Korneff Audio Talkback Limiter by Sound-Guy
Talkback Limiter 1.1 by Korneff Audio
Another great Korneff Audio product that you really must try. As with other products from Dan, it provides some unique, colorful results. It models the famous SSL talkback limiter that became a secret weapon for many engineers in the ‘80’s. Hugh Padgham, while setting up to record Phil Collins, ‘accidentally’ left the listen mic engaged when Collins started playing his kit, and the rest is history! Those who have real SSL SL4000 consoles say that Korneff have nailed it. And as usual, Dan has “gone beyond” with a number of adjustments not present in the original.
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The front panel of the Talkback Limiter (TBL) is very simple with the limiter section labeled Communications and a preamp amp section labeled Analog that includes three input drive levels that pad the signal by 20 dB, run it straight through, or boost it by 30 dB going into the limiter. The Listen control adjusts the final signal level driving the FET limiter section as you can see in the block diagram below. There is also, of course, a wet/dry (Blend) adjustment and Makeup gain control.
At the top of the front panel are the preset controls with Dan’s masking tape window showing the current selection, and up/down arrows to step through presets. Clicking on the masking tape will open the preset browser, and you can of course save your own presets.
In addition there are four voltage rail indicators above the preset controls; 48 V, +18 V, +11 V and -18 V, and if you click any of these you will “kill” that voltage supply! The 48 and 11 Volt rails have little effect, but killing either +18 or -18 Volt rails will really crunch things in a very obvious way!
Clicking the Korneff logo opens the back panel with access to the preamp “circuitry”, and three controls (blue mini-pots) for Distortion trim, FET bias, and a Low Pass filter cutoff adjustment. The original talkback limiter was intended to prevent over-driving the studio monitors while allowing the talkback mic to be used to speak to the musicians in the studio, and it had only a 7 KHz bandwidth. Here you can use from 7 KHz up to full 20 KHz bandwidth.
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And at the very bottom of the GUI, always visible, is the standard Korneff utility panel with input and output level meters, input and output trim controls, a window that shows the tool description when tool tips are enabled (using the usual Korneff buttons), a control to open the user manual, A/B comparisons, and undo/redo buttons. The undo/redo has “infinite” levels so you can step back and forth all day if you wish.
How Does It Sound?
As with other Korneff processors,TBL can range from subtle compression effects (using the wet/dry control since the FET limiter itself always provides about a 100:1 ratio!) to all-out grunge (but very useful grunge!). Although “just” a single compressor (unlike the Korneff Audio Amplified Instrument Processor), along with its preamp section, TBL is more flexible than other talkback limiter emulations I’ve tried (or the real thing). It can provide heavy pumping action for EDM tracks and full screaming distortion for guitars if desired As I’ve said about other Korneff audio processors, I found it very addictive, testing many kinds of tracks and mixes for more hours than I had planned. And as with the Korneff Pawn Shop Compressor, when pushed it can leave some sounds like vocals open while really crunching guitars and drums. As a number of successful and well-know engineers attest on the Korneff website, Dan’s plug-ins provide totally different flavors than other audio emulations and can really provide a “wow!” factor. I certainly agree with this observation.
Talkback Limiter 1.1 uses the iLok/Pace authorization system, and it turns out as I write this, the Pace system is being updated and you might run into issues especially if you don’t have the latest version of PACE. Best to go to iLok.com and download the newest version before trying to use TBL. And be sure to be online when you first open TBL in a DAW because you will get an activation screen that needs to connect to iLok. Enter your activation code and then go to your iLok account to select the activation mode. If you try to run TBL the first time without an Internet connection, you will likely find it blacklisted in your DAW which could provide you with some entertaining time trying to get it running.
Available for Intel Mac 64bit: VST3, AU, AAX (Mac OS X 10.7 or higher, 10.14 or higher recommended) and Windows 64bit: VST3, AAX (Windows 7 & above). 64 bit DAW support only. Requires either an iLok dongle, iLok Cloud, or iLOK System/Machine Authorization (Cloud and Machine activation are free).
In my test system (PC Audio Labs Rok Box PC with Windows 7, 64 Bit, 4-Core Intel i7-4770K, 3.5 GHz, and 16 GB RAM) Talkback Limiter uses from 0.1% to 0.2% CPU resources depending on settings if oversampling is off, and about twice as much with oversampling on. Latency is also very low at 5 samples, which is only a 104 microsecond delay at a 48 kHz sample rate. You can track through the TBL with no audible delay, and easily use a dozen or more in a project without any taxing of your CPU.
More fun from Korneff Audio! As I’ve noted before, they have a real “magic” touch that shows (sounds) with all their gear – the Talkback Limiter is definitely not a “normal” limiter!
A really colorful limiter and preamp that includes a number of unique internal controls making it more flexible than other “talkback limiter” emulations I’ve tried.
Very low CPU requirements, so you can use dozens in a project – and very low latency so you can track through it.
Can use DAW automation to control all key parameters.
Korneff Audio (and Dan) listen to users for improvement ideas and provide great support.
The 1.1 upgrade adds System/Machine authorization. You can now license your plugin via iLOK dongle, and iLOK cloud account, and via my preferred mode, System/Machine authorization.
Great value for money.
Free seven day demo is available to check it out.
The 1.1 upgrade adds iLok System/Machine authorization. You can now license your plugin via iLOK dongle, or an iLOK cloud account, or via my preferred mode, System/Machine authorization.
User manual is informative, and a fun read, with all controls clearly described plus a couple pages of useful suggestions for use.
Nothing serious to complain about, but a few controls such as the preamp (Analog) On/Off button and Listen Mic button are not yet available for DAW automation. However, there is a bypass automation control if you want to activate or deactivate the TBL on the fly.