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Universal Audio Helios Type 69 EQ UAD-1 Plug-In

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Universal Audio Helios Type 69 EQ The Helios Type 69 equalizer is the latest addition to the ever-expanding line of software plug-in processors from Universal Audio for their UAD line of DSP products. The UAD-1 DSP card goes inside of your computer and provides the hardware engine to run a whole family of great sounding software plug-ins inside of Nuendo, Cubase, Digital Performer and Pro Tools among others.

The original hardware Helios Type 69 EQ, though lesser known than the popular Neve and Pultec equalizer units, is still a favorite amongst vintage gear cognoscenti. The Type 69 was the EQ section of the Type 69 Helios console manufactured in the U.K. in the late 1960's and early 1970's and was used by artists such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Queen, and Bob Marley, to name the short list.

Noted for it's musical sound, the 69 is a passive equalizer with a distinctive and different character than other EQ's. I found the sound very open--you can add extremes of high and low boost without losing clarity.

Universal Audio has remained faithful and correctly kept the idiosyncratic front panel layout the same. One knob doubles as a frequency selector for the low end boost in one direction and in the other direction it functions as a stepped low frequency shelf filter or high pass filter. So it's not possible to boost low end and filter it at the same time. Another quirk held over from the original that reflects the Swinging '60s mindset, is the "built-in" low frequency boost as soon as the low frequency selector is engaged--even when the gain knob is set at 0dB, there is 3.5dB of boost.

The mid frequency section works a little differently--the gain knob moves clockwise and a switch chooses whether you are boosting or cutting the selected frequency. There is a generous choice of eight midrange frequencies while the high frequency section is a fixed 10kHz shelf.

We used this EQ on everything from vocals to kick drums. It has a very unique and musical character and is unlike any of the other EQ's offered by Universal Audio for the UAD-1 card. I like boosting low frequencies with the Helios plug-in--it sounds just like the hardware original where the bottom end sounds like the source and not like the EQ. Now at a fraction of the original's cost, the Helios Type 69 can be a big part of everyone's sonic kit. It sells for $199 and is downloadable from www.uaudio.com.



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