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Updates on Cranborne Audio Camden 500, 500R8, 500ADAT - Test Drive Mojo!
Old 19th April 2018
  #1
Updates on Cranborne Audio Camden 500, 500R8, 500ADAT - Test Drive Mojo!

Hello all!

Just wanted to give you guys some updatse on our side as a lot of you were really interested in the products we announced at NAMM.

Camden 500

First bit of news - we have finalised Camden 500 and JUST ordered material for production of Camden 500. We're on-track to get units shipped our to retailers by end of June. The Camden 500 has turned out to be quite a thing. It seriously needs to be heard to be believed... We have trouble explaining what it is as "mic pre" doesn't really tell the story. We’ve settled on Preamp and Analogue Signal Processor.

So yeah - first and foremost, Camden is a mic, line, and instrument preamp. It has extremely low-noise and ultra-low distortion at all gain settings (typ. <0.0005% THD) and is both frequency and phase-linear. It provides a punchy, powerful but linear sound that offers a perfectly neutral palette to apply analogue and digital processing. I've gotten some of the best acoustic guitar and drum recordings I've ever achieved with it.

But the Camden also has our analogue saturation circuit - Mojo - which has absolutely blown away our expectations. We’ve worked extensively these last few months on finalising "Mojo" and ensuring it has that "vibe" that transformer/vintage mic pres have. And - WOW - it really needs to be heard to be believed... Mojo has two new modes - “Thump” and “Cream”.
“Thump” is the operative word as this saturation mode introduces low-harmonics that don’t get flabby or overwhelming with nice upper harmonics - it sounds amazing on drums, bass, vocals, synths, guitars, stereo mixes; anything you put through it will get a thicker, more present sound but with tight and accurate transients

“Cream” is a complex saturation mode that adds a wide range of harmonics and changes dramatically based on the source. But the overarching result with “Cream” is groovy, gooey, valve-y sound with a real feel. It gives instant vibe - but with British subtlety.
We’ve been blown away at our recent results with artists and producers we’ve been working with during testing. We’ve run every source through a Camden - drums, acoustic/electric guitars, bass, keys, synths, stereo mixes - and the Mojo totally transforms everything - using “Thump”, “Cream” or using both with reamping techniques produces amazing results on pretty much any source.

Again - it really needs to be heard to be believed. So that's what we want to do! We’d like to extend an opportunity for anyone to “test drive” the MOJO circuit by submitting a track or source they’d like to hear through a Camden and it’s Mojo circuit.

Test Drive Mojo

Follow the above link, fill out the form, and upload a 30 second, WAV/AIFF (24-bit, 44.1/48kHz) audio file of any instrument, bus, mix or any source material mono or stereo, and we’ll send you back the track after being reamped into a Camden with Mojo engaged and dialed to taste - with no additional processing of course.

We want you guys to hear for yourself rather than taking our word for it!


500R8/500ADAT

We've been busy finalising the Camden 500 for production but the 500R8 and 500ADAT has also been getting worked on and improved before we finalise for production and order material.

We've listened to feedback we received and tweaked the feature-set a bit. There's only been one subtraction but loads of additions... And all things that will make a BIG difference to workflow without making a big difference in price.

All the converters that we detailed in the original NAMM thread on Gearslutz are all final - so we have 121dB signal-to-noise ratio on the A/D converters and 127dB signal-to-noise ratio on the D/A converters. We've also positively achieved 0.5 picosecond of jitter on our source clock... which we're pretty damn proud of as that is a reference-quality clock on a product that sells for just over £1000!

As for availability updates, we haven't yet finalised all the bits but we hope to do so soon. We'll have another update in May which should give you guys production timing and availability. But - for sure - it will be in stores before the end of the summer.

If any of you guys have any questions about any of the products, feel free to ask!

I hope some of you guys send us some sources to "Test Drive" our Mojo. I can't wait to hear what you guys think... Normally opening something that is purely down to taste is dangerous but everyone who has heard Mojo has been blown away... So we hope/think it will be the same with you guys! We shall see!

Cheers from the Cranborne team!

Sean
Old 19th April 2018
  #2
Deleted efff87a
Guest
Thanks for the ongoing updates Sean! Ready to pull the trigger on the 500ADAT and will most likely pick up a pair of Camdens sometime thereafter. Very exciting stuff!

Todd
Old 19th April 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Great timing as I was just wondering when we’d hear an update on those products. Really psyched for both the Camden and the R8/ADAT.

Can you tell us anything about the additions to (and subtraction from) the rack units you alluded to?
Old 20th April 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
Really sounds awesome.

I'd love to get some more detailed info on the R8, any info on manuals - even early versions just to give a flavour of how it works as a DAW interface?
Old 20th April 2018
  #5
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karpmentalise View Post
500R8/500ADAT

We've been busy finalising the Camden 500 for production but the 500R8 and 500ADAT has also been getting worked on and improved before we finalise for production and order material.

We've listened to feedback we received and tweaked the feature-set a bit. There's only been one subtraction but loads of additions... And all things that will make a BIG difference to workflow without making a big difference in price.

All the converters that we detailed in the original NAMM thread on Gearslutz are all final - so we have 121dB signal-to-noise ratio on the A/D converters and 127dB signal-to-noise ratio on the D/A converters. We've also positively achieved 0.5 picosecond of jitter on our source clock... which we're pretty damn proud of as that is a reference-quality clock on a product that sells for just over £1000!

