Chandler Limited TG2 – Resolution, 2004

Chandler Limited TG2
by: George Shilling
Resolution - V2.5, 2004

Following in the steps of the very highly regarded TG1 limiter, this mic preamp draws on a similar lineage and inspiration from 1960s consoles. GEORGE SHILLING shakes his mop top and squares up to the mic.

Chandler claims it has based the TG2 dual mic preamplifier on the innards of the 1960s EMI TG model console, faithfully copying the circuitry in every respect. This was the desk used for later Beatles albums and early 1970s Pink Floyd, among other classics.

Many components are painstakingly tracked down in the UK, the units are then assembled by hand in the US. The battleship grey front panel is authentic to the surface of the original desk, as are the pointy knobs. However, the pushbuttons are more 1960s or 70s Neve in style.

The main unit is in a very simple IU case, oddly connected with tiny bolts to the rack-mounting front panel, with XLRs on the rear for mic inputs and line outputs, and locking jack socket instrument inputs on the front. The top and bottom panels seem to flap around a bit in the middle and could do with better securing.

The main gain knob on each channel has 5dB switched steps from 5dB to 75dB and there follows another continuous rotary Master Volume fader, enabling you to drive the circuitry hard for the full OTT Lennon ‘Revolution’ effect, or by using the lowest setting set unity gain and use the TG2 as a line amplifier.

The power supply is a separate box, approximately half-rack in size. However, I found it necessary to distance it as far as possible from the main unit and any audio signal; the main preamp is also susceptible to hum and noise in proximity to other equipment but the power supply must be positioned very carefully indeed. The PSU has two outputs so it can power two TG2s, the connector is a colorful twisted cable with XLRs at each end.

The front panel pushbuttons enable 48V phantom, phase reverse, and DI input selection. There is a mystery unlabelled fourth button, which is presumably just a spare as these buttons come in pairs. However, with no manual available and little information forthcoming from Chandler, it is difficult to be sure.

The character of this preamp is quite breathtaking – the sound leaps out instantly and is very vital and exciting. There is apparently some degree of treble lift, and there is a richness and coherence which makes other great pres like the Universal Audio 610 reissues, sound a little hollow or dull by comparison. There is a touch of that lovely nasal and rich midrange character that defined The Beatles’ vocal and guitar sounds, but with all the detail of an API. The DI input is also great for guitars and basses and the character of the unit enhances these in a subtle and pleasant way.

For fans of retro this has to be the ultimate mic pre. The other Chandler TG model is the very pricey (but very desirable) TG1 limiter. By contrast, the TG2 is surprisingly cheap (UK£ 1404 inc VAT) compared to many ‘high-end’ units and sounds stunning. A best buy for me.