Maximum gain passive: >+24dBu
Maximum gain active gain/MS: +24dBu
Even though it's no problem to run the products at higher gains, we suggest to run at a level of max +20dBu, this will result in the most transparent and clean sound overall.
We are sorry to inform you that this is physically not possible. When you have a IM2.x (so 2 units high) for each insert you will need 4 XLR's, so for 8 inserts you will need 8 x 4 = 32XLR's for just the inserts. Together with the inputs and outputs on a IM2.x makes a total of 40 XLR's. That will simply not fit a 2u backpanel. For a 1u unit with 6 inserts it's even worse.
That is why we use DB25 connectors, since each DB25 basically has 8 XLR's at a fraction of the footprint. An 8 insert unit with XLR would need to be at least 3U high and a 1U unit would simply not even excist. Some people are afraid of more crosstalk with DB25, but this is not true.
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Our consoles follow the analog DB25 tascam standard.
One DB25 sub cable holds 2 inserts, so for a console with 8 inserts you will need 4x DB25 sub cables. There are 2 different standards for DB25 sub cables, the digital and analog version. The pinout and channel configuration is exactly the same but the input/output (so the XLR’s) are reversed. So if you buy the digital version with 4x male, 4x female XLR, you have to swap all the XLR connectors.
We made a document with info and option, you can download it here.
This image shows the right pinout and connections.
In theory it's possible to have one knob for the blend/parallel option, but we decided to go for a different approach for various reasons. After research with various well-known mastering-engineers, we all agreed that going for 2 controls (1x wet, 1x dry) is the best solution.
Most parallel processing uses one control for blending from wet to dry and uses a potmeter. The blend option we use, uses two separate controls for wet and dry with stepped switches instead of a potmeter. This way you don’t have channel imbalance, easy recall and way better control over what happens to the signal. For instance you can choose to compress the signal and blend in just a bit of dry signal. But you also choose to use the dry signal and blend in a bit of quite aggressive compression. The first steps on the stepped attenuators have 1 dB per step and the last steps have more course steps, the lowest step is -33dB. The off position mutes the wet or dry signal.
DuTCH.audio is the first company in the world offering this kind of parallel processing approach.
There are 2 different versions available for the IM1.1, IM1.2, IM2.1 and IM2.3, the S-verion and the bypass gain compensation (non S) version. Let me explain the difference.
Bypass gain compensation:
The bypass gain compensation has a potmeter and is used to compensate for gain loss when the inserts are bypassed. When you press the 'bypass offset' button all inserts will be bypassed and the gain compensation becomes active. With the potmeter you can compensate for the gain loss with a range of approx -2 to +10dB. This will be really handy for quick level compensated AB'ing between source and master with the press of just one button. The bypass gain compensation can not be used as an active output gain.
S-version (stepped output gain):
The S-version has a 23 steps bypassable active gain on the output with 0.5dB per step (range +/- 5.5dB) or at request 0.25dB per step (range +/- 2.75dB). You can use this to drive the IM output into your AD at the exact gain you want. The gain can also be used to compensate for gain loss when bypassing the inserts, but you have to press two buttons (ins bypass and active gain) at the same time. The gain range is also more limited then the bypass gain compensation.
It's quite easy to label the pushswitches on the units, it just needs a bit of practice. That is why we made this small manual in PDF format on how to do it properly.
Since most units will end up in a mastering environment and as being a 'picky mastering-engineer' myself I take great care in picking the best parts. To give you some examples of the parts used:
Yes, that's possible though it's not always a good idea to just pop in some other opamps. All opamps have their cons and pro's and some of them work great in certain circuits while they sound and behave differently in other circuits. We did a lot of research on opamps and found that Analog Devices opamps like the LT1468 and/or ADA4627 sound the best in the circuits we use. That is why we picked these opamps as our default opamps.
Our consoles are build around passive parts, but some parts are using active circuitry like the active in/output, MS section and parallel/blend option. We make use of high quality THAT chips for that.
In some cases, equipment using vintage design topologies (using transformers) might damage DC-coupled (active) input stages. (we think this is a design flaw) This could occur when the manufacturer is using 'floating outputs'. Capacitive charge might build up and that could discharge with a high voltage 'spike' and that could blow up the precious THAT chips.
How to avoid this?
It's pretty simply and it will ony cost a few cents in parts to fix this issue. The floating output needs 100k 'bleeder resistors' from output to ground. You can also buy a specially designed XLR connector/terminator with those bleeding resistors build in. Google for '100K-CM-TERM'
How do I know if I have a floating output?
First of all, this only applies to equipment making use of vintage designs and so using transformers on the output stage. Please check with the manufacturer, they should know if it has a floating output or not.