The SPL GainStation 8 MKII is the premium recording front end, ensuring that signals of all kinds are pre-amplified with the highest quality.
Nowadays typical preamps are designed on an either-or basis — either solid state or tube. With these designs the engineer has a non integrated and thus often frustrating choice between a pure, neutral solid state recording or one unavoidably influenced by tubes. While the engineer may find solutions for one application with one microphone, a preamplifier for different situations, mics and instruments must provide a commensurate range of choices—like the GainStation preamps. A combination of 63dB solid state and an independently controllable 26dB tube circuitry (which can also be deactivated) ensures a complete sound palette panorama. In any situation the engineer now can achieve his goals with one front end for best-of-both-worlds results.
- Separated Solid state and tube preamps. The tube preamp can be used additionally to the solid state stage to add tube saturations, for clean recordings it can be switched off.
- Peak/FET Limiter
- Switchable Mic Input Impedance (200 Ohms, 1,2 & 10 kOhms)
- Custom-designed and built, fully discrete, class A op-amps (no off-the-shelf stuff here). The GainStation's op-amps feature 60-Volt operating voltage—twice as high as most common op-amps—for an incredible dynamic range.
- All switching functions are handled by encapsulated relays with gold-plated contacts.
- No-compromise, external power supply with extensive additional shielding and seven separately wound and regulated voltages
- Lundahl input transformer option, also for single channels or channel pairs
The GainStation 8 Mk2 is the premium recording front end, ensuring that signals of all kinds are pre-amplified with the highest quality. The quality of your recordings has a major influence on the subsequent mixing process – good recordings require less processing in later stages. Improved transparence and understandability can be achieved with less equalization and compression if the signals are recorded optimally, often allowing individual signals to be mixed at lower levels without compromising their presence. Its state-of-the-art design includes switchable pre-output stage peak and FET mode limiting, three input levels for microphone impedance matching, phase reversal, 50Hz high pass filter, 48-volt phantom power, source switching and variable-luminescence LED level indicators. GainStation preamplifier stages are based on proprietary discrete op-amps operating on a 60V rail. That doubles the voltage in traditional preamplifier designs, resulting in a superior 130dB dynamic range and an extraordinarily alive, detailed aural image. This cutting-edge technology ensures that signals recorded with the GainStation 8 Mk2 have more presence and substance and will easily cut through a mix even at lower levels. Extremely low-frequency signals are tight and transparent with clear into- nation. Percussive transients are interpreted more precisely, which leads to a clearer rhythmic content and in turn a more solid rhythmic performance and perception.
If the GainStation 8 Mk2 is used as a preamp, musicians will immediately notice that they hear and feel what they are playing much better, which leads to improved playing and a better recording. The track will have more punch and dynamics, greatly improved presence and almost palpable detail. In short, the instrument sounds incredibly authentic and alive. Beta-tests with the GainStation 8 showed that all instrumentalists enjoyed playing more and in many cases were truly amazed at what their trusty instrument was capable of.
Given this improvement in the input signal, one is much less inclined to equalize and compress—in many cases you will probably find that you can do without additional processing, which not only saves an enormous amount of time and processor power, but also has an extremely positive effect on the final result.
The GainStation8 itself offers effective sound-shaping capabilities at recording, most notably via the tube stage, which can be completely bypassed or continuously added to the preamp circuit, allowing everything from extremely subtle “warmth“ to a very noticeable tube saturation effect. The integrated limiter can be used to protect an AD converter from clipping, or for example to add punch to drum tracks, which in turn reduces or in many cases even eliminates the need for subsequent compression. Put simply, the more tracks are recorded with the GainStation8, the more solid and trans- parent—and easier to mix—the entire recording will be.