Summit Audio Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Index
Categories:
Category: General Gear Questions
  1. What does +48V mean?
  2. What is phantom power?
  3. What is the difference between pin 2 and pin 3 hot?
  4. What is the difference between a balanced and unbalanced cables?
  5. What type of compression does Summit Audio use (VCA, FET, Opto, Vari-mu, etc)?
  6. Why does a passive EQ need power?
  7. Why when I boost the high frequencies with my FeQ-50 does it not sound brittle?
  8. What is the difference between the FeQ-50 and EQF-100?
  9. What type of circuit is in the FeQ-50?
  10. What is passive EQ compared to an active EQ circuit?
  11. Why use Vacuum Tubes?
  12. How do I get the ultimate distortion from the TPA-200B?
  13. Summit Audio products are on tour worldwide, unusual for vacuum tube gear. What makes Summit Audio products so strong and road-worthy?
  14. How can I multi-track with a single TLA-50 Mini Tube Leveler?
  15. How can I multi-track with a single 2BA-221 Mic/Line Module?
  16. What effects the sound of a compressor?
  17. What is the difference between class A and class A/B?
  18. How do I use my ECS-410 Everest as a microphone preamp?
  19. How do I use my ECS-410 Everest as a stand-alone compressor?
  20. How do I use my ECS-410 Everest as a stand-alone equalizer?
  21. What is TouchPatch?
  22. What is DriveBus?
  23. Can I use my ECS-410 Everest as the front end to my bass or guitar rig?
  24. How do I use the ECS-410 Everest as 4 totally independent processors?
  25. How do I use the ECS-410 Everest to add compression and EQ to a recorded or live track?
  26. How can I use the ECS-410 Everest to add tube or discrete transistor distortion to a track during mixing or tracking?
  27. How do I track 6 tracks at the same time with the ECS-410 Everest?
  28. How do I get a great keyboard sound with my ECS-410 Everest?
  29. How do I mic a guitar amp with my ECS-410 Everest?
  30. How do I get a fantastic kick drum sound with my ECS-410 Everest?
  31. How do I get a great acoustic guitar tone with my ECS-410 Everest?
  32. How do I get a great electric guitar tone on my ECS-410 Everest?
  33. How do I get a great bass tone direct with my ECS-410 Everest?
  34. Should I change my tubes to vintage or NOS (new old stock) tubes?
  35. How do I set up my ECS-410 for Voice Over (VO) work?
  36. I don't hear anything change when I turn the impedance dial on my TD-100 or MPC-100A, is there something wrong?
  37. Is there simultaneous cut AND boost on any frequencies on the FeQ-50?
  38. My TLA-50's meter overloads and the red lights flash all the time. What can I do?
  39. What are the actual attack and release times on the TLA-50?
  40. How do I align my meter on my TLA-50?
  41. What are the actual attack and release times on the TLA-100A?
  42. What are the actual attack and release times on the MPC-100A's compressor?
  43. What tube should I put in my Summit Audio gear?
  44. Is the TDM plug-in Extension 78 still a current product, for integration of my MPE-200 or EQ-200 with ProTools?
  45. When stereo linking the DCL-200, do both channels need to be adjusted?
  46. Are the controls on a DCL-200 continuously variable or detented?
  47. How does the 'slope' control work on my MPC-100A and DCL-200?
  48. What is the loading adjustment for on my MPC-100A or TD-100?
  49. Is there a mod for the DCL-200 so that you can use one gain control in stereo link mode?
  50. Are the mic pres in the TPA-200B and MPC-100A the same?
  51. I just got the 2BA-221. Which phantom power do you recommend using? The one off my mixing board, or the one from the preamp? Does it matter?
  52. How are your products tested and inspected before they ship?
  53. Should I use the TLA-50 with my bass rig?
  54. Will I get polarity reversals if using pin 2 and pin 3 hot devices together?
  55. My Summit Audio gear says 220V and my country uses 240V, what's the difference?
  56. How does a vacuum tube work?
  57. I have a TD-100 that I am using with a Bergantino IP. I heard about a modification for the TD-100 for use with this product. What is it and what does it do?



  1. What does +48V mean?
    This means phantom power. Certain types of microphones, especially condenser mics, require +48 volts of DC power to power the internal preamp and to polarize the capsule of the mic. All Summit Audio preamps have very clean +48VDC phantom power available; clean signal is key to getting the best sound from your mics.


  2. What is phantom power?
    Certain types of microphones, especially condenser mics, require +48 volts of DC power to power the internal preamp and to polarize the capsule of the mic. All Summit Audio preamps have very clean +48VDC phantom power available; clean signal is key to getting the best sound from your mics.


  3. What is the difference between pin 2 and pin 3 hot?
    Balanced inputs and outputs that utilize the XLR type of connector look for either pin 2 or pin 3 to be the 'hot' signal, where the other 'cold' signal will be polarity reversed in the balancing circuit. Pin 2 hot is the most common convention now, although pin 3 was quite common in the past. In most cases it really doesn't matter which pin is not when going to the unit and back as there will be no polarity reversal to worry about since it's the same going in and out.


