Stock Digidesign LE Hardware or Monster Recording Interface?
Who Else Wants “The Sound” Of
A $20,000 High Definition System
For A Fraction Of The Cost?
With our powerful upgrade package, you can SUBSTANTIALLY improve the performance of your Digi 002 rack at an extremely affordable price...
"We have a customer in Milwaukee that did some tracking for a major label R&B release. The label paired him with a multi-million dollar facility in Reno, Nevada to handle mix-down. When the mix-down studio guys heard the tracks, they were so impressed that they asked our customer about his recording setup. He told them what he was using but they refused to believe him. The owner of the studio actually flew to Milwaukee just to see our customer's setup: one of our Signature Series 003R's and two of our Auteur preamps. He was furious when he saw it, because he said it sounded as good as his million dollar system yet it cost so much less. I think that says a lot about not only the state of our industry, but also about what we're doing as a company. The large amount of expense required to operate a large facility like that is becoming less and less feasible."
- Black Lion Audio
Forget what you thought you knew about digital audio! As a multi-channel recording system, we feel that the Signature Series is not only unparalleled in price, it's also extremely difficult to surpass in terms of performance. Here's why...
The Trouble With Stock 002 Racks
Let's be clear, the Digidesign 002 rack mounted firewire interfaces are a GREAT place to start your journey into the world of ProTools. But there are a few things about the stock system that prevent it from reaching its potential. At Black Lion Audio, we address these setbacks in the stock 002 racks, and turn these affordable interfaces into smooth, high definition, world-class recording devices.
In fact, some people claim their Black Lion Signature Racks sound better than an actual ProTools HD rig!
We think so too, but we'll leave that up to you to decide.
What We Do To Make Dynamic Improvements in Sound
Analog Stage and Pre-Amp Upgrade
The analog section of the circuitry is the path that the signal travels through before and after the converter stages. This includes the mic preamps, line inputs, headphone output, and line outputs. Improving the performance of these circuits improves sound quality by reducing noise and improving transient response (the audio sounds more detailed). We're fans of Burr Brown's OPA4134, and we substitute those for the TL074 opamps used in the mic preamp and line inputs. We're able to reduce analog stage noise created by the 002R's phantom power circuitry as well as reducing the RF noise created by the stock switching power supply. These modifications result in a cleaner signal, with much more high end definition.
Master Clock Upgrade
Basically, the master clock generates the signal that tells the converter when to trigger. The more accurate the clock signal, the more 'realistic' or 'defined' the converted audio signal will be. We install a high quality master clock to improve overall system response. This is a benefit that you can hear with your ears because a very accurate clock will create a very defined audio image with precise instrument placement. In spite of the fact that we're working in the digital realm, the clock is an analog signal: it's a square wave, and square waves have quite a few harmonics. Ideally, all of these harmonics should be mathematically related to each other (exponents of the fundamental). If the clock has harmonics that are not mathematically related, these harmonics will create an undesirable interference during conversion. Often, this undesirable interference will be heard as distortion components in the high and low frequencies of the audio signal. It will create phase cancellations during conversion, causing the audio to take on a limp quality, with an apparent loss of volume.
Our internal clock is incredibly accurate and very low in unwanted harmonics; delta sigma averaging methods place the amount of unwanted signal content at less than 10 picoseconds. The improved clock we install will give you improved signal clarity, fuller harmonic extension of the instrument you are tracking, an apparent increase in volume over the stock design (because of lower phase cancellations), and pinpoint image placement during mix-down. This upgrade alone brings the stock rack to a level of performance that rivals or exceeds digital audio systems costing thousands more.
220/270SP Master Clock Upgrade (Signature Series Only!)
The Signature Series clock takes our standard clock upgrade to an entirely new dimension. Our new 'patent applied for' internal master clock is, hands down, the most advanced master clock in pro audio today. So not only do you get all of the benefits of pinpoint imaging, signal clarity, and harmonic extension, but you also get something unusual for digital audio: a beefy, yet nuanced quality. Your audio will be thick, rich and highly detailed with this breakthrough master clock upgrade. Not only does it feature our field tested and proven third order crystal oscillators, it has an astonishingly low 1 picosecond of intrinsic jitter measured using a delta sigma average! Our proprietary noise suppression technology reduces RF and switching noise to a bare minimum, ensuring smooth high frequency response in the audio band. Dual high current signal driver stages are used to deliver the clock signal into galvanic-isolated 75 ohm terminations, drastically limiting transmission line reflections normally found in multi-channel digital systems. What does all of this mean? Digital audio so articulated, fat and rich it has to be heard to be believed. In a word, it sounds expensive.
A/D and D/A Converter Upgrade
The A/D and D/A circuitry configuration on stock 002R units generates excessive distortion and phase cancellation during the conversion process. Converters generate a LOT of noise when they do their work, and are very sensitive to their power sources. The reason noise is created is that they have to move a lot of current, and lots of current movement means lots of electrons moving. When those electrons move, they generate a sort of "mechanical" noise. This 'mechanical' noise actually creates harmonics that travel within the power supply and digital signal path, and these harmonics have all sorts of adverse effects. One thing that they do is reduce the amount of bit-depth that the converter is capable of achieving in its real-world performance. In its stock form, the 002R's converters are very poorly decoupled using low-grade ceramic capacitors. Instead of actually removing noise, they create resonant harmonics and make the problem worse. By properly "decoupling," we help remove or reduce this noise and its resulting after effects, leaving you with clear, crisp audio.
