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At the Winter NAMM show, M-Audio unveiled the new Octane, an 8-channel microphone preamplifier with ADAT Lightpipe output optimized for multi-channel digital recording.

Each of the Octane's eight channels features the preamp technology found in M-Audio's DMP3 mic preamp. Each channel features rear-panel connections for microphone input (balanced XLR), direct line input (balanced 1/4" TRS), and preamp output (balanced 1/4" TRS). The front panel also houses 1/4" TS instrument inputs for channels 1 and 2. Additional front panel controls for each of the eight preamp channels include input level knob, 20dB pad and 3-segment LED to aid in attaining the most favorable signal levels.

One of the most important features of the new Octane is the ADAT Lightpipe output, allowing seamless digital connectivity of all eight channels to multi-channel digital equipment such as ADATs and digital mixers. Two word clock connectors (BNC) provide synchronization with other digital devices, including multiple Octanes for as many high-end preamp channels as desired. Internal sync rates are selectable between 44.1kHz and 48kHz, and the unit slaves to external sync rates ranging from 33kHz to 59kHz. Of course, the individual preamp outs on each channel also allow connection to any type of analog mixer or recorder with 1/4" line inputs. The line inputs allow the Octane to serve as an 8-channel A/D converter, as well.

The Octane also offers a number of other advanced features. +48 volt phantom power is switchable from the front panel for channels 1-4 and channels 5-8, respectively. A phase reverse switch is available on every other channel, handy for stereo micing applications. Channels 7 and 8 feature the option of M-S matrix encoding complete with width control. Channel 1 also offers a 12dB/octave low-cut filter at 80Hz to aid in eliminating rumble.

This 2U rack unit also boasts 24-bit resolution throughout the signal chain. The Octane delivers signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range that are difficult to achieve on multi-channel devices--133dB for instrument inputs and 120dB for microphone inputs. Frequency response is 20Hz to 20kHz for all inputs (+/- 0.11 dB at mid gain for mic inputs, +/- 0.03 dB at mid gain for instrument inputs).

Octane will be available from M-Audio dealers the week of NAMM at an MSRP of $749.95.

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