Many Bettermaker outboard processors have passed through my studio including the knob-less (but still very physical) version of the hardware EQ232P, with its excellent sonics and clever expansion on the Pultec theme. The Polish pioneers of software-controlled hardware bow to the inevitable and release their first plug-in, a re-creation of the EQ232P MkII.
The EQ232D includes a Pultec-style section (they call it P-Filter EQ) which sounds fabulous, including all the customary controls and frequency bands. Selection of the frequencies is achieved with idiosyncratic nudge buttons, and uses CPS nomenclature rather than Hz – nicely authentic to the hardware.
On a kick drum subgroup it sounded wonderfully punchy with the simultaneous boost/cut trick at 100CPS, and a massive boost at 10KCS with medium bandwidth, then rolling off a touch at 20KCS.
The left section features two parametric bands; one ranges from 45 to 999Hz and the other from 0.6 to 15kHz. Bandwidth has nine settings from 1/5 to 3 octaves, with adjustment again via slightly inconvenient nudge buttons, and five LEDs giving a vague idea of setting. However, when changing any setting, a digital numeric display in the bottom-right corner indicates actual values. This goes for all the Pultec section controls too.
The parametric bands are flexible enough for most situations and very smooth sounding, even at the sharpest bandwidth setting, and with 15dB of gain and cut, there is plenty of power. Interestingly, when sweeping the frequencies there is an audible smoothed-out delay effect, avoiding any nasty notches. It’s as if you are remotely controlling motorised knobs!
There is a useful and powerful 24dB/octave High Pass Filter ranging from 18 to 200Hz, and handy separate Enable/Bypass buttons for this, each parametric band, and the P-Filter EQ.
The plug-in is a collaboration with Plugin Alliance, so you benefit from all their elegant design and toolbar features such as MS Matrix and preset handling. Supplied presets are provided in the Pro Tools menu, which is preferable unless transferring settings between DAWs. The EQ232D is included in the PA Mega bundle and Mix And Master bundle for subscribers.
Although the interface seems initially a little fussy, you wouldn’t want it any other way. It feels like you are using a proper grown-up EQ, and this two-in-one package covers everything you need.
Pros: The sonic goodness of the hardware EQ for cheap.
Cons: No EQ graph, nudge buttons a bit fiddly.