Getting Started with the Vintage EQ in Ozone 7 Advanced
It replicates the subtle curves, unique controls, and musical sound of both the EQP-1A, and the MEQ-5, and combines them into a single, powerful mastering tool with modern flexibility.
Like all of the modules in Ozone 7, there are presets to help you get started quickly. Just click on the preset browser icon on the left side of the draggable module, or on the preset panel in the vintage EQ plug-in.
The controls in the vintage EQ mirror the original Pultec to authentically recreate the distinctive frequency tailoring possible in the hardware. There are six controls for frequency adjustments. The low shelf, with sliders for both boost and cut, the low-mid boost, the mid cut, the high-mid boost, the high boost, with adjustable Q, and finally, a shelf for high frequency cuts.
This is different than the conventional, parametric, or graphic equalizers that we’ve become accustomed to, but when used in various combinations, they afford special processing possibilities that can sound great.
Just like the original equalizer in Ozone, you can visualize the curve that’s applied by the vintage EQ to deeply understand the impact the processing has on your music, and to help recognize the unique filter shapes that the vintage EQ can achieve.
Let’s start by looking at the low shelf section. Here, we can apply up to 15dB of boost or cut at any of these five fixed frequencies. You can also boost and cut at the same time, which may seem counter intuitive at first but is a classic gesture on the original Pultec EQ.
For example, listen to the vintage EQ applied to some drums. With the frequency center set to 45Hz and a generous boost applied, we can feel the impact of the drums come forward.
However a little bit of ring from the toms comes along with it. If we also bring in some low cut, we see a very gentle dip introduced right around that muddy region between 200 and 300Hz that takes care of our tom issue.
If we were to just use the cut without a boost, we hear the kind of roll off that we might expect from a low shelf. It’s only when the boost and cut are applied together that we encounter this effect. This is one of the features that makes Pultec sound so special.
A little goes a long way with these broad shelf filters, especially in mastering, so start by adjusting small values between zero and one, and listen to the effect that it has on your audio.
This is also important when we start looking at the mid-range controls.
The low-mid is a boost control, which can add up to 15dB of gain around the five selectable center frequencies. It has a fixed bandwidth, which would be pretty close to a Q setting of 1 in the traditional Ozone EQ.
There is also a high-mid boost control, which functions just like the low-mid boost, and can be great for giving lift to the attack of a kick drum, piano, or acoustic guitar.
The mid section offers attenuation at any of eleven frequencies, which stretch across the low and high mid ranges. Using a cut from this control, along with a boost from the low or high mid sections can create some more complex filter shapes, with each frequency area reacting differently.
For example, try setting both the low-mid boost and the mid cut at 700Hz with slider values of 10.
You’ll notice a slight S-shaped curve at this setting. Then try switching the low-mid boost to 1kHz, and we see a much more pronounced S-curve.
Move the mid boost up to 1kHz, and now there’s a gentle rise, with a tiny dip at the center frequency.
The high boost and cut controls interact in a similar way, but the high Q slider also offers control over the bandwidth, and mimics the proportional Q characteristics of the MEQ-5.
With 8kHz selected, try setting a high boost of 5.0 and a high Q of 10. This offers a fairly broad and gentle boost.
Now gradually raise the high boost above 8, and you’ll see the Q quickly focuses in around the center frequency. Bring in a high cut at 10kHz, and you’ll see the bandwidth tighten even more.
Use your ears and try different combinations to hear the interactions between these circuit models, which can create all sorts of interesting shapes, curves, and sonic possibilities.
In its default mode, the vintage EQ is setup with left and right controls linked for stereo processing. However, you can control each channel individually, or solo and mute them by clicking on the L and R option. You can also process the mid and side information separately by clicking on the M+S icon.
This can give you the opportunity to lift the top end of a vocal at the center of a mix without affecting the cymbals on the sides of the mix, or pull some of the low end out of the sides without affecting the bass and kick drum panned to the center.
In either of these unlinked modes, the channel you are working on will be indicated in the top right of the spectrum analyzer. You can switch between channels in the side-bar on the left side of the module, and if you want to quickly reset all of the controls, just click on the three-quarter circle icon in the bottom left to get back to your default state.
When working with mid/side mode, you can also switch the master input and output meters to visualize mid and side levels, instead of left and right by clicking on the three small circles just above the metering section.
Whenever you’re using the customizable signal chains in Ozone 7, you can see how much gain any module is adding or attenuating by looking at the meters to the right of the draggable module. This is designed to help you keep an eye on your gain staging and identify the cause of any clipping right away.
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