The Rack

The heart of Vinyl Snob

Avalon Tube Compressor

The first stop after the signal leaves the audio console is this unit. Dave wanted a little lite compression (bringing together the louder and softer passages) so that all the records have a similar volume and tone. Although the unit also has a powerful graphic equalizer, it is being used very sparingly, not to change the original sound but acting more to add a little bass and treble to slightly enhance the sound of the vinyl. Both the compressor and EQ sections are Class A Tube circuits. Tubes amplifiers have long been desired for the warmth and smooth quality they bring to recorded music, and as we have stayed all analog up to this point, but now must convert the signal to digital, the more attention we pay to capturing the vinyl sound on our end the better it will sound on yours.

Apogee Symphony I/O

To get this great quality analog sound we lovingly nurtured from our studio to you, sadly, we must now convert it to digital. There are many good things about digital audio but the most overlooked are the converters. Analog to Digital (AD) and Digital to Analog (DA). The I/O. A popular misconception is that all digital converters are basically the same. Not true. In test and evaluations in our Post Audio studio over the last fifteen years we have auditioned many I/O boxes. Consistently, the Apogee converters out-perform all competitors. In sonic clarity, nothing has come close. No wonder, when a new high-end converter box comes on the market they almost always compare them to Apogee, the bench mark. Our timing couldn’t be better, as Apogee just released this Symphony MK II in a  2 X 6 configuration.

Tascam SD Record/Play Decks

The final step in getting Vinyl Snob to you is digitizing it to an SD card and uploading it automatically. Bypassing the onboard converters we take a digitized signal directly from the Apogee I/O to maintain the  absolute highest audio quality. A second deck was added for playback of recorded segments or drop-ins. A remote allows pre-recorded audio to be buffered and cued for instant playback.

Rane Line Mixer

A  simple solution for distributing audio through the studio complex to feed the lobby speakers and telephone patch.

Warm Audio Compressor/Limiter

These unites were chosen to beef up the sound of both DJ and guest microphones. Good sound, easy operation and low cost made them the perfect choice.

McIntosh 225 Power Amp

Once the decision was made to go with and external monitor amp, we had a choice of solid state or tube. With Dave’s love of vintage gear, the McIntosh 225 tube amplifier was selected. The amp dates back to the mid-1960s and is still much sought after for its warm bass and pure sound. Like any piece of vintage gear, the look and physical condition of the unit must be considered along with the state of the electronics  (electronics can always be repaired, but scratches, rust and lettering that has been rubbed off is extremely costly to undo). Relying solely on eBay for vintage gear can sometimes be an iffy proposition.  We asked Luis at Stereo Advisor to see if he could find us one in good condition at a fair price. A couple of weeks later he called with the good news. He’d found one in a private collection locally. It had been well cared for and was in near perfect condition. One of the plusses of having our own personal stereo advisor. 

Power Supply

While the Gates console has an onboard power supply, it was decided  to design and build an external unit. Locating the power supply outside of the console, reduced the noise floor of the mixer. It also allowed the unit to power the two turntable preamps, reducing the noise on those amplifiers as well.

Teac A4300

To review DJ music shows, radio stations will occasionally equip the control room with an “Air Check” machine. A recording device that captures the announcer’s voice work, music segues, live remotes and any part of the broadcast that the DJ may want to revive at a later date to evaluate the show. To save time reviewing, the device is switched on and off, recording only what is to be evaluated and not recording all of the music in between. This telescoped version allows a DJ to listen to a 4 hour show in about 30 minutes. 

 

While digital solutions were available, a 1971 Teac reel to reel was selected to stick with the “love of analog” already present in the studio. Once a tape has been recorded, to review his performance, Dave can take it home and play it back on a matching reel to reel that’s part of his home stereo.

© 2018 Vinyl Snob in association with the Pantheon network of podcasts.