As for availability updates, we haven't yet finalised all the bits but we hope to do so soon. We'll have another update in May which should give you guys production timing and availability. But - for sure - it will be in stores before the end of the summer.

If any of you guys have any questions about any of the products, feel free to ask!

Cheers from the Cranborne team!

Sean
Dear Sean,
The product seems really interesting indeed..!!
I have few questions..

1. What is the definitive feature list of the R8?
2. It's an external power supply you're using, how it's regulated? any specs? how much pwr could provide per rail?
3. which converters are you using? instead of signal-to-noise would be great to see the dynamic range specs (although this doesn't tell all the story of course). Power supply, clock and analog stages have a tremendous impact on the sound of converters. Is the clock a new one? If these 3 important parts are well made, there are good chances you have a good sounding unit.
4. Who makes (code) your usb drivers?
5. Is there a master fader/pot, can be rerouted to slot 7 and 8 or should be patched with cables into the channel inputs/inserts?
6. do you have real pics? or gut pics of your stuff?

Thank you very much!

Best regards,



Cheu
Old 20th April 2018
  #6
Hey guys,

The interest and kind words are really lovely! Thanks so much!

So we have to finalise the costings and changes to the 500R8/500ADAT with the next prototype run before we announce anything. We hate to let people down by prematurely announcing stuff... But I promise I'll give you guys a full update in May if that's ok?

Some really good questions from cheu78, here are answers:


Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Dear Sean,
1. What is the definitive feature list of the R8?
Every feature detailed and shown on our website at the moment is on the 500R8, except 1 thing - S/PDIF. We took this off as not a single person we asked thought it was useful. Everything else is additions. I can allude to what these are - additional routing options and things to make CAST more useful... More to come next month if that's ok... Again, we just want to verify everything before promising things to you guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Dear Sean,
2. It's an external power supply you're using, how it's regulated? any specs? how much pwr could provide per rail?
Hugely important question as during our development we've found there are a lot of pretty bad power supplies in 500 series racks... Even the big names (who will remain nameless). We found that certain racks have VERY noisy power rails which impacts the performance of any modules in the slots. Not acceptable for us...

So our power supply... First of all, it's external. Where it should be. A massive power supply in a relatively small box full of sensitive electronics is far from ideal. You can overcome this with loads of shielding, etc, but even then you will get noise coupling into the audio path. With an external supply, this simply doesn't happen. Our PSU is 24V switch mode power supply. Switch modes can have switching noise but we went with a high quality supply and we have further linear regulation on the DC inlet of the 500R8/500ADAT and linear regulation on each slot of the 500 series chassis to make sure power noise and intermodulation distortion doesn't find itself on the audio rails. This is a step that not many 500 series chassis makers do, which is surprising. Then again, it's probably because it isn't cheap!

Each slot has 250mA of power on the 500R8/500ADAT. But there's also headroom if it's drawing that much current... Some chassis say a similar number but you can hear the added noise and distortion when it's close its published limit. This won't happen with a 500R8/500ADAT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Dear Sean,
3. which converters are you using? instead of signal-to-noise would be great to see the dynamic range specs (although this doesn't tell all the story of course). Power supply, clock and analog stages have a tremendous impact on the sound of converters. Is the clock a new one? If these 3 important parts are well made, there are good chances you have a good sounding unit.
Preach breddrin!

We totally agree. For the ADCs we're using the new AKM5578s - a new octal part from AKM. Our implementation of the 5578 results in 121dB Signal-to-noise ration and - 112dB THD+N.

The DACs we use are the CS43198 which are 130dB signal-to-noise ratio (a-weighted... about 127dB unweighted) and -115dB THD+N. The interesting thing with a THD number so low is the limit then becomes the analogue circuit (you'd need 0.0003% THD to match the DAC performance) which we might match - we'll see when we get the next prototype and hook it up to our APx555.

As for our clock, we're using an extremely high performance clock that results in 0.5 picoseconds of jitter. I would tell you the part but it's part of our secret sauce

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
4. Who makes (code) your usb drivers?
This is another one of those trade secrets... What I can say is it's the same USB driver company who does loads of other high-performance USB interfaces. The company who does this may be based in Switzerland like you

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
5. Is there a master fader/pot, can be rerouted to slot 7 and 8 or should be patched with cables into the channel inputs/inserts?
So on the back of the unit you have "Mix Output" which is the summed analogue signal. You could bring this back into another slot. But this shouldn't be needed as the analogue summed mix has its own dedicated USB channels that you can bring back into your DAW. This is why we have 2 more USB outputs than we have inputs - the 2 extra outputs is the master mix that goes back into your DAW so you can record the analogue summed mix - think a Dangerous 2BUS but with a high quality ADC and USB interface built in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
6. do you have real pics? or gut pics of your stuff?
We could shoot some pictures but nothing looks particularly pretty at this point. It's a lot of PCBs with loads of wires and bits hanging off with all the mods we've been doing. We'll be ordering "production prototypes" of 500R8/500ADAT soon which will be the proper things with the right metalwork, silkscreen, etc... whereas anything I can take a picture now will look like Frankenstein mad engineering!

Thanks for all the great questions cheu78. If you have any others I'd be happy to answer if I can.

Last edited by Karpmentalise; 20th April 2018 at 01:00 PM.. Reason: spelling ::bleugh::
Old 24th April 2018
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gollumsluvslave View Post
Really sounds awesome.

