good to be true.’ is always true.
Lindell was founded by Swedish record producer Tobias Lindell.
The PEX500 is a one channel transformer coupled Passive Pultec Equalizer. It’s an all discrete design based upon their hybrid amplifier.
Lindell say that the PEX500 is their take on the magical classic Pultec design.
Lindell PEX-500 Specification
To use the Lindell PEX-500 you are going to need a 500 Series rack of some kind, in the pictures you can see it in a Radial Workhorse Cube and the Radial Workhorse Powerstrip. It’s full feature specification is;
- Transformer coupled Balanced inputs and Balanced Outputs
- Passive Pultec Equalizer.
- Inductor Hybrid gain make-up amplifier
- 3 Step Switched Eq Low Freq Boost 30Hz, 60Hz, 100Hz +/-10%
- 3 Step Switched Eq High Freq Bosst 6kHz, 10kHz, 16kHz +/-10%
- 3 Step Switched Eq High Freq Attenuation 10kHz, 15kHz, 20kHz +/-10%
- True Hardwire Eq Bypass
- Gold Plated PCB
Lindell PEX-500 In Use
For those not used to Pultec style EQ, one of the reasons they are so loved is the magic boost and attenuation of frequencies in the same area. It might sound a little odd to be boosting and cutting the same frequencies, but because the curves of the boost and the cut are slightly different in the Pultec circuit, by boosting and cutting the Pultec magic kicks in and the cut applies a slight resonance, it’s particularly used on the bottom end and produces nice tight bass.
If you ever get the chance to use an original Pultec EQ then I suggest you take it, I’ve been lucky enough to sit in Abbey Road and heard a vintage Pultec doing the magic on a mix.
I decided to try the Lindell PEX500 on three pieces of material, a bass guitar, an acoustic guitar and kick drum. I don’t own a Pultec EQ, so to give it some reference I created similar audio clips using one of the many very good plug-in emulations as reference.
Lindell say that the PEX-500 is ‘their take’ on the Pultec, which is important to note as I found using the PEX-500 required me to push it harder than I would expect to get the same results. So the PEX-500 seems to be more subtle, especially in the bottom end. That said this should never be a problem as most of the time any boost I make is no higher than around halfway up, so there’s plenty more juice if needed.
A small niggle I do have with the Lindell gear is that the combination of the champagne colour, combined with the small text required to get so much into the space, makes reading the text hard - when I have my studio lighting set to sexy then it is nigh on impossible.
Of course with so few controls, over time one would not need to read them and would instinctively know what the controls do. A limited edition version is coming out in the summer with a black finish, looking at the pictures I can see that vastly improves the situation.
Lindell PEX-500 Conclusion
in my tests I found that the PEX-500 Pultec EQ performed well, it sounds great and does what you would expect from this kind of EQ, giving the user a Pultec EQ sound but at a fraction of the price.
Should you buy it? I did, in fact the Lindell gear you can see in the shots is my own stuff I purchased for the studio. Great sounding studio hardware for £229… what’s not to like? I love em.
If you have been thinking of joining the 500 series club then Lindell would be a great place to start, it sounds a lot better than the bargain basement price suggests, it might cost a tenth of some of the alternatives, but it doesn’t sound like it. Check them out.