<<letter from us>>
Season's Greetings from Boulder, CO!
It has been a fantastic year here at Grace Design. We began the year with a bang by rolling out the m801, which replaced the original and beloved model 801 - our first, and arguably the first eight channel mic preamplifier. After almost 12 years in production, we were a little sad to see the model 801 go, but the m801 has done a fine job living up to the legacy.
Very early on in the year, we had the honor of providing over a hundred channels of our m802 remote control mic preamplifiers to the newly installed XM Productions/ Effanel Music recording system for Jazz at Lincoln Center / NYC. The system is working well and we're honored to have so much amazing music flowing through our preamplifiers.
A scan of the 2006 Grammy nominees reveals plenty of projects fueled by Grace Design. One of the more satisfying ones was given to our friend Hans Peter L'Orange (and Morten Lindberg) for the album Immortal Nystedt, which they recorded and mixed. The album nominated for Best Surround Sound Album and was mixed with the m906 5.1 monitor control.
Speaking of the m906, 2006 saw the arrival of two great new options for this powerful monitor controller - The Downmix module and the AES loopthru module, two features that have further established the m906 as the de facto standard for high fidelity 5.1 monitor control.
Perhaps our greatest success of all in 2006 has been the unprecedented number of m902's that we've sent out the door. The m902 is a product which exists in no real category, yet people just can't get enough of it. Audiophiles, professional engineers, musicians, dentists, you name it, they just seem to want it. Ok, without being coy, it's a very useful and amazing sounding little fetish of a device, and as soon as one gets it into one's hands, they understand why.
The AES convention this year was a great show, with much less of the prevailing gloom which seemed to plague AES conventions since 2001. This is our 12th year in business, and despite what the market for recorded music looks like, the Pro Audio industry seems better than ever. Talented people, many of which we have the honor of having as clients and colleagues, are ever more engaged in the process of creating and recording great music. Despite the fact that the delivery of recorded music seems ever more difficult and the end quality worse and worse, audio professionals everywhere are sticking to their guns and making the best records they can - the art lives!
Will we ever rest? The increased demand for our gear means one thing - people care about quality audio, which makes us further dedicated to the task. First on deck for 2007 is the forthcoming m201, the successor of the model 201. Two channel mic preamplifier customers can look forward to a whole new animal - with updated performance, features and cosmetics. And after the 201 is released, then have a few 'ace up the sleeves' to attend to, so please stay tuned. Its gonna be a great year!
So as this year comes to an end, we would like to extend our warmest thanks to all of our wonderful friends, colleagues and customers. We are proud to serve this great industry and participate in this great endeavor. We wish all of you and your families the warmest holiday greetings!
Mike, Eben, Doug, Martin, Jamie, Jordan, Jake, Jim, Virginia, Neal, Willi, Erich, Pinky, Cory
Grace Design Introduces m802 A/D card
Physically, the A/D consists of a hardware module that’s installed internally in an m802 chassis and whose connectors are brought out to a rear panel slot. Two versions of the A/D are available. The first includes a DB-25 that provides two parallel 8-channel sets of AES3 format outputs in single-wire mode or (8) channels in dual-wire. There are also (4) BNC connectors that accommodate AES3-id/S/PDIF formats. These BNC’s provide a total of (8) channels in single-wire mode or (4) in dual-wire. For clocking duties, a Word Clock input and Word Clock/Loop Sync output are provided on BNC connectors. The 2nd version of the A/D trades off the AES3-id/S/PDIF BNC outputs for (2) optical connectors that allow two parallel 8-channel sets in ADAT format or (8) channels of SMUX at 96kHz.
An A/D converter can be divided into three basic functional blocks: the analog input stage, the A/D converter, and clock generation (or regeneration). Great care has gone into the design of each of these core areas to ensure world-class performance characteristics. Chief Designer, Michael Grace, explains, “The analog input stage provides fully differential circuitry that contains no electrolytic capacitors and utilizes precision 0.5% tolerance thin film resistors, which guarantees no signal coloration from capacitor dielectric absorption and resistor thermal modulation. Careful attention to grounding and power supply layout guarantees no sonic aberrations caused from unwanted interference from digital circuitry.”
“The A/D converter itself is the Cirrus CS5381. This converter employs a fifth order delta-sigma modulator and a low pass filter that exhibits very wide dynamic range and low latency. With a more gentle slope digital filter than other ADC chips, we believe the CS5381 is the most musical of the high end converter ICs and is capable of 120dB dynamic range with distortion and noise artifacts at less than -110dB. Separate power supplies for the analog and digital portions of the A/D converter ensure that the precision delta sigma modulator will not be affected by other surrounding circuitry. As well, the differential inputs provide additional input noise rejection.”
“The m802 A/D converter employs a two stage PLL system to provide practically jitter-free recovered clocks with extremely high incoming jitter attenuation. The first stage is a wide lock range, ultra low noise, analog PLL. This stage can lock to incoming word clocks and Digidesign® Loop Sync signals with a ±8% lock range. Rather than using standard CMOS based PLL chips for the first stage PLL, we use an extremely quiet, discrete VCO. When using a quality external clock source, this PLL alone will provide a nearly crystal quality clock.”
“When the incoming sample rate is within ±200 ppm of the selected sample rate, the secondary (our proprietary s-Lock™) crystal based PLL will lock to the first stage PLL, providing the quietest possible recovered sample clock to the A/D converters. The s-Lock PLL is capable of extreme rejection of incoming jitter, which begins at less than 0.1Hz and is better than 60dB at 1kHz.”
The m802 A/D option carries an SRP of $1,695 (US) and is available through Grace Design’s channel of authorized US dealers and international distributors.
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