At NAMM 2018, UK-based startup Cranborne Audio — founded by former Soundcraft personnel – debuted three pro audio products. These are the 500R8 500-series rack, the 500ADAT expansion unit, and Camden 500 mic/line/instrument preamp. These are very exciting products, coming from people with serious audio background. Let’s have a brief look at what they offer!
500R8 8-slot 500-series rack
The 500R8 is an 8-slot 500 series rack with a built-in 28-in/30-out USB Interface (127dB/121dB signal-to-noise ratio on the A/D-D/A converters and <0.5 picosecond of jitter), a discrete analogue summing bus, artist monitoring, and control room monitoring facilities. Cranborne is going to sell it for USD 1399.
500ADAT expansion unit
The 500ADAT offers 8 inputs and 8 outputs of ADAT. It combines with the company’s 500R8 or any other ADAT-ready audio interface. It has the same AD/DA converters as the aforementioned 500R8 module and is going to retail for USD 1199 – a very good price for an ADAT expander with high-quality conversion.
Camden 500 mic/line/instrument preamp
The Camden 500 is inspired by the Grace Design Millennia preamps, a favorite of Cranborne’s. However, it features Cranborne’s proprietary Mojo analog saturation circuit. Mojo came about after Cranborne put together all its favorite transformer and valve preamps, analyzed what makes them tick, and incorporated the knowledge into a saturation circuit that’s ready to deliver some vintage-sounding audio ala Neve 1073.
According to the company, the Camden preamp can be dead-clean and transparent with <0.001% THD at all gain settings and boasts some other properties that make it a technologically very accomplished unit. The combination of transparent preamp and an analog saturation circuit sounds quite powerful – and it comes at a price that may drop your hat. It’s only 350 USD!
As Cranborne said, one can buy two of these preamps for the price of one preamp of similar caliber. Very nice, indeed! We’ll be watching Cranborne Audio with great interest from now on. Unfortunately, we don’t know when these units will start shipping. We’ll get in touch with Cranborne and update the article if we hear back.
UPDATE: Cranborne circled back with the following information: “We are planning on shipping around April/May time and we estimate that it will be late May by the time distributors and dealers get their hands on them.”