  4. What is the difference between a balanced and unbalanced cables?
    All audio cables are shielded from electromagnetic interference, the difference is in how many conductors are inside. This shielding is imperfect for getting rid of noise, so balancing was invented. On an unbalanced cable there is a single conductor that carries the signal which is wrapped by the shield which is grounded. On a balanced cable there are two conductors, often called High and Low, Hot and Cold, or Pin 2 and Pin 3 (pin 1 is the ground). The shield is grounded, but not is part of the signal path like on an unbalanced cable. These two conductors carry the exact same signal but are polarity inverted from each other. When a balanced input gets these two signals, it re-inverts that out of phase signal to restore the original signal, thus taking any noise generated along the way OUT of phase. (Common Mode Rejection is the specification of how well circuitry rejects interference that is common to both the High and Low conductors.) A 1/4" balanced cable is called a TRS or Tip-Ring-Sleeve cable, which shows the three different conductors, high, low, and shield (sleeve). An XLR or mic cable is the same cable with a different connector, showing pins 1-3 (pin 2 hot, pin 3 cold, pin 1 ground).


  5. What type of compression does Summit Audio use (VCA, FET, Opto, Vari-mu, etc)?
    Summit Audio uses a proprietary kind of compression that offers the advantages of the different types of circuit designs while limiting the inherent disadvantages of those same designs. That's why Summit Audio compression sounds so musical and clean without being sterile.


  6. Why does a passive EQ need power?
    The term 'passive' has to do with the circuit design, in that there are no active (amplifier, resistive) elements in the filter circuit. Whenever one of the filters is engaged, there is insertion loss, which is the gain loss from going through this part of the circuit. You need power to make up for this loss, in the form of op amps or vacuum tubes.


  7. Why when I boost the high frequencies with my FeQ-50 does it not sound brittle?
    Passive EQs are fantastic at great phase coherence and low intermodulation distortion so the high frequencies sound big and smooth without any feeling of being brittle.


  8. What is the difference between the FeQ-50 and EQF-100?
    The EQF-100 uses Jensen 990 op amps and vacuum tubes for make-up gain while the FeQ-50 uses a quad op amp pushing no current with a discrete transistor buffer for current gain. The EQF-100 has all custom inductors and the FeQ-50 has one custom inductor (low frequency) and the rest are off-the-shelf parts. The EQF-100 has more frequencies available which is directly related to cost as each frequency selection utilizes an entire LC circuit. Other differences include the size (with the EQF-100's increase in size is a direct increase in cost), the fact that the EQF-100 has variable bandwidth (Q) and also includes switchable high-pass and low-pass filters.


  9. What type of circuit is in the FeQ-50?
    The FeQ-50 utilizes passive "LC Resonant" circuits (L-inductor and C-capacitor). 'Resonant' means that the impedance stays the same throughout the frequency spectrum until the target frequency is reached, then the circuit resonates, causing a change in impedance and gain- FREQUENCY SELECTIVE IMPEDANCE ADJUSTMENT. The circuits are tuned for specific frequencies. The FeQ-50 has switched Q (bandwidth) settings to avoid putting a resistor before the LC circuit which can create artifacts, and heat issues which can cause gain changes. This switch selects separate inductance and capacitance paths. This allows the filter to maintain predictable with a repeatable response, and no change in volume. There is no transformer in the signal path and the makeup gain for the insertion loss is a quad op amp pushing no current with a discrete transistor buffer for current gain. I/O includes: Inputs combo XLR/ ¼", Outputs- FOUR outputs, +4 and –10 vacuum tube and solid state.


  10. What is passive EQ compared to an active EQ circuit?
    A passive EQ uses inductors and high value capacitors to filter; there are no amplifiers in the circuit to filter. It uses an amp to match impedances. An active type EQ circuit is different in that the filter (reactive) element is located within the feedback loop of an amplifier. These generally utilize lower value capacitors and resistors instead of inductors. One of the main advantages of passive EQ's are in the way they sound, which tends to be more musical due to rich harmonic structure inside the inductors. Another huge advantage is the excellent phase coherence exhibited by this type of circuit. Active EQ's tend to have strange and unpredictable phase discrepancies around the EQed frequencies, making the sound somewhat smeared and unfocused, whereas a passive circuit will not have this effect. Disadvantages for passive circuits include the cost as the inductors need to be very high quality with strict tolerances, the capacitors need to be very high value, and aligning the unit is time intensive with slight adjustments in gain and impedance to tune all the frequencies. Also, inductors change thermally so frequencies can drift slightly, although seldom more than 1/8 of an octave. Generally larger components are needed as well, so size can be an issue, although the FeQ-50 is remarkably small for a passive LC circuit. Active EQ circuits tend to cost less as resistors are much cheaper than inductors and the capacitors need to be much lower value. There is also very little thermal drift so they can be very accurate and precise, a good thing for a 'fix-it' EQ. The thing to watch for with active EQ circuits is the phase coherency and transient intermodulation distortion.


