With the popularity of software like SIA SMAART PRO – and the recent addition of SMAART LIVE – AudioControl Industrial has developed its latest product for use with software system analyzers. The MP-400 mic preamp system is portable, high quality and economically priced. It is good for audio professionals who require a portable measurement preamp to use with FFT software on laptop computer-based audio analysis systems.
Product PointsApplications: Multimedia; studio; broadcast
Key Features: VST and DirectX plug-ins for Mac and PC; five mastering control actions (EQ, reverb, stereo enhance, gain and volume)
Contact: Arboretum Systems, 650-738-4750; 800-700-7390; www.arboretum.com
The MP-400 ($549) is a two-channel measurement preamp, 8.5 inches deep, 11 inches wide and 1.5 inches high. It weighs 4 lbs. and includes an external power supply that plugs into AC power. The front panel consists of a power LED and a stereo 1/8-inch line output jack for connection to standard computer soundcard line inputs.
It has dual color LEDs – green indicates when an audio signal is present; red shows when the MP-400 is near clipping. Two line-output level controls vary the signal level sent to the line output. A pullout switch on each knob allows the user to have a known, repeatable setting for calibrated applications such as when measuring SPL.
Microphone gain ranges from 0 to 50 dB, in 10 dB increments. There is also a stereo 1/8-inch minijack input connection for an external reference signal.
A Test Signal Source switch selects the input source sent from the MP-400 preamp to the pre-system output jack. A Test Output Level knob and a Post-EQ Input Level knob round out the front panel.
The rear of the unit features two balanced-XLR microphone inputs, two RCA line inputs summed to mono, and two RCA line outputs for reference. The MP-400 also has two pairs of balanced XLR outputs for pre-EQ and post-EQ looping This enables test signals such as pink noise to be monitored pre and post-EQ into the system signal path. These XLR loops feature a fail-safe relay bypass in case of power failure to the unit. The unit is very flexible and offers all connections necessary to use an analysis tool without the need of adapters.
I use SIA SMAART LIVE software to evaluate and equalize the sound system before and during a show. The MP-400’s connector layout allows an easy interface between the sound system and computer.
I can measure the system’s frequency response by plugging in a pair of mics, tying in a cable for the reference signal (pink noise or program) and attaching a single cable to my computer. By using the looping features, the MP-400 provides the necessary flexibility to measure the sound system before and after equalization.
The unit is well thought out and eliminates the need for an external Y-type cable adapter, which I must use with other preamp setups. The AudioControl MP-400 can be used with any standard test microphone.
The unit has a built-in, lab-quality pink-noise generator that can be used as a test source. The controls on the front interface allow you to make any adjustment required to match signal channels and have accurate viewing of the sound system.
The AudioControl MP-400 is a well-thought out, high quality, two-channel measurement microphone preamp system. The ease and flexibility in connections provides the ability to hook up to a software analysis system in a matter of minutes. For anyone considering a quality preamp for acoustic analysis, the AudioControl MP-400 is a unit of exceptional quality at a great price point.