The new Stereo Toolbox offers a ‘first’ in the 500 series API™ Lunchbox format, with a
stereo buss compressor capable of processing audio in either LEFT/RIGHT or MID/SIDE.
A stereo width control, fully sweepable from mono through stereo to extra wide, is
available in all modes of operation independent of whether you’re processing in L/R or
The unit accepts balanced Left/Right stereo audio and delivers transformer balanced
Left/Right stereo audio outputs at levels up to +28dBu.
The dual channel/stereo compressor is based on Safe Sound’s ‘dynamic tracking’ circuitry
which allows the attack and release times to be dynamically modified by analogue
processing which tracks the dynamic content of the audio material being processed (hence
‘dynamic tracking’). This is very helpful during mixdown when gluing the elements of the
Mid/Side processing allows you to work on the width, depth and dynamics of the stereo
sound field during the latter stages of the mix and is especially useful when working with
stereo stems (subgroups) which are then combined to form the final stereo audio master.
The combination of stereo width control and MID/SIDE processing offers a whole new
palette of tonal shaping beyond that available from conventional stereo processing. Very
powerful on stereo stems such as the drum mix where you can really nail a solid centre
image whilst simultaneously tuning the stereo width of the overheads.
The compressor has two separate sets of controls for drive (threshold), ratio and attack,
which can be linked for stereo compression, used unlinked for dual mono, or in mid/side
allows the centre image to be compressed differently from the side stereo image, so for
example you could heavily compress the kick and snare with the MID (center) compressor
whilst leaving the rest of the stereo drum mix to breath with just a hint of SIDE
compression and width enhancement.
The unit features a sweepable high pass filter which can be selected to operate during L/R
or M/S compression in the mono sidechain to control low frequency pumping, or it can be
switched to operate in the SIDE audio chain to remove low end boom, so guaranteeing
rock solid bass imagining within the stereo mix; particularly useful for taming stereo reverb
effect returns with excessive low end.
Cinemag steel-core output transformers are fitted as standard and may be ‘on-board’
selected to either transparent or high colour tones. This is achieved by altering the drive
impedance to the transformer primary coils. Output levels of up to +28dBu are available
with ±15dB of adjustable gain make-up within the final drive amps.
All rotary controls feature 41 position detented potentiometers fitted with solid metal control
knobs. LED Metering, covering L/R, M/S and gain reduction is provided, rounding off a
very complete stereo buss compressor in the 500 Series Lunchbox format.
Processing in Mid/Side
Handling stereo audio as mid and side signals has been common for many years as a
recording technique especially for live location stereo recording. However the application
of mid and side audio processing as a post production tool is now gaining popularity and
offers a whole new palette of tonal shaping especially during the final mixdown stage of
music production. There are many applications to compress and level balance within the
Mid/Side domain which allow fine tuning of the stereo width and depth of a mix during the
mixdown stage of the production. This allows you to move forwards with the mix rather
than a constant revisting of the individual track elements and will speed your workflow,
especially when dealing with very busy large track count mixes.
Fully compatible with the API™ 500 series modular format, the new ‘Stereo Toolbox’ is
available now, priced at $1,299 from ZenPro Audio in the US. Also available in a number
of other countries from Safe Sound Audio’s growing family of dealers and distributors.
ZenPro Audio 803-937-6012