I'd love to get some more detailed info on the R8, any info on manuals - even early versions just to give a flavour of how it works as a DAW interface?
Hi Gollumsluvslave,

I'm still cracking away at the manual... there's a lot to say! Unfortunately, I don't think we'll have anything for you to see right away, but certainly as soon as we have something worth sharing, I'll let you know! As Sean said, we're still working through some fine details and so the manual could change a little bit at this stage.

But as always, I'd be happy to answer any specific questions as and when they pop up!

Elliott
Old 24th April 2018
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimS View Post
Great timing as I was just wondering when we’d hear an update on those products. Really psyched for both the Camden and the R8/ADAT.

Can you tell us anything about the additions to (and subtraction from) the rack units you alluded to?
Hi TimS,

We're still working through a few of the additions... as Sean says, we still have a little bit of work to do before we can verify that they are staying... but I will say that the new features include a new module source option as well as a vast improvement to our CAST system to make it much more exciting and useful to everybody.

There's also been a lot of changes to the look of the thing! Our graphic designer has been having a good time. It's like a piece of art, sometimes we don't know when to stop.

The only thing that we decided to remove were the SPDIF connections. We took this off as not a single person we asked thought it was useful! Other than that everything is up-to-spec, or - more often than not - better than spec.

Hope this helps!

Sorry I'm being vague at this stage! But we don't want to promise something without being 100% we can make it happen.

All the best,
Elliott
Old 24th April 2018
  #9
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karpmentalise View Post
Hey guys,

The interest and kind words are really lovely! Thanks so much!

So we have to finalise the costings and changes to the 500R8/500ADAT with the next prototype run before we announce anything. We hate to let people down by prematurely announcing stuff... But I promise I'll give you guys a full update in May if that's ok?

Some really good questions from cheu78, here are answers:




Every feature detailed and shown on our website at the moment is on the 500R8, except 1 thing - S/PDIF. We took this off as not a single person we asked thought it was useful. Everything else is additions. I can allude to what these are - additional routing options and things to make CAST more useful... More to come next month if that's ok... Again, we just want to verify everything before promising things to you guys!



Hugely important question as during our development we've found there are a lot of pretty bad power supplies in 500 series racks... Even the big names (who will remain nameless). We found that certain racks have VERY noisy power rails which impacts the performance of any modules in the slots. Not acceptable for us...

So our power supply... First of all, it's external. Where it should be. A massive power supply in a relatively small box full of sensitive electronics is far from ideal. You can overcome this with loads of shielding, etc, but even then you will get noise coupling into the audio path. With an external supply, this simply doesn't happen. Our PSU is 24V switch mode power supply. Switch modes can have switching noise but we went with a high quality supply and we have further linear regulation on the DC inlet of the 500R8/500ADAT and linear regulation on each slot of the 500 series chassis to make sure power noise and intermodulation distortion doesn't find itself on the audio rails. This is a step that not many 500 series chassis makers do, which is surprising. Then again, it's probably because it isn't cheap!

Each slot has 250mA of power on the 500R8/500ADAT. But there's also headroom if it's drawing that much current... Some chassis say a similar number but you can hear the added noise and distortion when it's close its published limit. This won't happen with a 500R8/500ADAT.



Preach breddrin!

We totally agree. For the ADCs we're using the new AKM5578s - a new octal part from AKM. Our implementation of the 5578 results in 121dB Signal-to-noise ration and - 112dB THD+N.

The DACs we use are the CS43198 which are 130dB signal-to-noise ratio (a-weighted... about 127dB unweighted) and -115dB THD+N. The interesting thing with a THD number so low is the limit then becomes the analogue circuit (you'd need 0.0003% THD to match the DAC performance) which we might match - we'll see when we get the next prototype and hook it up to our APx555.

As for our clock, we're using an extremely high performance clock that results in 0.5 picoseconds of jitter. I would tell you the part but it's part of our secret sauce



This is another one of those trade secrets... What I can say is it's the same USB driver company who does loads of other high-performance USB interfaces. The company who does this may be based in Switzerland like you



So on the back of the unit you have "Mix Output" which is the summed analogue signal. You could bring this back into another slot. But this shouldn't be needed as the analogue summed mix has its own dedicated USB channels that you can bring back into your DAW. This is why we have 2 more USB outputs than we have inputs - the 2 extra outputs is the master mix that goes back into your DAW so you can record the analogue summed mix - think a Dangerous 2BUS but with a high quality ADC and USB interface built in.



We could shoot some pictures but nothing looks particularly pretty at this point. It's a lot of PCBs with loads of wires and bits hanging off with all the mods we've been doing. We'll be ordering "production prototypes" of 500R8/500ADAT soon which will be the proper things with the right metalwork, silkscreen, etc... whereas anything I can take a picture now will look like Frankenstein mad engineering!

Thanks for all the great questions cheu78. If you have any others I'd be happy to answer if I can.
Thank you for the answers!

I'd like to ask you the DYNAMIC RANGE specs for adc and dac, please (not thd and not signal to noise) ?

Again, I'm aware that these are just numbers and that not necessarily translate in a great sounding unit.. Because that comes from a combination of the 3 core parts of a converter (or any audio unit really).. analog stages with quality components and well designed, clock, pwr supply.

