Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette
The Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette is a full-featured mixing console channel strip, incorporating elements of the historic EMI / Abbey Road Studios TG12345 recording and mastering desks of the late 60s and 70s.
The Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette finally delivers a true channel strip of the cassette found in the famed EMI TG12345 desk. Not simply a smash-up of the TG2 Mic Preamp / TG Channel, TG1 Compressor, and the TG Channel/ Curve Bender EQ, the Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette replicates the basic feature set found in what is an actual channel microphone cassette of the EMI TG12345 desk - but also delivers incredibly useful features, including the Rumble Filter of the REDD.47, changing the compression circuit to an electro-optical design, and separate access to the compressor from the rest of the microphone cassette.
Chandler Limiteds critically acclaimed TG1 Limiter, TG2 Pre-Amp, and Curve Bender EQ, each known for their remarkable reproduction of the EMI TG sound, have been combined to form the ultimate TG Microphone Cassette reimagined to work in a modern recording studio context.
Chandler Limited is the only company in the world authorized to develop, manufacture and market the Official Equipment of EMI/Abbey Road Studios. Abbey Road Studios, EMI and TG and their associated logos are trade marks of EMI (IP) Limited.
Conceived from meetings in 1967 between Abbey Road engineers and EMIs Central Research Laboratories technical team, the EMI TG12345 desk (later known as Mark I) would usher in a sea change in sound and flexibility at Abbey Road Studios.
The new transistor based EMI TG12345 recording console was modular in design, with twelve dual channel microphone cassettes. The TG desks featured expanded EQ, and for the first time ever, a compressor/limiter on every channel. The compressor was originally supposed to replicate the sound and behavior of the Fairchild 660 and RS124 tube devices, but ended up with a completely unique sound in its own right.
Installed in Abbey Roads Studio Two in November 1968 and making its debut on an 8-track recording by the Shadows, the new transistor desk marked a departure from the earlier REDD valve consoles. The following year, the EMI TG12345 desk helped shape the sound of the Beatles final album, Abbey Road, which was markedly richer sounding to that of the bands earlier work. The sonic qualities of classics like Here Comes the Sun, Come Together and Something would have been very different without the EMI TG12345.
The desk encountered many revisions throughout the 70s and became the main recording console used throughout the studios until 1983. The EMI TG12345 console Marks IIV were used on everything from Pink Floyds The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here to John Lennons Plastic Ono Band, George Harrisons All Things Must Pass to epic film scores including Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The EMI TG12345 was never commercially available to the public.
Chandler Limited is the only company in the world authorized to develop, manufacture and market the Official Equipment of EMI/Abbey Road Studios.
Abbey Road Studios, EMI and TG and their associated logos are trade marks of EMI (IP) Limited.
Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette Features
- The pre-amp section of the TG Microphone Cassette makes use of the Chandler Limited TG2 pre-amplifier based on the vintage EMI TG12428. The TG2 pre-amp section includes switchable coarse and variable fine gain adjustment controls for up to +70db overall gain, selectable LINE, DI, 48V phantom power, phase reverse, and switchable rumble filter (low cut.) The TG2 pre-amp section is coupled directly to the Curve Bender equalizer section.
- The TG Microphone Cassettes equalizer section is derived from the famed and greatly expanded Chandler Limited EMI TG12345 Curve Bender EQ. The Curve Bender EQ section provides Hi and Low shelf, frequency selectable presence, output control, and bypass functionality. The Curve Bender EQ section is the second stage of the TG2 pre-amp section, and the EQ output control works as a fader would on a console.
- The compressor/limiter section of the TG Microphone Cassette is a special adaptation of the Chandler Limited TG1 Limiter tracing its lineage to the historic EMI TG12413 mixing and mastering console limiters. EMI technical engineers experimented with the use of optos in their audio compressors, and now for the first time ever Chandler Limited introduces the TG1 Opto Limiter.
