MS Decoder for Field Use

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by mdemeyer, May 13, 2005.

  1. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member

    Can anyone recommend an MS decoder for field monitoring use? The AEA MS 38 Lite (headphone amp with MS decode) looked like just the thing for me, but it's out of production. What I liked about it was the combination of headphone amp and MS decoder, so as not to bulk up the kit any more than it already is.

    I will not master through it... final MS decoder will be done in software. Just trying to make the setup easier by having a no-hassle field monitoring solution.

  2. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    If you use m/s often enough and a commerical unit is not available, then it might be worth while to "roll your own". The circuitry for the decoder+hp amp is not exotic and within the reach of the DIYer.
  3. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member


    That's one option I'm considering. I have built more complicated things than that, so it's a viable option. I'm just feeling a little lazy at the moment... too many (non-recording) projects already in the queue! :(

  4. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    You might be able to pick up an MS version of one the pattern boxes for an AKG stereo mic on ebay. Of course you can't use the patterns, but phantom power will pass through the box and you can decode on the way back. I seem to remember a quesion on the AKG forum about this, but I think you have to change the sockets or buy (or make) an adapter for the mic end. The box is quite small, but I suppose Zilla's solution would probably be less work than messing around with the sockets.

    For M/S monitoring purposes, I used to use a tiny mixer, and pass the signal from the S mic through a send and and then in inverted to a third channel. I can't remember what the mixer was (it wasn't mine), but it was tiny and cheap. It may even have been Behringer, but it was good enough.


  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Here a a couple of things to consider: Schematic for decoder

    and Headphone monitoring transformer for M-S

    and Info on MS

    Hope these help!
  6. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member


    Great references. I think I will order one of the Sowter headphone transformers (about $45 inlcuding shipment from the UK) and roll it into a little box. Will let you know how it works out. If anyone else is interested, they are cheaper by the dozen. :lol:

  7. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member

    Well... it took almost 2 months to get the Sowter 8392 transformers from the UK, but the price through the US distributor was only about $28 each. I think they might start keeping them in stock in the US (since somone bought a few?), so you might not have to wait as long.

    Got two (my wife records with me, so we need his-and-her decoders) and put them into the front of a rack mount chassis that will eventually hold 4 Jensen mic splitters in the rear when it's done.

    Pleased to say that they work very nicely for real-time monitoring purposes. Highly recommended. Cheap, functional, and reliable.
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Good lord, Thomas! "PAIA" !!!!!

    I didn't know they were still around! :) Thanks for that link! It's GREAT to go to their website and poke around (Such memories! Hot solder and burned fingertips, too!)

    I'm thinking about buying one of their tube preamp kits, hot-rod it, put my name on it, and start offering it as a $4000 boutique model.

    Heheheh..... :twisted:

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