  11. Why use Vacuum Tubes?
    Vacuum tubes (or thermionic valves to our friends outside of North America) often get a bad rap. Although touted for their 'warmth' (enhanced 2nd order harmonic content) and their ability to soften the digital edge (non-linearities inherent in the tube circuit), they are often seen as finicky and unpredictable, sometimes noisy, and lacking in high frequencies. And unlike their solid-state transistor brethren, they sometimes need to be replaced. Summit Audio has over 21 of years working with vacuum tubes. We've used vacuum tubes in many different circuit designs and have developed circuits that exhibit highly reliable and long lasting tube life with excellent high frequency response. We often see 10,000 + hours of tube life with very low noise floors and incredible consistency between units even 20 years apart in age. How do we do it? Some of the areas where we focus include: Plate Voltage. We're committed to tube designs with full, class A plate voltage. We use 185V there, and never use starved plate, low voltage designs. All amplifiers operate on a gain curve with a certain 'sweet spot' where the vacuum tube manufacturer's specifications are ideal. We stay in the sweet spot. Starved plates are often characterized by unexpected gain curves and poor consistency from device to device and over time, with exaggerated distortion characteristics. By using full plate voltage, Summit Audio maintains a sweet sounding tube circuit without unwanted distortion and a very long, predictable life. Regulated and Filtered Voltage. By using fully regulated and multiple filtered voltage on the vacuum tubes, Summit Audio gets longer tube life, more predictable results from the tubes, with less intermodulation distortion. Regulating and filtering the power to the vacuum tubes, a much more modern design than some old concepts, also means it takes lower voltage to stay in the previously mentioned 'sweet spot'. For example, if we used unregulated power, it could take as much as 230V just to stay near the ideal voltage for the tubes, as any sag in the incoming voltage would drop it out of regulation, increasing the distortion and lowering the gain of the tube itself. Regulated and filtered power means tubes have predictable, clean power to run at their ideal gains, all the time. Feedback design. Different feedback and non feedback designs are concepts for controlling distortion and gain. Negative feedback designs work by feeding back a portion of the output signal to counteract the input signal. This reduces distortion and keeps operation of the vacuum tube closer to the intended gain. For example, if a tube's gain drops by 5%, so does the negative feedback pushing back on the input, so there is no net loss. In a no feedback design, there is no feedback to control the gain of the tube, allowing more of the tube characteristics to shine through. Summit Audio uses non feedback, full feedback, and various levels between design concepts, choosing what is right for the product and the desired affect. For example, the 2BA-221 uses negative feedback resulting in a subtle tube sound with less maintenance, the TPA-200B uses no feedback so has much more tube sound with more gain directly from the tubes. We also use something called local feedback (uses feedback from the cathode), and sometimes, such as with the DCL-200, we use a proprietary, hybrid approach. Vacuum tubes have been around for a long time. Although transistors have replaced tubes in the majority of circuit designs, correctly used vacuum tubes have many advantages in high end audio. By choosing the right design for the product, running high voltage to the tubes, and regulating and filtering that power, Summit Audio has been able to design highly predictable, long lasting vacuum tubes gear that takes advantage of vacuum tube circuitry without the disadvantages of older design.


  12. How do I get the ultimate distortion from the TPA-200B?
    If you've used the TPA-200B you are most certainly familiar with the incredible array of tones you can get just by changing the balance between the input and output controls. Higher output with lower input yields a clean, clear, open sound, while higher input level and lower output level reveals more overtones and harder drive, all the way up to a sweet, thick distortion. Want more? Try this to get a riot of distortion. Take an XLR female to TRS cable and run it from the output of channel one into the line input of channel two. Switch channel two to accept Line Input. Run the output of channel two to your recording device or live rig. Plug into channel one (mic, Hi-Z, or line level). Now you have THREE levels to adjust the distortion level with the output level on channel two as your master level. Talk about tone control! This works great in a few different applications. First, it's great for during a mix. Use the line level input on channel 1 and insert the TPA-200B on the channel you want distorted. I love it on keyboards personally, it hugely increases the timbres I can get and erases any digital edge to the sound. It can also sound good on guitar, bass, even vocals for a special effect (try blending it with an undistorted track). This effect also works great when tracking guitar or bass through the Hi-Z input. Lastly, using the TPA-200B as a mic pre and purposely distorting the signal while recording can really make a track stand out when it comes time to mix!


  13. Summit Audio products are on tour worldwide, unusual for vacuum tube gear. What makes Summit Audio products so strong and road-worthy?
    01 We use two 1/2 inch aluminum rails to add strength rigidity to our chassis. 02 These rails attach to our strong, plated American made steel chassis. 03 The main board is screwed to these rails adding more strength. 04 We use thick, solid metal screws. 05 The thick, solid aluminum front panel adds even more strength, keeping everything racked and solid. 06 The top and bottom covers (which both remove for easy access to the circuitry inside) are folded, adding the final step in a rock-solid chassis. 07 The spring loaded tube shields not only keep out unwanted RF and EM interference, they also serve to hold the tubes in their sockets, ensuring that no shaking will work a tube lose. 08 The tube sockets themselves go through the main circuit board with a 'spiderweb' design underneath to keep heat away from the main board, and for easy repairs in case of damage. 09 We use the highest end potentiometers and switches mounted through the front panel, with the solid chassis design eradicating any flex. 10 Utilizing Switchcraft and Neutrik connectors, Summit Audio fly wires the inputs and outputs for solid, consistent use for many years of hard use without failures. 11 VU meters are mounted with aluminum standoffs in their own cradle, detached from the front panel to avoid any damage from jarring. 12 Our 1/2 rack products utilize a bent steel chassis, providing a solid pan design with strength coming from the solid American steel and bent metal. 13 More strength is in the details, like the intrinsic mounting holes, extra metal at the corners, metal stand-offs, 14 and using stainless steel screws throughout.


  14. How can I multi-track with a single TLA-50 Mini Tube Leveler?
    You can multi-track with a backup with the TLA-50 as well. Use the XLR +4dB as your main output to your recording device and use the 1/4" -10dB output to record another track at a lower level, to avoid clipping or to send to another effect. By buffering the outputs, Summit Audio has made it easy to make a 'mult' with both the TLA-50 and 2BA-221. Quality and versatility in the same box! Why is my TLA-50 noisy? Make sure you're using a mic pre in front of the TLA-50. We've seen a few instances when customers complaining of high noise floor on a TLA-50 are actually plugging their microphones directly into the input. The TLA-50 has lots of gain, enough for most dynamic mics in fact, but the design is not at all suited for use as a mic preamplifier. Try the 2BA-221 as the first gain stage, they're a perfect match.


