Danish AV engineering company Rostec have announced a new 8-channel mic pre-amp and converter/interface. With 25 years of experience in building and servicing equipment predominantly for the broadcast world, they promise very high performance from the LMA8. This could be one of those rare pieces of audio gear that deserves more appreciation than the industry will ever offer. But the feature set also has weaknesses which might put off some potential customers.
Rostec LMA8 Microphone Pre-amplifier and Converter/USB Interface
If you’re after something unique and special for the front end of your recording system, then this might be worth a look. On the face of it, this is rather a unique product. Unfortunately, the trade-off is a distinct lack of modern features, as we shall see later on.
First and foremost, the LMA8 is an 8-channel pre-amp with a “unique” pre-amp design in a single 1U rack space. It’s clearly designed for studio installs as the connections are found on the rear via D-Sub connectors, with just instrument and line input jack sockets on the front. To then turn this module into an interface, you will also need their optional USB card which will offer you 8 inputs and 4 outputs. An AES option card is also available, but that’s it. There isn’t a headphone amp or any main monitor outputs, so don’t expect this to be a direct competitor to the likes of Focusrite or UAD. What surprises me, though, is the lack of an optional AoIP card, which I would expect from a broadcast engineering company.
The focus here is clearly the sound quality. According to Rostec, the electronics combine “signal transfer characteristics that resembles that of a vacuum tube triode” with clean and modern technology. Now that is something exciting, and leaves me very intrigued to hear the results. Apparently, these pre-amps should be able to handle high transients exceptionally well. At the same time, Rostec aim to provide a clean and detailed sound stage.
What a shame the unit doesn’t come with an optical ADAT connection, even as an optional extra, for use with your current interface. When combined with the lack of an AoIP option, this omission could condemn the LMA8 to the Extremely Rare Gear list sooner than Rostec might wish.
According to the Gearslutz forum, this is just the beginning of some new offerings from Rostec. A 2-channel version featuring monitor control and a headphone amp is allegedly in the offing in January 2017. This could be really interesting provided they equip these interfaces with good USB drivers. After that, there might be a 16-channel option too.
Priced at 1649 EUR + tax, which I believe is a ‘special introductory price’, this isn’t exactly the cheapest 8-channel 1U mic pre you can buy. However, this is cheaper than buying eight 1073’s! The LMA8 is marketed as offering exceptional performance from a relatively small company. Check out the product page on their website.