Black Lion Audio Red Sparrow MKII A/D
The Black Lion Audio Red Sparrow mk2 (red faceplate) is a two-channel ADC based on the circuitry used in their FM192: converters used on major label recordings by Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Alison Krauss, Beyonce, and others. With a slightly different design and components than the Black Sparrow, it is in a class of its own, yet priced inexpensively. It features a low-noise, low-ripple converter circuit design and the same novel 220/270SP master clock that's found in the FM192. Rich, euphonic frequency response, shimmering top end, and fat low-end extension are all elements of this uniquely musical converter. Once you track with it, you'll find other converters sound hard, processed, or lifeless. Use it for mastering, two-track classical or jazz recordings, final mixes, or whatever application your studio needs.
There is an obvious need for affordable, yet good-quality converters within the professional and project studio world. Certainly there are great two-channel systems available, but they are prohibitively expensive. Those that are within reach of the project studio's budget usually suffer from the poor sonic qualities that plague mass-produced studio equipment. They have made it their mission to develop superior-quality, boutique audio equipment but at very "un-boutique," affordable prices.
Black Lion Audio proudly introduces their completely redesigned 2-channel analog-to-digital converter, the Sparrow mk2 ADC -- fully modular design that can be upgraded as technology changes.
The Sparrow mk2 is housed in a 1U 1/2 rack chassis, featuring XLR and 1/4-inch balanced inputs, LED metering, BNC word clock I/O, AES output, coax & optical S/PDIF output, and user selectable signal calibration accommodating nominal input signal levels from +11dBu down to -10dBV. It features sampling rates from 44.1kHz -192kHz, with a clocking architecture that features low jitter and wide Q third harmonic crystal oscillators, and because of the quality of the clock multiplier and PLL recovery stages, performance will not degrade should the converter be syncronized to a lower quality word clock reference.
The A/D conversion process is a tricky beast to tame. Because conversion requires so much current movement, there are plenty of places for unwanted noise to be created, both within the signal chain and in the power supply.
As they began to research and test approaches to converter design, they discovered a unique way to reduce these unwanted artifacts, one that's not only inexpensive to implement but also works better than traditional approaches. They coupled this proprietary converter circuit to a high-speed, high-headroom analog stage that can capture the smallest nuances and micro-dynamics. The result is unparalleled: an inexpensive two-channel A/D converter that not only has an enormous sound with pinpoint imaging, but also has the smooth, wide open sonic quality of expensive high end systems and a wonderfully rich midrange.
Black Lion Audio's Sparrow mk2 (named as an homage to French singer Edith Piaf) features 4 input stage trim presets and a single ultra-low distortion amplifier before the converter for simplicity and purity of signal path. Power supply filtration is designed around next-generation organic semiconductor capacitance instead of a traditional electrolytic-based method, ensuring low power supply noise. This is an A/D whose sonic performance is as good or better than the top A/D's currently available; once you use the Sparrow mk2 A/D converter, your standards will be forever changed!
Watch our exclusive overview of the Black Lion Audio Red Sparrow MKII A/D Converter:
- Balanced inputs (XLR or 1/4")
- Selectable user calibration
- Word clock input and output
- Sampling rates from 44.1 - 192 kHz
- AES, coax S/PDIF, and optical S/PDIF
- LED metering
- Accommodates nominal input signal levels from +11dBu down to -10dBV
- 1U high, space rack mount chassis
- User selectable 110/220 voltage input
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- Dynamic range: 120dB Black and Red Sparrow Unweighted.
-- 122dB for the White Sparrow Unweighted.
- Max analog input before digital clipping: >+24dBu
- Inputs: Balanced Analog = TRS and XLR
-- Clock = 75 Ohm BNC
- Outputs: SPDIF = Coaxial (75 Ohm) and Optical, AES-EBU (110 Ohm)
-- Word Clock = 75 Ohm BNC
-- Word Clock Lock = indicator LED
- Sampling rates: 44.1kHz - 192kHz
- Bit rate: 24 bit
- Latency: 65/Fs
- Digital Audio Output Level Indicator: Bi-Color LED (Green/Amber/Red)