For years, I've been wanting a dedicated real time analyzer (RTA) in my studio. An RTA is a device that will display the amplitude of frequencies across the audible spectrum, thus allowing the engineer to see where frequency peaks occur. This will tell you if a mix is too bass heavy, if a kick drum has no low end, what frequency on an electric guitar is dominating, and more. The Ultra-Curve is really marketed as a 31-band digital graphic stereo EQ, but I noticed when they first came on the market that there was an RTA built in, along with input for a mic if you wish to "tune" your room with pink noise. I'm pretty sure this box was mostly designed for live sound, and I could see it being handy on mains in a club; but after the retail price dropped to $199, I bought it for the RTA and have used it for that purpose alone. The RTA can read left or right inputs (XLR or TRS 1/4") and combine them for mono. It can run RMS or peak, do peak hold, and a few other features. It's helped me keep tabs on my mixes, especially after listening to a lot of CD's through it while watching the display, and has also helped me pinpoint frequencies while EQ'ing. The only problem I had was that these units have been sitting on the shelf so long that the lithium battery was nearly dead, requiring me to open the unit to replace it, thus voiding my warranty. The fact that they weren't selling well also may indicate that Behringer may be discontinuing the Ultra-Curve, so act fast if you want a cheap RTA! (

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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