TL Audio releases Ivory 2 signal processors 07/10/02TL Audio was showing their new Ivory 2 line of signal processors, which include the 5051 Mono Valve Processor, 5021 Dual Valve Processor, 5050 Mono Valve Preamp & Compressor, 5001 Quad Valve Preamp, and 5013 Dual Valve Equaliser. Remember, we're speaking British now, and valve means "tube" to the rest of us! The Ivory 2 series is an update of the original Ivory series that was released about four years ago. Each unit features enhancements based on user feedback, but are priced the same as the original Ivory series.
The most obvious addition is an optional digital output card that is now available for each unit. The card sports a SPDIF output, Word Clock input, and operates at 24 bit 44.1 or 48k.
I spent most of my time with the 5013 eq and 5021 compressor. I have owned both previous versions of these units and TLA has clearly put some thought into the improvements. The 5013 eq allows the user to select peak or shelving for the upper and lower bands, accessed by pulling the dual function knob to it's "out" position. A "Fat" contour switch has been added to each channel, which seems to punch up the bass a bit.
In addition, the internal signal flow has been modified from the previous version. In the earlier 5013 (and Radius 20) the signal went from the gain control through both stages of the twin triode tube and then to the eq circuitry. In the new version the signal goes from the gain control to one stage of the tube, through the eq and only then through the second tube stage. TLA feels that this makes the eq smoother and gives it a bit more tube flavor.
TLA has also done a lot of work on the 5021 compressor. New features include four attack and release times, a hard knee/soft knee switch, and an optical gate with variable threshold. All the features of the original 5021 are still there as well.
It's worth noting that while TLA is still being distributed by HHB, their products are once again badged with their own name. The purple HHB color scheme has been replaced by TLA's colors. I found this to be a pleasant change, as the visual design chosen by TLA includes knobs of different colors, making it easier to identify the controls quickly.
For more info: TL Audio