(click thumbnail)If ever there were a name synonymous with quality in the pro audio world, it could be Klark Teknik. They have been the purveyors of fine, world-class level audio processors for over 30 years.
Fast FactsApplications: Live sound, sound reinforcement, installation
Key Features: Eight-channel; gate; compressor; limiter; de-esser; Hard Knee and Vintage modes; Intelligent Threshold Shift
Contact: Klark Teknik at 952-887-7444, www.ktsquareone.com.
+ Purple… beautiful !!
+ Incredible dynamic control.
+ Very well written manual, describing the operations and processes
- XLR inputs and outputs only, difficult for single point insert consoles
The DN360 EQ is the graphic EQ by which all others are compared and measured, as are many of their products. Klark Teknik has introduced a new line of goodies, called the Square One line, which is currently two new products, a graphic EQ and a dynamics processor, and in this review I shall look at the dynamics processor.
If there is one thing that hits you right out of the box with the new Square One line from Klark Teknik, it would have to be the beautiful purple face teamed with the superb silk screened white lettering. We'll get back to the pretty face, but first the functions.
The KT Square One dynamics processor is a three-rack-space device, boasting eight channels of tour quality tunable compressor/limiter, gate and de-esser.
The front panel is a busy, highly functional place, with some controls offering many features. There are two LED stacks on each channel, the first displaying the constant input level to the dynamics device, the second displaying the amount of volume reduction by either the gate or the compressor of that channel.
The knobs are arranged logically alongside the LED stacks, the first of which is the threshold level control. There are also are knobs offering control of the output volume of the channel, the time release control for either the comp or gate, compressor ratio, which doubles as the range level control when the channel is in gate mode.
The solo switch allows for monitoring of the acted upon signal after the action of the filters with an EXT KEY function that allows for monitoring of signal from the external triggering source. The individual channels on the Square One processor can be switched from gate to comp via the gate switch, depressing the gate switch engages the gate, leaving it disengaged activates the compressor circuitry.
While in compressor mode, the dynamic processor has several interesting and differing sound types of compressor. With the Vintage and Hard Knee buttons disengaged, the sound of the comp is subtle and slow. With the Hard Knee button only depressed, it functions as a limiter type sound suitable for spoken word applications. With both buttons depressed, the unit becomes much faster acting, responding well to extreme dynamic situations. With only the Vintage button engaged, the comp sound becomes more tube style, with a warmer, but accentuated upper frequency accentuation as well. The ratio knob controls the amount of actual volume reduction relative to the amount of volume being introduced above the threshold level, such that a 4:1 ratio means that for every 4 dB of level increase above the threshold, the yield is a 1 dB output.
The gate mode is equally adept and controllable, with several controls and displays, with the main display showing the input level on top and the actual gating amount below. The gate is also functional in attack speed and release speed, with the lower display corresponding to both speeds. The gate offers a piece of circuitry found on few other gates, Intelligent Threshold Shift, which compensates for volume irregularities at the threshold point. These irregularities cause popping, or chattering, or clicking. All annoying characteristics of some gates, but KT has created circuitry that will keep the gate from being indecisive in its activity at the threshold, by shifting the threshold volume of lower frequencies downward, just enough to keep the gate from clicking or chattering.
Connection to your insert point is achieved through XLR connection only on the rear panel, with the external key connection in 1/4-inch TRS.
The KT Dynamics Processor units I received were shipped, most graciously, directly to their first gig, on which we were providing full production (audio, lighting and stage) for Eddie Money and Lou Gramm at a 1960s car show.
These pieces were so new, that even their engineers had never seen them before, so we were all in for a treat. For Eddie Money, we use one eight-channel unit for gates on the drums, and the other eight-channel unit as comps on the vocals and instruments. The drum gates opened and closed incredibly smoothly, with no clicking or chattering, and allowed for some very nice tuning of the drums, which otherwise possessed a little annoying detuning frequencies.
By keeping the attack time quick and the release time very short, the drums took on a very tight, concise attack, which allowed for reverb to be added most tastefully, and gave a nice glossy, studio sound. On the vocals, the compressors were adjusted as not to be too overly present, and sucking away all the dynamic range, but more to keep transient surprises at bay. Eddie Money is a smooth singer, with excellent mic technique, but even the smoothest of vocalists requires a little assistance with dynamics from time to time. The KT Dynamics Processor kept the vocals right out front, with smooth presence and no weird dynamic reduction.
The coloring of the original signals, in either gate or comp mode, was nonexistent. In fact, these are the most transparent, noninvasive gates and comps I have used in a long time. The electronic signal path is incredibly clean and quiet, and I could detect no audible presence of noise when switching the processor in and out of the insert points. Klark Teknik has scored again, with what will be, in my opinion, the new high water mark for dynamic controllers, setting a new standard in quality of gates and compressors.
Midas Siena, 48-channel, Soundcraft Series Five, 48-channel consoles; A-Line Acoustics AL10 line array; Yorkville TX2 monitor speakers; various Audix and Shure mics.