DMC & MC16 at MixOnline.com

Michael Romanowski – Mastering legend and owner of Coast Mastering – is a heavy SPL user and proponent of the SPL 120V-Technology. Last December, he took the time to write a great article about our DMC Mastering Console and MC16 Mastering Monitor Controller for MixOnline.com.
Michael was heavily involved in the development of these units. Here, we provide a summary. You can find the complete article at MixOnline.com

“I am often asked what I believe is the most important piece of equipment in my room. My immediate answer is the monitoring environment, which is far more crucial than any single piece of equipment.”

“I had been paying attention and listening to an increasing number of pieces of the SPL product line for years, and I found the company’s developments intriguing. They had been building equipment to a 120V rail platform. I started small with the Phonitor.”

“I very much liked the sound coming through the Phonitor. As the company released more products around a cohesive design philosophy, I reached out to Hermann Gier to inquire about the DMC console that they used to make.”

“There was actually a second motivating factor for this inquiry: I needed to expand my channel count past my current console restriction to handle upcoming immersive audio projects.”

“It turns out that acclaimed engineer Ronald Prent, who was instrumental in development aspects of the original large SPL console, had been thinking along these same lines and had had similar discussions with Hermann. The big questions were how to incorporate all that SPL had learned from the original design into the new gear, while maintaining function, usability, simplicity, and even space and cost parity.”

“As we discussed the number of channels, we tried to predict what the surround or immersive needs might be in the future. Next was assessing the pros and cons of each refined design until it became clear that the path forward was to create a modular system that would not require an engineer to commit to internal converters.”

“We streamlined, removing unnecessary or redundant functions such as extra channels, meters or headphone amps. After the whittling had brought the main console down to the core functions, we focused on options so that engineers could incorporate components into a system as the need arose. It was to be a modular system that could be tailored to the needs of individual engineers.”

“Prototypes were built and tested; Hermann sent me the first two pieces, the DMC Stereo Mastering Console and the MC16 Monitor Controller.”

“After wiring up a simple playback chain for the DMC, I sat down to listen.”

“The result? Wow! This was unrestricted sound coming through my speakers. I don’t think there is any doubt that the high rail voltage contributes to the “ease” with which the audio reached my ears. Of course, this was part of the design goal from the beginning: The signal path had to be clean and direct, engaging only the components in the path that absolutely had to be there, nothing else. No extra components in the circuit to add noise, distortion or degradation.”

“The second hardware component in the system is the MC16, which allows two sources of up to 16 channels of audio to be monitored for those working on Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro3D, Sennheiser Ambeo or any other multichannel format.”

Conclusion:

“SPL has made a very thoughtful, excellent sounding modular console core and ancillary components for almost any studio situation. And they have done so while holding to their exacting sonic standard that appeals to audio professionals at the highest level. I’m very happy to have been part of the process of bringing the user side requirements to the design stage, and I’m even happier to have the finished product in my studio.”