I don’t know what it is, but people in the studio just can’t seem to keep their hands off of my knob. It’s solid, silky smooth, and… brushed aluminum, you know. Yes, folks, never before have we had the pleasure of reviewing a piece of gear so ideally suited to a pornographic product introduction, but keeping our mind in the gutter for just another moment, we have to say that this is one smokin’ hot little piece of gear.
The TC Electronic Level Pilot is a high-resolution volume knob for your studio monitors. It sits inline between your monitors and your mixer or DAW to provide easy volume control wherever you need it. It does so with a level of luxury and precision that must be felt up, err… felt, to understand.
The review of a volume knob may seem trivial, but this is a product you didn’t know you needed until you put it on your desk. In the MusicPlayers.com studio, a computer keyboard sits front and center on the desk these days, and a Mackie mixing board (relegated to basic input/output/patching activity these days) is off to the side, beyond arms length reach… and that is where we used to have to reach to raise or lower the volume for our studio monitors.
With the Level Pilot, we now have a rugged, studio-quality volume knob anywhere we want it — near the computer keyboard, on top of a MIDI keyboard controller, and so on. It’s a solid knob, about 1.5 inches in diameter, brushed aluminum, with a silky-smooth action that lets you adjust volume with extreme precision whether using your entire hand or just your fingertips (like scrubbing video in a production suite). The Level Pilot is weighted and has a rubberized base that holds it solidly in place on your desktop.
Placing anything in-line in your audio path seems like a scary proposition, but if done properly, you won’t diminish the quality of your output in any way. And that “properly” comment means that you’ll want to invest in some good cables if you decide to add this knob to your studio and you’re as anal about audio quality as we are.
The Level Pilot has a hard-wired length of cable attached that runs from your desk a few feet and then fans out to a pair each of male and female XLR connectors. The design is completely passive, and balanced or unbalanced use is supported. We purchased two pair of short Monster Studio-Link balanced cables to interface the Level Pilot with our studio monitors and the mixing board.
The results are transparent from an audio perspective, and the Level Pilot makes adjusting volume in your studio extremely convenient. With a street price under $80 (MSRP is $119), this is a great studio addition, and a great gift for the studio lover in your life (even if that lover is yourself). So head down to your favorite retailer and ask if you can play with their knobs. We dare you.