  15. How can I multi-track with a single 2BA-221 Mic/Line Module?
    One of the many features of the 2BA-221 is the multitude of inputs and outputs. Not only does this make it easy to install it into your studio, it also gives you tons of flexibility when it comes to tracking. Let's start with the outputs. The 2BA-221 has a total of 4 outputs. The main output is of course the +4dB XLR Tube output. Right next to that is the -10dB 1/4" TRS Tube output. To the left of the tube outputs is something called the "stacking" output; this is the solid state output also running at -10dB. This is important to note: the polarity on this output is inverted in relation to the other outputs. Where is the forth output? The INSERT jack can also function as an output by simply plugging in an unbalanced (TS) 1/4" jack. This is solid state output number 2. Now it's time to multi-track a single source. Let's say we're tracking a vocal. Plug in your choice of microphone into the mic pre input. Set the solid state gain to a good level by watching the three segment LED meter, adjust the impedance, HPF, and polarity switch where you think it's best (you may want to change these later of course). Now you have the opportunity to run all these outputs to different sources and track them different ways. For example: XLR +4dB tube output -> compressor -> recording device 1/4" -10dB tube output -> recording device as an unaffected backup 1/4" solid state stacking output -> multi FX box -> recording device 1/4" insert output -> distortion pedal -> recording device Arm all 4 tracks and record your vocal part. You now have four copies of that vocal part to choose from and mix together, all with a safety back up in case anything went wrong with the others. That -10dB tube output safety backup is a great idea when recording; you never have to worry about missing a great performance because of overloading your recorder's inputs. Just keep running the lower level output into it's own track and you'll always have a backup.


  16. What effects the sound of a compressor?
    It's really amazing how many things effect the sound of a compressor, how many different parts of the circuit make a compressor sound like it does. From component choice to board layout to timing to compressor circuitry to output device, they all work together to make a compressor sound just the way it does. A few points really stand out. Number one is probably the timing of the compressor circuit. How you control the timing of how fast the unit reacts and how it reacts in the side chain is of primary importance. A 'text-book' compressor has a very predictable scale, a linear ratio that simply compresses a signal in a very straightforward fashion. How we have designed our compressors is actually much more complex than that. If you notice on the DCL-200 for example, you see that the timing doesn't say "0.01mS" as the fastest attack time, or "2S" as the slowest release time, they are just simply written on a scale from 1-10. And there is no "ratio" control, there is something called "slope" instead.. This is all because of the timing circuitry inside the DCL-200 (same for TLA-100A and TLA-50 although the methods and signal path are much different). Our compressors react to the incoming signal, following the incredibly complex changes in voltage that even a simple musical line becomes in the electrical medium. When the TLA-100A is set to Fast, or the DCL-200's attack setting is set to fast, this selects a range from which the compression circuitry can work but it does not force any particular timing on the signal. Let's choose the signal coming from a bass guitar. That initial attack from the finger on the string is very fast and our compressors would react to that very quickly in fast mode (if the gain from that was high enough), but the rest of the signal, the body and much higher energy part, is legato and doesn't need the same treatment. Our compressors are designed to react musically, WITH the signal, not against it, giving a much more pleasing compressed soun


  17. What is the difference between class A and class A/B?
    I am writing this article to shed some light on the difference between Class A and Class AB amplifiers. While Class A does an outstanding job of providing superior performance, we have found that in some situations Class AB fits best. At Summit Audio, years of experience guide us to employ both classes depending upon which works best given the scenario. Class A amplifiers were the first to be developed with the vacuum tube. Class AB tube circuits were later developed for higher output. These first AB tube circuit designs could perform well, however fidelity was sometimes limited by the input and output transformers required. The slightest imbalance in transformer windings meant distortion. Early attempts at push-pull designs not only used those transformers, but were also shackled by the lack of bias and thermal stability with germanium transistors. The early push-pull transistor amplifiers were poor and caused audio professionals to look down upon all transistor electronics until the advent of stable silicon transistors used in class A signal amplifiers. This is when good fidelity solid-state designs made their first appearance. Transistors then became accepted in preamp and other signal circuit design. Class A still had advantages over Class AB amplifiers because the lack of complimentary polarity transistors meant the use of a driver transformer or phase inverter. With both tubes and transistors, Class A still had the advantage. Over time, improvements in transistors continued such as true complimentary pairs, low noise, high gain, and wide bandwidth. These improvements were stronger for discrete transistors than for integrated circuits. Well-designed class AB solid-state can now not only meet the performance of class A, it can excel in some specifications. When it comes to tubes, class A still results in the simplest circuits with the lowest distortion, since no practical way has been devised to do away with the need for phase inversion needed for push-p


  18. How do I use my ECS-410 Everest as a microphone preamp?
    Plug a microphone into the mic pre input, plug the DriveBus output into your recording or live sound system input. Turn on +48V for microphones requiring phantom power. If you hear distortion even though the meter is not lighting red, turn on the pad switch Routing: Pre-DriveBus Routing: Pre-Dyn-DriveBus to compress the signal at the same time Routing: Pre-EQ-DriveBus to EQ the signal at the same time Routing: Pre-Dyn-EQ-DriveBus to compress then EQ the signal at the same time Routing: Pre-EQ-Dyn-DriveBus to EQ then compress the signal at the same time


  19. How do I use my ECS-410 Everest as a stand-alone compressor?
    Plug a +4dB XLR output (such as from a microphone preamp) into the Dynamics input, plug the DriveBus output into your recording or live sound system input. Routing: Dyn-DriveBus


