“We have a customer in Milwaukee that did some tracking for a major label R&B release. The label paired him with a multi-million dollar facility in Reno, Nevada to handle mix-down. When the mix-down studio guys heard the tracks, they were so impressed that they asked our customer about his recording setup. He told them what he was using but they refused to believe him. The owner of the studio actually flew to Milwaukee just to see our customer’s setup: one of our Signature Series 003R’s and two of our Auteur preamps. He was furious when he saw it, because he said it sounded as good as his million dollar system yet it cost so much less. We think that says a lot about not only the state of our industry, but also about what we’re doing as a company.” – Black Lion Audio
Forget what you thought you knew about digital audio! As a multi-channel recording system, we feel that the Signature Series is not only unparalleled in price, it’s also extremely difficult to surpass in terms of performance. Here’s why…
WHAT WE DO TO MAKE DYNAMIC IMPROVEMENTS IN SOUND:
ANALOG STAGE AND PRE-AMP UPGRADE
The analog section of the circuitry is the path that the signal travels through before and after the converter stages. This includes the mic preamps, line inputs, headphone output, and line outputs. Improving the performance of these circuits improves sound quality by reducing noise and improving transient response (the audio sounds more detailed). We’re fans of Burr Brown’s OPA4134, and we substitute those for the TL074 op-amps used in the mic preamp and line inputs. We’re able to reduce analog stage noise created by the 003r’s phantom power circuitry as well as reducing the RF noise created by the stock switching power supply. These modifications result in a cleaner signal, with much more high end definition.
MASTER CLOCK UPGRADE
Basically, the master clock generates the signal that tells the converter when to trigger. The more accurate the clock signal, the more ‘realistic’ or ‘defined’ the converted audio signal will be. We install a high quality master clock to improve overall system response. This is a benefit that you can hear with your ears because a very accurate clock will create a very defined audio image with precise instrument placement. In spite of the fact that we’re working in the digital realm, the clock is an analog signal: it’s a square wave, and square waves have quite a few harmonics. Ideally, all of these harmonics should be mathematically related to each other (exponents of the fundamental). If the clock has harmonics that are not mathematically related, these harmonics will create an undesirable interference during conversion. Often, this undesirable interference will be heard as distortion components in the high and low frequencies of the audio signal. It will create phase cancellations during conversion, causing the audio to take on a limp quality, with an apparent loss of volume.
Our internal clock is incredibly accurate and very low in unwanted harmonics; delta sigma averaging methods place the amount of unwanted signal content at less than 10 picoseconds. The improved clock we install will give you improved signal clarity, fuller harmonic extension of the instrument you are tracking, an apparent increase in volume over the stock design (because of lower phase cancellations), and pinpoint image placement during mix-down. This upgrade alone brings the stock rack to a level of performance that rivals or exceeds digital audio systems costing thousands more.
220/270SP MASTER CLOCK UPGRADE (SIGNATURE SERIES ONLY!)
The Signature Series clock takes our standard clock upgrade to an entirely new dimension. Our new internal master clock is, hands down, the most advanced master clock in pro audio today. So not only do you get all of the benefits of pinpoint imaging, signal clarity, and harmonic extension, but you also get something unusual for digital audio: a beefy, yet nuanced quality. Your audio will be thick, rich and highly detailed with this breakthrough master clock upgrade. Not only does it feature our field tested and proven third order crystal oscillators, it has an astonishingly low 1 picosecond of intrinsic jitter measured using a delta sigma average! Our proprietary noise suppression technology reduces RF and switching noise to a bare minimum, ensuring smooth high frequency response in the audio band. Dual high current signal driver stages are used to deliver the clock signal into galvanic-isolated 75 ohm terminations, drastically limiting transmission line reflections normally found in multi-channel digital systems. What does all of this mean? Digital audio so articulated, fat and rich it has to be heard to be believed. In a word, it sounds “expensive.”
A/D & D/A CONVERTER UPGRADE
The A/D and D/A circuitry configuration on stock 003r units generates excessive distortion and phase cancellation during the conversion process. Converters generate a LOT of noise when they do their work, and are very sensitive to their power sources. The reason noise is created is that they have to move a lot of current, and lots of current movement means lots of electrons moving. When those electrons move, they generate a sort of “mechanical” noise. This ‘mechanical’ noise actually creates harmonics that travel within the power supply and digital signal path, and these harmonics have all sorts of adverse effects. One thing that they do is reduce the amount of bit-depth that the converter is capable of achieving in its real-world performance. In its stock form, the 003r’s converters are very poorly decoupled using low-grade ceramic capacitors. Instead of actually removing noise, they create resonant harmonics and make the problem worse. By properly “decoupling,” we help remove or reduce this noise and its resulting aftereffects, leaving you with clear, crisp audio.
POWER SUPPLY UPGRADE
By using a low-emission toroid transformer to power the analog and digital stages separately, we improve the overall character of your sound dramatically. This upgrade completely eliminates the power supply as a source of crosstalk between the analog and digital circuitry. And if that were not enough, check this out: You know how a tube guitar amp sounds ‘bigger’ than a solid state guitar amp? There’s one reason for that: headroom. This upgrade process increases the analog stage headroom, giving your audio more definition, more “heft,” and much more “presence.”
COMPARE OUR TWO MODIFICATIONS ON THE 003r:
|Tweak Head Modification||Signature Series Modification|
|Analog Stage Upgrade|
|Modify All Analog Inputs & Outputs||Premium Modification to All Analog Inputs & Outputs|
|Upgrade to Headphone Output||Premium Upgrade to Headphone Output|
|Pre-amp Upgrade||Premium Pre-amp Upgrade|
|Additional Premium Recapping of Pre-amp & Signal Paths|
|A/D and D/A Modification|
|Converter Decoupling||Premium Converter Decoupling|
|Capacitor Upgrade||Premium Capacitor Upgrade|
|Noise-Reducing Analog Path Filtration|
|Internal Clock Replacement|
|BLA-Designed Low-Jitter Master Clock||BLA 220/270SP Signature Series Master Clock|
|Additional Logic Decoupling for Clock|
|Power Supply Addition|
|Linear Power Supply Added||Linear Power Supply Added|
|Phantom Power Circuit Noise Reduction||Phantom Power Circuit Noise Reduction|
|Noise-Reducing Power Filtration|
|Custom Polycarbonate Emblem||Custom Polycarbonate Emblem|
|Hand Screen-Printed BLA Signature Series Logo|
THE ABSOLUTE BEST VALUE IN PRO AUDIO!
Our upgrade packages are, dollar for dollar, one of the most dramatic improvements you can do to your 003 Rack. If you were to purchase a ProTools HD rig, you could easily end up spending $20,000.00 by the end of the day.
Of all the gear you could spend your hard-earned money on, we promise you this modification will leave you with a smile, every time you crank up your system. It’s so powerful, and so dramatic, it’s simply a “no-brainer.”
Our modifications come at a fraction of the price, and are in use by some of the top facilities and sound engineers in the world, such as SDI Media, The Los Angeles Opera, Audio Ease (AltiVerb Impulse Times were tracked on a Signature Series 003), Mattel, Disney, Fox Sports, Sony Scoring, and many more…
And remember, these are practices that aren’t used by any other manufacturer. We’ve found them to yield sonic improvements that rival the most expensive conversion systems available in pro audio today!