CPS Mastering Equipment Detail
Additional info on our equipment for the geeks out there.
ATC SCM-100 ASL
The ATC SCM-100 ASL are simply one of the finest speakers ever made. Founded in 1974 with a commitment to providing speakers with very high dynamic range, flat frequency response, and low distortion.
They are a 3 way speaker based around ATC house designed and manufactured midrange and woofer. The midrange is a feat of engineering, a 3 inch soft dome mid (think of it as a giant tweeter) featuring a nearly 20 pound magnet (enough to give most woofers "magnet envy"), it is capable of producing 380- 3800 Hz with a very smooth frequency response, high power handling and great dynamic range. They mate this to a 12” paper cone woofer with an equally impressive magnet system, equipped with their “super-linear magnet technology” which counteracts the effects of magnetic hysteresis and lowers harmonic distortion by 10-15db. These are driven by built in active amplification, running in class A till 2/3 of output power and fed by active crossovers with phase adjustment for all drivers. The active crossovers allow for careful matching of amps to drivers, better performance over a wide range of SPL and temperature and lowered intermodulation distortion by 15-20dB compared to a traditional passive crossover system.
I could talk about these speakers forever, So ill stop myself here, if you want to read more about what makes ATC different/special check out the founders white paper here http://www.transaudiogroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ATCWhitepaper.pdf
The bottom line is that the ATC’s give us the insight we need to get your tracks sounding the best they can
Knif ETIP Passive - Tube Mastering Equalizer "Serial Numero Uno"
We are proud owners of serial “Numero Uno” of this hand built piece of art from Finnish designer Jonte Knif, a passive filter network, made with film caps and inductors that are hand wound by Jonte Knif and encased in mu-metal shielding. The input and output transformers have local-relay switching to provide a mid/side matrix without adding a single component to the signal path. Combine all that with a great tube makeup amp, featuring my favourite vacuum tube of all time, the amazing C3G tube designed by amplifier engineers for the german post.
These tubes feed a huge pair of amorphous core output transformers made by Lundahl of Sweden.
All this is powered by an massive power supply, complete with choke filtering and connected with silver/copper/teflon "mil-spec" wire and with only solder joints (no connectors!) in the signal path.
Its an incredible shaping tool, and imparts a clean but wonderful colour to the signal path.
To learn more check out Jonte Knif’s paper on “Quality Factors in Pro Audio Equipment”
Knif Vari-Mu II - Tube Mastering Compressor "Serial Numero Uno"
There perfect mate to our serial “Numero Uno” ETIP eq is the serial “Numero Uno” of this incredible mastering compressor, 10 tubes and again, a massive power supply, this puppy gets HOT.
Here is a short list of the great things this compressor has going for it:
A mid/side matrix featuring local switching and no added components (and a variable width control)
Lundahl's largest line transformers, with the massive amorphous core output transformers.
A variable stereo link for tonnes of control over linking and image
Side chain high pass filter
Built in signal generator for alignment/calibration
A super sexy dual needle gain reduction meter
Compression bypass switches to use it as a line stage only
Some very neat attack/release linking (the attack is a percentage or ratio of the release time)
It is a very elegant and flexible design with a tonne of headroom, great for adding a little touch of glue and dimension before recapturing in the AD, or adding some girth to a thinner sounding recording or mix.
A heavily modified version of the original NSEQ-2 by its designer Fred Forssell. This mod takes an already great eq, and makes it better suited to mastering, and just sounds wonderful. Fred’s “mod” is essentially a full swap of the main PCB, replacing it with a very limited component count PCB and featuring his hand built Jfet discrete op amps. Just one click on this EQ can really breathe some life into program material
Crane Song STC-8
Dave Hill is a clever and wonderful designer, making spectacular studio gear with his own unique style. This is a fully discrete “Class A” compressor/limiter using a PWM (pulse width modulation) sidecahain to drive a sub 1ns switch for gain control. It takes a great deal of engineering know-how to make this design work properly, and you see it very rarely (my last count was 5 designs, 2 of which are Dave Hill’s) It allows very flexible and transparent control over the compression profile and its resulting character/ artifacts.
Lynx Hilo Converter/Interface
The Hilo is our main monitoring DAC (and alternate source dac), it also contains a separate headphone amp and DAC.
It serves as the digital hub to get to and from all our other digital gear and connect it all to the computer. It's a great and very transparent box wrapped up in all kind of digital routing flexibility (easily accessible with a neat little touch screen). Its Lynx's flagship Converter, and has impressive performance specs to match, operating up to 192k and DSD, THD+N is -109dB, and Dynamic Range is 121 dB.
DCS 902/954 Mastering Converters
dCS is one of those companies you either haven’t heard of, or are in love with. A company started by expert electronics system designers in Cambridge UK, they began designing ADC’s and DAC’s for the telecom, aerospace and military industry. Producing converters with unrivalled performance, linearity and reliability. As the recording industry moved to primarily digital media, DCS changed its focus to the pro audio (and later the hi fi market) continuing its reputation for making some of the highest performance converters available. Incorporating proprietary innovations such as the DCS ring DAC.
“The Ring DAC takes 5-bit binary data at 2.822 or 3.07MS/s from the Control Board. The data is decoded into 32 individual lines which pass through a randomiser (which breaks up patterns in the errors). The data is clocked into a large array of latches, which drive balanced currents into a balanced summing amplifier. The amplifier converts the currents to voltage, rejects unwanted common-mode artefacts and filters out the noise above 100kHz. This leaves a balanced, very high quality audio signal.“
Simply put, its an innovative converter design that results in a VERY detailed and accurate sound with incredibly low noise and distortion. It also allows control over the anti aliasing filters, enabling the engineer to find the optimal balance between phase/time domain response and aliasing. A great sounding A/D D/A chain to feed our analog path here at CPS
Weiss DS1-MK3 Digital Mastering Compressor
The Weiss DS-1 MK3 is THE digital mastering compressor, combining a very well thought out transparent and flexible single band compressor algorithm with incredible ergonomics. This makes dialling in sounds easier, and faster. It runs at 88.2 or 96khz internally on a whopping 5-40 bit floating point SHARC chips (the same chips the UAD cards run on, the weiss has a 5 core processing center for ONE “plugin”) Useful for all sorts of dynamic frequency related problems. as well as a catching the odd peak with its “safety limiter”. It is an incredibly flexible box, and really showcases what a well designed digital algorithm is capable of.
Junger D-01 Digital Dynamics Processor
An Incredible and very unique box, Its simple interface belies the cleverness of whats inside, which is simply the finest parallel (or in their words "multi-loop") algorithm I've ever heard. Very few options, but when it works on a mix, its an incredible thing, bringing up subtle detail while maintaining musical balance and upper level dynamics.