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Audient Black Rack mini review
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gainreduction
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#1
24th April 2007
Old 24th April 2007
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Audient Black Rack mini review

I was asked to audition the Audient Black rack modules and got a rack with one of each module to the studio today.

So far I've only had time to give it a quick go and will try to come back and update this thread when I've done some more tweaking. But some first impressions..

Build quality: Seems solid and good, you get the feeling you can trust this gear. Pots feel great, switches too. The PSU is a monster ! 2 rack units of serious PSU with a cable thick enough to anchor a small boat. Feels very serious.

Mic Pre: only tried the line input so far to get a feel of the hi pass filter and HMX (variable harmonic distortion-thing). The hi pass filter is very accurate and is among the best I've heard. HMX is cool and does good things to certain sources. Overall sound quality is pristine. Hopefully I can give the pre itself a try soon.

Eq: I was amazed by the eq. Although you don't have a lot of controls it still gives you lots of control. Very very musical and it seems most any setting sounds good, just different. The high "air" band is nothing short of amazing, this is the shite on vocals. Beautiful, smooth but very focused top end sizzle. Blown away by that one. The low end is big, deep and solid but I have yet to experiment more with the "Glo" and "overtone" functions. Mid-bands do what they're supposed to and the tilt-function is cool, although I don't see myself using it all that much. This eq sounds awesome.

Compressor: Not a character piece or the most slamming thing on the planet but good for the clean stuff. Seems quite free of artifacts even at extremes. Vox and ac guitars sounded very nice. Not a drum spanker in my world, maybe in someone elses.

AD: not tried it yet.

I'll be back with more. stike
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24th April 2007
Old 24th April 2007
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Cool, thanks for the review so far! From what you've heard up till now are there any brands you can compare them with, soundwise? Similar to the new SSL line maybe?

Cheers,
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24th April 2007
Old 24th April 2007
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A suggestion - try the tilt filter on digital synths (especially VAs like Virus, Nord, etc) and complex submix signals like full drum mix or entire string sections (too bad you only have one channel though).

I've been using various types of tilt filters on VA synths with things like big complex pad patches with great results. They can really take the digital harshness out without sacrificing clarity or sounding obviously EQ'd. I'd be interested to hear how this filter performs when applied to similar material.

DP
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26th April 2007
Old 26th April 2007
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The tilt is great - really good on piano etc
The GLO feature on the EQ is quite powerful on a synth bass that needs some balls...

HMX is the shit on things like weak VSTi etc - a bit of a one trick pony but its a good trick and more noticeable than SSL VHD...also really good on piano...

Overcomp on the compressor is pretty aggressive and works well on drums IMO.
Otherwise relatively clean.

-Tom
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26th April 2007
Old 26th April 2007
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This seems very promising. The Audient Black was on my wishlist to try out, but not my top priority. Now I definetly have to move it up and compare it to API and others to see which will gain my wallets interest
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gainreduction
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27th April 2007
Old 27th April 2007
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A little update. The black rack is now back at the dealer and I hated to see it go.

A little more time with the eq really left me conviced of how great it is. I compared to api's and could get equally good results out of the audient. They sound different of course but one wasn't any better than the other, just different. I'll leave it at that.

The pre rocked on drums. That was the only thing I got to try the pre on. On snare it smoked the api 3124, having the same kind of mojo but sounding a little more open and a little bigger. On kick it did equally well. The drummer agreed. HMX is really cool too. Great pre, I wish I could have tried it on more sources.

The AD converter never got a workout, didn't have the time.

Reading about the compressor it turns out that it's optical, which explains my initial feeling of it working well on stuff like vox, guitars and bass. Good workhorse optical, nothing more, nothing less really.

Overall a big thumbsup to the Audient Black Rack.
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26th May 2009
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I am surprised that there is not more talk about the Audient Black Series. I had a chance to hear the pre, EQ, and compressor at a studio and actually liked it better than the SSL X Rack. Now Audient's got a analog mix with DAW control as well. Zen and the Art of Mixing Technology - Audient Sweet company.
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27th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World View Post
I am surprised that there is not more talk about the Audient Black Series. I had a chance to hear the pre, EQ, and compressor at a studio and actually liked it better than the SSL X Rack. Now Audient's got a analog mix with DAW control as well. Zen and the Art of Mixing Technology - Audient Sweet company.
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27th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World View Post
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how much is that thing?
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27th May 2009
Old 27th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gainreduction View Post
A little update. The black rack is now back at the dealer and I hated to see it go.

A little more time with the eq really left me conviced of how great it is. I compared to api's and could get equally good results out of the audient. They sound different of course but one wasn't any better than the other, just different. I'll leave it at that.

The pre rocked on drums. That was the only thing I got to try the pre on. On snare it smoked the api 3124, having the same kind of mojo but sounding a little more open and a little bigger. On kick it did equally well. The drummer agreed. HMX is really cool too. Great pre, I wish I could have tried it on more sources.
Audient's stand alone Mico preamp is supposed to sound very similar to their Black series preamp. Unlike the Black, the Mico is transformerless, but it also features HMX, on one of its two channels, and it has a high quality built in ADC, something the Black preamp lacks. I think more people should take a look at it. I don't think there is anything else quite like it for the price.
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27th May 2009
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