KAHAYAN Epsilon 32-500 by Midas
There´s really nothing to add that was not already been said by the most renowned professionals in the audio industry. Clarity, opening of the stereo plane, depth, a pleasant and spatial sound as several are added channels and buses, giving rise to a cohesive single distortion in the analogue mixers, offering an extra and exclusive sonic domination, which has always characterized the SSL 4000 mixers. More than enough reasons that despite many years since its appearance , most of the "top" engineers, keep mixing through these classic equipment. The Epsilon 32-500 from Kahayan offers us that sound of the great classic Solid State Logic 4000 mixers using exactly the same original components in the circuitry, which were used by the English factory in Oxford in the manufacture of their legendary consoles. Gathering this, all the sonic advantages of one of the best analogue mixers ever built. We must not forget that as professionals in the world of audio, our duty is to make things to sound as best we can, which always makes us look for that quality and commitment in all the differents stages involved . The equipment that we use in all this, could be a relevant factor and an important sum complementary to the quality of the musicians / interpreters as well as our knowledge and criteria as professionals when it comes to obtaining the overall result in the whole process.
Taking a look
"The first 8 channels of the unit allow us to vary the panorama as well as use inserts"
The Epsilon 32-500 has an elegant and discreet design. Without having a front loaded with buttons or switches as if it happens in other units of other manufacturers. Its design is logical and intuitive, on the front, all the buttons are perfectly marked according to their functionality. On the left side of the front we have the x8 channel push buttons which the unit allows us to configure as mono or stereo (Only the first 8 inputs allow us to select the position of the panorama). Therefore the panorama of all the remaining channels odd will be routed by default to the L position on the left side and the pairs will go to the R on the right side. In the same way, only in the first 8 channels do we have insertion points. Which also found its x8 respective buttons just below the row of the panorama buttons.
In the central part of the unit we have the x2 slots of the 500 series modules, in this case we have the Solid 4000 which are the unit's default ones. Which is very practical, since this allows us to access very quickly the exchange of the different modules that we want to use with the Epsilon.
The master section of the Epsilon is located in the right half of the unit. Where in the upper part we have the two channels of vumeters which are calibrated to + 14dBu. Just below these is the master fader, which through a large rotary knob very similar to those that had the first vintage mixers designed for the recording studios of the time allows us to attenuate or enhance the stereo mix to value from -infinite to + 16dB. On the right side of this we have the master "insert swicth" which allows us to activate / deactivate the main bus master mix insert, this being the default pre-fader. Down on the extreme side of the unit is the ignition switch which has a LED display of its status. Finally, in the upper right corner is the selector of the x3 types of addition modes offered by the Epsilon 32-500. 500 series / Kahayan Bus / External Bus, which we will detail later in the article.
"Three different summing flavours"
Working mode section
As I mentioned before, one of the advantages and innovations which make the Epsilon 32-500 a unique and exclusive unit is its great flexibility with respect to other models of the different manufacturers that exist in the market. Since only through a single unit we have three different sections of sum mode, which allows us to select different types of sounds which we can use in the same unit. The manufacturer gives us a wide door of possibilities when working with the summing mixer.
Built-in modules series 500 Solid 4000 summing bus
As its name indicates, through the position of the 500 series selector, we can choose to work with the sum of the x2 Solid 4K 500 series modules which the Epsilon has internally integrated. Offering that classic and solid English sound in terms of color, saturation and filling present in the acclaimed SSL4K mixers. Something that makes it extremely versatile, is the fact of being able to incorporate any other 500 series module from any manufacturer and enjoy the flexibility that comes from being able to combine different modules to achieve different types of timbral qualities, not being limited to a single and singular sound like this happens with the rest of the summing mixers that we can find in the market. That is why the Epsilon 32-500 is the only summing mixer on the market which allows us to use different 500 series modules when working.
"The Epsilon has been designed using a relay system, which totally changes the sound of the summing circuit"
If we select the Kahayan mode using the selector, this is perhaps the opposite of the sound offered by the Solid 4000 series 500 modules incorporated internally. Offering this a more transparent sound, with more openness and a greater dynamic range. In the same way, we can obtain more space between the different instruments. We would say that we can get the same sound from our DAW but obtaining an extra benefit which offers us the exclusive analog sum.
The Epsilon allows us to incorporate any compatible module of the 500 series.
The Epsilon 32-500 offers us the option of being able to perform the summing through any other external sound source such as the vintage 12K72 as well as any of the external expansion modules compatible with the Epsilon. We can also choose any adder that we want to use to make an external sum. Expanding in this way the great degree of versatility that the unit already offers us. Therefore, it opens up infinite possibilities when combining different sounds with other external equipment.
