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Perfect Pitch Francinstien

Stereo enhancer

Article from Music Technology, August 1993

It may be a monster but it can breathe life into your mix

John Wright plays fast and loose in a world of sonic booms and aural exciters.

Pssst! Fancy a 1U rackmount that loads your bass with a depth charge capable of shaking the foundations of Wembley Arena? Or which adds more sparkle and fizz to your hi-hats than an Alka Seltzer falling into a glass of Babycham? Or which creates enough 'space' in your mix to make Dolby Surround sound like your grandad's old radiogram?

Is there a single processor that can do all of this? And is it anything like affordable? The answer to both these questions is yes. It just so happens that Perfect Pitch Music, a small British company, have come up with such a device - and they call it Francinstien. Well, what else?

Whilst it wouldn't be entirely truthful to suggest that Francinstien is the only stereo enhancer on the market capable of such tricks, it is true that Perfect Pitch have a slightly different perspective on the processor market than their immediate competitors.

Francinstien offers three principal types of stereo enhancement: bass lift, harmonic high-frequency enhancement, and a mysterious processing circuit simply known as 'Space'. What's more, it offers these tricks in a package that is extremely easy to operate, is capable of stunning results, and offers superb value for money at under £600.

Connection-wise, both balanced XLRs and unbalanced 1/4" jacks are provided, making the unit ideal for almost any live rig, keyboard system or studio.The front panel is composed of six rotary controls and two buttons with accompanying LEDs. Certain functions are immediately obvious, such as the Bypass switch, Input Clip LED and Output level rotaries. But the really exciting (pun fully intended) controls are those which govern the three separate enhancement circuits.

First up is the mid- and high-frequency processing section, with knobs covering Mid-Hi Tune, Lift and Harmonics. The basic idea is to 'Tune' the circuit into a particular range of the frequency spectrum, and then use the Lift control to add definition and clarity to the instruments that fall within that range. It's rather like a parametric EQ in operation, but it has a quite unique effect on your sound.

And if that doesn't offer enough in the way of scintillating treble for you, the Harmonics rotary control increases the higher partials of the fundamental notes in the signal, adding a sparkling 'air' to the extreme top end of things.

Having added brilliance to a dull mix, you can then go on to pump up the bass by using the LF enhancer. This is even easier to set up - you simply choose the type of bass sound you're after (either a tight, defined dry 'punch' or a smooth, rolling wash) using the Warm/Dry button, and then turn the Depth control until the bass becomes prominent in the mix. The Francinstien makes bass signals suddenly appear 'in yer face' in a way that boosting the low EQ on a desk never can. For one thing, it doesn't shatter your bass cones, and for another, the additional harmonic emphasis doesn't make the bass sound unnatural. So if you're a dance nut who longs for a killer bass at gigs, or a DJ longing to put the kick back into drum, then Francinstien is for you.

If you're still unconvinced, and like a little icing on your cake, let me introduce you to the Space control. By turning this rotary, all the instruments in a mix suddenly appear distinct from each other, and seem to swirl out from your speakers and around your head. This, as you might imagine, is a pretty hard effect to describe on paper - so you're just going to have to audition Francinstien for yourself.

Is that it? In terms of features, yes, but in terms of the impact this device can have on your live or recording mixes, no. Everyone who mixes and produces music should carefully consider Francinstien - it is a phenomenal production tool. It adds that elusive 'magic' ingredient to a track that makes it sound truly professional - and you can't put a price on that, can you?


Ease of use No nasty LCD display!
Originality Highly derivative
Value for money Decent
Star Quality Invaluable in a mix
Price £586 inc VAT; with valve output stage (for extra "warmth"), £734 inc VAT
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Publisher: Music Technology - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

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Music Technology - Aug 1993

Quality Control

Gear in this article:

Studio/Rack FX > Perfect Pitch Music > Francinstien

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Review by John Wright

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