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Artistic Amp

Nov 13, 2007 3:08 PM

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The 300-seat auditorium in Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) hosts an amazing diversity of musical and theatrical styles, from jazz to classical and from pop to avant-garde. Dennis O'Shea, the MCA's manager of technical production, recently added a second 8-channel True Systems Precision 8 preamp/DI to the auditorium's reinforcement and archival system so that all 16 recording channels could benefit from the Precision 8's clean, warm sound.

The MCA bought the original Precision 8 after upgrading to a Yamaha DM1000 digital mixer. "We switched over from the typical 'barge' board to get something smaller and to take advantage of digital memory,” O'Shea explains. “With the addition of the 16 Precision pres we've added a very exclusive layer to the board. The Precision 8 has a warmth, clarity, and consistency that's unlike any other mic pre I've sampled before. Since it's honest and uncolored, it serves all of the varied musical styles that play the MCA nicely."

In addition to live reinforcement, the MCA archives performances to hard drive or digital tape through a 16-channel Aurora converter, bypassing the console altogether. With the second unit, all 16 channels are now fed by True Systems pres.

In addition to a 1.5 Hz to 500 kHz frequency response, which ensures that the much-smaller audio range is fully within the linear response of the circuitry, the Precision 8 has additional features that greatly increase its flexibility for the MCA. First, channels one and two are capable of decoding MS (mid-side) stereo information, which O'Shea uses with a pair of matched AKG microphones. Second, two of the channels can serve as direct inputs (DIs), which O'Shea prefers to both his active and passive standalone DIs. "There's an obvious difference that I can hear. The Precision 8 DIs are much cleaner and don't have that 'dry' sound that I associate with active DIs. It rounds and warms the sound of guitars, keyboards, bass, or anything else we have occasion to use them with," he says.

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