TFPRO 2-Channel EQ

I met Ted Fletcher when he was showing off this EQ and a new compressor at a conference I was speaking at in New Orleans a few months ago. I was really impressed with the design philosophies and interesting nature of this man. The compressor seemed really cool . . . I got the EQ for review here at Studio G Brooklyn, and I immediately put it across a mix I had finished the day before, just to experiment on program material.

First impression: it is an EQ. Nothing really amazing going on.

The unit works, and is doing EQ type stuff just fine. But I am spoiled with 26 channels of custom EQ in a completely custom console. I also have a pair of Pultec EQP1-Rs and some Neumann PEV’s. . . . All great choices.

In any case the TFpro 2-channel EQ seems to be the kind of thing that would come in really handy if you don’t have any really good EQs already in your arsenal. It is an EQ, and it does well as an EQ, but it doesn’t really do anything that a good console EQ won’t do. I actually think it is kind of cumbersome, and the sonics aren’t amazing enough to warrant going outboard. It is a perfectly good piece of gear, built pretty well, and pretty intuitive in its operation and layout. If this EQ would get more drastic, or get more ANYTHING than a decent console EQ, I would say it was totally worth the price of admission. Sadly, I can’t imagine this EQ really being needed under any circumstance. And I am a huge fan of cool gear, and collect pieces that do good things, but this EQ seems to sit squarely in the middle of the road, and is therefore not really worth its ticket price. I really want to try out the new compressor, as that looks like a lot of fun. This EQ, though, is just kind of boring. . . it’s like the khaki pants of EQs.

I guess the real reason I’m unimpressed with this EQ is because it seems to me that it lives squarely in the “why do we need this product?” zone. I am not in the business of slamming gear, I love gear that makes my life more fun, but there are SO many EQs out there, and many that do great things in the price range this unit lives in. This EQ sounds like a 1200 dollar EQ to me, nothing more, nothing less. It certainly sounds like a good EQ, but not a GREAT EQ, and certainly not a great enough to warrant the price.

So assuming you have ANY decent outboard EQ in your rack, this one would be an expensive wallflower that doesn’t say or do much for your mixes. Lots of EQs have boost or cut, at a variety of frequencies. Lots of EQs have high and lowpass filters, this one included. The sonic properties when boosting or cutting make an EQ either great or just another EQ. When boosting with this EQ, you get EQ’d source, rather than “air” or “punch” or “more fangs.” But however you describe it: this EQ just EQs stuff, rather than that magic ability of a great EQ to add life and sparkle and oomph to an otherwise less than exciting source.

And, again, this EQ costs enough to warrant a certain “wow” factor that it lacks. For something over $2500 (of which this FULLY qualifies), I want a little excitement, or at least something unique, very robust build quality, or sparks to shoot out of my head every time I touch the thing. This doesn’t do any of those things for me. This EQ is safe and I don’t like “safe.” I like crazy and outlandish and the ability to sound broken OR beautiful. I like elegant, simple circuits that have big, discrete-and-transformer-oomph.

So if you think the airport bar at the Dallas airport is “crazy” then this EQ might be for you. Summary: not very useful or exciting and therefore not worth the high dollars. I think Ted Fletcher is a really neat guy, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what his name is doing on the front of this bland, overpriced piece of gear.