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60v rails vs 120v rails

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by audiokid, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    60v summing had me and now 120v mixing is opening up new possibilities. What do you think?
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think that unless you need 120v to power everything you have it's a marketing gimmick.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm surprised on your opinion. What about 15 vs 30 vs 60 rail . Do you think its much like the 96 vs 192k is to recording, that there is a point where it becomes moot?
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    re: more dynamic range, headroom, less noise and THD, not twice as good because operating voltage is doubled yes, no?
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think that most electronics deal with microvoltages and milliamps. The actual analog inputs/outputs etc are at most 48v. I think mostly that it is crucial the power supply be very well designed for whatever voltage is specified on the mixer/summing box/preamp/what have you. When folks discuss the value of high voltage rails for a tube preamp circuitry it is for a very specific purpose. So basically you have to know why the designers specified "120v" and what perceived or actual problem it's supposed to solve. Remember, in some circuits voltage is additive and in some it's constant. Make sure you're not heading in a direction with a knob marked "11".
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Now that was perfect!

    Unless we get the opportunity to hear and experience how much easier it is mixing with juice like this, and without knowing at this point I can only optimistically assume this must sound juicier. It should be that much easier getting there (big and open sound) in less time. I mean, wow, what a difference between the wanna be pre amps and the big boys like my Millennia M-2b and...
    I think you've nailed a main question.
    I'm going to invite SPL here to hopefully enlighten us as to why they've made a mixer that is described as an emotional experience.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Is it emotional because of how much it costs? I know my wife would be emotional about it.........lmao
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    ROTF! Yes I know but I'm hopping I can convince mine that I will make some extra coin to take her on a holiday. And besides, when I'm happy, she knows how fun I am :)

    I'm very excited as you can see about analog more and more. I've contacted Paul from SPL. I'm hounding them to tell us more.
  9. acorneau

    acorneau Active Member

    Two-twenty... two-twenty one... whatever it takes.
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

  11. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Why 120 volts?
    SPL has engineered a completely different approach to HiEnd audio processing. With the HiGain solution the get MANY advantages over the common technology.
    SNR 116 dB at 35 (is it called ?) headroom, which gives you a dynamic range of 150 dB!!
    That is better than the requrements for PCM 24b /192 kHz or 1 bit DSCat 256 kHz SR,
    The usual op amp chips were replaced, because those have additional irrelevant circuitry inside for other industrial applications.
    No coupling condensers in the front end to prevent noise. The whole signalpath is kept symmetrical and runs through various stages towars the ultra low noise amp transistors.
    Since both lines of the symmetrical signal are independent, the produced noise does not add up. The total noise of the signals is thus lowered.
    The Supra amp works on plus/minus 62 volts and the signal path is constructed with the best components available till signal reaches the separate class A amp.
    The main gole was to achieve High amplification with lower phase shift and lowest distortion over a bandwith of 200 kHz...

    This is a hell of a constuct, giving you pourest audio through top notch engineering and materials... I doubt that there is anything better, at least, not known to me...
    Big K ( enjoys the SPL PQ... http://spl.info/en/hardware/eqs-vitalizerr/pq/in-detail.html )
  12. SASman

    SASman Active Member

    I literally never thing about voltage, good gear sounds good at the voltage it is designed to run on IMO.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I have a well designed Yamaha Console with preamps that don't sound half as good as my Millennia M-2b or ADL600 pre-amp. I don't know what you mean there? I'm pretty certain mixing and summing is about headroom.

    audiokid (enjoys the SPL Passeq and wants the NEOS:)
  14. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Chris... for God's sake...If you have a safe budget and it is what you need, get it ...!
    There is no sence in repeating your ordeal... A mixer that can match these specs I have not seen, yet.
    Make sure you have a thorough listening! You won't get any sweetening colorations of a NEVE or SSL consoles, etc.
    and 10 Grand is lot for a summing console w/o EQs, etc. Again, we are in the last 2 percent corner ...