Prism for exemple have rather low numbers for this "days and age" but their ada8xr or the dream converters are still among the best.
I'm also aware that this is a product with a price to meet, of course and it's not comparable to those.

Thank you!


Cheu
Old 24th April 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I’m diggin the Thump on drums and the Cream on pretty much everything else.

About how far is the mojo dial turned on those SoundCloud samples? What happens when you really push it? Does it start to break up or?

What did you guys decide on for frequency and slope for the HPF?
Old 24th April 2018
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA View Post
I’m diggin the Thump on drums and the Cream on pretty much everything else.

About how far is the mojo dial turned on those SoundCloud samples? What happens when you really push it? Does it start to break up or?

What did you guys decide on for frequency and slope for the HPF?
Hey Brent,

Glad to hear you're liking the Mojo!

On the examples it varies slightly - I didn't note the positions on the soundcloud descriptions at this stage because our prototype unit (the one used for the demos) has a slightly different range than the final version and the numbers wouldn't translate.

To be honest, Thump sounds clean and unbreakable at full-whack. Cream is a little-less predictable! There is a bit of extra 'crunchiness' that comes when Cream is cranked but it is still very very usable. As with both styles, the results vary so much depending on the incoming audio!

If you would like, you can send me a few audio files using this webpage,I can then send your audio through the Mojo and send them back for you to hear how it would sound on your stems? I'll do one at Max for you too so you can hear what it can do!

We settled on 12dB Per/Oct @ 80Hz for the HPF, but with a slightly custom slope... we'll have some graphs for you soon! it basically sounds very natural and is usable on a wider variety of sources. The HPF is also after the Mojo on the signal chain so using the two controls in conjunction is great for things like vocals; to get that nice warm low-mid body to the vocal without accentuating the lows that you wouldn't typically need.

We looked into a 3-way switch for HPF but we couldn't fit everything required on the board without compromising performance elsewhere - I think you'll like what we settled on.

Hope that helps!

Regards,
Elliott
Old 25th April 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
I'd like to ask you the DYNAMIC RANGE specs for adc and dac, please (not thd and not signal to noise) ?
"Dynamic range" is a spec that gets used differently by different manufacturers and depends on how you are weighting when measuring, what THD % you are allowing, etc.. Signal-to-noise ratio and THD are the more useful/objective numbers for A/D converters.

I can answer your question by saying our dynamic range is 121dB for the A/D conversion and 127dB for the D/A conversion as our limiting factor is the A/D converters. Our analogue stages are between 0.00002-0.00004% THD so they could accommodate a higher dynamic range if the converters could do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Again, I'm aware that these are just numbers and that not necessarily translate in a great sounding unit.. Because that comes from a combination of the 3 core parts of a converter (or any audio unit really).. analog stages with quality components and well designed, clock, pwr supply.
Well you're right that A/D and D/A numbers don't tell the whole story. But if you look at the numbers for clock, power supply, analogue design, and converters - you have a good idea how it performs.

Our clock, as an example, is master reference-quality with < 0.5 picoseconds of jitter. And we have very clean power going to the various rails we need- both analogue and digital - we don't mix the ground planes and power of the digital and analogue sides. Fairly obvious one for us but you see a lot of the USB interfaces that use the PGA2500 (50%+ of the USB interfaces out there?) mixing the 5V rails for the analogue and digital side. Which is a bad bad bad...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Prism for exemple have rather low numbers for this "days and age" but their ada8xr or the dream converters are still among the best.
I'm also aware that this is a product with a price to meet, of course and it's not comparable to those.
Actually, our goal and intention was to provide conversion and clock of the quality of Prism, Lynx, and other top manufacturers. And the 500R8 and 500ADAT are looking like they will meet the clock accuracy and sound quality of these sorts of interfaces. But I'll leave it in your guys ears to assess that when they're available
Old 27th April 2018
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
This is a proper head-turner.

I've never been tempted by the 500 series but these combo units are really forcing me to pay attention.

I have a few questions if that's ok, although they're a bit more rudimentary than the others

First off though, if you could include some zoomable hi-res images on your site so I/we can read the type on the faceplate properly, that would be cool

1. Are these (500R8) really going to go for a little over a Grand? I appreciate that you won't confirm pricing until closer to launch date, but seems to me that if the converters and clock are at the spec you say (which I am happy to accept), even without the 500 module capability this is good value.
Which brings me to:

2. What's the latest you envision being able to ship the R8?

3. With the USB interface, there's 28 in and 30 out, plus 16 adat in/out?
How can that in/out be configured?
If I had a standalone 8 channel ADAT A/D unit for example, could I have that going into the R8 adat in, then route those channels directly to the 500 modules before it hits the daw, or would they be routed into the daw then I'd need to send them out again to the modules via USB?
I'm assuming it's the former otherwise you wouldn't need so many USB in channels?
With the ADAT only version, the website states 16 channels also, but doesn't specify if it's 8 in/out or 16 in/out.
I can see there are two ports each for in and out, but are the second ones there just for S/MUX?

4. I've got fam in Herts - if I drop by on launch day with cake, can I get a discount?

Urgh, too many questions!

Thanks for answering any of them
Old 1st May 2018
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
This is a proper head-turner.

I've never been tempted by the 500 series but these combo units are really forcing me to pay attention.

