Kiive Audio offers the Warmy EP1A Tube EQ program tube equalizer plugin as a free download.
Immediately, the EP1A Tube EQ looks familiar because it’s based on an old classic. It’s based on the classic Pultec EQ, which is, unfortunately, far from free.
There are already lots of tributes and clones of the famous Pultec EQ, and that’s not a complaint. It’s always interesting to hear different takes on a quite iconic sound.
I own a few Pultec-style plugins and a hardware clone. I like to use the hardware because it’s hands-on, but sometimes, the plugins do a better job.
When people describe the Pultec EQ, they use words like musical (which is often overused as a generic descriptor, but very fitting this time) and magical. So, what is it that makes the Pultec sound so desirable?
Funnily enough, much of the appeal comes from something that the original manufacturers advised against; boosting and cutting the same frequency simultaneously.
Boosting and cutting at the same time has become the go-to trick with a Pultec EQ over decades, and it’s where the magic is.
If we look at the low-frequency section on the EP1A GUI, we have the same frequency selection you’d find on a hardware unit, along with Boost and Cut level knobs.
The Boost tends to be slightly more prominent than the attenuation, which creates a bit of a push and pull effect. What it gives you is a full-bodied sound without losing clarity, and that’s why people say it’s so musical.
The plugin employs non-linear modeling to replicate the hardware original more realistically.
The high-frequency section is slightly different because it has individual controls for the Boost and Cut range. You can still choose to set them in the same or similar frequency range, but it’s less about that at the high-end. There’s also a bandwidth knob that shapes the Q of the High Boost.
The plugin also emulates the tube drive found in original units with up to 16X oversampling.
It comes with some factory presets, and you can save user presets. I tried it out on some vintage synth pads, and I was impressed with the results. It let me get more life out of the lowest frequencies without getting muddy and add a touch of tube drive.
The Warmy-EP1A is available for macOS and Windows in 64-bit AU, VST, and AAX formats.
Download and install were quick and easy. It does throw up the all to standard unrecognized developer message from Apple, but; after instructing them to mind their own business, all is good.
Download: Warmy EP1A Tube EQ (64-bit AU/VST/AAX plugin format for Windows & macOS)