Superscope PAC770

The Superscope PAC770 contains a CD player, cassette recorder, mixer and amplifier in a compact, rackmountable (4 RU) enclosure; the unit is 18 inches deep and weighs just under 40 lbs. It is suitable for a variety of audio uses, including dance studios, houses of worship, music practice, schools, as well as public-address and rehearsal halls.
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The Superscope PAC770 contains a CD player, cassette recorder, mixer and amplifier in a compact, rackmountable (4 RU) enclosure; the unit is 18 inches deep and weighs just under 40 lbs. It is suitable for a variety of audio uses, including dance studios, houses of worship, music practice, schools, as well as public-address and rehearsal halls.
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, public address, broadcast

Key Features: CD player, cassette recorder, mixer and amplifier; independent pitch and speed controls

Price: $1,399

Contact: Superscope Technologies at 630-820-4800

Plus

+ Big bang for the buck

+ Great for rehearsals/practice

+ Ease-of-use

Minus

- None

The Score: The feature-packed PAC770 lets one do things only high-priced processors could once accomplish.
Features

The PAC770 ($1,399) allows you to record your own cassette tapes from CD. You can increase or decrease the tempo of the music source 50 percent (in one-percent intervals) without affecting the pitch, while eliminating most or all of the vocals if desired.

Because the speed change is on the digital side, the vocals remain clear and easy to understand. There is none of the muddiness that can be apparent when tape speed is slowed. With enough creativity, you can also mix in another line or microphone source and record the results to the cassette.

The four separate XLR microphone inputs, each with its own volume control, are compatible with any microphone system, wireless or wired. When activated, the PAC770's auto-ducking feature automatically lowers the music when using a mic. If the music is blasting and the user grabs a microphone and starts speaking, the music volume instantly lowers by -15 dB. This is handy for live events or paging, where voice announcements need to be heard over the background music.

For rehearsals, you can repeat an entire CD or just a single track, program a playlist to suit your heart's desire, pause, restart and even repeat just a part of a song in the A-B loop mode.

The PAC770 can play CD-R and CDR-W discs, so if you burn your own CDs you can bring them to the show. The PAC770's ability to endlessly loop a segment of music for repeated listening and/or practicing makes it a good practice and rehearsal tool. Programming a loop is simple to achieve by selecting a start and end point with the touch of a button.

The PAC770 can also change the key without changing the tempo. If you need to learn a song from a CD - but in another key - just press the key buttons up or down and the PAC770 changes the key up to one octave without affecting the tempo.

Master output volume, EQ and balance are controlled from the front panel. Individual mic/line EQ, panning, phantom power and input attenuation are controllable from the back panel. The master and mic/line EQ has its low band center at 100 Hz, the midband center at 1 kHz and the high band center at 15 kHz. Each input's gain control knob controls the amount of signal each input sends to the mixer. An auto gain feature sets an optimal level for the mic/line inputs. An outboard EQ or an effects processor can also be looped through the unit.

The PAC770's built-in amplifier can be used in stereo or mono bridge modes, switchable from the rear panel. A power protection circuit is designed into the amp to prevent it from running at levels that can cause damage. The amp's specs are as follows: frequency response is 5 to 30 kHz (+/-3 dB); Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is 0.08 percent; continuous stereo power output (at <0.08 percent THD): 4-ohm load is 110 W plus 110 W; 8-ohm load is 90 W plus 90 W; mono bridged power output. 8-ohm load is 210 W.

In use

A few members of my church ensemble got together to rehearse a few songs. Using the lead vocal reduction feature on a CD allowed me to remove almost all the vocals on selected songs. The feature worked surprisingly well. I must say that I was a bit skeptical of the ability to effectively remove the vocals. I found that on most recordings, however, the lead vocal was almost completely wiped out (except for leftover reverb).

I dumped a mix onto a cassette tape using four vocalists and a CD with the vocals removed. It was good fun and revealed how the group sounded - it allowed us to immediately make changes and try again.

A live gig at a Chamber of Commerce event provided another opportunity to try out the PAC's capabilities. The event was an annual 5-kilometer run and chili cook-off; the setting was an outdoor park. The event required music intermixed with announcements and ended with a variety of awards being distributed.

This is where the auto-ducking feature really shined. During the times I was out sampling the chili, officials could simply pick up a microphone and make an announcement, having been told that the music would turn itself down automatically. While skeptical at first, after a few turns on the mic, people had enough confidence that they started making other adjustments on the sound.

Summary

The simplicity of use, the capabilities of the key and pitch controls, the vocal-removal feature and the ability to dump everything you control to tape make the PAC770 a versatile tool for many applications.