Rock Mixer offers an in-depth review on Freqtube FT-1: “Freqport really went outside the box by thinking about this unit and developing an analog effect that is totally integrated with your digital audio workstation…this is 100% one of the coolest pieces of tech I have seen this year.”
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- Hey, everybody. Rock Mixer here. And today, I want to show you this amazing new piece of hardware. It's made by a company called Freqport. And this is their first entry into an analog device that's digitally controlled by a plugin, without any audio cables. It all goes through a USB-C cable. It's pretty amazing.
This is called the FT-1 Freqtube, and it has four analog tubes in it. I believe there's two different kinds of tubes, and you can have two stereo singles going into it, four mono signals, or you can mix it up like two stereo and two mono, that type of thing. All controlled by a plugin.
Freqport’s slogan is “ANALOG REINVENTED”, and I really do think that these guys have done it!
This is a company that started in 2019, and they're out of Australia and Denmark.
The Ft.1 Freqtube has four independent tube channels, two different types of tubes. It has parallel and primary analog processing paths, with hardware filters for each channel. It's perfect for warming up any digital sound, mastering or production use.
It connects to your computer via a USB-C cable. It has high voltage internal tube driver circuits. It features high end 32 bit converters up to 192k sample rate. It has two different types of tubes in it, two E8CC tubes and two 12AX7. They're both high gain top quality tubes.
It features selectable overdrive with clipping detection. The unit also features tactile knobs right on it, so you can tweak it in real time. Analog gain, mixing drive, phase control, and harmonic control are all built in.
It features both primary and parallel multimode hardware filters; seamless beat perfect audio transfers into your digital workflow.
One of the coolest things about this unit, unlike regular analog outboard gear, you can recall all of your analog parameters each time you revisit your mix, solid all metal enclosure.
So now with all the information and specifications out of the way, let's take a closer in depth look at this unit.
Now, as I told you in the intro, this is an incredible piece of hardware. It is a saturation type unit with two different types of tubes in it. And this plugin gives you full control of everything you need, plus, you can program the tactile controllers, and what they will do, and what they will function.
So let's do this first, let's go through this interface:
Two types of filters here, you have a parallel filter and you have a primary filter. And you can turn the primary filter on, and you can adjust the frequency here, and you can see High pass, Low cut; you can use it as a regular EQ and boost and cut frequencies, you can change the gain structure and you can obviously adjust the cue, the game and the frequency.
Let’s take the unit at bypass, you can hear this in action now. Alright so here we go. And you can automate these as well, obviously.
Next we have the drive control. And as you can see, there's a little 1 next to it. That means the Tactile Controller 1 will control this feature on the plugin because it's programmed. I can also do it from here as well, which is really cool. And then it also shows you on the little display on the Freqport itself of where it is. Alright so let’s go to Zero.
Let's play some music, and I'll let you hear what the drive does going through the E83CC tubes. And you can see the tubes are lit up and hot inside the unit. You're sort of saturated. And as I bring it down, you can see the tubes will get less, and as I bring it up the tubes will get more on the plugin. That’s a nice little saturation right there. And I can adjust Controller number 2, I have it programmed. This is totally dry, and this is wet totally, so we can do a parallel type of effect. Now if I really want to think it over the top, see I can bring this over up to 12, then watch as I bring it in through the parallel mix. Then I can take it really over the top.
This thing is great on a Mix Bus, it's great for Lo-Fi, it's great on a Drum Bus, especially for parallel Drum Bus effects; you can use it on guitars, vocals, really everything.
So you have a lot of control over the saturation and how you're going to use the tools with your audio.
And the nice thing about the Freqtube is I can use these things in stereo, or I can use these tubes in stereo and these tubes in mono. And vice versa, I can use them all in mono so I have up to four different effects in here, or I can also put these in stereo and these two in mono, so you can have three effects going at the same time, which is pretty wild. Because there’s four tubes in this unit.
Alright, let’s check out the harmonics. So this is doing harmonic coloration. And if you go to the right, you are giving it positive harmonics. And if you go to the left, you are giving it negative harmonics overtones. You can also convert everything, check your phasings.
It's a really nice effect and you can run it as subtle or as aggressive as you like, like right now it's completely dry. And it just gives it that saturation and warmth and fatness.
All right, let's try it on these two tubes. Let's switch over to these guys here. We're going to turn those off, just turn these tubes on and now they're stereo. And let's listen to the difference on the whole track now with the 1287 tubes, which I guess are comparable to the 12AX7s.