- The TG1 Opto Limiter section of the TG Microphone Cassette is patchable apart from the TG pre-amp and EQ, allowing for independent use of the compressor/limiter on other sources. The TG1 Opto is stereo linkable to a second unit via a standard 1/4 cable. The TG1 Opto Limiters feature-set includes: HOLD, Attack, Release, selectable sharp/rounded knee, output or makeup gain, and true bypass.
- All TG units require and function on the PSU-1, Chandler Limited power supply. The PSU-1 has an internal switch for setting voltage to 120V or 220V (115V/230V). For more information please call us at 888-228-4530.
Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette Specifications
- Channels: Mono
- TG2 Preamp: Transistor amplifier
- Mic/Line: XLR Input (Transformer balanced, Mic 300Ω Impedance)
- DI: 1/4 Unbalanced
- Maximum gain: +70db, Coarse Gain (Stepped +20 to +60db), Fine Gain (Variable +/-10db)
- Rumble Filter (Low Cut): 6 Frequencies (Out, 33,41,47,65,82,110hz)
- Phantom power: Phantom (+48V)
- Phase: 0-180º
- Curve Bender EQ: Treble/Bass Shelf, Presence (Out, 300hz,500hz,1.2k,3.6k,6.5k), Output control, Bypass, XLR Output
- TG1 Opto Limiter: Independently patachable (XLR I/O), Hold, Attack, Release, Knee (Sharp/Rounded), Output (makeup gain), Bypass, Linkable (1/4 Jack)
- Power: External/PSU-1, Purchased separately
Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette Includes
- Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette
- One Year Limited Warranty
Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette Downloads
- Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette User Guide / Owners Manual (PDF)
- Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette Recall Sheet (PDF)
What We Think
"The Chandler Limited TG Microphone Cassette is one of those absolute 'Holy Cow' moments for anyone who loves recording gear and absolutely classic tones. And no - nobody is bringing back cassette tapes any time soon. "Microphone Cassette" is classic EMI / Abbey Road terminology for the module which was able to be inserted and removed from the console - a design which you see carried over into the early Neve consoles as it is a fantastic design practice where it comes to maintenance and keeping maximum functionality should a channel develop an issue in the middle of a session. Regardless, the name perfectly reflects the console module/cassette that the channel strip recreates; a fully functional channel strip, packed with historic designs - and some relatively new things, to boot.
"There's already a bunch of TG series gear... Why the TG Microphone Cassette? Doesn't it repeat a bunch of that stuff?" To answer the last of those questions first, not really. In fact, no. Chandler Ltd's Wade Goeke was pretty smart (and generous) in this new release. Where we have three existing products in the TG series (TG1 Limiter, TG2 Pre-Amp, and Curve Bender EQ - even the TG Channel MkII) which contain all of the basic components (though quite expanded in the case of the stereo Curve Bender), there is no sense in repeating yourself without additional benefits.
So, what's new? Plenty. When designing the Chandler Limited REDD.47, Wade decided that there needed to be a 'Rumble Filter' (a High Pass Filter for those of us used to more modern terminology not steeped in the tea from the Abbey Road canteen). However, thanks to Chandler Limited's exclusive license agreement and access to EMI / Abbey Road's design archives and equipment, the foundations for a totally new six frequency (33, 41, 47, 65, 82, 110hz) Rumble Filter design became possible. Having heard this in the REDD.47, I can say without a doubt that this thing sounds great, and it's as much of a tone-shaping tool as it is a problem solver for low-frequency issues. Considering just how useful this new filter is, it was decided to replicate it within the TG Microphone Cassette. Seriously... I never thought that I would be so excited by a Hi-Pass filter. But, it's an exceptional design and sounds even better. And I would be remiss to visit a feature of the microphone preamplifier section without addressing the preamp, itself. The TG series microphone preamps are absolutely stellar. The sound? VERY full and rich - they make a 1073 sound 'lean' by comparison. There is so much interesting texture that the TG pre brings out in the midrange while having a special sort of sparkle in the highs... it's difficult to describe other than to confidently say that you'll absolutely love this preamp. Well, maybe not if you're looking for 'pristine' - it ain't that. But if you love landmark classic rock albums, this is it. Play an acoustic guitar into it with a small diaphragm condenser and you'll immediately recognize the sound from The Beatles' 'Abbey Road,' Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon," as well as a lot of the early Alan Parsons Project albums. Those don't sound too bad, right? The cumulative effect of using this preamp across your basic tracks results in a very desirable and uniform character.
