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Thread: 500 series vs rack mount

  1. #1
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    Default 500 series vs rack mount

    I know this is going against current trends but.... I recently did a large gear turnover where I replaced all my 500 series gear ( api 512 BA312a and adesigns P-1) for rack mounted api's (3124) and adesigns paciicas. I had the lunchbox around and in use for a few sessions while the rack gear was in place. Don't get me wrong - I loved the pres that were in the lunch box great sounding workhorses all... but I consistantly seemed to notice a "solidity" to the 3124's and the Pacificas not present 512's and P-1s. This seems especially noticeable with dynamic mics and my R-84's. Any body care to comment?

  2. #2
    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    I believe that some of our designer friends here on the forum have commented on this before. IIRC, beefed up power supplies, transformers and other parts that can fit in the larger units are a major factor.
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?

    Nathan

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    went looking for a thread that might comment on that ... but I was wondering if any one else had ever had a similar experience.

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    We have an apples to oranges problem here. You can hear a power supply, and some pieces run on different voltages in the 500 versus rackmount versions. You might have a piece which is identical, but which 500 rack and supply? There are 500 PSU's out there that are borderline in terms of available current. Onboard or outboard PSU relates to potential induced noise issues.

    I had one brand of 500 series PSU, and it wouldn't run the rack half filled, with modules that were close to the max module current spec. So, undersized by over 50%!

    My only personal experience is with the FCS Pico Compressor, and it sounds the same in my particular installations. They run on the same voltage in both instances, and my outboard 500 PSU can supply double the max spec current for my entire rack.
    Doug Williams
    Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

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    You know what? I think the whole 500-series format is a scam.

    It's got all the audio kids going "ooh ahh! I can collect all the cute little audio units!" but I've found that in every case that a particular preamp/etc exists in both rack and 500 format, the 500-format units are much more expensive.

    And it certainly stands to reason that 500-format units are compromised because the designer has no control whatsoever over the PSU specs and quality.
    Sure, a few high quality racks with high quality PSUs are available, but as per my first point, they work out considerably more expensive than buying their rack-mount counterparts, which, I might add, can be separated without needing to buy another "cute" 500-series rack.
    Last edited by daxliniere; 09-22-2009 at 09:14 AM.
    Dax Liniere

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    Well, I'm no electrical engineer, but I would think since the power specs are public, someone designing a module for a 500 series rack simply works within the specs.

    I have one of those racks for the simple reason of space--I can fit a bunch of eqs in three rack spaces that otherwise would take up quite a bit more room. There are also some interesting units that aren't available in a different format, like the new Electrodyne eqs, which are very nice. Certainly I would think units like the API should be fine in a good quality rack. I admit to being more dubious about mic pres, things with tubes, etc., that would seem to need more power. But again, I'm no engineer. And I don't have any mic pres in the 500 series format.

  7. #7
    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Quote Originally Posted by daxliniere View Post
    You know what? I think the whole 500-series format is a scam.

    It's got all the audio kids going "ooh ahh! I can collect all the cute little audio units!" but I've found that in every case that a particular preamp/etc exists in both rack and 500 format, the 500-format units are much more expensive.

    And it certainly stands to reason that 500-format units are compromised because the designer has no control whatsoever over the PSU specs and quality.
    Sure, a few high quality racks with high quality PSUs are available, but as per my first point, they work out considerably more expensive than buying their rack-mount counterparts, which, I might add, can be separated without needing to buy another "cute" 500-series rack.
    I must admit, I have thought the same thing...
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?

    Nathan

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    I've never had any trouble or complaints with my 500 series gear. In fact I think of the p-1s as one of the sweetest vocal pres I've ever used (more than the averill racked neves I used a few years ago). I was just noticing that it seemed 300hz and down was more "solid" especially with mics like a 441 409 d112 and the r-84. Not that there was better frequency response or that those frequnceies were not present in the 500 series, more like I could feel those note as well as hearing them.

    FWIW - IF it is a scam, then it is one that consumers are perpetuating. Any time the tool becomes the focus of attention rather than the job / finished product ... nuff said!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irwin Shur View Post
    Well, I'm no electrical engineer, but I would think since the power specs are public, someone designing a module for a 500 series rack simply works within the specs.
    That's the whole thing - you can't build a no-compromise module because you need to tailor your design around a fixed point.

    FWIW - IF it is a scam, then it is one that consumers are perpetuating.
    I agree 100%
    Dax Liniere

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  10. #10
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    I know of at least two companies that will not design for the 500 series because of the power supply considerations.

    PERHAPS THEY ARE JUST JEALOUS


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    Dave Collins Mastering
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