I’ve used plenty of software emulations of SPL processors but never had a chance to try any of the German manufacturer’s vaunted hardware. At trade shows, I’ve looked enviously at the 8-channel Crescendo mic pre, with its 120V Rail technology. But for my home studio, I couldn’t justify plunking down almost $6,500 for it, even though it actually offers a per-channel cost that’s quite good for a unit of its quality.
But recently, SPL introduced the Crescendo Duo, a 2-channel version that features identical technology and audio specs to its 8-channel sibling. At the cost of $2,499, it’s now much more affordable to bring the 120V Crescendo sound into your studio.
What does 120V Rail technology have to offer? According to SPL, it allows the unit to run at a voltage that’s two times higher than that of discrete op-amps and four times higher than semiconductor-based op-amps. All that extra voltage translates into a ton of headroom, making the Crescendo “nearly impossible to overdrive,” according to SPL. The result is super-accurate fidelity and replication of transients, and extremely low noise.
Each of the Crescendo Duo’s channels features a large VU meter, which you can toggle to be 10 dB less sensitive with a front-panel switch. Other per-channel controls include switches for 48V phantom power, polarity reverse, a 3dB/octave at 120 Hz highpass filter, and a -20dB pad.
In addition to large input gain knobs for channels 1 and 2, you also get an output knob for each, which can be switched in and out of the circuit. Being able to control both input and output levels gives you additional flexibility for level matching and gain staging.
All the inputs and outputs are on the back panel. Each channel has a mic input and a pair of line outputs, all on XLR jacks.
The unit is due to ship sometime this month