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Reviewed By bduffy [read all by] on 11th November 2007
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by bduffy on 13th November 2007.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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When the brand-new company KeyToSound announced the release of the rather innocuously titled Vintage EQ, with all the baggage that comes with the word "vintage", I was more than a little sceptical. Upon installation, I noticed the demo was 30-day unlimited, and I dig that, so that helped win me over a bit. Also Brian (botkiller) from KeyToSound has had a strong, friendly, professional presence on KVR, so that helped too.

At first glance, the interface (like all their stuff) is a little funky and rock'n'roll rustic-looking, but clear and understandable. The layout reminds me strongly of Waves' RenEQ, whose layout I really enjoy, and those familiar with that layout will enjoy Vintage EQ right away. You get 7 bands, each one selectable to 7 filter types, with Gain, Frequency and Q: straightforward, easy to use.

Now, since the first thing I expect from something called Vintage EQ is a sweet high end, so the first thing I did was turn on the high shelf band set to 10khz and gave it a crank, and I was thrilled to hear a soft, smooth boost on the signal; the kind of thing one expects to hear from much-loved, vaunted hardware. I find I was tempted to boost a little more than usual, just listening for when it sounded good, which is always. Very pleasing indeed, and I think many will enjoy the character of this EQ.

Next, I hesitantly glanced at the CPU meter to read the bad news, and it had barely moved. I started inserting like crazy, and as far as I could tell, I could use this EQ on literally every single track in a mix and not bottom out the processor! This EQ has to have the best sound-to-CPU ratio out there, I'm not sure what they did, but hats off to KTS for this feat.

There is full data-entry on each band, and those numbers can be click+dragged also, which is great, plus draggable nodes and even an FFT readout. Personally, I think the readout comes out a bit cramped, but it's generally useful, especially as it's adjustable to Pre-EQ/Post-EQ or off altogether. And they've included A/B and Copy A/B + B/A features, another must-have in my book.

There are no presets as of yet, but it does have its own internal preset system, which I'll count as a big bonus for the preset category. You'll always be able to port your presets, and share with other KTS users.

It seems like KeyToSound really set out to make the ultimate musicians' everyday EQ here, and I do't think they missed a thing. I started using this immediately in my projects and haven't looked back, it's been a complete pleasure to work with! And at the most reasonable price of $59 (you hear that, Mac guys?!?), you cannot go wrong with this. Even if you don't think this is the best vintage-style EQ ever, you can pick up a great, efficient track EQ for peanuts! Definitely one of the best purchases of 2007.
Reviewed By neilpullen [read all by] on 10th November 2007
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows.
Last edited by neilpullen on 10th November 2007.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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I demoed the Vintage EQ for a few days without restriction thanks to KeyToSound's non-restriction demo policy, and let me say that policy reeled me in -- by the time I'd finished this EQ was all over my work in progress and I had no choice but to buy it (not that I'm complaining)!

The price point is excellent, $59 (at the time of writing) really is a steal for this piece of kit.

So what does it do? Well, it's an EQ but it's a "Vintage" one which means it colours the sound of any audio signal passing through it, and in a very good way. Try it yourself, and try boosting too, sounds definitely benefit from being put through this EQ, the colouring is pleasing and sounds great. I've tried it on both mix tracks and the master track to excellent results.

Since it's a colouring analog-style EQ its filter curves can be gentler than other EQs, to keep the EQ's effect musical -- if you need precise EQ
changes, KeyToSound have the Precision EQ available.

And what's more, the CPU use is fantastic! I don't know how the KeyToSound people have done it, apparently there's some clever techie reasons for it, but this EQ can be used without much of a care for CPU.

The GUI, I feel, tends to be a love it or hate it affair. I admit looking at the screenshots before I used it I didn't like it, though now I've found it's grown on me. It's easy on the eyes which is great for long sessions.

I must also mention the nice little touches that make the EQ great to use, like draggable nodes and an inbuilt Spectrum Analyser. This is useful for immediately seeing problem spots in the audio, though I also find it nice to turn off the analyser every now and then -- this EQ rewards "playing it by ear" a lot as all good EQs should.

As for support, I haven't got a bad word to say about KeyToSound. Botkiller is one of their main support guys and he's very active on KVR (and not just on the KeyToSound forum), and he always is responsive and friendly towards comments and suggestions. Top marks. The other KeyToSound guys are also present on the forums and they all seem very approachable.

There's an inbuilt preset saver/loader too, I don't use it but it might be useful to some. I've rated both presets and documentation 10 but I've never had to use either (which to me is a good sign, especially with the documentation as it means the EQ is easy to use without having to read up on it).

Stability -- it's never crashed Ableton or Reaper and I'm using Windows Vista. "Rock solid" is the phrase that comes to mind.

In summary, if you're looking for a colouring EQ at a great price point and CPU usage, look no further!

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Vintage EQ

Average user rating of 5.00 from 2 reviews

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