In Ecstasy With Micstasy

US RME launch 8-channel remotely controllable high-end microphone and instrument preamp      17/05/06

In Ecstasy With Micstasy

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At the AES show in Paris, RME have debuted their brandnew Micstasy High End Microphone Preamp which features high-end converters and combines a number of typical RME features with some groundbreaking innovations.
Here’s what RME have to say about Micstasy in their own words:
With Micstasy, not only conventional analog microphone preamps and AD converters are a thing of the past – a lot of applications will change. In short, Micstasy is the high-end, multi-analog-input super device for live, studio or installation; right up to no-compromise mobile recordings – making surround recordings a breeze!
Micstasy is both an analog preamp (Mic In to Line Out) and a digital preamp/converter (Mic In to Digital Out), with both signal paths operating simultaneously. Just passing on the amplified signals replaces the need for a splitter box on stage. And it can be fully remote-controlled. The unit also functions as a universal high-end AD converter, as it not only offers the highest quality conversion of microphone signals, but also of line signals from -55dBU up to + 30 dBu, and even instrument signals. And all this without needing to set an input sensitivity. Clipping is practically impossible. Live recordings become simpler, safer, and more comfortable.
That’s AutoSet - Usually preamps feature limiters in order to prevent an overload, especially of the AD converter. This is not feasible for the Micstasy, as such a limiter would ruin the excellent technical specifications of the microphone front end. However, as the gain is controlled digitally, the Micstasy can set it automatically. RME intentionally decided not to enable the device to raise the gain, AutoSet can only reduce it: In an orchestral recording session, the user sets all gains to 60 dB and when the orchestra play fortissimo AutoSet will automatically adjust the levels by reducing the gain whenever overloads were detected.
Micstasy’s most important features can be controlled via MIDI or MADI, allowing the device to be placed anywhere on stage or in the studio, with full control from the studio or FOH mixer. This means that microphone cables can be relatively short, ensuring high quality signals without interference. RME´s new option slot enables total integration of the unit in a MADI environment. More interface options are planned enabling direct connection; via FireWire or other standards, to any DAW for high-end recordings. On a practical level, a TRS input on the front complements the rear XLR connector. The front input receives line level signals and it can be switched to a Hi-Z mode for use with instruments.
To sum it up: Heavy, trouble-prone analog multicores are history. A single MADI cable can transfer up to 64 channels of audio. Several Micstasys can be connected with one MADI cable per unit and configured to use their individual channels within the MADI signal. Up to 8 Micstasys or ADI-8 QS units can thus be combined into one single MADI line. Additional MADI streams will allow systems of up to 128 or 192 channels, with the corresponding number of ADI-8 QS and Micstasies.
Features Overview:
  • 8 hi-end mic preamps, digitally controlled gain (0.5 dB steps), range and internal PAD (invisible to the user). This results in an incredible gain range of 85 dB. The input reaches full scale level at -55 dBu, but can also handle a maximum input level of +30 dBu!
  • 8-channel high-end line amplifier, XLR and TRS input, with gain control in 0.5 dB steps.
  • 8-channel AD converter with low latency and high SNR, thanks to CS5381 converters. The digital outputs deliver the same signal as the line outputs.
  • Analog outputs: max. level approx +27 dBu
  • Digital outputs: Double ADAT for 8 channels @ 96 kHz, D-sub connector for 4 x AES/EBU up to 192 kHz (plus one AES input as sync source).
  • Remote control via MIDI and MADI.
  • All settings are stored permanently
  • Optional MADI module
  • Option Slot modules for other interface standards are currently under development
Price and Availability
Micstasy is targeted to be available worldwide in August for rrp under Euro 3.500.
More information:

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