Review: Crescendo in Tape Op

Using the Crescendo immediately gives me the impression that I’ve just unlocked some new and previously hidden level of fidelity across my whole mic collection.” Dana Gumbiner

“Setting up and using the Crescendo is uncomplicated, and the unit itself, while massive, is really quite simple to operate. Each channel has just the basics needed…”

“I also liked that SPL prints all of the channel numbering and other back panel info in two orientations, so you never have to read the panel labeling upside-down if you’re peeking at it over the back of a rack (why doesn’t everyone do that?).”

Testing:

“I found that the ribbon mic, in particular, responded really well to all of this deliciously clean power: plenty of gain and amazing dynamics with no discernible noise.”

“I had an opportunity to test in another tracking environment and passed the ball to my friend Larry Carr, an engineer and drummer currently working on an album… Drums, upright bass, tenor sax, and guitar were all tracked live in Larry’s studio, utilizing all eight tracks of the Crescendo. Larry was impressed with the build quality right off the bat, and we both agreed that having the Crescendo in line seemed to make proper gain corrections much more relaxed – as if every mic attached to this box could just breathe while not having to work so hard.Translation: the sweet spot for each mic felt much broader, and even challenging dynamics felt super easy to dial in.”

“…with such a massive swath of dynamic range and headroom, it just feels like you have more freedom, without any sacrifice in accuracy. In addition to tracking to a DAW, Larry had the preamp running out to his 1-inch Tascam MS-16 tape deck, and it sounded terrific, with little articulations and subtleties translating with an almost scary amount of clarity. Larry commented that even when pushing the gain range on this preamp, the transient response was crisp and clear…”

Conclusion:

“The Crescendo, and SPL’s proprietary SUPRA high voltage op-amps are an exciting innovation, and I believe it’s a first of its kind: an 8-channel mic preamp operating on ±60 volt DC power rails (touted by SPL as “120V Technology”). While most pro audio gear runs on ±15V to 18V rails or less, the Crescendo offers a starkly logical alternative with a much higher operating voltage. The intention behind this new design is to improve microphone performance and overall audio quality with much less noise, a monumental amount of headroom, and virtually no opportunity for distortion or transient “smearing.”

You can find a review of the SPL Crescendo online at tapeop.com and in their magazine (edition June/July 19).