TrakMaster Pro, a professional microphone preamplifier/compressor, is the latest in Focusrite's Platinum Pro series and the company's most affordable recording channel strip to date. Providing performance specifications never before seen at this price point, TrakMaster Pro features a mic preamp derived from Focusrite's award-winning Green range, front panel DI, problem-solving mid-scoop EQ, intuitive optical compression, latency-free monitoring, and the Platinum Pro series ADC option.
The preamp demonstrates the same wide-bandwidth philosophy as past Focusrite preamps, ensuring low noise and distortion and delivering clarity without unwanted artifacts. The low impedance switch, a feature previously unavailable at this price point, brings yet further sound options to the recording process. Also featured are phantom power and a high pass filter for controlling rumble, proximity effect and pop reduction.
The mid-scoop EQ is a quick and effective problem-solver, with two different cut-depths and an adjustable frequency control. Ranging from 120Hz to 2kHz, it's ideal for problem solving or for great miked-up speaker cabinets. Staying true to the Focusrite philosophy, the intuitive optical vintage compressor has been tuned by ear and features Focusrite's custom fast-acting optos operating in Class A mode, allowing for smoother, lower-distortion performance than comparative off-the-shelf VCA circuits. With the addition of variable attack and the unique 'Squash' mode (ideal for punchy drum sounds), this compressor is equally capable of transparent compression or imposing a character of its own. Either way, it brings professional compression within reach of a new audience.
The original TrakMaster's metering section has been massively augmented, and now features a unique 'porthole'-style peak level meter, alongside the trademark for the Platinum Pro series, latency-free monitoring. This section offers the capacity to monitor tracked signals within the mix directly at source, avoiding having to monitor via the DAW or digital desk. A headphone or monitor mix can be created for either the artist or the engineer, with immediate, tactile control over levels. Finally, TrakMaster Pro accepts the established Platinum Pro 24-bit, 96kHz stereo analog to digital converter, providing a high-quality direct digital route from the TrakMaster Pro to the DAW.
Focusrite's always been clear on the philosophy behind the Platinum range and they're only too aware of what they need to deliver to stay ahead of the game in this market. While TrakMaster Pro is the most affordable unit Focusrite has ever produced, it still breaks barriers. Carrying on where the TrakMaster left off, you've now got switchable impedance and latency-free monitoring -- features that previously just weren't available at this price point. Quite simply, TrakMaster Pro provides more bang for your buck than any other unit on the market.
Q: What is the difference between +4dBu and -10dBV
A: These are different signal operating levels. +4dBu usually refers to professional equipment and -10dBV usually refers to semi-professional or consumer equipment. It is important to make sure that any two or more devices connected to each other are operating at the same signal level. The +4dBu/-10dBV line outputs on the rear of the TrakMaster Pro give the option of either analog output level. If the +4dBu output of a device feeds the -10dBV input of another device, this may cause the second device to overload. Alternatively, if the -10dBV output of a device feeds the +4dBu input of another device, the second device may receive a signal level which is too low (i.e. too quiet). -10dBV devices are usually connected using a mono 1/4 in. jack, this is known as an 'unbalanced' connection. +4dBu devices are usually connected using a TRS (stereo) 1/4 in. jack, or XLRs. This is known as a 'balanced' connection.
Q: Should I use balanced connectors with my TrakMaster Pro
A: Preferably yes; the line level analog input and +4dBu output are balanced, operating at +4dBu. If you wish to connect unbalanced equipment to the TrakMaster Pro's line input however, this can be done, but the signal level will be 6dB lower. The 1/4 in. TRS input will expect to receive an unbalanced signal if the INST switch is engaged.
Q: Does the TrakMaster Pro have the same kind of spectacular bandwidth that has given the Red and ISA range units their reputation for 'open-ended' sound?
A: Yes. The audio bandwidth of the TrakMaster Pro is 10Hz to 200kHz!
Q: Can I take my TrakMaster Pro with me when I travel internationally?
A: It depends. There are three versions of the TrakMaster Pro mains transformer. One is suitable for use in North America and Japan, with mains voltages in the 100-120V range. The other two versions are designed for use in the UK and Europe (the only difference being the mains plug), with mains voltages in the 200-240V range. If you buy a TrakMaster Pro in a particular territory, it will be configured for ONLY that territory's mains voltage range. For example, if you're travelling from the USA to the UK, you CANNOT use your US model TrakMaster Pro with the supplied mains transformer. But if the mains voltage in the country you're visiting is in the same range, you can use the TrakMaster Pro with no problems -- so taking a TrakMaster Pro from the USA to Japan, or from Germany to France, for example, would be fine. An external supply for different territories is available from your local Focusrite distributor.
Q: Can I retrofit a digital board to an analog TrakMaster Pro at a later date?
A: Yes, and you can do it yourself -- it can easily be retro-fitted by the customer without any soldering etc, just a few screws to undo and one clip-connector to join to the main PCB.
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