Sonic Lab: IK Multimedia T-RackS On Test

The White 2A and Black 76 review      16/08/11

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The T-RackS editions from IK Multimedia now include the Black 76 Limiting Amplifier, and the White 2A Levelling Amplifier. I had the task of reviewing both of these plug-ins, which you can see in the video above.

I put these to a simple test, against some of the equivalents by Bomb Factory, Waves, and UAD. Most of the music I produce features UAD plug-ins heavily, and I do use the Waves version of the 2A often on bass and vocals, and the Bomb Factory version of the 76 on drums and guitars.

To test the T-RackS, I used a song which I tracked recently and have yet to start mixing. Therefore I could compress the individual tracks safe in the knowledge that the tracking and the performances were all done to a good standard, hopefully giving an honest impression of the T-RackS' capabilities.

You'll have to see the video to see how they performed on test, but as a small hint, I have used both of the new plug-ins on the finished mix for the band!

For more information, here's the spiel from IK:

White 2A Levelling Amplifier

The White 2A Leveling Amplifier is based on a legendary vintage unit that is entirely tube-based. It’s a totally different device in terms of construction where all the compression magic happens inside an optically coupled element formed by a fluorescent panel and some photocells: the famed T4A element. There is no electronic circuitry involved with the compression itself. It's just a tube amp with photo-resistors, lighted by a fluorescent panel driven by the output signal. At the time of this invention, there were not many ways of making an audio compressor: only variable-mu and optical. Optical was the simplest one, and if proper elements for both the light emitting panel and the photocells were matched, magic happened.

Originally intended for use in broadcasting, it immediately became a truly signature unit for music recording and mixing. It’s a must-have for both tracking and mixing vocals, but it’s also tremendously effective on electric bass, upright bass, piano, winds and many other tracks where you need a gentle compression with great warmth and consistency. This is one of the few units in the audio industry that nobody will allow to be substituted for anything else.

Black 76 Limiting Amplifier

The Black 76 Limiting Amplifier is modeled after what is probably the most used, most known, most wanted, and most universally recognized compressor / limiter in the audio industry. There are probably no professionally created records without tracks using this unit. It’s a true legend and a piece of history. The engineers that made this FET based compressor reached a level of cleverness and magic that only true visionary geniuses can achieve. While there are many revisions of this hardware, we modeled the LN version, revision E, because it's the one that has the most sonically recognized and wanted character thanks to its input transformer and class A output stage.

This compressor can be used on literally everything: drums, drum sub-mixes, vocals, bass, guitars, piano, choirs, brass, strings, etc. It adds its sonic footprint to the sound that for many reasons simply makes music sound better. Vocals, for example, will gain presence, consistency, clarity and punch in a way simply not obtainable with other units. Drums will gain power and density with total control over the level of "snap", and guitars will get a magic midrange zone that makes them truly sing. The Black 76 is a must for mixing, but thanks to the perfectly stereo linked version we provide with MS option, it can also be effectively used for mastering if used with care!


$99.99 €74.99 each



Rich Beech



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