Recording Studio Signal Flow and the V610


“ The [Spectra 1964] V610 has been a very valuable tool in my arsenal for several years now. I still prefer to use analog equipment for mastering, and the V610 has proven to be very flexible in different positions in the chain, depending on the style and type of music. Integrating into my system’s patching allows me to place it anywhere in the chain. What I found that surprised me the most, was to place it at the very front the rest of my gear. Doing so allows the limiter to act very quickly and remove unwanted quick short transients that can be problematic for other pieces down the line. This allows the rest of the chain to breathe a bit better, resulting in a more open and relaxed signal. On the back side of the chain, I can push a little bit and get a great closeness without hammering down the dynamics."


- Michael Romanowski, Grammy nominated mastering engineer, owner and chief mastering engineer at Coast Mastering and co-owner and founder of the analog tape label The Tape Project.



Michael Romanowski, in the studio at Coast Mastering.

The Spectra 1964 model V610 is a necessary and versatile addition to any mastering suite. Typically, in mastering signal chain configurations, the V610 is used as the first device, as a peak limiter. The result is dramatic and measurable. With the inaudible elimination of audio program peaks, and due to the V610 being the fastest analog compressor/limiter in the world, the signal processing devices that follow the V610 have headroom increases of 6-12dB, a reduction of noise and overload distortion, and provide extended harmonic content that will otherwise be lost during conventional digital amplifier overload.


In the audio tracking environment, the V610 will rival, and in most cases, exceed any stand alone, or mixing console microphone preamplifier. In terms of headroom, there will be noticeable differences in the articulation of harmonics, and overall reduced distortion. As a vocal microphone preamplifier, excessive level changes will be easily accommodated by a compression circuit that is both fast, and transparent. Guitar tracks will be both accurate and richly harmonic. For the first time, many musicians will experience the true sound of an instrument that is operating in a peak-free environment.


Like other Spectra 1964 Complimiters, the V610 shares the revered and unequaled Spectra Sonics 601 Complimiter module. Originally introduced in 1969 via Spectra Sonics, the 601 set a standard that is well beyond the capabilities any other compressor/limiter circuit. The V610 is an enhanced version of the C610, in that it allows for easy recall of prior settings, in a high resolution dB format.


The ultra high quality Elma switches feature mil-spec metal film resistors, and long lasting contacts. In fact, the three space format of the V610 is due to the physical size of the switches on the control surface. In addition, the V610 employs the model 110A amplifier for makeup gain. The result is low distortion and noise, with a +24dBu output, irrespective of audio transient peaks.


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