Channel One Mk3 @ Amazona

“A front-end to fall in love with.”

“For decades, SPL has been known for innovative design and analog audio technology of the highest quality. This time, the third incarnation of their popular and proven Channel One is on my studio desk for testing. The following review will show what has changed compared to the previous models and what the channel strip from SPL is capable of.”

The German online platform Amazona published great review including sound samples of our perfect front-end for the modern producer, SPL Channel One Mk3. The complete review (in German) is available online at Amazona. We have summarized and translated some of the highlights for you here on our blog.

“In its third reincarnation, the Channel One Mk3 comes completely in black. Great attention was paid to functional haptics. The rotary resistance of all controls feels nice and creamy, with the gain control running extra smoothly to prevent unintentional adjustment. The control for tube saturation and the frequency controls for the two mid bands in the EQ are finely detented, while all controls with a fixed center value also have a center detent.”

“The inside of the Channel One Mk3 is packed with the finest technology, all spread over two circuit boards and perfectly manufactured.”

“The discrete preamplifier is now purely transistor-based and can therefore be used completely clean if desired. It can amplify microphone signals by up to 68 dB. With the optional Lundahl input transformer, this value can be increased to up to 82 dB, depending on the microphone.”

“While the predecessors always had a tube in the signal path to maintain a certain basic coloration, the 12AX7LPS preamp tube in the Channel One Mk3 can now be added on request and driven continuously into saturation.”

“The preamplifier provides two separate XLR inputs, which can be switched on the front panel and can even be powered separately with 48 V phantom power. This makes it possible to quickly compare or switch between two microphones, which has proven to be very useful for me in practice. A switchable 20 dB attenuation is also available as well as a phase inversion function and a switchable 80 Hz low-pass filter. Internally, the operating voltage has also been increased to +/-18V, which gives the Channel One Mk3 an even higher dynamic bandwidth and an 8 dB improvement in noise level compared to its predecessor.”

“The deesser has been revised and can now be applied to two different frequencies.”

“The biggest innovation, however, is probably the addition of the Transient Designer, one of SPL’s best-known devices and inventions. It can process the entire envelope of a signal with just two controls, i.e. increase or attenuate the attack and sustain phase separately.”

“The integration of the Transient Designer is particularly useful for drum and percussion recordings, but is also highly recommended for post-processing out of the box.”


“The SPL Channel One Mk3 is the studio front-end for recording production-ready tracks. The addition of the Transient Designer and the redesign of the preamp make the Channel One even more flexible and truly the Swiss Army Knife for the recording studio. This means that the Channel One is now completely unrivaled in terms of sound processing and flexibility and always scores with a very high sound quality. The option to record the processed and unprocessed signal simultaneously is also incredibly valuable in practice, as is the ability to connect two microphones and easily switch between them.”

“Every now and then I have a device on my studio desk that makes me question the usefulness of my plug-in collection. The SPL Channel One Mk3 definitely fits into this category. It is the perfect tool for capturing production-ready audio tracks, a front end for all occasions, so to speak. From totally clean to purposely saturated, airy dynamic or compressed – with the Channel One Mk3, any signal, whether voice or instrument, can be brought to perfection.”

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