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TL Audio EQ1

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TL Audio has nothing more to prove as regards tube technology (pre-amplifiers, compressors, equalizers and others...). Conscious that computer assisted music is not a market very consuming as regards sound processing, the manufacturer decides now to make benefit the computer assisted music users from his experiment as regards tube technology, and proposes to them a software equivalent of its famous equalizer, distributed by a giant of digital audio workstation, I quoted Steinberg !

The TL Audio EQ 1 is thus a 4 bands parametric equalizer available in Direct X and VST. Its use is rather simple and will appear familiar to the users of Cubase or Nuendo. The installation is held without any problem, and installs the two versions : Direct X and VST. After installation, you find the plug-in in the VST section and the in the DirectX section of the list of plugins of your favourite sequencor. Obviously, the EQ 1 allows to establish presets and effects banks, very practical to establish some pre-settings, in order to be ready to work in all circumstances, quite an useful thing as regards equalization.

This equalizer lays out a rotary button making it possible to regulate the input level, by applying an attenuation or an amplification up to 30 dB. The same thing for the output, a rotary button allows to attenuate or amplify the signal up to 30 dB.

For each band, you can select a frequency among the 4 proposed. The level of each band is adjustable between 20 dB and + 20 dB for the low frequencies band (LF) and for the high frequencies band (HF). For the two medium bands (LM and HM), the level is adjustable between 12 dB and +12 dB. An another function and not of the least pleasant, it can be found under each gain button a small squared button having the name of the equalization band. By clicking on it, the user by-passes the equalization of this band. Practical for precise equalizations or comparative tests between several adjustments.

In the higher part of the plug-in, a high precision display allows to visualize the curve of correction in a very precise way until in its least details. Don't throw into a panic, if this curve is not inevitably visible at the time of the opening of the plugin, it is enough for you to click on the EQ1 logo to obtain the screen represented below. The curve changes in real time, while you modify the parameters of equalization. It is rather visible, in red, on a black background. The semi-logarithmic squaring makes it possible to precisely locate the adjustments that you've done. Only one regret : the scale of the decibels in ordinates varies from -12 dB to +12 dB whereas the LF and HF bands are adjustable between -20 dB and + 20 dB. The precision is thus limited in the low register and the high one, simply on the display, don't worry !

About its field of application, the EQ 1 by TL Audio is a great tool for the mastering, to "heat" a digital recording that sounds a little "cold", or even more to give a last touch to a complete song. But it can be used also like an insert into a section of the VST mixer. What is rather astonishing, it's the faculty that the EQ 1 has to colour a recording of an acoustic instrument like a guitar or a bass, even with a very slight correction.

Well, it's a very good tool that TL Audio proposes to us, there. Because of its design, it is very simple to use, especially for the users of Cubase or Nuendo, already accustomed to find on each section of the VST mixer an equalizer of this type, of which the EQ 1 resume the functions, but with a handiness and a different quality , I give you this guarantee... Its interface is pleasant, relatively simple to handle. Some will rage against the rotary buttons, not very handy with the mouse, particularly for automation. The exercice is not however insurmountable with the EQ 1 (your servant has tested for you). Moreover, the surfaces of control start to be democratized, and the EQ 1 has also faculty to be compatible with the protocol ASIO 2.0, allowing it to be entirely automatizable by the sequencer. After many tests, the beast appears to be flexible, without surprise, and especially highly sure. There is no doubt that the sound quality and the handiness of the TL Audio EQ 1, as much as its diversity of use, will attract more than one !

Technical specifications

Vincent PRADES, on the 21-02-2001

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