I’ve always been a huge fan of transient designers. They can do really naturally sounding dynamic changes to a signal or very radical ones while doing it in a way completely different from compression. SPL has introduced it’s famous transient designer in the 500 series format. It uses their signature DET circuit allowing the same versatility of the rack unit. It even goes a step further adding a new parallel mix knob. You now have limitless control over dynamic envelope shaping. This thing is built to German engineering specs as you would expect. The circuit board looks pristine, the machine milling is wonderful, and the knobs turn firm with a smoothness. Everything about the piece screams quality.
Now for the real fun. How does it sound? Just like an SPL product! My main targets were kick and snare. I was able to get a super punchy kick drum that had a lot of lower mid ring by excessively cutting the sustain and blending some of the dry signal back in. It was just as effective on snare ring. The attack brought some serious life to a set of dull toms I was mixing. I found it complimentary adding some attack on picked bass parts that needed to cut through more. I had the same feeling about it on strummed acoustic parts as well. Don’t be afraid to try radical effects with it as well. I messed around with some loops trying to create some crazy effects. I found success in doing so and it was a blast just goofing around with it. I have found it to be very effective over several tracks I probably would’ve never tried them on. So, the moral of the story is don’t be afraid to input this piece on things you normally wouldn’t try an envelope shaper on. It won’t fit everything, but you might be surprised. I love this piece. The quality from build to sound is exactly what you’d expect from SPL. It’s half the cost basically compared to it’s rack unit brother coming in at 529 MSRP USD. Granted you have a 500 rack of course. If you do and are in the market from a unique dynamics tool I give this two thumbs up. You can check out some more info from the link below.