Put simply, Camden 500 is the most astoundingly clean, linear, and transparent preamp you’ve ever heard. But it can also be the most colourful and characterful at the turn of a dial.
Camden 500 was designed from the ground-up to be the ultimate front-end for the modern studio and engineer and to withstand the rigours of modern workflow and production techniques. It features a completely original, custom-designed preamp topology that achieves stunning low-noise and low-distortion performance as well as frequency and phase linearity at all gain settings. The sum result is -129.5dB EIN (150ohm, unweighted), THD+N as low as 0.0002%, frequency response of ±0.7dB from 5Hz to 200kHz at max gain and <2° phase shift @ 20Hz – 20kHz.
For moments when that extra bit of preamp character is required, rather than use a transformer and learn to live with its sonic drawbacks, Cranborne Audio developed Mojo – two discrete analogue saturation styles that transform Camden 500 into the fattest, warmest, and most characterful preamp in your arsenal – all at the turn of a dial. Perhaps best of all and unlike transformer and other legacy designs, Mojo can be subtle, it can also be exaggerated, but it can also be bypassed when complete transparency is required for the session.
Clean, Precise, and Natural – at all gain positions
Whilst preamp specifications often quote fantastic figures at specific gain values, when the gain is increased, those figures often change radically. Camden 500 was designed to retain all of its impressive performance specifications at all gain positions from 8dB to 68dB. This means that even when the preamp is running at maximum gain, the Phase and Frequency response remains linear and THD always remains inaudible – enabling all gain positions to be usable for any source and mic combination.
Vintage, Warm, and Coloured – thanks to Mojo
Mojo is a new type of saturation circuit that consists of an array of filters and discrete second/third order harmonic generators that allow precise emulation of the saturation and low-end reinforcement behaviours of vintage transformer and valve-based equipment. The key to Mojo is that it can be dialled in to taste; use subtle amounts for gentle saturation, or dial it in to well beyond the point that destructive clipping would usually occur in transformer-based preamps. Perhaps the very best part of Mojo is that it can be bypassed to reveal the pristine base sound of the Camden 500.
Thump is a style that works best on – but is not limited to – low-frequency based instruments. Thump excites low-end content by boosting harmonics in the range of ~100Hz to 20Hz and below without increasing the fundamental frequencies – resulting in fuller low-end on all reproduction mediums. As Thump is not EQ-based, the additional harmonic content is shaped by the source and it’s existing low-end frequency content resulting in a natural addition of extra “Thump”. Similar-sounding EQ moves will result in extreme wooliness as all sonic energy is boosted – even unwanted audio in-between the hits.
Cream introduces a vintage smoothness that enables tracks to sit deep within a complex mix in a way that cannot be replicated with EQ. The Cream setting drastically increases THD whilst smoothing-out the low-mids. As with Thump, Cream is not EQ based and is purely achieved by blending 2 saturation stages with the dry signal and additional harmonics. Cream varies entirely on the harmonic signature of the incoming source. It will increase high-end forwardness and create unique harmonic-based tonal shaping effects on mid-range instruments, but it will also add low-end on full range sources as well as unique “compression-style” effect on transients.
- Fully-discrete, transformerless design featuring custom ‘Camden’ preamp topology designed by Cranborne Audio’s Director of Engineering – Edward Holmes
- Optimised Input Impedance and input headroom for Mic, Line, and HI-Z sources
- Optimised for and fully-compliant with the 500-series format
- Audio performance at the near-theoretical limits of noise, distortion, and phase/frequency linearity at all gain settings
- EIN: <-129.5dBu, 150 Ohm source, unweighted, <-135.5dBu, Inputs common, unweighted
- THD+N: <0.00025% (1kHz, 35dB gain, +24dBu out)
- Intermodulation Distortion: <0.0006% (50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, +20dBu out)
- Phase Shift: <2.75° (20Hz to 20kHz, 40dB gain), <6° (20Hz to 20kHz, Max Gain)
- Freq. Response: ±0.7dB (<1 Hz to >1000 kHz, 35dB gain), ±1dB (<5 Hz to >200 kHz, Max Gain)
- RGB Signal Level LED with integrated Clip indicator
- Unique 48v status LED
- 48v LED Lights Orange to indicate voltage charging or dissipating to prevent damage to ribbon microphones and to ensure voltage is fully charged before use
- 48v LED lights RED when voltage is fully charged and ready to use
- Mojo analogue saturation circuits with variable control, true bypass, and 2 discrete styles – Thump and Cream
- Thump excites low-end content by boosting lower odd/even harmonics from a range of 160Hz to 20Hz and below
- Cream boosts odd/even harmonics whilst also reducing the amplitude of the fundamental frequencies and applying typical transformer-style transient taming
- Reamp line-level tracks from your DAW through Mojo to apply analogue saturation to your stems, VST, and stereo mixes
- Gold Flashing on backplane contacts for increased conductivity and durability
- Designed and Engineered in the UK
Mic= 8dB, Line = 0dB, Hi-Z = 3dB
<2.25° (40dB gain, 20Hz to 20kHz),
<4° (max gain, 20Hz to 20kHz)
Mic = 68dB, Line = 60dB, Hi-Z = 63dB
<0.0004% (1kHz, 35dB gain, 24dBu out)
Mic= 8.9kOhms 48v Off, 5.4kOhms 48v ON,
Line = 24.3kOhms,
Hi-Z= 1.5MOhm unbalanced, 3MOhm balanced
<0.0008% (50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, 20dBu out),
<0.0006% (50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, 15dBu out)
|Max Input Level:
Mic = 17.6dBu (<0.003% THD),
Line = 26.5dBu (<0.02% THD),
Hi-Z = 24dBu (<0.02% THD)
|Hi-Pass Filter (HPF):
80Hz, -3dB, 12dB/Oct
120mA per rail – idle, 140mA per rail – typical use case
|Max Output Level:
27.5dBu (<0.002% THD, 30dB gain)
>70dB, typ >85dB, 35dB gain, 10-20kHz, 100mV Common mode
|Equivalent Input Noise (EIN):
<-129.5dBu (150 ohm source, unweighted),
<-131dBu (150 ohm source, A-weighted),
<-135.5dBu (Inputs common, unweighted)
20V/uS, 35dB gain, 25dBu out
±0.25dB (<5 Hz to >200 kHz, 35dB gain),
<±1dB (<5 Hz to >200 kHz, max gain)
Camden 500’s THD+N remains inaudible and below 0.02% at all frequencies and gain positions. THD+N reaches 0.0002% (1kHz) at 24.5dB gain, and remains below 0.0008% (1kHz) at all gain positions from 8dB to 46.5dB. The tonal qualities of THD are subjective, but what is objective is that THD is completely inaudible on Camden 500. This means that there is no colouration being applied onto your input signal – unless it has been applied using Mojo.
Camden 500’s phase shift remains below 2.25° between 20Hz-20kHz up to 57.5dB of gain. This allows Camden 500 to produce punchy, sharp, and tight transients at all frequencies and on all sources without fear of reduced attack as gain is increased. At maximum gain, Camden 500’s phase shift increases to only 4° – an unprecedented figure for a mic preamp at maximum gain.
Camden 500’s frequency response remains linear within 0.7dB from 5Hz to 200kHz at all gain settings. Maintaining an extended frequency bandwidth dramatically reduces intermodulation distortion and other complex interactions finding their way into the audio band and causing high-end smearing and ‘hype’. A typical preamp can begin rolling off frequencies above 20kHz which makes them susceptible to a harsh and unnatural high-end character.