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UTL1 - Dual Preamp


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The UTL1 Dual Preamp provides a means of introducing external audio signals into the system. Because external signals tend to be of a much lower amplitude than those found within the modular (10V p-to-p) amplification must generally be applied. The new Rev.2 version adds Banana inputs so that signals within the system can be amplified and effected with the soft-clipping.

The two preamp sections  are identical and are designed to be simple but effective and quiet in operation, but they also have an added soft-clipping feature so that they can be overdriven in interesting ways.

Inputs are on unbalanced 1/4" jack, each with gain control and switchable boost (10x or 100x gain ranges). The Banana input sockets can also be used and these have gain ranges of 5x less than the 1/4" jack inputs. The inputs are all AC-coupled. Each channel has a bi-colour LED to indicate suitable signal amplification and to show when overdriving occurs. Clean amplification is achieved by setting gain until the LED glows green. Increasing the gain further will then make the LED glow increasingly orange and will introduce soft-clipping overdrive.

The soft-clipping limit is set by a rear-mount jumper and introduces zener diodes to clip the amplified signal. Setting the jumper to 5V gives a clipping range of +5V and -5V (ie. 10V p-to-p), the 10V position gives max. 20V p-to-p and the X (off) position is limited only by the opamp's power rails giving around 26V p-to-p max. In typical use I would suggest either 5V or 10V limiting. There are two reasons for including the selections - firstly, using the 5V limit make the amplification headroom too low before clipping begins, so the 10V limit could be used to give more clean headroom. Secondly, the zeners slightly attenuate hi-frequencies - so choosing 10V will typically give a more natural sound.

Width: 1 FW
Current: +ve 25mA / -ve 10mA
User Adjustments: Each channel has a 3-way Limit Jumper - Off / 10V / 5V

Added on Wednesday 31 December, 2008.