PreSonus Blog

Vintage EQ FX Chain


While modern EQ can emulate pretty much any curve that a “vintage EQ” could produce, there’s more to EQ than the curve itself.

Vintage EQ, due analog technology’s constraints, wasn’t as flexible as today’s EQs. Therefore, the various parameters were limited to specific choices—and these choices were made for musical reasons. When people talk about dialing in a great vocal or drum sound within seconds using vintage EQ, I suspect it’s because those vintage EQs were engineered for fast, efficient changes that made musical sense.

So as an experiment, I created a Pro EQ2 FX chain that emulated (quite accurately, if I do say so myself!) not just the curves, but the controls of a Pultec MEQ-5 midrange equalizer (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Control panel for Pro EQ2 Vintage Equalizer.

The Lo and Hi stages have a Frequency control and Boost (no cut) control. Originally, the low band had stepped frequencies of 200, 300, 500, 700, and 1 kHz, while the high band had 1.5, 2, 3, 4, and 5 kHz. The Freq controls cover mostly the same range, although in recognition of bass’s importance in today’s music, the low band goes down to 60 Hz. Another tweak is that the high band had a fixed EQ, which I always felt was a bit too narrow anyway—so I added a Q control.

The midrange section cuts (no boost) from 200 Hz to 7 kHz. However, the MEQ-5 had a subtle EQ shift that depended on the amount of cut, which is emulated here. I also added a RedLightDist to give subtle saturation effects.

So next time you need EQ, download and try out this FX Chain. It won’t sound different than what you can achieve with a Pro EQ2—but you may very well get where you want to go faster. Maybe even much faster.

Download the Pro EQ2 Vintage EQ here!



  • Craig Anderton

    Right-click on one of your FX Chains to locate the folder where it resides , then copy the downloaded FX Chain into that folder. FX Chain and preset location is an on going source of confusion with Studio One…maybe I need to write a tip about preset/FX Chain management.

  • Eddy Aceti

    Hi I downloaded the ProEQ FX chain & saved it to my Studio One v4 FX chain Mixing folder but when I try to recall it to use in a song it doesn’t show up in my browse list?

  • My Pet

    Ha Ha! Johnny comment is WAY over my head…But Thank you Craig for another great preset! Useful as ever!

  • Craig Anderton

    Glad you dig the EQ! Pro EQ2 is my go-to, and yes, agreed it can be totally transparent.

  • Johnny Roberts

    Good look my dude, Pro EQ is immaculate in it’s transparency if used correctly, so to be able to flip that on its head and create an FX chain that imitates the MEQ is commendable. Pultec is my weapon of choice for heavy metal guitar bus processing, if only every other instrument was as easy to dial in!

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