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Boost and Attenuate on Pultec EQs

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Q: I’m trying to figure out how to use my Pultec-style EQ plug-ins, and I don’t get why there is both boost and attenuate for the bass band. Don’t they just cancel each out?

A: The boost and attenuate controls on a Pultec EQ are not exactly the same, so they do not cancel each other. The filter response for the two is different, so when both are used together, the result is often better than when either is used by itself. Try this: Put a Pultec-style EQ on you mix, a bass guitar, or a kick drum. Select a frequency for the low-frequency band of your Pultec-style EQ, say 60 Hertz. Turn up the boost to “5” or so, and listen to the result. Now, turn up the attenuate control to “5” as well. In most cases, using both together results in a tighter, less boomy sound, with plenty of low end but without an annoying resonant frequency — the classic Pultec sound!

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