Each of the ASP8024’s input channels comes equipped with a Class A preamp and 4 band EQ. This Audient has 24 channels, 24 bus routes, 12 auxes, 2 cue sends, 4 stereo returns, and a stereo bus compressor. There are 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 channel models to this console, some of which can come with a Dual Layer Control section or Patchbay already installed.
The Dual Layer Control Module creates the ability to control the session in your DAW via Ethernet cable. The DAW layer can control at least 8 moving faders/ channel levels that can be used through the entire session. There are other control features within the Dual Control Module including transport control, track record enable, and plug-in selection and editing, allowing you to control the whole session from the board itself. The DAWs the Audient ASP8024 are compatible with are Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, and Nuendo.
The Bellari RP220 is a vintage dual tube mic preamp that is said to bring a smooth, warm sound through its two 7025 vacuum tubes. This preamp gives a smooth and sweet sound to any vocals being recorded through it that works well with the more pristine sound of today’s digital recordings. This preamp includes a +48 volt phantom power switch, 30 dB input and output pads, and a phase reversal switch. The RP220 also comes equipped with balanced XLR inputs and balanced XLR and unbalanced ¼” line outputs.
The Focusrite ISA Two is the sequel to Focusrite’s original classic ISA One Preamp. The Two is equipped with a Lundahl LL1538 input transformer – which are considered to be cleaner sounding. The transformer was created to have an extended flat frequency response so that the high-frequency drop-off is beyond human hearing. Just like other ISA preamps, the Two also provides a 60dB gain – adjustable up to 20dB with Trim Control. The ISA Two has a switchable input impedance between four settings. The input impedance has little effect on the sound of condenser mikes, but it does effect the sound of passive dynamic and ribbon mikes. This preamp can be used for a variety of instruments including, guitars, drums, and vocals.
The API 512c is a preamp that gained its fame for its capability to create low noise and its nice sounding front end. The 512c administers 65 dB of mic gain, phantom power, a polarity switch, -20 dB pad and a Mic/Line switch. It also includes a XLR and ¼” input on the front with mic accessibility in the back of the preamp. The API uses the power of their own transformer with a 2520 op-amp to create a rich-sounding analog preamp. Other features include a LED VU meter and 45 dB of line/instrument gain as well. This preamp would work well on guitars and vocals.
Previous works of Universal Audio included the Teletronix LA-2A and UREI 1176 LN before the creation of the 2-610. Both the LA-2A and 1176 LN are compressors, making the 2-610 the first analog preamp released by Universal Audio. The 2-610 is a tube mic pre that was inspired by the 60’s era Universal Audio 610 recording console’s preamp section.
Universal Audio’s 2-610 is two channels that uses 12AX7A and 6072A tubes, a higher-quality power supply, polypropylene caps metal film resistors, polarity inversion, and phantom power for each channel. It includes mic and line/instrument I/Os, including a line input on the back of every channel and ¼” jacks on the front for guitars, bass, or other electronic instruments. The gain knob is a 5-position knob that increases and decreases in 5 dB augmentations. While the level control knob is a continuous variable knob that controls the master volume of the channel. If you turn the gain knob clockwise, it increase volume and distortion levels while turning the knob opposite of that, decreases volume and leaves a cleaner sound. Both gain and level knobs lead to a separate, Class-A, dual-triode gain stage within the preamp itself. This would have a really nice sound on guitars, bass, and drums.
The UA 4-710d is both an 8-channel preamp and also an A-D converter as well. The first four channels on this unit holds a solid-state/ tube hybrid mic preamp based on another UA product – Twinfinity 710 – and their 1176 compressor. UA 4-710’s mic preamp allows for up to 69 dB of gain and a -15 dB pad. The combined rich sound of the hybrid makes the preamp versatile in sound when miking almost any source. The compressors are a good addition, but limited in ability. The ratio is maintained at a 4:1 ratio and a 10 dBu threshold, while the attack and release only have a fast (0.3ms to 100ms) and slow (2ms to 1100ms) mode.
The Chandler TG-2 is a single module unit that only includes the input and output connectors, so it doesn’t have the DI input ability, but the rear panel has the option of mic or line signals with a toggle switch located on the front of the unit. The TG-2 only has three rotary controls, two toggle switches, and two buttons making it easy to use. The red knob rotary has a 30 dB range, toggling in intervals of 5dB. The black knob is a continuously moving gain trim going approximately over 10 dB for fine adjustment. Then the grey knob allows the output-level control, i.e. output fader, similar to its rackmount counterpart. This Chandler preamp has a big richness sound toward the midrange with an airy top-end.
