Abbey Road Studios has taken delivery of four NTP DAD AX24 eight-channel ultra-high-quality analogue-to-digital/digital-to-analogue audio signal converters.
All four will be deployed during recording sessions as microphone preamplifiers and analogue-to-MADI interfaces. They will be operated in conjunction with Abbey Road’s Pyramix digital audio workstations. Two of the units are additionally fitted with the IO192-PHD interface card allowing them to work with Avid Protools.
“The AX24 units have been purchased primarily for use by our mobile recording unit,” comments Simon Kiln, head of editing at Abbey Road and a producer of recordings both in the studios and on location. “They give us the benefit of exceptionally low-noise analogue signal preamplification, high quality digitising and considerably shorter set-up and dismantling times. We have been trying to build affordable recording packages for many styles of music. Key to this was the ability to set up quickly without compromising the quality people expect from Abbey Road Studios. Our equipment is transported in flight cases to wherever it is needed and then set up with an onsite control room. Putting kit in place to record a medium-size orchestral production can easily take three hours and includes running as many as 30 microphone cables out to the control room. The four AX24 converters allow up to 32 microphones to be combined into a single MADI channel and routed to the control room as just two cables: the MADI feed itself plus wordclock timing reference. They also give us the ability to adjust the level of each preamplifier channel from a laptop PC or digital audio workstation in the control room.”
“Having one box that performs preamplification, analogue-to-digital conversion and MADI integration has greatly improved operational efficiency,” added Abbey Road Senior Recording Engineer, Jonathan Allen. “We also wanted the option of working at higher sampling rates and, after comparing it to other converters, I found the AX24 made one of the best cases for working at 96 kHz and above.”
“The DAD AX24 has the quietest front-end amplifier we have ever tried,” said Arne Akselberg, Abbey Road Senior Classical Engineer. “Comparing the AX24 with other brands, the difference was astonishing. And it is one of the few such devices that sounds really good at 96 kHz.”
The four AX24 signal converters were supplied via NTP Technology’s UK distributor, eMerging, which also supplied the Pyramix digital audio workstation used by Abbey Road Studios as a mobile recorder and editing system.