TL AUDIO VI1 by Thebreen
I thought I'd write about my TL Audio VI 1's (which I love) as there doesn't seem to be much info about them.
I bought a pair of TL Audio VI 1's around 10 years ago second hand from my local music shop (a nearby studio was clearing out a lot of it's outboard). At the time I was working with an established UK rock artist from the 70s and somehow the digital sound of our converters wasn't really cutting it. So we needed something to add some vintage(ish) warmth to the studio and unfortunately at the time tape wasn't really an option.
So they seemed like they'd be a good fit. I got them back to the studio and excitedly set up some insert leads to do some A/B comparisons on various sources. Initially my then very unexperienced ears found the effect to be quite subtle overall (I think I was expecting them to make an 808 sound like Bonham!) but once I got my head round what they were doing, I realised that it's the sort of subtle that gently glues things together but also makes everything feel a bit bigger and gives a bit more 3D depth and adds a bit of analogue personality. I know we've all heard this said before but that's what they do for me. I should also add that I was fortunate to have got them at a price low enough allow me to listen with my ears and not my wallet!
As with all valve gear If you hit it harder you get more vibe and harmonics but I've never had issues with distortion (not that I've tried to make them really overdrive) but headroom seems pretty good.
In terms of adjustable features there aren't really any. For my money I got two boxes, each with an on/off switch (I personally prefer the 'on' setting) and sixteen balanced jack sockets. There are also internal jumpers to switch between -10 and +4 on each channel, this means that they can be used to step up or step down between the two. In normal use they pass audio at unity, and warm up the studio on cold english mornings!
I've heard of people upgrading the 12AX7s (ECC 83s) and getting even more out of these great units, but I like them just as they are for now.
So if you get the opportunity to try one out, do it, you won't be disappointed.
Your mileage may vary...