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Audient ASP008

The Audient ASP008 is an 8-channel microphone preamp with optional analog-to-digital conversion. The ASP008 takes the preamps from Audient's ASP8024 analogue console, popular for providing a clean and transparent sound, and places them in a 1U rack mount unit. Each channel has the usual set of features that are expected of a mic preamp: input gain, phantom power, variable high-pass filter, signal present and clipping lights, and a line level input. Channels 1 and 2 also feature a high impedance input for direct input of guitar or bass. The line-level inputs are available on the rear of the unit via a separate D25 connector, which is preferable to the combi-jacks found on similar units as it allows both sets of inputs to easily be wired to a patch bay.

One of the ASP008's more unique features is the variable impedance switch, which is featured on each channel and allows the input impedance to be varied between 200Ω, 1.2kΩ and 5kΩ. This changes the load that is presented to the microphone, and will affect the sound of different microphones in different ways. Modern condenser microphones are unlikely to be affected by changes in the impedance, dynamic and, in particular, ribbon microphones will be affected more dramatically as their outputs are transformer coupled and lower in level. You can expect them to produce brighter, more accurate sounds with the impedance at 5kΩ and as it is changed to the other extreme, 200Ω, they will start to lose some high-frequencies and the transients will become more 'dull', perfect if you want a track to sit back in the mix or just want a different sound to use.

The unit can output both line level analogue signals, via another D25 connector, or AES/SPDIF and ADAT Lightpipe digital connections. It can also clock to either an internal or external clock. This makes the ASP008 a useful unit for someone who is looking to add more inputs to another interface that has some spare digital or line level inputs. It is also suitable for those looking to install it permanently into a studio, or take on the road in a portable recording rig. One downside of the unit is that it features an internal fan to keep things cool, which may cause a problem in very quiet studios. Once installed in a rack however, this is unlikely to cause a problem for most.

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