    Hello S&S
    Any gear must work with the voltage it was designed for.
    That does not rule out that some concepts need higher voltage and wouldn't even be possible to design with lower voltages.
    120 volt is not a marketing gag, at all... It is an expensive way to HighestEnd audio. If one needs such pristine performance, well... if I
    had use for it, I'd probably be very tempted to get the best...

    Big K ( enjoying a cold beer, right now..lol)
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Nicely put Big-K!

    Well, I'm going to enjoy my MixDream for a good while but if SPL sent me this beast, I certainly would know what to do with it! I'm interested in the 120v rails for one reason, headroom (space) and hopefully my current summing system will help me be able to separate the group of tones better OTB than what I am experiencing as limitation to ITB masters, without adding noise. I'm not looking/ expecting console color or bells and whistles. My choice selection of preamps and the DAW do this very well. But, who knows if its the gospel solution. I'm simply blessed to be able to dig deeper into both realms and never give up trying to sound better. I definitely don't think ALL digital is the Holy Grail to perfect acoustic music.

    The NEOS appears to be spot on because it is a headroom and monitoring CHAMPION, both area's that ( to my ears and knowledge) a single pass ITB master is limited and misleading due to what happens with larger and more complex track counts that get crammed into a corner (during stage one).
    The combination of organic acoustic music and digital audio doesn't quite fit well to me so... I believe headroom of two kinds will help space it out and make more accurate printing to CD or a stereo master easier.
    I'm going to spend this next year learning as much as I can about this because my love and 30 years experience in acoustic and digital music programming is telling me to. When I see headroom, I get excited.

    I hope to post examples so we can all move past wondering.
  16. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Tell me about it...LOL

    I wished for more headroom eversince I went beyond 6'4".
    Could have safed me quite some headaches from to low door frames, e.g.
  17. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    My FAVORITE quote, from "Mr. Mom". I use it almost daily, although sadly, few folks "Get it". ;-) Nicely done, Allen.
  18. SPL

    SPL Active Member

    120 V

    First of all thanks for the invitation to provide some information - and sorry for the late reply ... easter vacation.

    120 volts
    BigK has outlined the basics of 120v engineering very good, thanks :)
    It is also important to know that for the Neos not only some stages, or OPs, but the whole unit is based upon 120 volts operational voltage.
    So why 120 volts? SasMan is right, everything should sound good at its voltage. The proof of good sound is a result, and this must be delivered. As some argued we use 120v technology as a marketing argument, we are not afraid sharing the results we deliver with our 120v devices (for example: Bob Ludwig: Sound Performance Lab).
    The main point with 120v rails: the more energy we have to process signals, the higher the dynamic bandwidth. This simple fact does not mean a unit sound good because it runs on 120v rails, but it is a decent base to work on. We all know, achieving good results with a complex device such as summing mixer comes from many aspects, but here I focus on specific 120v issues rather than repeating common knowledge.

    The advantages of high dynamic bandwidths, as a matter of principle, are less and later distortion. With a standard +/- 15 v circuitry, overload resistance may be at around 20 dB. With the Neos, we are clearly above 30 dB (limit of measuring equipment). A high dynamic bandwidth enhances in two ways: upwards we have more headroom, downwards we have more distance towards noise (= better signal to noise ratio).
    Now, if a converter delivers 24dB, you do not have to lower its output signal (which would reduce bit resolution). Currently there are no units at all delivering levels which could overload a Neos input. Internally, the high level is running on, and when you add (up to) 6 dB, you still have a good headroom. So whatever you feed, whatever you add - no distortion. This allows for "free mixing" without even thinking about level control - and therefore, no distraction from the creative part of mixing life. And it allows to keep dynamic levels, and their differences, in the maximum available bandwidth you can process nowadays.

