Drawmer's affordable EQ brings a '70s vibe to your studio.
Drawmer remain under the ownership of founder Ivor Drawmer, and they still design and make their equipment in the UK. I've owned and operated one of their 1960 valve compressors without incident since 1986 and have no desire to part with it! The longevity of Drawmer products such as the 1960 and their DS201 Dual Noise Gate — their very first product, which continues to be made 38 years after its release — points not only to both their build quality and reliability, but also to the intuitive nature of their front-panel controls, whose function, design and layout is underpinned by a deep understanding of the real-world needs of audio engineers.
In recent years the company have developed a '70s series, populated with new solid-state products that draw on the technology of that decade. One of the most recent additions to that growing range is the 1974 Stereo Parametric Equaliser, reviewed here.
A single glance at the 1974's white-on-black front panel and its yellow-skirted control knobs is more than enough to mark this out as a Drawmer product. The controls' layout and labels sets out the purpose and function of every knob, switch and LED with commendable clarity. (Being a true stereo unit, a single set of controls governs settings on both channels.)
The physical layout of the controls deserves a mention too, because, despite there being 13 rotary control knobs and six push-switches, they're all arranged in a way that avoids any issues with access or operation, and it leaves the 1U front panel feeling quite spacious. Such apparent simplicity is harder to achieve with this many controls than you might think.
As you'd expect of a four-band EQ, the controls are divided into four main frequency areas: Low, Low Mid, High Mid and High. These are topped and tailed by switchable High Cut (low-pass) and Low Cut (high-pass) filters. Balanced XLR input and output connectors for the left and right channels and a fused IEC mains connector and power switch are the only occupants of the rear panel.
A signal entering the 1974 passes through it in the order of the controls, from left to right: from the input stage to the Low Cut filter, then the Low, Low Mid, High Mid, and High bands, and on, via the High Cut filter, to the Output. The signal...