  20. How do I use my ECS-410 Everest as a stand-alone equalizer?
    Plug a +4dB XLR output (such as from a microphone preamp) into the EQ input, plug the DriveBus output into your recording or live sound system input. Routing: EQ-DriveBus


  21. What is TouchPatch?
    TouchPatch is the unique routing system from Summit Audio which allows you to quickly and intuitively patch and reconfigure Everest into any of ten scenarios. Basically, TouchPatch shows what is feeding DriveBus, the main output section of Everest. Any part of Everest not routed to DriveBus is then completely usable on its own, as each section has its own inputs and outputs. For example, if you select Pre-EQ-DriveBus, the signal in Everest is traveling from the microphone preamp to the equalizer section, to the DriveBus output. The dynamics section can then be used on something else simply by plugging into it's unique inputs and outputs on the back panel. If you then select Pre-Dyn-DriveBus, the dynamics section input is turned off from the back and is instead fed by the Everest's microphone preamp.


  22. What is DriveBus?
    The ECS-410's main output section is called DriveBus. This is an extremely versatile and flavorful addition to Everest and will provide an incredible palate of sounds, from open and clear to a complete riot of distortion. Getting Signal: Select what is feeding DriveBus with TouchPatch. For example, Pre-EQ-DriveBus on TouchPatch means that the preamp is feeding the EQ section, then DriveBus. No Route means that nothing is internally routed to DriveBus, but you can still use this section by plugging in directly to the DriveBus input on the back panel. Getting Tones: Once you have signal routed to DriveBus you can start digging in and getting tones. For a clean tone with only the most subtle overtones, turn the Output control to 10 and use the Drive control to get the level you need. For overdrive turn the Drive control to 10 and use the Output control to get the level you want. For tone in between clean and distortion, simply vary the levels between Drive and Output. Switch: The switch on DriveBus chooses the signal path from SS (solid state, or discrete, high voltage transistor) to Tube (dual 12AX7A vacuum tubes) to bypass. The tonal difference between SS and Tube will be most distinct at higher drive levels. Try switching between both choices and decide which one you like the best. Switch to Bypass to take DriveBus out of the system completely. Meter: 0 VU on the meter corresponds to +4dBu.


  23. Can I use my ECS-410 Everest as the front end to my bass or guitar rig?
    Plug your bass or guitar into the Hi-Z input on the preamp section, then use the -10dB output from the DriveBus section into your amplifier.


  24. How do I use the ECS-410 Everest as 4 totally independent processors?
    TouchPatch: NoRoute Plug a microphone into the preamp in, use the Preamp output to your recorder Plug a line into the EQ input, run EQ output back into your recorder Plug a line into the Dynamics input, run Dynamics output back into your recorder Plug a line into the DriveBus input, run DriveBus output back into your recorder EACH section is totally independent and can be used for 4 different processes simultaneously.


  25. How do I use the ECS-410 Everest to add compression and EQ to a recorded or live track?
    TouchPatch: Dyn-EQ-DriveBus Insert the Dynamics and EQ into the track by: Plug the output of the track into the Dynamics input Plug the main output from the DriveBus back into the track


  26. How can I use the ECS-410 Everest to add tube or discrete transistor distortion to a track during mixing or tracking?
    Run the signal into the DriveBus input and the DriveBus output back into the recording or live sound system TouchPatch: No Route (this means nothing is internally routed to the DriveBus) Drive bus to Tube or Solid State mode Drive to 10, output to proper level Adjust Drive and Output controls for the right amount of distortion Need more distortion? Use the Dynamics section to add more gain: TouchPatch: Dyn-DriveBus Run signal into Dynamics input, out DriveBus Threshold high so NO compression on meter Use GAIN to add more gain to the DriveBus, all the way to complete distortion


  27. How do I track 6 tracks at the same time with the ECS-410 Everest?
    Track 6 tracks from one mic at the same time- safety tracks and tracks at different stages of processing so processing choices can be changed later. TouchPatch Pre-Comp-EQ-DriveBus Plug a microphone into the preamp and set up accordingly. Set up EQ, compression, and the DriveBus for the sound you want from the master output. Use the +4 and -10dB outputs from the preamp section into the recording device; this give you a totally unprocessed pre signal, plus the -10dB is a 'safety track' in case of any mic overloads. Run the XLR output from the Dynamics section to the recorder, giving you the preamped, compressed signal with no EQ or DriveBus sound Run the XLR output from the EQ section to the recorder, giving you the preamp, compressed, EQed signal with no DriveBus sound. Run the +4dB and -10dB output from the DriveBus to the recorder for the 'master' output, as well as the lower level 'safety track'.


  28. How do I get a great keyboard sound with my ECS-410 Everest?
    Keyboard: turn master output level and drive level all the way down to get initial levels TouchPatch: Pre-Dyn-DriveBus Preamp: Either run keyboard into Hi-Z input or into Mic pre input with pad at -20 Gain around 12:00, so orange LEDS just start lighting at loudest notes Pad 0, polarity +, 48V off, HPF on, output tube Dynamics: Classic mode Gain +2 Threshold 5, so 1-2 lights on meter light at the most attack 1 and release 1 (watch LEDs so just peaks are caught) DriveBus: tube mode, output 6, turn drive up to get recording level (Variations: drive at different levels by adjusting Drive and Output to get the perfect sound; try moving between SS and tube out the DriveBus.)


