composer of music for film & television

Dr. Zarkov

Love At First Sight

I admit it. I bought this unit because of how it looks. 


Leica M9P with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0 ASPH

It looks like Flash Gordon should be using it to pilot Dr. Zarkov’s rocket ship. 


Leica M9P with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0 ASPH

Nine long months ago it captured me with it’s confident, retro beauty. 

I knew I needn't worry about buying on looks alone because this unit is designed and built by Liam Carter for Cartec Audio. Their stunning recreation of the Pultec EQP-1A has received nothing but the highest praise and the 500 series Pre- Q5 and Fe-Q5 are of the same high spec. 

First Impressions

Unboxing the THC I was struck by the extremely high build quality and finish. I was also delighted to see the back panel had only L&R I/O (I like to keep things simple).

The front panel is very clearly laid out and everything makes sense, no subjective names like ‘warmth’ or ‘clarity’. Glancing at the controls I felt immediately at home - 


Leica M9P with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0 ASPH

Level Reduction



SC filter 150/300

EQ - Low 30 100 60 High - 8 12 16

Clipping - soft hard 

However, beyond these ‘simple’ controls I knew the THC had a special trick!

Split Personality 

Apart from the vintage looks I was intrigued by the audio duality of this special unit. One stage, a fairly traditional valve compressor, the second an uncompressed and parallel stage with shelving EQ and varying levels of clipping distortion. 


Leica M9P with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0 ASPH

Quickly patching in the THC, I routed some drums from a rock project (recorded at The Chairworks Studios) I already thought sounded huge, defined & punchy - I was wrong.

When I have my first go on any new equipment I tend not to be gentle, I like to find extremes and limits. So I turned off the second parallel stage and tried to smash the shit out of the kit with the front end compressor. Wow, this compressor is smooth. Comparing it to my other gear - It has much less aggression than the Zener, it’s smooth like the Dynax but adds a subtle bright valve colour like the Fearn. 

From this first listen I knew I was going to adore the compressor section of this unit, but the THC still had its secret weapon waiting to slay me...


Leica M9P with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0 ASPH

I set the high EQ to 12K with an 8db boost, bass 100Hz gentle 4db lift, no distortion; then flicked the mute switch. Boom. You know it when you hear it. This is why this unit was designed. The second parallel chain restoring lost transients and adding beautiful passive Pultec style EQ. 

The old drum sound... lost.... a distant memory....

Out Of The Box Fans

Even though I’ve only used the THC for one day I recommend arranging a demo in your studio, you will not be disappointed.

It’s a ‘back of the net audio goal’ to Cartec Rovers and I’ve just bought my season ticket...nice.


 Leica M9P with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0 ASPH







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