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Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby lordmike » Thu May 07, 2020 1:44 pm

So I recently purchased a pair of the EQPs and while I like them, my enthusiasm changes with each pass of the song. One minute, they are magic, the next meh... But, it has some quirks that I would like to figure out. First, it has a pretty significant volume drop when inserted into my signal chain. Is that normal? It is like a drop of 6-10db. I accept that I'm new to this hardware and I could be doing something wrong. One thing I could be messing up is that I'm not sending it a hot enough signal, I keep my output in Reason to no more than -12db. So maybe that's it? Next, the two units aren't very matched in output, one of them tends to be a little (a lot) quieter. It isn't a huge deal because I can just apply make-up gain in my DAW but I still want to make sure that is normal; I don't want to keep broken garbage. My guess is that what I am hearing is from different output from the tubes and that getting matched pairs would probably fix this right up, but I'm not sure. How does this hypothesis sound to you guys?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby The Elf » Thu May 07, 2020 2:18 pm

Are you connecting to line-level inputs/outputs? And are you using balanced cables? These could be reasons for seeing odd levels.
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby lordmike » Thu May 07, 2020 2:49 pm

8i6 line out --> patch bay --> EQP in --> EQP out --> patch bay --> 8i6 line in. All connected with TRS cables.
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby The Elf » Thu May 07, 2020 3:02 pm

It may be worth bypassing the patchbay - just for the sake of a check.
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby lordmike » Thu May 07, 2020 3:38 pm

I'll have to climb under there later today to have a look... bummer hahaha.

Once I level the returns off it sound good but now I can't decide if I like it better with or without. Would anyone want to two clips to see which is better and see if you can pick out the one that has the eq on it?
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 07, 2020 3:46 pm

lordmike wrote:First, it has a pretty significant volume drop when inserted into my signal chain. Is that normal?

Yes and no!

Professional audio equipment should be designed to have unity gain from input to output in its 'flat' condition -- which is what you're rightly expecting. However, normal production tolerances will introduce some natural deviation, and that's always going to be exaggerated in valve equipment... and especially so in cheap valve equipment using modern valves of variable quality!

A good design might provide a user gain trim control to dial out any tolerance/valve gain variations, and variations in the tolerances of the passive EQ section. However, the KT doesn't provide one because the original Pultec didn't...

Of course, the Pultec used proper old-school valves that were more consistent. Probably more relevant, though, is that the Pultec was designed in the days of mono, not stereo, so the issues of stereo matching weren't much of a concern!

There may be a gain adjuster inside the KT unit. I don't know, and any exploration and tweaking would be entirely at your own risk...

Personally, in your situation I'd just bypass the EQ, send a calibration tone through the unit, and insert a gain adjustment plugin in the DAW to compensate. Save the setup as a template and you needn't worry about it again.

It is like a drop of 6-10db.

I hope this isn't the cause, but as the Elf says, an unbalanced cable could result in a 6dB loss of level... so check your cables are all balanced and intact!

One thing I could be messing up is that I'm not sending it a hot enough signal, I keep my output in Reason to no more than -12db. So maybe that's it?

Nope. Analogue gear is designed for a nominal operating level of +4dBu, and peaks are expected to be around 8-10dB above that, so +14dBdBu.

If your interface is calibrated for +24dBu at 0dBFS (or thereabouts), and your peaks are hitting -12dBFS in the DAW, then that's +12dBu, which is +8dB relative to the +4dBu (0VU) reference and absolutely spot on to the Pultec's design expectations!

Running analogue gear with hotter signals just results in more transformer/valve saturation, and significantly less headroom. It might sound 'nice' sometimes with valve gear, but it tends to make solid-state equipment sound hard and unpleasant.

Next, the two units aren't very matched in output, one of them tends to be a little (a lot) quieter. It isn't a huge deal because I can just apply make-up gain in my DAW but I still want to make sure that is normal

I suspect it is 'normal' for this product and is almost certainly down to the valves in the two units having slightly different gains, which is a common problem with modern cheap valves. You could invest in properly matched pairs of valves, and try installing them in the two units. It might well help... but simply dialling in a correction in the DAW is probably easier, and is definitely cheaper.