  29. How do I mic a guitar amp with my ECS-410 Everest?
    Mic guitar amp: turn master output level and drive level all the way down to get initial levels TouchPatch: Pre-Dyn-DriveBus Preamp: Gain around 12:00, so orange LEDS just start lighting at loudest notes Pad 0, polarity +, 48V on for condenser off for dynamic or ribbon mics, HPF on, output SS if tube amp or Tube if Solid State amp If you hear distortion even though the meter is not lighting red, turn on the pad switch Dynamics: Tight mode Gain +2 Threshold 5, so 1-2 lights on meter light at the most attack 1 and release 1 (watch LEDs so just peaks are caught) DriveBus: tube mode if Solid State amp, SS mode if tube amp, output 6, turn drive up to get recording level (Variations: drive at different levels by adjusting Drive and Output to get the perfect sound; try higher threshold and faster attack on Dynamics to compress the peaks more.)


  30. How do I get a fantastic kick drum sound with my ECS-410 Everest?
    Kick Drum: turn master output level and drive level all the way down to get initial levels TouchPatch: Pre-Dyn-EQ-DriveBus Preamp: Gain around 12:00, so orange LEDS just start lighting at loudest notes Pad 0, polarity +, 48V on for condenser off for dynamic or ribbon mics, HPF off, output SS If you hear distortion even though the meter is not lighting red, turn on the pad switch Dynamics: Classic mode Gain +4 Threshold 5, so 2-4 lights on meter light attack 8 and release 2 EQ try +3dB @ 60 Hz, peaking -2dB @ 560 Hz +3dB @ 7.2 KHz peaking DriveBus: tube mode, output 6, turn drive up to get recording level (Variations: try SS mode on DriveBus, drive at different levels by adjusting Drive and Output to get the perfect sound; try higher threshold and faster attack on Dynamics to compress the peaks more.)


  31. How do I get a great acoustic guitar tone with my ECS-410 Everest?
    Acoustic Guitar: turn master output level and drive level all the way down to get initial levels TouchPatch: Pre-DriveBus Preamp: Gain around 12:00, so orange LEDS just start lighting at loudest notes Pad 0, polarity +, 48V on for condenser off for dynamic or ribbon mics, HPF off, output Solid State If you hear distortion even though the meter is not lighting red, turn on the pad switch DriveBus: tube mode, Output to 10, set drive level to get recording level (Variations: insert the compressor [TouchPatch Pre-Dyn-DriveBus], Tight mode Gain +5, Threshold 4, so 1-3 lights on meter light, attack 2 and release 4.4)


  32. How do I get a great electric guitar tone on my ECS-410 Everest?
    Electric Guitar Direct: turn master output level and drive level all the way down to get initial levels TouchPatch: Pre-Dyn-EQ-DriveBus Preamp: Gain around 12:00, so orange LEDS just start lighting at loudest notes Pad 0, polarity +, 48V off, HPF off, output Tube Send another output from preamp to record another track dry, without distortion Dynamics: Tight mode Gain +13.5 Threshold 5, so 1-3 lights on meter light attack 1 and release 1 (watch LEDs to just peaks are caught) EQ try -2dB @ 100 Hz, shelving +5dB @ 1.6KHz +3dB @ 5KHz shelving DriveBus: tube mode, drive 10, set output to recording or playing level (Variations: send -10dB output from preamp to live guitar amp for monitoring; dynamics to classic mode for less compression, lower threshold a bit; adjust drive and output l level on DriveBus to get different levels of drive and try both tube and solid state modes to hear different distortion types.)


  33. How do I get a great bass tone direct with my ECS-410 Everest?
    Bass: turn master output level and drive level all the way down to get initial levels TouchPatch: Pre-Dyn-EQ-DriveBus Preamp: Gain around 12:00, so orange LEDS just start lighting at loudest notes Pad 0, polarity +, 48V off, HPF off, output Tube If you hear distortion even though the meter is not lighting red, turn on the pad switch Dynamics: Tight mode Gain +5 Threshold 4, so 1-3 lights on meter light attack 2 and release 4.4 EQ try +4dB @ 630Hz, peaking, -6dB @ 18KHz DriveBus: tube mode, drive 8, output to recording or playing level (Variations: send -10dB output from preamp to live bass amp for monitoring; dynamics to classic mode for less compression, lower threshold a bit; adjust drive and output level on DriveBus to get different levels of drive in tube or solid state modes)


  34. Should I change my tubes to vintage or NOS (new old stock) tubes?
    Feel free to try different tubes in your Summit Audio gear. The difference it makes depends on the circuit design of the product which is very different throughout the Summit Audio line. Be sure you can return the new tube if the sound is not what you're looking for or if the noise floor increases. If you need to align the product to match gains and such, please contact us for alignment information. Make sure you are changing to the correct vacuum tube (12AX7, 12AX7A or ECC83).


  35. How do I set up my ECS-410 for Voice Over (VO) work?
    Voice Over: turn master output level and drive level all the way down to get initial levels TouchPatch: Pre-Dyn-EQ-DriveBus Preamp: Gain around 12:00, so orange LEDS just start lighting at loudest voice Pad 0, polarity +, 48V on for condenser off for dynamic or ribbon mics HPF off, output SS If you hear distortion even though the meter is not lighting red, turn on the pad switch Dynamics: Classic mode Gain +2 Threshold 4, so 1-3 lights on meter light attack and release 4 EQ: Low +3dB @ 100Hz, peaking Mid -2dB @ 1.6KHz High +3dB @ 12KHz shelving DriveBus: SS mode, output 10, turn up drive to get record level (Variations: put dynamics in Tight mode for limiting like in radio work, bypass DriveBus for ultimate clean and quiet, use extra gain from Dynamics section if needed)


  36. I don't hear anything change when I turn the impedance dial on my TD-100 or MPC-100A, is there something wrong?
    Some high output instruments are not affected by input impedance. New digital keyboards and active pickups are usually unaffected by the impedance control.


