I remember being in the studio in the mid-80s and being very influenced by a then-#1 hit by Power Station called “Some Like It Hot.” The drum sound was huge and ambient and I was working my hardest to duplicate it to no available. As the drummer was in the studio playing, someone hit the talkback button on the console that opened up the room mic. There it was – that huge Phil Collins sound. Try as we might to get it into the console we just couldn’t seem to find a way. Flash forward some 30+ years and that problem has been solved via an excellent plugin by producer/engineer Dan Korneff with his totally unique Talkback Limiter plugin.
To say that the Phil Collins drum sound was influential is an understatement. You can read the real story of how it came about here (it’s about half-way down the page), but suffice it to say that Dan really nailed it with his TBL plugin. It will not only give you that FET-style high gain reduction ratio (100 to 1!) but the quick gate on the tail as well. Plus the Talkback Limiter is so much more.
Under The Hood
The Korneff Talkback Limiter features a number on front panel controls, all extremely useful. As you would expect, it has the same UI graphics of the SSL 4000 communications panel, but there’s a lot more control built in.
First of all there’s the Listen 1 control, which is basically the threshold control of the limiter. There’s also an SSL-style gain reduction meter right next to it, and a Listen Mic button that will bypass the effect.
Then we get into the new stuff that Dan built in. First there’s a big SSL-style Analog button that imparts the frequency curve and distortion characteristics of the real modeled console. That’s followed by the Input control that allows you to go from Line to Mic for an additional insane 30dB of input gain. That’s followed by a Blend control to set the proper wet to dry signal level (maybe the most important parameter of all), and finally a Makeup gain control that will add ± 24dB of gain.
But there’s even more. Click on the Korneff logo and you go to a second page that looks like the electronic components of the analog console communications circuit board. From there you can control the amount of distortion, the low-pass filter cutoff, the compression amount (called FET Bias here), select the amount of oversampling, and the size of the GUI.
There’s also a preset section complete with Dan’s favorite settings and plenty of room for user presets. Just click on the tape that says Talkback Limiter underneath the Korneff logo.
Let’s Us It
The Talkback Limiter punches way beyond its weight in that it will instantly give almost any track an aggression it didn’t have before. I immediately put it on a snare track of a song that I thought already had a pretty good mix. The presence of the whole track suddenly took a leap as there was an authority there that it didn’t have before. It can sound over-the-top if you let it, but the Blend control is your friend to always keep it under control.
I could go on and on about how much I loved this plugin, but you should just try it for yourself. The Korneff Talkback Limiter is only $39.99 but there’s a trial version available if you’re unsure. Trust me, you’re going to love it. Find out more about it here.