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Founded in 1975, Aphex Systems is a leading developer and innovator of signal-processing, dynamics control and analog-to-digital conversion systems designed for a wide cross section of professional end users around the world.

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Aphex Model 1100 High-Precision Mic
being used at Ball State
University for classical sessions

Leading producer Stan Sollars considers that the Model 1100 captures
"the true colors of microphones, voices and musical instruments."

Sun Valley, CA- Aphex Systems, which this year celebrates 25 action-packed years in the pro-audio industry, recently supplied a Model 1100 Discrete Class-A Tube Mic Pre-amplifier to leading producer Stan Sollars for use at Ball State University on a variety of high-quality recording sessions. In addition to serving as an instructor in Ball State University's Department of Telecommunication, teaching audio, video and scripting techniques, Sollars was producer of the recent National Public Radio series "Rock&Roll America," recorded at Ball State's Indiana Public Radio. Ball State University houses the fourth largest communications, information and media college in the United States.

   Sollars recently took part in a series of studio sessions for an album entitled "Piano Themes from the Silent Screen," a project of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The album was composed, produced and recorded by three Ball State University professors: Kevin Purrone, composer/pianist; Richie Meyer, producer; and Stan Sollars, director and engineer. "Without question," Sollars explains, "the Model 1100 made the session a 'major-league-sounding' production. In 31 years of broadcasting and recording at local, network and independent levels, I have neither heard nor made a quieter recording with such transparent tonalities and clean, accurate, wide-ranging dynamics.

   "Having used, over the years, a large number of 'major league' mic pre-amps, I can report that the Model 1100 is the only one which does not call attention to itself by inserting its own sonic issues. Those who use the Aphex Model 1100 will probably hear - for the very first time - the true colors of their mics, voices and musical instruments."

   The Model 1100 Discrete Class-A Tube Mic Preamp with integral 24-bit 96 kHz A/D Converter is the first of a new breed of advanced tube audio products from Aphex that are intended to deliver sound which is "uniquely involving, compelling and real." Applications include voice announcing, commercial voiceovers, dialog /ADR, Foley pickup, radio and TV broadcasting, soundstage/boom, webcasting, live recording, multitrack recording, and remote sound.

Aphex Model 1100
Model 1100 Discrete Class-A Tube Mic Pre-amplifiers

   "The sound I wanted for the SFSFF [San Francisco Silent Film Festival] album was a smooth blend of classical concert qualities - using distant mics in an X-Y array - with some friendly hammer transients of jazz and pop recordings captured with mics located inside the lid near the hammers. I opened the eight-foot Yamaha concert grand piano to the high stick position. Using a stand-in pianist to play for testing, I simply stuck my head inside the piano to locate places where there were both good acoustical phase response and tonal balance. I then moved in my [Neumann] TLM103 [cardioid] microphones, crossed them in an X-Y pattern and made some test recordings. I found  the sweet spot I wanted - approximately 10 inches above the strings, and about two feet downstream from the hammers - and rough-trimmed the mics."

   Output from the TLM103s went directly to the Aphex Model 1100 pre-amplifiers. "I routed the 1100's digital output to my Midiman CO3 which fed a pair of HHB CDR850 CD recorders. Having asked the pianist to take a crack at his loudest works, I again trimmed the mics. I set the Model 1100 at 37 dB [of gain], and a low cut at 44 Hz. The Model 1100's MicLim circuit allowed me to drive the recorders right up to the top without going over. MicLim prevented a retake and was inaudible. It kicked in only a couple of times during the session but, as we know with digital, it only takes one peak to destroy a recording."

"The session recordings sound uncannily close to my direct-ear tests," Sollars considers. "Kevin Purrone, the pianist/composer, and album producer Richie Meyer raved over their CD copies of the session. The Model 1100 was a vital ingredient in ensuring a successful project." The Model 1100 and TLM103 mics are owned by Sollars' production company, SollarSound, where editing and CD mastering were performed. Ball State University provided the piano, studio and additional session equipment. BSU also own a number of Aphex Compellors, Dominators, Easyriders, Model 104s, and Model 1788 systems.

   "The excellence of the Model 1100 is not a matter of chance," says Aphex president Marvin Caesar. "Painstaking engineering went into every aspect of its development, but that is not to say the art of design was ignored. Many details of the circuitry were derived from creative thinking and exhaustive experimentation. This pathway led us to a unique kind of pre-amplifier with significant advantages over previous designs. The design would not be complete without attention to the aesthetics."

2023. All Rights Reserved. Last Revised: 02.20.23