  37. Is there simultaneous cut AND boost on any frequencies on the FeQ-50?
    No. The effect of boosting and cutting the same frequency is something that the EQP-200B and other Pultec type designs can do, but the FeQ-50 is a totally original design.


  38. My TLA-50's meter overloads and the red lights flash all the time. What can I do?
    Try using the XLR +4dB input and output instead of the ¼" in and out. This extra 14dB should make your leveler run normally.


  39. What are the actual attack and release times on the TLA-50?
    The nomenclature on the TLA-50 is a little vague because the settings are a little vague. The way we design our compressor circuits make them react in a very musical manner so the timing circuits can vary. For example, when the compressor is put in medium release and a very quick signal, like a snare drum, comes through, the release time is quite a lot faster than if a slower, more legato signal like a voice comes through. So you can see why we don't have specific markings


  40. How do I align my meter on my TLA-50?
    Sometimes the meter can drift on the TLA-50. Fortunately, it is very easy to align. Warm the unit up to the operating temperature. Make sure there is nothing plugged into the input or output. Looking down through the top slats on the TLA-50, find the blue trim pot in the far back left corner, marked R128 (you may need a flashlight). Ease a small, flathead screwdriver between the slats into the trim pot. Set the meter select switch to "red." (reduction). Turn the trim pot until the meter rests at 0. Flip the meter select switch back to output, then back to reduction and adjust again. Do this several times until the meter consistently sits at 0.


  41. What are the actual attack and release times on the TLA-100A?
    The nomenclature on the TLA-100A is a little vague because the settings are a little vague. The way we design our compressor circuits make them react in a very musical manner so the timing circuits can vary. For example, when the compressor is put in medium release and a very quick signal, like a snare drum, comes through, the release time is quite a lot faster than if a slower, more legato signal like a voice comes through. So you can see why we don't have specific markings.


  42. What are the actual attack and release times on the MPC-100A's compressor?
    The nomenclature on the MPC-100A is a little vague because the settings are a little vague. The way we design our compressor circuits make them react in a very musical manner so the timing circuits can vary. For example, when the compressor is put in medium release and a very quick signal, like a snare drum, comes through, the release time is quite a lot faster than if a slower, more legato signal like a voice comes through. So you can see why we don't have specific markings.


  43. What tube should I put in my Summit Audio gear?
    It's really up to your ears to decide. Our main suggestion is that you have a really easy return policy on any tube you get. Try one out, if you like it, then GREAT, if not, send it back and try another, until you get the sound you like the best. Or purchase a few and test between them to dial in the tone you like the best. Remember, testing between the tubes is not that easy as they have to be warmed up before you can really tell, and subtle differences can be easily forgotten. You may want to record an identical test signal with each one and test that way. One thing we like to do is record a straight vocal. We then set up a mic in front of the speaker, send it to the preamp, then the compressor, or EQ or wherever you are changing the tube. We record that vocal track again, through the speaker, through one tube after it's warmed up. Then we change the tube in the compressor, warm it up, and record again. And again, depending on how many tubes we have. That way it's a close to an exact signal every time and you can concentrate on JUST the differences between the tubes without worrying about difference in a performance. Obviously, same thing goes with bass, guitar, drums, whatever, or all of the above. That's part of the fun of tube gear, finding just that right tone. Just remember to use only 12AX7A or ECC83 type tubes.


  44. Is the TDM plug-in Extension 78 still a current product, for integration of my MPE-200 or EQ-200 with ProTools?
    Unless you happen to be running ProTools v5 or lower, Extension 78 won't do you any good. However, the Element 78 line (MPE-200 and EQ-200) are fully MIDI capable, so storing presets and automation is easy just by instantiating a MIDI track for each one. Loading a preset sends that info out as a SysEx message that can stored on the track so playback will load that info, and any changes you make with the product are sent out as Continuous Controller (CC) messages, so all that data can be saved and played back as recall or automation.


  45. When stereo linking the DCL-200, do both channels need to be adjusted?
    When you set the DCL-200 to stereo link, you will need to adjust the gain independently on each channel, but otherwise you can just set the rest of the controls on channel one.


  46. Are the controls on a DCL-200 continuously variable or detented?
    All controls on the DCL-200 are continuously variable, not detented.


  47. How does the 'slope' control work on my MPC-100A and DCL-200?
    The slope control is similar to a 'ratio' control on some compressors, but the term 'slope' more accurately describes what is happening in the circuit since the compressor is very program dependent. It doesn't force a specific ratio on the signal, a higher slope will tend to do more compression but constantly adjusts itself to the incoming signal.


  48. What is the loading adjustment for on my MPC-100A or TD-100?
    The loading (impedance) adjustment on the MPC-100A and TD-100 changes the impedance of the Hi-Z input. It is just for the Hi-Z input, not the mic input on the MPC-100A. Our 2BA-221 has loading control for the mic input.


  49. Is there a mod for the DCL-200 so that you can use one gain control in stereo link mode?
    We have looked at switched gain and similar methods, and unfortunately any switch or pot has 5-10% variation in the control unless you get into the very, very expensive rotary switched controls. And, if there is some kind of anomaly in the signal, such as a slight decrease in gain in a tube, or something in the chain around the DCL-200 which is uneven, there is no way to make it even. Unless, on the modified DCL-200, there is also a trim control.... which means you're using a pot again! We feel the best method of TRUE stereo matching is running a test tone and matching the gains that way.