The Focusrite ISA428 is a heavy duty preamp that contains eight Neve-inspired preamps. Including eight mic-level XLR inputs in the rear of the unit, there are eight TRS line-level inputs and four instrument DI inputs in the front; plus all eight channels also come with inserts. Each channel also has a switchable input-impedance, high-pass filter, polarity inversion, insert switching, a LED meter, and +48 volt phantom power. The ISA428 leaves a clean and smooth sound on any acoustic guitar or drum kit (paired with the right mikes of course). Then with the optional A/D converter card, you get eight channels of hi-res conversion, up to 192 kHz sample rate.
The Daking Mic Pre IV has four, Class A preamps with Jensen and output transformers. The design is simple with all four channels having a ¼” input, five button switches for front input select, line select, a 20 dB pad, +48 volt phantom power, and a phase reversal. The gain knob moves in 5dB increments leading to a max of 55dB. The Daking records a smooth sound on acoustic guitars and drums without distorting, and headroom to spare. While electric guitars has a more warm tone to them through this preamp.
The Neve Portico 5015 is a half-rack combination preamp and compressor duo without an EQ. The preamp has a very high input impedance with rotary controls for more precise steps up and down; also includes a trim control. The preamp and compressor can be used either separately or linked together from preamp to compressor. The compressor has a five knob design with the ratio, threshold, attack, release, and gain that goes from a 1:1 ratio to a limiter. The preamp creates a smooth-dynamic low end to any instrument that will want you to watch out for proximity effect even more.
The settings on the Dbx 160a are relatively basic: threshold, ratio, and output gain knobs, while also having an “over easy” option that is used as an auto compressor with a signal that is created more sensitive than the initial input level. It also comes with a cheat sheet of lights to help you dial in the compression more accurately. The unit itself is only equipped with one channel, and it doesn’t have the ability to be used as a brick wall limiter.
The API 527 is a VCA-based singular compression unit with five toggle switches to the left and four rotary knob controls to the right. The LED meter has switchable settings to show levels between gain reduction and output level, with a button at the bottom used for hard bypassing. The red rotary control knob is the ratio, which can be set from 1:1 to infinity:1 with markings for ratios in between. The white capped knob has one additional knob behind the initial one to adjust attack and release times. The attack knob has a range of 1 to 25ms while the release has a range of 0.3 to 3 seconds with a minimum of 300ms release time. The blue-green cap is used for adjusting the threshold with a range of +10 to -20dBu, while the black knob is for output level attenuation. The VCA system is designed to push out a constant output level regardless of both threshold and ratio settings.
The first toggle switch is a switch that changes the metering from gain reduction to output level. With this, the gain reduction meter means that if all the LEDs are on there is no gain reduction, and when LEDs disappear there is gain reduction happening. Whereas if it’s the output level, the LEDs show how much output that’s being done, with no LEDs meaning there is no output level. The second toggle indicates a linking system that couple side-chains together from other like API units. The third toggle button switches between a side-chain of a feed-forward or feed-back function. The feed-forward operation is used to side-chain from the original output, while the feed-back function is used for side-chain from the input to determine the gain reduction. Next, there is a toggle for a hard or soft knee option to create heavy or nice, gentle compression transitions. The last toggle is called “Thrust” which applies a high-pass filter to a side-chain that controls the mid-range and high-end while maintaining a nice, powerful low-end.
The UA 1176LN compressor is a legendary, single mono channel compressor. This compression unit only has balanced XLR I/O, no ¼” I/O. The 1176 comes with an input knob, knobs for both attack and release. The attack knob goes from fast to slow, while the release time does the opposite. There are also pushbuttons that go from a 4:1 to 20:1 ratio, and if you push all the buttons in at once, you get an infinity:1 ratio that crushes anything you’re compressing. Then there is another row of buttons that display what level is being shown on the VU meter.
Created in 1996, the Empirical Labs Distressor has made its name upon the legendary vintage compressor units. This compressor creates a large variety of tones and sounds that made its name so famous. This mono compression unit has a simple array of four knobs, four buttons, and two switches making it easy to operate. Aside from the standard input, attack, release, and output knobs the Distressor has an Image Link and British Mode options. Image Link erases the shift that could happen when a pair of compressors aren’t reacting together on both sides of a stereo source. While the British Mode mimics the all-four-buttons infinity:1 trick the UA 1176 is known for. The ratio range on this unit goes from 1:1 to 10:1 Opto to NUKE (brick wall limiting). You can also add harmonic distortion and a sidechain EQ to vary the compression characteristics.