Next up - the Compressor. So, the TG1 is traditionally a remote-cutoff design (like most all compressors of glory day Abbey Road fame - Fairchild 660/670, RS114, RS124, RS168 Zener Limiter). However, Abbey Road engineers also tinkered with OPTO compression circuits. And thus another great opportunity arose. If you like what a TG1 does then the TG1 is there for you. The TG Microphone Cassette features a TG1 framework but which uses a unique photo-optical cell compression circuit instead of the normal remote-cutoff style. The result is a compressor with all of the tonal hallmarks of the TG1, but with a bit of a smoother compressor functionality. So, it's both something familiar while being something new. But it's worth noting that the HOLD function of this particular TG1 is accurate to the TG desk and has nothing in common with the HOLD function of the Chandler Limited RS124 Compressor. In the TG Microphone Cassette, the HOLD function is how you set the amount of compression against the dynamic range exhibited by the source signal in the meter (turning the knob counter-clockwise results in more compression). Visit the manual for more info on how this works. They explain it very well.
Lastly the 'Curve Bender' equalizer. Now, this isn't the TG12345 Curve Bender EQ which offers a wide variety of frequency points for both Bass and Treble bands, while also adding a 2nd Presence band. The original TG consoles featured very simplified equalizer sections with fixed frequency Bass (fixed at 91h) and Treble (fixed at 8.1 kh) and only the Presence band with varying frequency points (300, 500, 1.2, 3.6, 6.5 khz). HISTORICAL NOTE: 500, 1.2, and 6.5 khz were frequencies originally available on the input channels of the EMI TG12345 desks. The original cut/boost control was stepped. Obviously, we assume these to be limited. However, there is so much tonal shaping possible with this EQ that it's simply more reinforcement that the Abbey Road tech boffins really had it going on - even with only 3 original frequencies in the presence bands to choose from.
The TG Microphone Cassette works best (if we may be so bold to recommend) as a stereo pair. Stereo and dual/mono recording techniques offer an opportunity to capture actual spaces or record a closer, but more wide (in regards to either acoustic space or frequency range) with the unification of stereo linking of the compressors thanks to a simple TS - TS cable connected between the two units. The TG Microphone Cassette is more than a single channel strip; it's Compressor can be accessed independently of the MicPre/EQ path. In a pair, you could be recording overdubs while dedicating your compressors to the stereo bus or a subgroup, perhaps. Either way, this is a welcome flexibility.
But like all TG series products before it, the TG Microphone Cassette requires the PSU-1 for operation. And it's worth considering that the PSU-1 will power TWO of most any Chandler Limited devices requiring a power supply. So, it's not a terrible expense, considering. Plus it serves to keep any stray fields out of the rack and on the floor where they belong.
Any way you slice it, the TG Microphone Cassette is a slice of vintage analogue heaven. What's surprising is to find this unit, which offers so much, to be a good bit under $3000. I don't think it's unrealistic for us to have assumed that this unit with all it's features and offerings, would have been much, much closer to $4000 (if not over). So, it's nice to see such super-premium equipment as Chandler Limited becoming a bit more affordable (especially their commitment to increasing their 500-series offerings, of late). So, if you want the sound which hung more than a few platinum albums on some pretty prestigious walls, the Chandler TG Microphone Cassette eclipses most gear as THE place to start.
Alan Moon - Front End Audio
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