Pendulum Audio Quartet Tube Recording Channel
 by Larry Crane (Editor), Tape-Op Nov/Dec 2002

   This device is a Mic/DI preamp, three band EQ, compressor and de-esser. It has an all tube Class A signal path with transformerless and transformer-balanced outputs. The pre, EQ and compressor/de-esser sections can be used independently through connections on the rear panel. This is a lot of potential power in a two rack space unit, but does it deliver and is it worth the cost? Yes.

   The mic pre performed amazingly, adding detail to every mic, from an ELUX 251 to a R-121. We got the best vocals I've ever heard come from a SM57 and fat kick drum sounds from a Beta 52. The EQ is a very simple three band affair, with 3 positions for hi and lo, with 6 positions for the mids. In use, all the settings were very musical, and the EQ had nice Q, adding gentle but noticeable coloration, and came in quite handy for tailoring sounds to tape. The compressor was similarly musical, always sounding good despite turning the knobs all over the map! The fast, average, vintage and manual selector took it anywhere from speedy transparent to LA-2A-style, giving me the impression that there were actually different compressors at work as opposed to a subtle knob that didn't do too much. The de-esser was also a real treat. It has a way of notching out and ducking the offending frequencies that worked perfectly in tracking and mixing sessions. The de-esser (and this whole unit) was excellent for salvaging vocals from some home-recorded sessions I was working on.

   The Quartet also greatly enhanced all my tracking sessions during its all-to-brief stay at Jackpot! I've heard people say that Greg at Pendulum is also a great recording engineer, and this sensibility comes across in the Quartet - it was hard to make sources sound bad through this unit, but when extreme work needed to be done it could also handle that. I spent my whole time reviewing this unit without knowing what it cost, and even at $3250 list (street price is less) it's still a deal. Now I just wish I could keep it! ( -LC


[By the way, Larry did keep the Quartet!]