The unused slots are covered with blanking plates. There are several ways it can be interconnected for use in the studio, but the three main connections I have used are...
1. Inject a signal into the left-hand module, process it dependant on the in/out switching of each module and extract it from the right-hand module. (The audio signals are linked internally with their own bus).
2. Use the rear 1/4'' sockets as a patchbay in stand-alone mode.
3. Extend the rear connections to a permanent rackmounted patchbay.
DIGITAL SAMPLER/DELAY –
This is the module that should appeal the most to those who like to mix fat, grungy, multi-layered samples into their loops and grooves. Sampling technology in the '80s was still pretty primitive compared to what's available today, and this great little module reflects that, with loads of quirky 'analogue' character to it's output signal. In 'Sampler' mode, it has a max sample time of 8 secs (with reduced bandwidth) great for lo-fi crunch on vocals, drums, guitars, loops etc. Smaller sample times produce higher quality of course, so the 8 secs can be divided up into shorter samples like kicks,snares and beats, and these can be layered using the 'overdub' button on the front panel. This can produce some really cool results that I've never heard before from another device! The samples can be triggered and looped from the front panel, from the audio input
itself via a preset threshold control, or from a CV/gate input from a synth or sequencer. The pitch can be changed over a 6 octave range with the 'trim', control, or from an analogue keyboard. In 'Delay' mode, it'll do all the usual tricks from flanging to ADT, slapback to reggae dub, infinite repeats with max re-gen etc....all
with it's own unique tonal character.
STEREO COMPRESSOR-LIMITER –
A high quality stereo comp/limiter with variable input, slope, attack and release controls, and a switched 'key' input that can link both channels...handy for de-essing, ducking etc. It's pretty much 'invisible' when used as a limiter, only squeezing when the threshold is crossed (depending on the ratio setting). Great for laying vocal tracks, mix thickening, fattening up drums, percussions and bass. In fact, it can make anything sound 'phat' but still retains that important top-end clarity.
STEREO NOISE GATE –
This is a pro noise gate. It does the job very well. Variable threhold, attack, release controls, with a 'hold' timer control to keep the gate open for a predetermined time after triggering from the switched 'key' input on the back panel. One of the things I like about this gate is the sensitivity of the threshold control, it really enables me to home in on that elusive area between the sounds I want and the
sounds I don't, with the threshold setting staying put and not 'drifting'. Nicely designed circuit in my opinion.
MONO PARAMETRIC EQ –
There are two of these modules in the rack. These are my favourites, and the first eq's I would jump to for any major tonal balancing duties. Frequencies can be adjusted in two switched ranges over an 8 1/2 octave span. Bandwidth or 'Q' can be varied from just a tenth of an octave to a full 3 octaves. Cut and Boost from +- 10dB at high bandwidth settings, to an impressive +- 30dB
at narrow bandwidths. All this using an 'adaptive bandwidth' technique that maintains good resolution at any 'Q' setting. A 'Drive' control trims the levels after all the 'cutting and boosting' to maintain normal levels in the chain, aided by an led peak indicator, which monitors four critical points in the circuit simultaneously. They'll do everything from wide, gentle lifts and drops, to microscopic targeting of a particular frequency. I found them indispensable when some selective eq was needed.
MONO AURAL ENHANCER –
Back in the 80's, 'The Aphex Aural Exciter' started it all.... doing things to a mix that eq and other kinds of processing just couldn't achieve. This was Tantek's version of that psychoacoustic enhancement process. It uses a complex mixture of high frequency
boost, selective bandpass compression and harmonic generation, to add that certain 'sparkle' and 'air' to vocals, instruments or a mix. Four controls are 'Drive', 'Freq', Resonance' and 'Mix', with a dry/defeat switch to keep check on the original signal as a reference...it's very easy to get carried away with this baby. It has a very useful 'traffic light' led indicator to show the correct levels needed and when it's pushing the harmonics. Used subtly with the
'Mix' control, it's especially good on vocals, acoustic guitars, and even complete drum mixes to liven them up and add a halo of sheen.
POWER SUPPLY MODULE –
Supplies regulated 12v DC power to all of the above modules via the 240v mains lead. It's got an on/off switch and an LED. It sits
at the end of the rack.
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Other names: tanrak