I have a few questions if that's ok, although they're a bit more rudimentary than the others

First off though, if you could include some zoomable hi-res images on your site so I/we can read the type on the faceplate properly, that would be cool

1. Are these (500R8) really going to go for a little over a Grand? I appreciate that you won't confirm pricing until closer to launch date, but seems to me that if the converters and clock are at the spec you say (which I am happy to accept), even without the 500 module capability this is good value.
Which brings me to:

2. What's the latest you envision being able to ship the R8?

3. With the USB interface, there's 28 in and 30 out, plus 16 adat in/out?
How can that in/out be configured?
If I had a standalone 8 channel ADAT A/D unit for example, could I have that going into the R8 adat in, then route those channels directly to the 500 modules before it hits the daw, or would they be routed into the daw then I'd need to send them out again to the modules via USB?
I'm assuming it's the former otherwise you wouldn't need so many USB in channels?
With the ADAT only version, the website states 16 channels also, but doesn't specify if it's 8 in/out or 16 in/out.
I can see there are two ports each for in and out, but are the second ones there just for S/MUX?

4. I've got fam in Herts - if I drop by on launch day with cake, can I get a discount?

Urgh, too many questions!

Thanks for answering any of them
Hey Quetz!

Thanks for the questions mate! There's never too many to answer!

Imagery and faceplate wise, I'm currently putting together an improved website (the current one was a bit 'slap-dash', just to get us through NAMM). The units have changed a lot cosmetically since NAMM and so once the site is up and the latest images have been uploaded you'll be able to see the front panel and the new switches in glorious HD.

The 500R8, in the UK - will be *around* the £1200-1300 mark. There's still a few bits to smooth out until that can be 100% confirmed but the figure will likely not deviate drastically. Standalone converters that match our quality would easily double that!

We're currently undergoing final hardware layout and part finalisation now. We'll be ordering "pre-production" units this month and are on-track to be shipping in the summer.

The audio interface is now 26/28 (as we removed SPDIF, as mentioned earlier) but yes that includes up to 16 channels of ADAT. We have 2 input and 2 output ports but they are addressed individually, so you can split the channel count between two different ADAT expanders if you want but the max channel count is 16 channels @ 44.1/48kHz, 8 channels @ 88.2/96, and 4 channels @ 192kHz.

On the R8, the ADAT I/Os are sent directly to the DAW for recording and playback and so you would have to play-back those sources through your modules to apply the processing. The 500ADAT's ADAT outputs are post-modules and so your lovely analogue 500 series stuff will affect whats being sent out and recorded.

If you were to theoretically buy both units - there's also a CAST port that links the monitoring and analogue summing paths of the 500R8 and 500ADAT to give you a total of 16 channels of recording, analogue summing, playback through 500 series slots, and the ability to create a monitor mix of sources from both units - they integrate rather nicely.

I'm based in glorious hertfordshire, but my colleagues live closer to the concrete jungle. All cake donations are gratefully received

Hope this helps,

Let me know if you have any followups!

Elliott

Last edited by Ells; 1st May 2018 at 09:30 AM.. Reason: Typos
Old 23rd May 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Hi again Elliot,

So I've done as much reading and watching on the products as possible, which is pretty much everything that's out there

Me personally, I'm sold on the R8.

But people I've spoken to have raised the same concerns as others about how it's possible to achieve the standard being talked about (Prism quality conversion, Antelope quality clock etc), at this price point.

If it sounds too good to be true etc.


Buying just the converters, 8 slot rack and clock at the same purported quality would come to around 6 or 7 grand in GBP.


So to get all that, plus a summing mixer, and monitor controller, and interface, for between £1,000 - £1,300 - I mean, you can obviously see how that looks.


Here is my take on it, and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts:

You are 5, young, idealistic (in a good way!) and very talented people that have been chomping at the bit working for large and respected companies, however those companies have the kinds of overheads and demand the kinds of operating margins that you as a small group of people don't need to adhere to.

I'm quite sure that as you grow, you will fall into the same corporate trap, essentially because it's almost impossible not to, especially if you float the company.

But for now, I see this as an opportunity to get a unique product that we'll probably never see at this kind of price point again, not with the same quality of feature set and components anyway.

Corners still have to be cut to achieve the retail price you're going for though, so where would you say the trade-offs were in the R8?
These will be manufactured in the UK, so it's obviously not a case of 'stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap' re pricing strategy.

Price-wise, are we still on target for the earlier projection?

US retail price at 1,400 USD for the R8, and adding the max 20% VAT rate brings us to about £1,250, which is where I assume you get the 1200-1300 GBP figure you stated earlier.

Now, I'm already clearing some credit card balance to make room for this in a month or two, but it would leave a seriously bad taste in my mouth if I realised that Americans (no offense Americans!) were buying a product made in my home town (London) for hundreds of pounds cheaper than I was able to, so I really hope that those of us native to where it is being made don't end up paying a premium.
Old 25th May 2018
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Hi again Elliot,

So I've done as much reading and watching on the products as possible, which is pretty much everything that's out there

Me personally, I'm sold on the R8.

But people I've spoken to have raised the same concerns as others about how it's possible to achieve the standard being talked about (Prism quality conversion, Antelope quality clock etc), at this price point.

If it sounds too good to be true etc.

.
Hey Quetz,

Thanks for your message - glad to hear you're eyeing up a 500R8!

Your pricing is bang on! We're still working out a few little bits and bobs on the 500R8 and ADAT (there's been a few little additions since NAMM that we will share with you all soon) and so those prices may swing a little bit to reflect that - but it wont be by much if at all.

