The Speck is a four-band, one-channel EQ. The low end operates between 20 and 150 Hz with a peak/shelf switch. The low-mid is switchable, with a sweep of either 40 to 800 Hz or 400 Hz to 8 kHz, and the variable bandwidth adjustment works on both settings. The totally parametric midrange works from 400 Hz to 10 kHz. The high band operates between 4 and 25 kHz. The ASC also has gain control and a bypass switch. Inputs and outputs are XLR or 1/4". The cost (direct from Speck) is $469 for the standard model and $549 for the output transformer model (the version Mercenary Audio recommends, also the model that was sent to me). By the time the Speck arrived, I'd already mixed a band from Philly and wasn't happy with the low end mud. On a lark, I ran the stereo mixes through the Speck and, while I couldn't fully reclaim the bass drum, I was able to tidy up the mixes quite handily, and not just in the low end. I got more out of the cymbals with a touch of high end and the low midrange, with just a slight adjustment, cleaned up well too. But using EQ to reduce unwanted frequencies is pretty easy. The real trick is to add it to a track successfully. I was getting ready to record my own band and my drummer and I had gone through four snares, none of which seemed to transfer to tape properly. I could've tried to tune it, but then he would've tried to kill me. But what if I EQ'ed it? I try to never use EQ in lieu of a straight source sound because the EQs I use are crappy and they get hissy on the high end or muddy on the low end. The Speck had no such problems. I can easily dial in as much ring or body as I like, and there's no accompanying footprint to muddy it. I can brighten it and you really wouldn't know there's anything other than a drum and mic at work. The effect is subtle but real, and sounds natural, not peaky or extreme. Of course, the flexibility of the bandwidth adjustment helps hide the gauche abuse of a limited frequency range. The Speck is quiet and good, and that's why I'm buying the test model. (

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