Powerful Supply Upgrade
By using a low-emission toroid transformer to power the analog and digital stages separately, we improve the overall character of your sound dramatically. This upgrade completely eliminates the power supply as a source of crosstalk between the analog and digital circuitry. And if that were not enough, check this out: You know how a tube guitar amp sounds 'bigger' than a solid state guitar amp? There's one reason for that: headroom. This upgrade process increases the analog stage headroom by 20db in the 002R, giving your audio more definition, more "heft," and much more "presence."
Compare Our Two Modifications On The Digi 002R:
Here are some of the glowing reviews we have received on the modified Digi 002R/003R:
"The A/D is FANTASTIC now!"
- André Mattos (A.M.P.)
Record Engineer, Musician, Producer, Teacher Amazonia, Brazil
"The mod is an immediate difference!"
"The high end sparkle is stunning!"
"It's so punchy, and the sound is so well defined and clear.
I've never heard this much clarity in my system..."
-- Joel Cruz
New Level Music
"...it just makes the stereo image come alive. Mixing is fun again!"
-- Chuck Hutcheson
Doghouse Studios, GA
"...A thousand times better than what I had before..."
-- 'Tha Govna'
Audio Engineer/Producer/Artist/Overall Fantastic Bastard
"Clearly the best studio upgrade dollar I've ever spent!"
- Brad Cobb
The Absolute Best Value In Pro Audio!
Our upgrade packages are, dollar for dollar, one of the most dramatic improvements you can do to your 002 Rack. If you were to purchase a ProTools HD 3 rig, you could easily end up spending $20,000.00 by the end of the day.
Of all the gear you could spend your hard-earned money on, we promise you this modification will leave you with a smile, everytime you crank up your system. It's so powerful, and so dramatic, it's simply a "no-brainer."
Our modifications come at a fraction of the price, and are in use by some of the top facilities and sound engineers in the world, such as SDI Media, The Los Angeles Opera, Audio Ease (AltiVerb Impulse Times are tracked on a Signature Series 002), Mattel, Disney, Fox Sports, Sony Scoring, and many more...
And remember, these are practices that aren't used by any other manufacturer. We've found them to yield sonic improvements that rival the most expensive conversion systems available in pro audio today!
We offer the following two Digi 002R modifications:
The Tweak Head modification for $845
The Signature Series modification for $1350
(+$30 shipping within the continental United States. For International orders, shipping prices will vary).
Here's How To Order
Contact us by phone or
Payment must be made within three (3) business days of scheduling, and can be made by credit card or through Paypal. Once payment is received, your scheduled appointment is confirmed.*
There is a waiting list for modifications, but don't worry, it's usually not too long. We normally perform upgrades within 7 days of receiving the unit.
Contact us to schedule an appointment for your 002R modification!
* Please read our disclaimer (below). Thanks!
The next available date for scheduling a BLA mod is May 15 2013. Modifications can also be booked beyond this date as well, but all previous dates have been filled.
Alison Krauss and Union Station's album Paper Airplanes was awarded the 2011 Grammy for "Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical". Congrats to AKUS, Mike Shipley, Neil Cappellino, and Brad Blackwood, and thanks from all of us at BLA. We appreciate the fact that you took a chance on us; a small group of music industry outsiders here in Chicago.
Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer Mark Isham is currently mixing the score for the new ABC drama, “Once Upon A Time…” on his two BLA modified 96 I/O’s. The show is a contemporary story inspired by classic fairy tales, and is sure to be adorned with an amazing score to provide the ideal aesthetic framework for the film (as Mark’s projects always do)!
The new album by Tyler Ramsey (of Band of Horses' fame) has been released on Fat Possum Records, and is entitled "The Valley Wind." It was tracked and mixed by Bill Reynolds (also of Band of Horses). The record was done on Bill's Digi 003R Signature Series mod and modified Behringer ADA 8000, and sounds it absolutely beautiful! Give it a listen RIGHT HERE.
Several tracks on the new Lady Gaga album were mixed by Tony Maserati and crew on our FM192. Look for the single "You and I" which features Brian May of Queen on guitar.
The new Beyonce record, entitled "4" was mixed by Tony Maserati using our FM192 converters.
The new album by Alison Krauss & Union Station, "Paper Airplane" is now available! This record was tracked and mixed by Mike Shipley on the Black Lion Audio FM 192. In our opinion it sounds UNBELIEVABLE!! Alison now refuses to record on anything other than BLA converters! Read the interview with Mike Shipley in the July issue of Sound On Sound.
Our 2-channel D/A design is almost finished, and we're also working on a "big brother" to our Micro Clock mk2! It'll be housed in a 1U 1/2 rack, and feature AES, spdif, & optical outputs, six BNC word clock outputs, BNC word clock input, frequency display, and selectable frequency output of 44.1kHz-384kHz.
Grammy nominee Jay Ruston has recently completed mixing the new "Big 4 Live DVD," a live concert featuring METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, and ANTHRAX. He dropped us a line to let us know he proudly used our "Micro Clock mk2," for mixing the DVD audio!
Maroon 5's new single, "Misery," from their album "Hands All Over" was produced by Mutt Lange and mixed by Mike Shipley using our acclaimed FM 192!
Check out the song on Facebook, Myspace, and iTunes, and compare it to their previously recorded material; the FM 192 sounds absolutely amazing, even at low res!
We are proud to announce the arrival of our new Audio Precision SYS-2722. Audio Precision is an industry leader in audio testing technology, and we're happy to employ their flagship system for testing and development here at Black Lion Audio.
The April 2010 issue of Mix Magazine contains an absolutely stellar review by Grammy Award-winner Erik Zobler of our very own FM 192! They even have us listed right on the front cover.... (pretty cool!!) Be sure to check it out!
(The Donnas, Anthrax, Leonard Cohen, Matisyahu, Cold War Kids, Morrissey, Diana Ross, Brian Wilson, Jars of Clay, American Idol)