The "how can you possibly do it for the price?!" comment is something we get a lot and has generally been the same reaction we have generated with other products in our portfolio too.

The absolute truth is that we aren't cutting any corners….

I know i know, that's what they all say, but let me explain.

It all comes down to components and our willingness to delve deep into the dark corners of the market and find the components that offer the best performance for the best price. If some companies need a fader/pot, they'll just get on the phone to ALPS or Bourns and pay through the nose for something that'll do. However when we need a fader/pot, we do our homework, we get samples, we test, we measure, we test again, and find an alternative that will feel as good and be as reliable at a fraction of the cost. Better alternatives always exist... if you can be bothered to look!

We aren't buying stupidly expensive connectors. We're using discrete analogue components and designing original circuits rather than just using ICs (which are expensive). We don't use any stupidly priced op-amps like MUSE, OPA, etc... We use NJRC; that was another test, listen, measure, repeat procedure until we found something that works really well.

For converters, we are using the very latest octal offerings from AKM and Cirrus which have a great inflection point in terms of price for performance - anything cheaper makes too many sacrifices and anything that's marginally better in terms of performance costs outrageously more.

And of course, the magic bit that you can't buy is that we have expertise. We design the very best supporting circuitry for every one of those components to make sure that are running at their best and we have something that is incredibly optimised throughout. Converters are only as good as the supporting analogue circuitry; we have an analogue electronics genius on our team.

Another reason why we can achieve this kind of pricing is because we ARE going for volume. Maybe not quite a stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap mentality, but it's an aggressive but carefully calculated sales target.

The more components you buy, the cheaper they are and so we have a manufacturing schedule that enables us to get the very best prices and relay that cost-saving to you guys - rather than just line our own pockets! The markup that some (by no means all!) companies whack on their gear would make you feel rather ill!

If we only wanted to sell a dozen a month, we would not be able to achieve anywhere near this kind of pricing and the retail price would be much more inline to the other brands you mentioned.

Finally, It's our own mentality that enables us to get to these prices. We could easily make fewer units, charge more, and get by - but we aren't interested in doing that! We want to make cool stuff for a price everyone can afford and enjoy. We want to prove to ourselves - as well as the industry as a whole - that you can make stuff like this and build a brand that people trust with products that we believe in.

We aren't interested in floating companies or growth through acquisition - trust me, the word corporate really makes us shudder. But I do understand your point; sadly, a lot of people start off with good intentions and slowly fall into those traps, but I can assure you they weren't as stubborn as we are!

The only support we need is from people like yourself - our fellow engineers and musicians. We don't particularly care about pats-on-backs from industry guys. We also aren't really interested in sticking-it-to-the-man and ruining our competitors' day. We're a little insular in that respect, we honestly just want to make cool stuff that we would want to buy and - most importantly - would be proud to own.

Let us know when you get your 500R8 and let us know what you think! And If you like it, tell your friends; help us convince other people that we aren't talking nonsense! If we all work together then we can guarantee that we won't be a flash in the pan and we can go on to achieve a lot more - trust me, 500R8 only scratches the surface!

Hope that answers your questions mate! I know it’s a lot to believe… but when you get your 500R8, you’ll see for yourself!

Regards,
Elliott
Old 25th May 2018
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
To be honest, what you've said is more or less what I told the people that were questioning the quality at that pricepoint.
Just wanted to play a little devil's advocate and see what the response was

And I do know what the markups are on some of that high end gear, and yes it's excessive, but like you said, if the output of units from those companies is relatively low, and they've paid more for components and circuitry they haven't designed themselves, then they need to mark up that highly in order to keep going, but it doesn't translate as good value for their customers.

I'm sold, and I can't wait to get my hands on one.
Old 14th June 2018
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Hello again Ells!

More questions, sorry.. They're all basic though

I'm wanting to build a wooden desk stand/rack to hold the pieces of gear I know I'll be hanging on to - Icon controllers, Console 1, Faderport 1, 500R8.

Could you let me know what the depth of the 500R8 is please?

I/O: I'm curious about getting 24 analogue channels out of the R8 with no 500 modules installed.
Is that possible?
The 16 adat are a given.
With modules, I'd route the signal from the DAW via USB, then use the direct outs, with or without bypass engaged on the modules, is that correct?
Is there any other way?
I'm assuming that signal has to pass through a physical module before it'll be present at the direct outputs, but maybe that's not the case.

edit: I spotted in the other thread that you confirmed that you can take an external source and run it straight in to the 'module inputs' on the rear with no 500 module installed, so actually looks like it will work the other way round too..?

Lastly, when are we getting them?

Last edited by Quetz; 14th June 2018 at 08:16 PM.. Reason: update
Old 25th June 2018
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Hello again Ells!

More questions, sorry.. They're all basic though

Hey Quetz,

So sorry i didn't reply sooner! I didn't receive a notification that you had posted!

The depth is 22cm-ish including the rear BNC's that protrude out slightly.

You're bang on. With the whole slot bypassed (using a special switch that will be confirmed soon...) you can send USB signals out from the DAW and out of the direct outputs on the back of 500R8. That signal is also sent to the internal summing bus as well as back into your DAW too - so if you wanted to use the insert points to insert rack gear you can do so without modules being installed.

Basically, get your 500R8 out of the box and you can record/playback standard line ins and line outs without any modules installed.