You'll see it on the unit itself that the tubes switch. Like if I turn off this tube, that tube will go out on the unit. Turn it back on, tube comes on.
Alright let's add this to the Drum Bus and see what we get. So this is the main beat, listen to how it sounds.
You hear just it saturated so beautifully, so you can bring it back a little bit, just give it as much as you want.
Maybe I wanna turn on some filter, let's check out the parallel filter. I'm gonna turn that on. And I'll pull out some of the low end. Again this can be automated for a fact.
Let's stop for a minute.
And let’s say I want to use the frequency knob on one of the tactile knobs on the Freqtube, all I have to do is decide which one of the hardware control I want to use; so I'm gonna click 5, and you can see everything line up. So now I'm gonna click over here. So now this tactile knob on the Freqtube itself will be the control, will be the controller for this parameter.
Let's take a listen. And I can automate this obviously. Alright let's turn it off, play with some harmonics. You see effect by-pass, you see effect on just on the drums.
Alright let's try it on another source.
Alright so now we have the Freqtube on the guitar itself and you'll see that only one tube turned on ‘cause this is a mono channel, not a stereo channel. So I can use these other tubes on other sources.
And you can dive in a really nice saturated harmonic coloration to warm sound with this unit, it's incredible!
Don't forget the thing that blows me away about this unit is that it's all analog and it's all going through this USB-C in real time.
Let’s see what the guitar sounds with an AX7, AT7 as they call it. Lets assign type tal Control number 3 on the harmonics. And if you look on the right DP frequency, it shows you what frequency you are messing with when you plus it and minus it, it's pretty cool.
Ok let's see what this would sound like on a Rock vocal... So you hear what that's doing, that's adding it two warm saturation it makes it edgy, so much more in your face. Listen again.
Alright, so now let's see what it would sound like on a bass guitar. This is bypassed. Listen to all that extra quality frequency this thing does, watch, on bypassed.
Alright, so now let's check it out on a distorted guitar, let's see what it can do with this thing. Alright so once again, that's bypassed, that's in, bypassed, in...
So as you can hear it's given it more dry, more saturation, more liveliness.
It also comes with a bunch of great pre-sets that are already done and ready for you to tweak, like a drum hanger, a harmonic overdrive, mega mixed fixer, split in hands, split louder, zero fundamental, mastering air and mastering mid lift.
So you have a lot of stuff already programmed and a lot of stuff ready to go for you to choose from, unlike regular analog gear that you would have to write down your settings. Because this is controlled by a plugin, you don't have to do that, every time you bring in the plugin it will re-control the hardware to bring you back exactly where you were before, which is an amazing thing.
The second thing that I really love about this unit is that everything goes through the USB-C cable. There is no plugging in extra hardware in and outs through your interface. It's all done through the USB-C.
And here’s the third thing that I really love about this unit, price-point right now for this unit is 999, and the closest thing that's now in the market, which does not have a plugin and it’s not controlled by your digital audio workstation, it’s the black box which is almost 3000 dollars.
There's a couple of other units that are made, I think Luke Trotter makes a saturation unit it's probably close to two grand. This unit is 999. And you might be able to find it even a little less than that, from if they're running a sale or something like that, I'm not sure. But I mean 999 for this type of technology for what it does, the R&D that went into this thing, and as good as it sounds, you can't beat it! So make sure you check out the Freqport Freqtube FT1.
So this company Freqport really went outside the box by thinking about this unit and developing an analog effect that is totally integrated with your digital audio workstation.
I mean, again you don't plug in any audio cables, it all goes through USB-C and every time you bring back your mix, your song, it will bring you back to the exact same parameter, it will reprogram the hardware to exactly where you are.
I would say that this is 100% one of the coolest pieces of tech I have seen this year.
Freeport Freqtube, support these guys if you are into this type of an effect buy this unit, it sounds amazing, I'm sure they are going to be making updates for it, and i'm sure they are going to be coming up with a lot of new interesting hardware, with other effects and other things.
But this is a great start, I love this unit! If you have any other questions about this unit please leave it in the comments. If you'd like to see me make another video with other sources, let me know, or anything else that you can think of that you'd like to see or hear about this unit.
So again, thanks for watching. This is the Freqfort Freqtube.
Check them out, they are amazing!
Video used with permission. Copyright @RockMixerMusic
Video used with permission. Copyright @RockMixerMusic