Waves plugin version of the Pultec MEQ-5, modeled from the originals in Jack Joseph Puig’s studio. (Must be nice to have those in the rack.)
The Pultec MEQ-5 is emulated by a number of companies. For instance, take a look at the UAD version. As always, it is fascinating to compare how the original hardware is interpreted by various companies. There are no doubt nuances within the hardware units themselves, but you can also notice different programming approaches (ie. low pass filtering to eliminate aliasing). Also, we have to always be aware that the way things appear in tests like this do not give the full story about how they sound.
I know people love to rant about “if it sounds good” or “use your ears” and so forth. But testing things first eliminates a lot of wasted time — because it reveals problems before you start recording and hear them; or narrows down where a problem might exist so you can adjust your methodology. I often wonder if the people who are always (smugly) saying “if it sounds good” realize how much time engineers spend on testing and calibrating equipment. Besides, you will never know if something can sound better. I once had that experience with a guitar that sounded really good. But after a set-up it sounded amazing!
Use your ears. Yes. And all your other God-given senses. Make the music excellent!