So in regards to when they are arriving... we have some announcements coming soon... (within the next couple of weeks). We've been fairly quiet lately but we have been getting our heads down... and we've achieved alot! We have loads of announcements for you coming up including the final feature list as well as the new stuff that's been added since NAMM. If you're signed up to our newsletter you'll get the info first - otherwise I'll let everyone know!

Exciting times are coming up... thanks for your patience! We're itching to tell you all but - based on previous experiences - we have been waiting until we have concrete information for you!

Hope that helps,
Ells
Old 26th June 2018
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
No worries dude

Thanks for the info and the update.

I'm subscribed to the newsletter so I'll keep an eye out for more news
Old 28th June 2018
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Hey everyone,

Cranborne Audio have some exciting news to announce today. We've just published our final specifications for the Camden 500 preamp and signal processor for 500 series.

We knew it would be good, but maybe not THIS good.

Here are the specs: https://www.cranborne-audio.com/hubf..._TechSpecs.pdf

We’ve actually ended up with (probably) the cleanest, most transparent 500 series mic preamp on the market; and we’re going to sell it for a price that everyone can afford - $349 US Retail / £299 RRP IncVat.

Thanks to its Mojo circuit, it’s also a lot more than just a clean preamp. Mojo is a 100% analogue saturation circuit that can be dialled-in to be one of the most saturated and ‘transformer-like’ preamps in your arsenal. Or Mojo can be bypassed completely to reveal the cleanest, frequency/phase-linear preamp you've ever heard.


Some key highlights in the spec are:

THD+N:
<0.0004%, 1kHz, 35dB gain, 24dBu out - (Millennia HV-35 quotes 0.003% THD+N at the same conditions....)

Equivalent Input Noise (EIN):
<-129.5dBu, 150 ohm source, unweighted - (that’s pretty much the theoretical limits of EIN).
<-131dBu, 150 ohm source, A-weighted
<-135.5dBu, Inputs common, unweighted

Frequency Response:
±0.25dB, <5 Hz to >200 kHz, 35dB gain
<±1dB, <5 Hz to >200 kHz, max gain - (most preamps have dramatic frequency roll-off at max gain)

Phase Shift:
<2.25°, 40dB gain, 20Hz to 20kHz
<4°, Max gain, 20Hz to 20kHz - (4° at max gain is pretty much unprecedented, it’s not uncommon to see 10-30° of phase shift on the very best preamps at max gain)

Intermodulation Distortion:
<0.0008%, 50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, 20dBu out
<0.0006%, 50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, 15dBu out

This is just one of a series of announcements we will be making in the next few weeks including the feature set, performance, and pricing of 500R8 and 500ADAT! - the wait is almost over!

We'll also be making our new website live product photography, specs, manuals, graphs, and all sorts...

Thank you to everyone who has shown their interest so far! - we think you guys will like what you see! The wait is almost over!
Old 3rd July 2018
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ells View Post
The only thing that we decided to remove were the SPDIF connections. We took this off as not a single person we asked thought it was useful! Other than that everything is up-to-spec, or - more often than not - better than spec.
SPDIF coax or AES/EBU connections would allow us to add an ADC or DAC of our choice. The photo on the Cranborne website still shows the SPDIF RCA connections, but apparently those are gone.

It's too bad, other than that the R8 looks like an interesting box. I was following these Cranborne threads with enthusiasm until the removal of SPDIF, for me it's a deal breaker.
Old 4th July 2018
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LesC View Post
SPDIF coax or AES/EBU connections would allow us to add an ADC or DAC of our choice. The photo on the Cranborne website still shows the SPDIF RCA connections, but apparently those are gone.

It's too bad, other than that the R8 looks like an interesting box. I was following these Cranborne threads with enthusiasm until the removal of SPDIF, for me it's a deal breaker.
Hey LesC,

Thanks for getting in contact - we totally understand that you're set on using spdif in your setup (i still use it in my own occasionally!).

Sadly, we just couldn't justify keeping it on. It would of added significant cost (our costs as well as the final sales price) and would of taken weeks-more time for our software team to implement correctly due to our complex sample rate requirements. This is time and money we aren't able to spare for a feature that our customer feedback found was not worth it. Also, if you look at the vast majority of interfaces out there nowadays, a lot of them have stripped off spdif - with a few of them moving to AES, and some moving to nothing at all. Conversion is getting better and better nowadays, and to be honest, the converters on our box far exceed most other things you'd want to connect via spdif.

We do however facilitate the use of external converters more so than any competitor - we worked tirelessly to make sure this was the case in order for people to have a choice as to what converters they use alongside 500R8.

If you look at the back of 500R8, there is more I/O than you would ever hope to find on an audio interface. We wanted to make sure that every single aspect of the unit can be used, accessed, and processed without using any of our built-in converters. Connect your external converters to the module inputs, module direct outputs, inserts; connect your speakers to the monitor controller outputs and connect your DAW outputs from your converter into the 'DAW 2 input' jacks on 500R8 and you essentially bypass the built-in conversion whilst still accessing all mixing, monitoring and recording features of the unit by utilising your own A/D. Then you can use 500R8 as a pure-analogue device and send audio to and from it using your own conversion. We were thinking of units such as the lynx aurora, or even a UA Apollo if required.

Also, we have ADAT. So if you want to bypass 500R8's converters, you can use the 16 channels of ADAT at 48kHz, 8 channels at 96kHz, or 4 channels at 192.