  50. Are the mic pres in the TPA-200B and MPC-100A the same?
    Although both the MPC-100A and TPA-200B use a Jensen transformer and vacuum tubes, they are actually different preamps, and actually use different mic pre transformers as well. Although there are similarities between the two, they are not identical.


  51. I just got the 2BA-221. Which phantom power do you recommend using? The one off my mixing board, or the one from the preamp? Does it matter?
    We are very particular about the phantom power, in fact, there is a separate transformer in the 2BA-221 to make sure there is good, clean, reliable, and steady phantom power for your mics. The quality of the phantom power can make a huge difference in the sounds from you microphones, I would suggest using the +48 from the 2BA-221.


  52. How are your products tested and inspected before they ship?
    Every product, whether it's a new product or repair goes through a complete compliment of tests to ensure it is in perfect working order for you. First, it is tested on a battery of tests with our Audio Precision II test equipment to make sure everything is up to spec. Then it is burned in in our burn-in rack for at least 24 hours with signal to make sure that there is nothing wrong that would fail with signal and heat. Then we personally sit down with it in our studio and listen to every input and output, with music, microphone, and instrument (usually guitar or bass). Only after we have given it a full inspection with ears and eyes is it ready to ship. We make sure it's in perfect shape and sounding exactly as WE would want them to sound in our studios!


  53. Should I use the TLA-50 with my bass rig?
    The TLA-50 is fantastic with bass, probably the second most common thing we see it used on after vocals. It's really easy to use and has a gorgeous, thick tone and controls the peaks in an extremely musical way, it won't give you that 'pumping and breathing' sound that many compressors do. Just be sure to use a preamp first, such as the TD-100, the TLA-50 does not have a Hi-Z (instrument) input, only the -10dB and +4dB inputs.


  54. Will I get polarity reversals if using pin 2 and pin 3 hot devices together?
    Since any piece of gear has the same polarity on the input and output, there will be no polarity (or 'phase') change. So, there's really no effect on the signal. A pin 2 hot mic going into a pin 3 hot (old) TPA-200B will go through the balancing circuit the same way. The pins are polarity inverted at the output in the mic, then inverted again in the preamp to be put back in the same polarity, therefore taking any line noise from EMI or RFI OUT of phase, canceling the noise. The signal on each pin (2 or 3, 1 is ground) is identical, just polarity reversed until it goes back into a balancing circuit. Same thing on the outputs. Keep it balanced and everything is just the same. Really, the only thing to keep in mind is if you are unbalancing the circuit at some point. It is common practice to tie Low (pin 3 usually) to Ground (pin 1). We suggest you always float the unused pin, don't attach to ground. Now, since March of 2003, all Summit products are built to the AES specification of Pin 2 hot, so this will only apply to units built before then.


  55. My Summit Audio gear says 220V and my country uses 240V, what's the difference?
    240V is the same as 220V, voltages are in a range. For example, the US, we see anywhere from about 109V to 130V, power supplies are made to work within a range like that.


  56. How does a vacuum tube work?
    The first actual vacuum tube triodes were developed by Irving Langmuir at General Electric in 1915. Like many inventions, these were spin-offs of earlier inventions and improved on theories and inventions of earlier scientists (including Tesla, Hittord, Goldstein, Fleming, De Forest and Edison). At it's most basic, a tube consists of electrodes in a vacuum surrounded by glass. The first electrode called a filament ( or 'cathode') releases electrons into the vacuum (thermionic emission) resulting in a negatively charged cloud which is drawn to the other electrode, the positively charged plate (or 'anode'). The result is current flowing from filament to plate in one direction (also called a diode). A triode tube adds a the third electrode, called a 'grid', between the filament and plate. By varying the polarity of the voltage applied to it, the grid controls the number of electrons flowing to the plate from the filament. Thus, the grid is used to control the plate voltage, turning it into a voltage amplifier. To make this really simple, let's make an example. The power from the power supply is coming in and going to the cathode, the output of the anode goes to a speaker. Obviously, in a real world situation there is a lot of circuitry to make this happen, but for our purposes, this is enough detail. The filament (cathode) is heated up by the incoming voltage. This then emits a bunch of negatively charged electrons which are released inside the vacuum, inside the tube. The anode, or plate, is positively charged, so the negative electrons will flow in that direction, seeking the positive charge. This is a 'diode', voltage can only flow in one direction. To make it a triode we add the grid, between the cathode and anode. This grid can control the number of electrons that flow from the cathode to the anode. This grid also takes very little energy to do this, since all it has to do is change it's polarity. For our example, we will control the grid with the output of an electric guitar. The metal strings vibrating over the magnetic pickup creates a very low voltage polarity swing, enough to change the voltage on the grid. In our model, the output from the cathode into the anode is full volume, the grid, which is controlled from the guitar, controls how much voltage is being passed by controlling the electron flow from the cathode to the anode. Thus, the tube in this capacity, is an amplifier. Of course there are MANY more components necessary to make this example work in the real world, like regulating power, stacking different amplifiers, etc. However, this shows in a very basic way how a vacuum tube can work as an amplifier.


  57. I have a TD-100 that I am using with a Bergantino IP. I heard about a modification for the TD-100 for use with this product. What is it and what does it do?
    The "Berg mod" is really pretty simple. The Bergantino IP uses a +2dB nominal input level instead of the industry standard +4dB. This modification slightly lowers the output gain on the TD-100 so that you can use more of the available gain on the TD-100 without overloading the IP's input. The modification is simple, it is simply changing the value of two resistors on the output which lowers the overall output gain by 2dB. Feel free to contact us and we will assist you with the mod.