At first glance the Rane HC6S looks like any other headphone distribution amplifier. Indeed, it performs superbly all the basic functions of such an instrument. Two balanced Inputs provide a master stereo signal to six stereo headphone amplifiers, with individual stereo Level controls. The Master Level control allows adjustment of the main stereo Input level for proper matching to any source. In addition, a Stereo/Mono switch converts the stereo Inputs to mono operation when required.
However, several unique features of the HC6S allow performance well beyond the limits of standard headphone distribution amplifiers. Besides the stereo Master Inputs, the HC6S provides separate stereo Inputs for each of the six headphone amplifiers. Whenever a signal is plugged into the individual stereo Input, the Master stereo signal automatically disconnects from that amplifier, allowing the remaining stages to be fed either from the Master stereo Inputs or likewise from another separate input. This feature opens new applications for the HC6S, allowing operation as either a standard distribution amplifier or as six separate amplifiers, or any combination of both. By connecting the six Inputs to a monitor mixing console, or to sub-master sends, or even to a patch bay, the HC6S converts any size studio to a custom headphone monitor mixing system. You now can give each vocalist more of their voice for increased clarity; or add more kick drum to the bassist (without giving everyone else a headache); or let the producer monitor the straight mix all at the same time. This feature proves equally valuable to broadcast facilities, video production studios, language labs and other educational facilities.
The HC6S provides Output jacks on both the front and rear panels. The front jacks (paralleled with the rear jacks) add considerable flexibility and ease of operation. This feature allows permanent rack-mounting while maintaining instant access to any of the Outputs. Cueing becomes a snap; a must for monitor mix adjustments, and allows additional monitoring or routing without the use of a patch bay. Or, for language labs and other demo purposes, this feature means up to 12 headphones may be driven simultaneously.
The HC6S makes a valuable tool for any band wanting to practice anywhere, anytime, at any volume, without disturbing a soul. By connecting the HC6S directly to the mixer outputs and using headphones instead of amps and speakers, the entire band can perform at ear shattering levels, with no feedback, with amazingly cleaner, clearer sound. The HC6S is a very cost-effective alternative to renting a practice studio for every rehearsal.
Note: headphones with an impedance of less than 32 Ω are not recommended for use with the HC6S.