SPL Audio Track One by bbensoy
The SPL Track One unit is one of the easy to go with preamps that has taken it's place in the high-end market. Following the preamp stage, it has a de-esser, compressor and an EQ stage.
The preamp has phantom power switch and low-cut filter with both mic and line/instrument inputs on the back panel. I have used several high-end FET preamps and this has the transparency as most do. Sounds like just reality but nothing more and very transientish. Comparing with Grace preamp channel, this is not that bright but sounds thicker.That gives a very nice to go for vocals in some genres and most percussive instruments where you don't need colouring. The input gain nobe is free-turning, so it's so easy to have the right level in the input stage of the pre which is a plus. There's also the option of specifying a Lundahl input transformer but I didn't try this one. Personally, I don't want to add a transformer fuzz on the pre as I mostly want to go with a tube mic and that might add a hair on top of the sound when had the both in one chain.
The de-esser is just ready to go with only the dB nobe. The sibilant region of the audio spectrum is filtered out during de-essing, so side-effects are minimal. So this requires care of choosing the right level while tracking.
Compressor/limiter which comes after de-esser is also very easy to use. While it has only compression level and make-up gain, the attack and release automatically are adapted to the signal. So you can't do much creativity on colour but only helps on dynamic control.
The EQ is very smooth when used in a proper level. It has 3 separated sweepable bands.They are not effecting in a broadband so might give some phase distortions when pushed hard. Air band is extremely nice to use. It is serviced by a coil/capacitor filter providing 10dB of cut or boost centred at around 17.5kHz. Having the transparency in the pre and adding the air can bring the vocals on my face doing a nice job together.
All of these stages can be by-passed individually so for example you can bypass the compressor, use the de-esser and then look for some high mid frequency If missing.
Overall, the Track One is extremely easy to use and it makes creating a non-colouring, transparent sound with a de-esser, compressor and eq on the unit.