Tegeler Audio Manufaktur Crème Bus Compressor
By Barry Rudolph
E-Mail A Link To This Page.
Mix Magazine "Compression And Compressors"
Crème is presented in a stylish padded, wooden treasure chest adorned with Gothic-style latches and hinges. The unit itself comes in an all steel 2U case with a built-in linear power supply plus an internal switch for choosing between 120 or 240-VAC mains operation. The rear IEC power receptacle indicated "220-240-VAC mains only" but the unit was shipped with a US power cable so I checked that the internal switch was set to 120-VAC.
Internal construction is good with surface-mount components on a single main circuit board with audio switched using Panasonic 12-volt relays. The main board is interconnected to the front panel's circuit board using two ribbon cables. The front panel's circuit board has control pots custom-made in Germany and Lorlin Electronics rotary switches with gold-plated contacts. The pots and switches are soldered to the board and the controls' threaded collars are used to attach the entire board assembly directly to the unit's front panel. I noticed during normal usage that the front panel bends inward and flexes the circuit board. This lack of rigidity is because the unit's cover is not directly attached to the front panel anywhere. However, the cover is screwed to the cabinet everywhere else using small machine screws.
There is a very useful front panel switch for changing the chain order. It is easy to quickly audition Crème's process with either the equalizer before or after the compressor in the chain. There are also front panel switches for: mains on/off, master bypass and the sidechain or SC Low Cut switch selects between Full (or none), 60Hz or 120Hz sidechain high pass filter frequencies. There is no rear panel sidechain access jack.
The Equalizer Section
The two-band equalizer section has four smooth rotary switch control knobs for the low and high frequency shelving sections. These are smooth first-order, 6dB/octave filters with six frequency choices for each. You can only boost up to 5dB in 1db steps. The boost controls start at 0, which suffices for flat; there are no separate hardware bypass switches.
The low frequency choices are: 20, 30, 60, 100, 140, and 200Hz and the high frequency choices are: 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, and 24kHz.
The Compressor Section
Crème's compressor section is a soft knee type that uses a pair of THAT Corp 2180C Blackmer® Pre-Trimmed IC VCA chips. The unit also uses THAT Corp line receivers and TI line drivers--the unit forgoes transformers as the design goal is for sonic transparency.
A single, small VU meter reads the combined (summed) gain reduction of both channels but moves opposite from typical gain reduction meters. The needle rests on 0dB VU with no reduction and moves to the right with compression.
The compressor's front panel Ratio control has 1.5, 2, 4, and 10:1 choices, and, for repeatability, the Threshold control has detents and is simply marked from 10 to 0; 0 being highest threshold for no compression. I also liked the detents on the Output/makeup gain control. There is plenty of level available making Crème an excellent choice for tracking and/or low level individual tracks in a mix. The Attack control has: 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, 10 and 30ms choices, while the Release control offers 0.1, 0.3, 0.8, 1.2 seconds plus an Auto Release position.
Stereo Master Processing With Crème
My first use was for a full stereo mix recorded at 44.1kHz. I wanted to pre-condition the mix's dynamics for subsequent limiting so as to not have a single processor do all the heavy lifting. With the signal generator in Pro Tools 12.6.1, and using a pair of PSPAudioware VU 3.0.6 meter plug-ins, I confirmed that a 1kHz tone at 0dB (ref -18dBFS) coming out of a stereo hardware insert from my Avid interface returned back at 0dB. With Threshold at 0, Output level at 0 and both EQ boost controls at 0, the two plug-in meters on the output and input paths matched exactly!
For this Rock/Pop song, I first set the SC Low Cut to Full (or none) and set the EQ before the Compressor in the chain. This particular song has deep bass so I boosted at 200Hz in the low frequencies by 1dB to fatten up the bright sound of the loud lead vocal. Before doing any boosting in the high frequencies, I wanted to set up the compressor section. I chose 10ms Attack, Auto release and a 2:1 compression ratio.
Click Here To Return To The Directory Of Mix Magazine Reviews
This Review Is Copyright © By New Bay Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.