Charter Oak’s foray into the world of outboard continues, with the announcement this month that their new equaliser, the PEQ1, will be shipping imminently. The device is a 2U stereo processor that its makers say “is designed to enhance your stereo mixes more than any other single component in your signal path”, which, combined with the ganged filter controls (there can be no dual-mono operation, sadly), suggests that it was designed with mastering in mind.
The inputs and outputs are transformer balanced, and both have a distinctly old-school impedance of 600Ω. Left and right gain trim pots can be found on the right-hand side of the front panel, while over at the far left are a bypass switch, and a toggle for engaging a first-order high-pass filter (this has a turnover frequency of 40Hz).
Gain ranges on the sweepable bands appear to have been well thought out: towards the extreme ends of the frequency spectrum, where our ears are less sensitive, bands can be cut or boosted quite extremely, while the amount of gain available on the mid bands, where our hearing is more acute, has been reduced. Six bands are available, each with a switch to select between one of either two or three frequencies, and all bands have a fixed two-octave bandwidth.
The bottom band can be switched between 20Hz, 40Hz and 60Hz. The next one is switchable between 80Hz and 120Hz, and the next up from that between 400Hz, 630Hz and 800Hz. A toggle switch for choosing 1kHz, 2kHz or 3kHz resides below the next gain knob, while to the right of that you can choose between 5kHz and 8kHz. And finally, the top band can be set to 15kHz, 20kHz or a bat-bothering 50kHz. Gain ranges are ±18dB for the very top and bottom bands, ±9dB for the bands immediately adjacent to the top and bottom bands, and ±4.5dB for the two bands in the middle.
Charter Oak’s UK distributors, ASAP Europe, expect it to be available from November, at a price of £2595 including VAT, and we’ll be putting it through its paces in SOS as soon as we can get our mits on one!