Groups who at present regularly go into studios to produce demonstration tapes, would well find these mixers from Lamb Laboratories very interesting. They are designed to extend an ordinary Revox tape recorder into a mini-home studio by providing all the essential facilities of a studio mixing panel.
We fitted the new mixer up to several tape machines (although it's designed for the Revox) and we found the mini-desk perfectly compatible. Because it's so small some of the channel controls take care during adjustment, but familiarity would soon make this easy. It's a very light unit which we thought was a big plus, and it's remarkably easy to set up and use.
The metering seems accurate and the board is ergonomically designed and each part seems in the right place. A most intelligent inclusion is the stereo limiter which gives that degree of professional control usually missing from domestic and location recordings.
In operation the mixer is exceptionally quiet and we weren't able to hear it operating on tape in subjective tests. Naturally we would have liked more channels but Lamb allow for this and up to 12 channels can be gained by clipping these units together and running from a separate power supply.
The two units are mirror images of each other and are designed to work together as an 8 input quadrophonic system br independently, as 4 input stereo or mono mixers. Every input channel has a full set of four "pan" faders for quadrophonic use, which add into four separate mixing lines. The mixing lines link across between the units; two driving the two output channels in one unit and two driving the output channels in the other. When only one unit is in use, the system reverts to normal stereo operation.
Inputs are via XLR connectors which are standard on Revox tape machines, rather than conventional jack plugs.
Each of these feed into a stepped attenuation and variable control which permits the input sensitivity to be varied over an almost unbelievably wide range of 100 dBs.
The bass and treble controls are wide range symmetrical cut and boost types which, with a mid-range boost control, form a comprehensive equalisation system. (Tone control system). A useful feature is that they are all calibrated in dBs; the treble giving ±15 dB at 15 KHz; bass ±15dB at 40 KHz and midrange — 0 to +10 dB at 4 KHz. This is far more satisfactory than the arbitrary dots which are all too common; and it does emphasise the effectiveness of the controls. Channel faders are properly calibrated too.
Each input channel also has an echo send control, which feeds into an echo mixer. The output channels feature volume limiting which may be switched in or out as required. These have adjustable threshold adjustment and 'release time' control and the two output channels in each mixer unit are coupled so that a large signal on one channel reduced the gain of both output channels by the same amount.
Output metering, echo return controls and output feeders are also incorporated.
Versatility of an unusual but very useful type is provided by a number of jack sockets on the back panel. With these it is possible to interrupt any channel to add in a 'special effect'; to take an output from a channel without interrupting it; or if you are using only two mixing lines, one of the others could be used to drive a monitor amplifier.
Retail Price £210-60
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