NAMM 2005 sees the launch of TrakMaster Pro(tm), a professional microphone preamplifier/compressor that 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 D.I., problem-solving mid-scoop EQ, intuitive optical compression, latency-free monitoring, and the Platinum Pro series ADC option, all for £199 inc. VAT in the U.K.
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 2K, 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 port-hole 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 Analogue to Digital converter, providing a high quality direct digital route from the TrakMaster Pro to the DAW.
When asked what he believes the Platinum TrakMaster Pro means to the recording masses, Rob Jenkins, Focusrite's Director of Product Strategy, replied, "We've always been clear on the philosophy behind the Platinum range and we're only too aware of what we need to deliver to stay ahead of the game in this market. Whilst 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, I believe TrakMaster Pro provides more bang for your buck than any other unit on the market."
TrakMaster Pro is shipping worldwide from January 2005. The analogue unit will cost £199 inc. VAT, U.K. with the optional stereo ADC available for just £129. No word on dollar pricing as yet.More From: FOCUSRITE