The best or nothing
Founder and producer Jared Sacks has always been on the forefront of sound quality and uses high quality power- and microphone cables made by Van Den Hul. There are several different microphone brands in use such as Schoeps, Bruel & Kjaer, DPA and AKG. Channel employs different analogue to digital converters, and digital to analogue converters, made by Grimm Audio and Meitner/EmmLabs. The mixing boards are custom designed and built by Rens Heijnis. Today’s editing software is Pyramix, developed by Merging.
It all starts with the mic. Well, really it all starts with finding great musicians, and a place with nice accoustics that fit the pieces to be recorded. Channel Classics always aims to find a venue that suits the music. This is the very first step of a successful recording. Sometimes schedules or budget force you to record ar a certain place, but most of the times Jared will choose a venue he has been recording at for a long time. Knowing the place really helps crafting the recording.
This is Channel’s microphone package. It has not really changed over the years. Most of the microphones have been modified (including a 4 pin connection) by Rens Heijnis so that the power can be supplied by the stage box close to the microphones, instead of feeding power all the way from the mixing board.
When the director at Van den Hul came to my studio the end of 2010, he let me hear a simple interlink cable between a pre amp and the speaker amplifiers. I already had been using the best cable from his firm and was very happy with the sound. After switching back and forth a number of times the difference was startling (I was not amused!). This would mean I would have to re- cable everything that I had built up in the last number of year. The depth of sound, the air around the music was startling.
This cable wheel is the first step inward, going from the microphones directly to the analog mixing board.
Stage power supply
Supplying the microphones directly with their power from the stage and designing a new printed- circuit board is a plus for the stability of the power and to keep the signal clean. Built by Rens Heijnis. The sonic improvements are:
• clearer placement of musical instruments within the stereo sound field
• exceptionally fast reaction time to intermittent high impulse sound waves
• extreme clarity and definition of complex low frequency sounds
• measurably less distortion across the entire sound spectrum
One of the biggest problems with recording on location is not having a clean and stable electricity. Not only has the dutch audio guru Rens Heijnis designed a new state of the art pre-amplifier but housed them in a box with very large rechargeable batteries (http://www.rensheijnis.com). Problem solved. Result:
• a much more relaxed projection of the sound images
• less noise artifacts
• a complete ‘black’ around the phantom images in the stereo and surround images.
Jared has been using this mixing board built by Rens Heijnis for the last 20 years (with regular upgrades!). All hand built, simple, no extra electronics to dirty the signal. It is even possible to bypass the faders to keep the signal path as short as possible. His trick is to use the faders to find a good balance, then match that level with a hard gain setting, and bypass the fader completely, going directly to the A/D for optimum sound quality.
Multi channel pre amplifier (to speakers)
Grimm analogue to digital DSD converter
It is no secret that this converter has raised the ‘musical’ level of the recordings for the last seven years. Naming all the technical details and improvements in respect to other converters is secondary to just listening and comparing the results. In recent times Channel Classics has also employed the Horus and Hapi from Merging in a few projects.