H
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby The Elf » Thu May 07, 2020 4:52 pm

With dual mono devices I very often run them in mid/side to avoid L/R balance worries altogether.
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 07, 2020 5:44 pm

:thumbup: Good thinking!
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby lordmike » Thu May 07, 2020 5:51 pm

The Elf wrote:With dual mono devices I very often run them in mid/side to avoid L/R balance worries altogether.
That is a genius idea! I'm going to try that right now!
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby lordmike » Thu May 07, 2020 5:57 pm

lordmike wrote:
The Elf wrote:With dual mono devices I very often run them in mid/side to avoid L/R balance worries altogether.
That is a genius idea! I'm going to try that right now!

I guess I don't know how to do that... hahaha
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby Kwackman » Thu May 07, 2020 6:25 pm

lordmike wrote: That is a genius idea! I'm going to try that right now!
lordmike wrote:I guess I don't know how to do that... hahaha

I'm confused from your posts whether you do or don't understand the M&S workflow?
If not, this might help.
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... techniques
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby lordmike » Thu May 07, 2020 6:52 pm

Kwackman wrote:
lordmike wrote: That is a genius idea! I'm going to try that right now!
lordmike wrote:I guess I don't know how to do that... hahaha

I'm confused from your posts whether you do or don't understand the M&S workflow?
If not, this might help.
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... techniques

I didn't know how to hook it up in Reason, I was using the wrong splitter. I switched to the Quadelectra Stereo Splitter and it is pretty dummy proof. Sounds pretty nice!
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 07, 2020 7:31 pm

Voxengo's MSED MS converter is a free plugin and almost completely idiot-proof.

So route your audio to a stereo bus and insert the MS plugin to convert to the Mid-Sides format, then send to your physical IO and into the EQs.

Then take the returns from the EQs, route to a stereo channel, insert the MS plugin again, and convert back to left-right stereo. Then route the output of that channel on to your mix or master bus as usual.

Elements in the centre of the original stereo image will be affected by the Mid channel EQ, those near the edges by the Side channell EQ, and stuff in between by both...

But bear in mind that if you boost a frequency in the sides channel you'll also be pushing that part of the sound wider in the image, and if you cut in the Sides channel that part of the sound will narrow towards the centre.

The reverse is true for EQ boosts/cuts in the Mid channel.
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby CS70 » Thu May 07, 2020 9:07 pm

lordmike wrote:So I recently purchased a pair of the EQPs and while I like them, my enthusiasm changes with each pass of the song. One minute, they are magic, the next meh... But, it has some quirks that I would like to figure out. First, it has a pretty significant volume drop when inserted into my signal chain. Is that normal? It is like a drop of 6-10db.

I have and use one and there's no drop whatsoever, so it sounds odd.

Next, the two units aren't very matched in output, one of them tends to be a little (a lot) quieter. It isn't a huge deal because I can just apply make-up gain in my DAW but I still want to make sure that is normal; I don't want to keep broken garbage. My guess is that what I am hearing is from different output from the tubes and that getting matched pairs would probably fix this right up, but I'm not sure. How does this hypothesis sound to you guys?

A little difference should be fine, but again with mine I hear no change in level whatsoever when I patch it in, so again it sounds odd :-)

One thing to note, however: I had to send back the first I got because it did not pass any signal. Bought it a few months back so while it was not really "early production", they were still a bit hard to come by at the time. I guess that being so cheap means that quality control is not exactly Neumann-level. You may well have a good one and a dud.
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Re: Klark Teknik EQP-KT On Master

Postby lordmike » Fri May 08, 2020 12:23 pm

CS70 wrote:One thing to note, however: I had to send back the first I got because it did not pass any signal. Bought it a few months back so while it was not really "early production", they were still a bit hard to come by at the time. I guess that being so cheap means that quality control is not exactly Neumann-level. You may well have a good one and a dud.

I am suspect of nos/premium tube hype (even though I refuse to really use any physical equipment that doesn't use tubes :roll: ) so I purchased a pair of Genelex tubes to put in one of them to do an A/B test to see if I could hear a difference with "good" tubes. In this instance, it will work out because I'll also be able to find out if the gain difference is really linked to the tubes. Or, as you suggest, I'll see if I have a dud... :( I can post an a/b once they arrive and I have them installed if anyone is interested.
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