    Analog Summing
    We are in close contact with the German physicist Ralf Koschnicke who proved advantages of analog summing against ITB mixes. His main point: While 24 bit is a sufficient dynamic resolution, digital resolution on the TIME SCALE is not sufficient.
    Ralf Koschnicke will publish his work in english soon, for now I can only link to the German version of his work on this (PDF, 2,4 MB):
    Here is a quote on this from his website http://www.acousense.de
    "Contrary to the view enshrined in the development of the CD and specification of the industry digital standard of around 25 years ago, we know today that human auditory perception can evaluate many more minute details in the time domain than can be detected within the frequency transmission range of standard digital technology (the smaller the details the higher the frequencies needed)."

    BTW, I recommend the fantastic Acousense HD recordings.

    We have read in some pro ITB statements that "analog distortion" may deliver sound results preferred by some engineers for some genre. Sometimes also analog equipment is associated with adding noise.
    While this may apply to some equipment, we can prove for all SPL 60v or 120v analog summing devices that both distortion and noise values are far away from being perceptible. With the Neos we are heading towards the boundaries of measuring equipment. Our analog summing solutions do not add sound-coloring distortion or noise - they are by definition, concept and specification no effect processors.
    We, and also many customers, have always associated analog summing with benefits especially in terms of localization and spatial imaging (transparence and depth). Our approach has always been based upon empirical methods. Now Ralf Koschnicke's scientific analysis exactly supports our impressions. We are looking forward to spreading the news :)

    The Neos is a suggestion for a hybrid digital/analog studio solution to combine the best of both worlds, regarding sound quality, workflow, and costs.
    We think in combination with a DAW, the Neos is an interesting alternative to strict ITB or strict analog concepts. We are not against anything, but we are looking for improvement. Hence we offer another choice and we would be glad if engineers are interested in getting to know it.

    ... is not "only a summing mixer". We think its advantages and the package justify the price. It provides:
    - a 24mono/12 stereo into 2 summing mixer
    - with faders
    - an ultimate quality monitoring controller

    Compared with a high-end collection of a summing amp with fader box plus monitoring controller, the price is just competitive - not even mentioned the unique qualities of 120v technology and manufacturing (selected/handmade components, handmade production in Germany).
    Apart from the isolated view on package and competition, some other considerations may also be interesting for a correct assessment, for example:
    - The Neos is made for, you guessed it, professional production environments. A decent acoustic room planning and installation starts at investments of about 20.000 Euros/USD (open end, of course). If a studio once is conceived as a DAW-based environment, the way back to a full-sized analog desk is not an option as it would destroy the acoustics. With the Neos, you keep everything, mount three processors in a side rack and place it into your desk - it integrates seamlessly into a DAW studio.
    - Compared to a full-sized analog desk, power consumption of a DAW/Neos setup safes a lot of money - depending on local energy costs, it can pay back pretty soon. CO2 footstamp not mentioned :) (standby power consumption: 75 watts)
    - The Neos is a very space-saving solution for mobile recording etc. (19 inch/7U)

    We were excited about the first reactions of engineers who tried the Neos prototype at the Musikmesse in Frankfurt, as they all reacted emotional. But we prefer to let others talk about the results when we have delivered them, so we are really looking forward now to the first user reports and their productions.

  19. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Thanks for the detailed description, Paul.

    Can I confirm that your "120V" actually indicates that you use +/-60V rails, just as others you might compare it with have, for example, +/-24V rails?

    Also, could you explain what you mean by "overload resistance"?
  20. SPL

    SPL Active Member

    Yes Boswell, I mixed that up a bit, sorry.
    Our 120 V current runs on +/- 60 V rails.
    +/- 15V results in 30 Volt current - common for pro audio.
    Some good desks use +/- 18V, we know +/- 24V from older discrete designs.

    I have found the terms "overload resistance" in a dictionary some time ago; it was suggested for German "Uebersteuerungsfestigkeit" - got it? :)
    I guess you simply say max. input level/headroom.

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