Regarding the website, it is indeed out of date and I have no excuses for that! but I'm taking photography of the pre-production units today and we will be updating the website in one big and exciting go within the next few weeks. There's only 5 of us and sadly web design has fallen in my lap! We chose to opt-out of updating the site again until we have everything confirmed and ready to go - there a big handful of other features we have added to 500R8 that will also be announced soon. Soon as in the next week or two.

Sorry for the essay! and sorry to hear that 500R8 isn't for you - its never an easy decision removing a feature and I personally hate doing it, but we had no choice in this instance. If i had my own way the box would be 10u and have every connection under the sun!

Thanks a lot for following us, your interest, and all the best on your audio quest!
Old 4th July 2018
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ells View Post
Hey LesC,

Thanks for getting in contact - we totally understand that you're set on using spdif in your setup (i still use it in my own occasionally!).
Thank you for the detailed answer. I need SPDIF and/or AES/EBU connectors to use my RME ADI-2 Pro for my primary input and mix output, and to connect a Line 6 Helix guitar processor without undergoing a double conversion. I'm considering interfaces by Metric Halo, MOTU, and RME, but I like your concept of combining an interface with a 500-series rack. Good luck!
Old 10th July 2018
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LesC View Post
Thank you for the detailed answer. I need SPDIF and/or AES/EBU connectors to use my RME ADI-2 Pro for my primary input and mix output, and to connect a Line 6 Helix guitar processor without undergoing a double conversion. I'm considering interfaces by Metric Halo, MOTU, and RME, but I like your concept of combining an interface with a 500-series rack. Good luck!
Hey LesC,

Thanks for this - always good to know how people are using these things.

Out of interest - as the RME ADI-2 has ADAT, would it not be a possibility to connect your Line 6 helix into your ADI-2 via SPDIF and then connect the ADI to the 500R8 (or another other audio interface!) via ADAT? Not sure what else you are connecting up... but its just a thought!

Thanks again,
Ells

Last edited by Ells; 10th July 2018 at 01:49 PM.. Reason: Typos
Old 13th July 2018
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ells View Post
Hey LesC,

Thanks for this - always good to know how people are using these things.

Out of interest - as the RME ADI-2 has ADAT, would it not be a possibility to connect your Line 6 helix into your ADI-2 via SPDIF and then connect the ADI to the 500R8 (or another other audio interface!) via ADAT? Not sure what else you are connecting up... but its just a thought!

Thanks again,
Ells
That would be a good thought, and I think it would work with most two-channel interfaces, such as the Lynx Hilo or the Prism Lyra 2. Unfortunately, the RME ADI-2 Pro only allows two channels over ADAT.
Old 13th July 2018
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Les, the ADI-2 is only a 2 channel device.

When RME talk about ADAT, they are not talking about 8 channels, they just mean you can use ADAT toslink ports to send 2 channels.

You don't have a multi-channel interface. You have a 2 channel interface.

So the solution put forward by Ells is exactly what you would do if you wanted to connect your devices.

It sounds as though you're a bit confused about the difference between toslink connections and adat as a protocol.

If I'm missing something obvious here then feel free to set me straight!
Old 13th July 2018
  #28
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Les, the ADI-2 is only a 2 channel device.

When RME talk about ADAT, they are not talking about 8 channels, they just mean you can use ADAT toslink ports to send 2 channels.

You don't have a multi-channel interface. You have a 2 channel interface.

So the solution put forward by Ells is exactly what you would do if you wanted to connect your devices.

It sounds as though you're a bit confused about the difference between toslink connections and adat as a protocol.

If I'm missing something obvious here then feel free to set me straight!
Hi Quetz, I think you are thinking of the ADI-2, not the ADI-2 Pro. I actually have an ADI-2 Pro, and it is not a 2 channel device. It has 2 channels of AD and 4 channels of DA, and it also has SPDIF I/O, AES/EBU I/O, and optical I/O which is switchable between SPDIF and ADAT. These can all be used simultaneously when using the ADI-2 Pro as an interface. So far, it sounds similar to a Lynx Hilo or a Prism Lyra 2. Unfortunately, unlike those boxes, RME decided to only allow access to 2 channels through the optical interface, even when switched to ADAT.

I also have used a UFX for many years that I will be replacing, and I was hoping the Camden box was a possibility. But the lack of SPDIF coax or AES/EBU is a showstopper for me. It still sounds like it will be a great box!
Old 13th July 2018
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Ah, yes sorry, I missed the 'pro' part of your description (those bloody GS underlined product tags get distracting)!!

Here's what I would do in your situation:

1. Determine if the ADI-2 Pro is worth keeping over the 500R8, conversion -wise.

If what the Cranborne boys say holds up about their converters and clock, then there is no reason to hang on to the RME box.

You'll have to wait for release then buy one and try it, and find a way to honestly compare the two.
Something tells me you're pre-disposed to think the RME box is better, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation

If the ADI-2 wins, then send it back. Simple.

However, could you not just use a digital format converter to get around your current problem?

There seem to be plenty of inexpensive AES/EBU : S/PDIF : ADAT/Toslink converter boxes on the market.
Old 13th July 2018
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
PS

@ Ells :

You guys need to go back to the drawing board on one other major issue.

Where is my London skyline graphic on the R8???

I'm not sure it's worth it without that
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