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Drawmer Electronics 1971

Dual-channel Parametric Equaliser By Matt Houghton
Published July 2024

Drawmer Electronics 1971

With a compressor‑saturator stage for each of its four bands, could Drawmer’s new EQ become your latest Crush?

Last month I took a look at Drawmer’s 1977 channel strip, and enjoyed it immensely: a supremely versatile design, it incorporates a clean mic preamp, a three band EQ section, a FET compressor and variable saturation, so it offers pretty much everything one might usually look for in a channel strip. But sometimes you need a little more control than you can realistically pack into a channel strip, and an extra channel can come in handy too. Which is why Drawmer’s 1970s range also incorporates several rackmount processors that share the 1977’s sound but can be used to do that bit more. The latest to join the line‑up, which already featured a variety of preamps, EQs and FET compressors, as well as a width and saturation processor, is the new 1971 EQ, which is reviewed here.

Features

Designed and handmade by Drawmer in the United Kingdom, the 1971 is not your average EQ. I mean, it can be used that way, but this really is a unique design. At heart, it’s a dual‑channel four‑band parametric EQ that Drawmer describe as taking its “inspiration from 1970s‑era analogue gear”. Each channel has an identical set of controls that you can use for two mono signals or one stereo one, and you can even patch one channel into the other if you need greater control over a mono signal. In addition to the four parametric bands, there are one high‑ and one low‑pass filter, both with a generously wide frequency range (from 10‑240 Hz and 4‑31 kHz, respectively) and, like the other bands, these have their own engage/bypass switch (a hardwired bypass), making A/B comparison easy. Helpfully, there’s also a ±15dB gain stage on the left, to allow you to adjust the signal level before it hits the equalisation, and there’s a similar control on the right to adjust the output level, and these each have a horizontal, five‑LED, post‑gain level meter.

...the 1971 is not your average EQ. I mean, it can be used that way, but this really is a unique design.

But the headline feature that really makes this EQ stand out from the crowd (I don’t remember seeing it in any other equaliser, even Drawmer’s own 1974 stereo parametric EQ), is the Crush facility. This is a combination of a fixed time‑constant compressor and saturator that can be switched in/out individually for each of the four parametric bands on each channel. This processor has an auto make‑up gain, and it’s responsive to the amount of gain in each band, becoming somewhat interactive when Crush is engaged on multiple bands on the same channel. Drawmer tell us that “it’ll fatten your bass, enhance the presence of your mids, and bring out the shimmer in...

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