The SPL 2272 GainStation 1 Single-Channel Mic & Instrument PreAmp with A/D Converter is a single-channel microphone and instrument preamplifier which can help in the sprucing up of your digital recordings with analog sound processing.
The majority of audio production nowadays relies increasingly on digital systems for recording and mixing processes (DAWs, digital consoles etc.). But it is widely held that digital systems do not offer the same audio qualities, characteristics and the sonic texture of high-end analog equipment. And it is questionable as to whether or not digital equalizers and other digital gear in the mixing domain can compete with an open and transparent analog sound. As a result, SPL created the GainStation 1 to assist the engineer in regaining some of this analog sound even in a digital setting. Attacking this problem on the preamplification front, with the goal of noticeably improving a signal and sending it along its path with a healthy sonic foundation, SPL spent a great deal of thought and focused their engineering effort to create this preamplifier.
The GainStation 1's compact design will allow users free placement of the unit outside of a rack and closer to the microphone. Musicians can place it easily on a rack or amplifier or almost anywhere they desire analog produced sound. To accommodate portability, the optionally available SPL GainBag helps ensure safe transport of the GainStation 1 to and from a gig or session, and offers additional storage for cables and different-sized microphones. In addition, the design of the case allows for easy access to the unit's inputs and outputs. For more permanent installations, up to four GainStation 1's can be rackmounted in one optionally available 4-unit rackmounting frame.
Guitarists and bassists can also benefit from utilizing the GainStation 1, as their instruments will go through the analog path and warm up with the preamp's analog "sound engine." With this more natural analog feel to the texture of the signal, less EQ'ing will be needed, thereby avoiding a possible pitfall in the digital audio realm. And in what is often the case, compression of the signal becomes unnecessary as the preamp will subtly do that job on its own—via its tubes—in the analog domain. This can free up computer processing power, too, and can have an extremely positive effect on the final result.
The GainStation 1 is designed to offer effective sound-shaping capabilities at the point of recording, most notably via the tube stage. It 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 internal or external 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 GainStation 1 is engineered to improve tracks to the point that the mix will be easier to handle due to improved track sound quality.
The GainStation 1 features separate solid-state and tube preamplifiers. The tube preamp can be used in addition to the solid-state stage to add tube saturation, while for cleaner recording results it can be switched off. The GS1 also features a Peak / FET limiter to help keep control of your preamped signals. Another sound-shaping feature is the selectable mic-input impedance, which can be switched between 4 settings: 200 Ohms, 1 kOhm, 2 kOhms, and 10 kOhms. Fully discrete op-amps feature an operating voltage of 60V, twice the voltage of many more common amps, thus increasing the unit's dynamic range. All switching functions are handled by encapsulated relays with gold-plated contacts for lower noise performance and a best-connection scenario. The unit's power supply is built with additional shielding to help keep noise interference to a minimum.
The Analog/Digital Converter Module 1090 is the digital output section of the GainStation 1 with a plug-and-play design for easy installation. It offers a S/P-DIF output with both coaxial and optical connectors in parallel. The heart of the module is a 24-bit converter with a variable sample rate of up to 192 kHz. Quartz oscillators help ensure a clean, low-jitter master clock. The internal sample rate can be switched between 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 kHz. Other sample rates (32, 176.4 and 192 kHz) are set by external syncronization.
The internal oscillators are automatically disabled when an external clock signal is present to prevent interference. A voltage-stabilizing circuit helps ensure that the converter continuously receives sufficient and stable voltage - an important prerequisite for clean, transparent audio. The compact design minimizes the signal path to the converter. Grounding surfaces on both sides of the circuit board reduce interference and ensure optimal separation between analog and digital components.
The GainStation 1 is a flexible, more compact, use almost anywhere preamp that is designed to deliver high-quality, analog-inspired sound.