Test Drive: The NTI EQ3 High Definition Audio Sound Enhancement System

NTI-EQ3

by Jerry Vigil

After hearing about the EQ3 recently, I was quite excited to get my hands on this box, anxious to find out what could possibly put the price tag of an analog equalizer at $4,300. The manufacturer, Night Technologies International, based in Provo, Utah, has more eloquently named their device the NTI High Definition Audio EQ3 Sound Enhancement System, a name one might expect to find attached to a complex, multi-effect, audio processing device. On the contrary, the EQ3 is nothing more than a 6-band equalizer. And it is as simple to operate as the bass and treble controls on your car stereo.

The 2 rack-space stereo unit features six dual-function controls for each independent channel. The outer knob of each control is for course EQ cut and boost. The inner knob on each control is for fine adjustments. Each channel has a bypass button with an LED that illuminates when the unit is in line. These are the only lights on the EQ3. There isn't even a "power on" LED. In fact, there isn't a power on/off switch! Like we said, it's simple to use!

The first five bands are set at the following peaks: 10Hz (labeled as Sub), 40Hz, 160Hz, 650Hz, and 2.5kHz. The bandwidths are very broad, around 2.5 octaves. The sixth band is labeled "Air" and is a high frequency shelving EQ that can only boost highs. The shelf on this control is from 6 to 10kHz and extends to 330kHz at -3dB.

The outer, course EQ controls "click" from setting to setting allowing ±3dB adjustment per click for a total of up to 15dB of cut or boost on the first five bands. The inner, fine adjustment knobs, which also "click" to position, are used to adjust cut or boost in ¼dB steps. The initial "flat" settings of the unit have the first five outer controls in the 12 o'clock position allowing for course cut and boost. The flat setting for the inner controls is in the full clockwise position. So, if you wanted a 3dB boost of 40Hz, you'd simply click the second outer control clockwise one time. If you wanted only a 2dB boost, you'd click the outer control clockwise once, and the inner, fine control counter-clockwise four clicks. This is a different setup from the norm, but it only takes a moment to get used to. The outer control of the sixth band, the high frequency "Air" band, is initially set in the full counter-clockwise "Off" position with its inner fine control in the full clockwise position. As mentioned, you can only boost highs with this control. The outer knob provides course boost and the inner control provides fine adjustment in ¼dB steps.

That's it! As simple as a toaster. On the back panel you get balanced XLR ins and outs and a pair of unbalanced outputs on ¼-inch jacks.

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