Rupert Neve Designs has entered the field of analog-to-digital conversion with the MBC Dual Path A-D Converter and Limiter. According to the company, the MBC represents "the ultimate tool for creating digital signals with the tone, transparency and power expected from Rupert Neve Designs," and includes a fully-featured analog limiter, 24-bit/192kHz conversion fed by selectable analog drive paths for tonal versatility, high-resolution metering, word clock I/O, analog XLR inputs and simultaneous AES, S/PDIF, and TOSLINK outputs. Here's more details in their own words...
The newly developed analog drive circuitry allows the MBC's converter to be fed by either a class-A transformerless path for maximum transparency, or by purpose-built interstage audio transformers with the company's own variable Silk Red and Blue circuitry to control harmonic content and drive saturation for a wide variety of tonal enhancements. From Rupert Neve Designs: "The MBC was designed for reference performance regardless of genre or desired sonic character, and the key to this lies in the quality and adaptability of the analog drive circuitry."
The MBC's Compound Active Release Analog Limiter section has a class-A line amp stage with up to 20dB of gain, adjustable threshold and release controls, and an insertable high-pass side-chain filter fully sweepable from 20Hz to 250Hz. "The resulting limiter achieves both transparency and the capability of pushing the level of tracks or mixes without damage to the integrity of the source." The limiter may be used in dual mono or stereo linked operation.
The converters in the MBC were developed "after years of careful listening," and represent a further advancement of the design within the Rupert Neve Designs RMP-D8, the company's Dante-connected microphone preamplifier. The converters feature precision-controlled internal clocking with minimal jitter and phase noise, and the word clock output allows the MBC to act as "a high-end master clock for the entire studio, or allows for external sync to a separate master clock if desired." Four Reference Level calibration standards from -14dBFS to -20dBFS can be selected to match external converters and are implemented with high-precision resistors and relay-controlled stepped attenuation.
Finally, a pair of 22-segment meters provide level metering of the input to the converter stage. These represent "the highest-resolution LED metering in a Rupert Neve Designs product to date" and can be further customized with selectable 1-second or 3-second peak hold options. Gain reduction is also displayed on the faceplate via a pair of separate 8-segment LED meters.
Pricing and Availability:
The Master Buss Converter is now shipping worldwide, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $3,999 USD.