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Bettermaker introduce VSPE

Digitally controlled analogue range expanded

Bettermaker VSPE Valve Stereo Passive Equalizer Pultec analogue outboard EQ plug-in recall

High-end hardware experts Bettermaker have announced the launch of the VSPE, or Valve Stereo Passive Equalizer, a new unit which the company say represents a breakthrough in audio engineering. As with their previous offerings, the processor’s analogue circuitry is controlled digitally, and offers full recall capability thanks to a companion DAW plug-in.

The left of the front panel is occupied by Lo Boost and Lo Cut controls that can be placed at 20, 30, 60 or 100 Hz, along with Hi Boost (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20 or 28 kHz) and Hi-Cut (5, 10 or 20 kHz) dials, and a Hi Boost Curve parameter that can be used to set the Q of the high-frequency boost band. All of the controls feature 101 steps apart from Hi Cut, which is divided into 34 steps, although can be configured to operate in 17 steps thanks to a Quantize mode in the unit’s control plug-in. Finally, a gain switch allows the Hi Cut knob to doubles up as an ±8dB output gain control, where it offers adjustment in 0.1dB steps — or 1dB steps when the unit is in Quantize mode. 

As you’d expect from Bettermaker, the VSPE boasts a high-quality signal path. There’s some older components present — the design employs valves originally produced in the ‘70s and ‘80s — but after extensive research and testing, the company decided to develop their own transformers to ensure the unit could perform at its best in both measurements and listening tests.

Bettermaker VSPE EQ plug-in recallThe VSPE plug-in offers remote control and recall, along with some helpful additional functions.. The plug-in mirrors the hardware’s front-panel controls, making it possible to adjust and recall the device’s settings directly from a DAW session. It offers some additional functionality too, including digital high- and low-pass filters, level metering, a dual mono operation mode and the aforementioned stepped mode for each of the hardware dials. There’s also an analyser display with an EQ curve line that can be used to control the device’s settings, and it’s possible to solo the output of a selected band. It’s worth keeping in mind that some functions are only available with the plug-in active: when being used as a standalone unit, the VSPE will remain in linked stereo mode and there’s no option to select stepped control values. 

Pricing & Availability

The VSPE is available now, priced at $2999.

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