Peripheral Studio Equipment
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Peripheral Studio Equipment information
While we live in a digital age where almost every studio job can be taken care of by a computer and some DAW software, it still can't do everything. Since hardware is still a studio essential, we've put together an entire department of peripheral studio equipment.
For our complete line-up of studio equipment and software, see our dedicated Studio & Recording department.
Preamps & Channel Strips
Microphones generate a pretty weak audio signal, so to polish up the sound of a microphone, you'll need a preamp. Some preamps come with some handy extra functions, which can include the combination of EQ controls, a compressor, a de-esser and/or gate. As such, more extensive preamps can virtually set you up with the complete channel of a high-end mixer - which is why a lot of these bits of kit are often referred to as channel strips.
If the output of your microphone is too low, then it might not be enough just to add a microphone preamp. What you might need first, is a microphone booster. These boosters are basically little preamps (which are actually designed for pre-pre-amplifying) with a fixed gain amount. Boosters are phantom powered, so they don't need to take up an extra plug socket. Simply plug the booster directly into your microphone or via a cable to give the signal of your microphone a kick before it has to travel down longer cables or to your microphone preamp. Boosters were originally designed for ribbon microphones, which have an extremely low output. However, even dynamic microphones can benefit from a booster.
Audio Compressors & Gates
In our range of audio compressors and gates, you'll find gear that's able to influence the dynamics of your audio. Compressors and limiters reduce the dynamic range so that louder elements of the signal are made quieter. This way, you can enhance the details and push the volume of the whole track up without the risk of any clipping. Expanders and gates widen the dynamic range. So an expander can be used to make quieter elements of the signal even quieter and a gate can be used to remove quieter elements completely. This is really useful for removing any noise.
Equalizers for Recording & Mixing
Just like you can raise or reduce the volume with a volume fader, an equalizer can raise or reduce the volume of a specific part of the frequency spectrum (just like the bass and treble controls of a Hi-Fi stereo system). Graphic EQs split the frequency up into a vast amount of bands - often fifteen or thirty, and each band has its own fader. A parametric EQ has no fixed frequency bands. Instead, you can use a 'frequency' control and boost or cut to 'sweep' the frequency spectrum and easily isolate any problematic frequencies.
Monitor Controllers & Headphone Amplifiers
Monitoring is an absolute essential in recording studios. Studio monitors and studio headphones can usually be plugged directly into an audio interface, but if you need to set up more than one set of monitors, then you'll need a monitor controller. And, if you're recording more than one musician or vocalist at the same time, then you'll need a headphone amplifier so everyone can hear the guide tracks.
Linking Equipment with a Patch Bay
As the peripheral gear stacks up in your studio, the bundles of cables that come with them will soon start to take over. Using a patch bay, you can neatly arrange all of the inputs and outputs of your equipment on one panel, giving you a clear and efficient overview. With short cables (also-known-as patch leads) you can quickly chain the signal through different bits of kit.