Test Reviews of Pro Audio Gear and Mixing Consoles

Audio Bricks
ToolMod analog Audio Modules
by adt-audio

Translation of a test review from German Studio-Magazin by
Dieter Kahlen

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The TM112 Compressor turned out to be an extremly flexible tool for the dynamic treatment of single tracks. Using appropriate settings for the attack and release time, even radical modifications of the signal's envelope are possible - for instance if it is necessary to punch up the click of a snare drum or a kick drum. Processing bass tracks with lots of transients and chord noise was possible in an excellent ways and without any modifications of the hi - low balance. Even massive level reductions of up to 15 dB are possible without disturbing side effects.

The noise gate TM116 reacts astoundingly fast and even with extreme settings it operates practically click free and without cutting transients; just like the compressor, the gate makes possible an almost free adjustment of time constants for massive envelope treatment. Standard jobs, like cleaning up drum tracks are no problem at all for the TM116 noise gate, in particular specical treatment of the trigger signal is possible using the integrated, wide ranging, high-pass and low-pass filters.

In addition to the standard application of an overlaod protection limiter that should be used only with gain reductions of a few dB, the TM115 Limiter can be used creatively, since the control ranges of attack and release time are more than appropriate for a low distortion limitation of bass sounds with long time constants. In combination with the compressor, the limiter makes most sense as a very fast 'level guard' that can drive down the output level a few dB without audible side effects.


A 1U high frame for 5 ToolMod modules plus a small power supply makes a total of about Euro 400. The prices of the modules are between Euro 295 for the DI-amp or the TM107 EQ and a little below Euro 400 for the transformer mic pre. Let's put this together: 1 tranformer mic-pre, 1 DI-amp, the TM112 Compressor and the TM105 5 band EQ - this set already makes a sohpisticated input channel strip at a price in the range of Euro 1800. Of course this has nothing to do with the pricing of asian mass products; however, the manufacturer doesn't want to compete with products like that anyway and considering the very high quality level in every respect, the cost/value ratio of adt-audio’s new ToolMod's is excellent, the more so as flexibility of a real module system isn't available free of cost. The example of a ToolMod channel strip configuration combines the most important input amplifiers and processing devices for high quality DAW recording. A second rack with additional modules like limiters or gates is getting a lot less expensive, since even the small power supply can handle up to three 1U high frames. The majority of the potential users is better off having a variable basic kit than a small assortment of very special vintage sounds that rather makes sense if an appropriate amount of 'universal purpose' gear is already available.

Below the line, adt-audio’s ToolMod Series is an affordable system consisting of excellent tools that fits perfectly into todays situation of most studios. Even though the look of the gear is kind of down-to-earth, there is no doubt that the ToolMod units are definately belong to the pro audio champions league as far as sonic performance and technical qualities are concerned. Future extensions of the module pallet will include 2U and 4U high frames for more modules and above all, stereo versions of the compressor, the EQ's and the limiter. adt-audio sells directly from the factory; just visit their site www.adt-audio.com or call....

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