Sometimes circumstances generate inspiration. Such is the case with the work we've been immersed in with Octave Records.
For example, working now with microphones and ADCs has made me aware of their limitations when it comes to dynamic range. Like the problems we are familiar with in the reproduction chain. We know that building low to no feedback high-linearity stages with at least a magnitude of voltage headroom greater than the maximum expected signal level has huge benefits when playing dynamic music. We hear no compression artifacts.
Microphone preamplifiers, even the very best in the industry, have plenty of room for improvements. We're inspired to design our own.
Darren Myers and I are scheming on how best to build what no one else has yet built. A truly high-end microphone preamplifier we can use without concern for linearity, noise, or compression.
What's that look like? A mono chassis for a single microphone. Inside is a fully balanced zero feedback cascode-based low-noise FET input stage feeding balanced vacuum tubes running their plates at 350 volts—a few of those in parallel for low noise—and onwards to a cathode follower and finally a FET output to drive the required 600Ω load.
That's what inspiration looks like when it comes to rethinking the recording chain.
And that's just the beginning.