After receiving the Epsilon 32-500, I found what I expected in terms of quality of construction and appearance: A robust, solid assembly and quality components characteristic in the manufacture of the old European and American professional audio equipment of the 60's / 70's, something for which some of them were immortalized and mythologized due to the quality of their construction and the sonic qualities they offered. Which Pablo Kahayan has managed to capture in all the models of his equipments. Not sparing anything in terms of the quality of all its components, all with the guarantee of being a European manufacturer which handcrafted all its products, which is always something beneficial for the user of the continent, as far as a contact facility and a close deal. In the same way you can benefit from future updates of the equipment as well as the maintenance of the manufacturer's equipment.
I started testing the unit in the "500 series" mode using the built-in Solid 4K modules and after making the relevant comparative planes and under the same values of RMS and PEAK I was able to check audibly how the return bus signal of the Epsilon sounded with a greater amplitude and harmonic richness not present in the original signal of the DAW. All this offering a greater sensation of volume despite being the x2 buses adjusted to the same values. The second of the tests, I performed using the "Kahayan Bus" mode. Which I found to be a point between the Solid 4K mode and the original DAW signal itself. Resulting the sum something more clean and with a greater spatial sensation with respect to the modality of sum of the modules 4K series 500, which offer a greater degree of saturation and character. Finally in the passive mode under the name "External Bus" I used the stereo preamp Kahayan 12K72. Which offers in the sum the typical and characteristic sound of the mixers of the 70's with a thicker sound and with more color due to the sound of the transformers.
"Kahayan has worked on the design and manufacture so that the unit offers us the same" Glue "characteristic of the Solid State Logic 4000"
As we all know, one of the characteristics of large analogue mixers is that the more channels or buses we use, the behavior of the mixer tends to gain and enlarge in terms of its sound. Therefore the same goes for the Epsilon 32-500. Which I could see as I was increasing the channels of addition, this increasingly sounded with higher quality and fat, behaving in the same way as they do the own SSL 4000, which thing has always characterized the sound of these classic mixers. Therefore, if we want to benefit from this broad and dimensional sound, it is advisable to use as many channels as possible, even being able to double or triple the same instrumentation buses through the Epsilon 32-500. So that the more we excite the unit through a greater number of channels, this will give us a greater benefit in the delivery of their sound. It should be noted for those who may not have worked with the old analogue equipment, that the saturation control of the summing bus is done through the push signal which we send from the DAW itself to the converters, which are the that they enter the signal to the unit, in the same way as if we did it through a signal of an analog multitrack. Therefore, it will be necessary to control and compensate through the fader master of the summing unit the amount of signal that we send from our DAW through the converters, in such a way that the more we press on the signal of our DAW, the higher the "Glue" "Or impasto which characterizes the SSL4000.
The Epsilon 32-500 is summing unit of 32 analog channels, which turns out to be the perfect match between the digital and the analog world. It is a unique summing mixer unit in its kind, due to its topology, using an innovative design and great flexibility, since it can be used using any desired 500 series module such as Telefunken, Siemens, Neumann etc, at the same time that it can also be used by means of its own Kahayan internal sum as well as by means of any other type of external adder for anyone who wants to use any other sum module for which he feels special devotion. So it is not surprising that the Epsilon 32-500 has been nominated for the resolution awards of 2018 as the best product in terms of quality and innovation. Highly recommended both for recording studios of projects and for professional studios which only have digital recording systems and want to get the sound of large analog mixers without the need to purchase a console of large dimensions and high cost. Its versatility can be used in recording, Sub-mixing and Mastering as well as configuring it as a mixer divided between recording / monitoring separately interacting with current DAW systems. If we add to all this the flexibility offered by the current digital work stations in terms of total recall and audio editing, the combination of both worlds would be the closest thing to what could be called the perfect integration of the better between the Analog and digital world, and all within the reach of any type of recording studio, regardless of the dimensions or characteristics of this.
There are many summing mixers available in the market by different manufacturers. But few of them will offer us 32 channels and a degree of versality comparable to the Epsilon 32-500 from Kahayan. Some to considerer are the Burl B32 Vancouver, the Shadow Hill Industries Equinox 30 channels, the SSL Sigma or the Heritage Audio MCM-32 Summing mixer, Which are also quite expensive and different in terms of functionality and features.
-32 Analog mixing channels
-32 balanced inputs via DB25
-2 main stereo outputs via DB25
-On/off a pre-fader stereo insert activation button
-The first 8 channels have an insertion and panorama point (vía DB25).
-Stereo master fader with values of - infinite to +16dBu
-+ 24 dBu Headroom
-220v/110v 50/60hz power supply
- Power supply fuse type: 250mA to 220v/500mA for 110v
-Weight: 8kg (including the x2 solid 4k 500 series and the power supply).
-Power supply unit connector: XLR 5 pin
Epsilon 32-500 3.000€
Epsilon 32-500 + Solid 4000-500 series pair Bundle 3.500€
kahayan-pro-audio | Epsilon 32-500
Distribution and sale web page:
kahayan-pro-audio | Dealers