Test Reviews of Pro Audio Gear and Mixing Consoles
Analog Stereo Mastering Processing Gear
adt-audio ToolMod MS and BM
Translation of a test review from German Studio-Magazin by
We were already able to find out that the ToolMod devices are playing in the same league as the extraordinary, but clearly more expensive V700 devices of the manufacturer. This was confirmed again with the actual test. From our perspective, all the different modules are well suited for every kind of use; the application is not limited to a special purpose or limited to a special sort of resulting sound performance. A good example is the compressor, that let’s you travel thru the time as far as all the classic compressors of the last decades are concerned, just by turning the attack and the knee control. All modules are well suited for challenging mastering applications the only limitation is the fact that potentiometers instead of stepper switches are used for the adjustment of the parameters, which is not a surprise in regards to the moderate price range.
The 5-band stereo equalizer TM205 is a near relative of the mono eq TM105 that has been tested recently. It can easily cope with global corrections and wide-band color corrections as well as surgical adjustments. The wide overlapping frequency ranges offer very high flexibility. Like all adt-audio equalizers, the precise and clear treatment of the low frequency range is outstanding. The compressor rewards an extensive examination with the functions and the purpose of the additional controls with remarkable loudness gain, that is possible without loss of the original transient structure and without additional colorization of special frequency ranges. Gain reductions of 10 dB or more are realistic if the resulting consequences of such a high compression rate like pumping and distortion are compensated with special tools like Envelope, Crest and LT-Integration. The possible range of applications for this compressor is not really limited settings of a Bus compressor for drums are easily possible as well as understated corrections of loudness in the way of a leveler. Adding the uncompressed input signal with ‚brutal’ compressor settings for examples makes interesting parallel compression effects possible. The resulting density is very high but still maintains original transients. The autogain function is a useful tool that works properly with most of the settings. It allows easy checking of the compressor’s setting using the bypass without confusing level drops. The limiter proved to be extremely fast and free from loss in the high frequency range.
Adding together the modules, frames and the power supply the price of the ToolMod MS and the ToolMod BM is about Euro 2600 per unit, exclusive of VAT. A sound check and a look inside will be enough to remove any doubts that there is an equivalent value for the money. The typical characteristics of the analog gear, designed by adt-audio owner Gerd Juengling can be found in these two ToolMods outstanding technical qualities and sound performance in a rather plain appearance combined with a very high level of functionality that indeed requires some qualification of the user to get the best out of it...