Prism Sound: Leaders in Pristine High-Definition Audio

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Prism Sound: Leaders in Pristine High-Definition Audio

Words by Brett Voss

Tracing the history of the groundbreaking British manufacturers.

Prism Sound has an established reputation as a developer of high-end audio equipment with flawless digital signal conversion. 

The founders of the company Graham Boswell and Ian Dennis began working on digital audio technology for Rupert Neve in the early years of digital sound product development. They initially designed the Neve DSP, which was the world’s first commercial digital audio mixing console using DSP, before consulting to develop a digital commentary and communications switching matrix used by the BBC to cover the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. 

This groundbreaking research led to the launch of Prism Sound in the early ‘90s and the development of their own range of analogue-to-digital and digital-to-analogue audio converters. These first converters (AD-1 and later the AD-124) focused on dynamic range performance and low-level clarity, and were hailed at the time as a breakthrough in digital sound quality. The first converters were capable of capturing amazing low level detail in the digital recording realm, creating a new benchmark standard for digital sound recording. 

Initially, these A/D converters were in high-demand in mastering facilities where remastering for CD releases was in high demand. The range later moved into tracking with the ADA-8 in 2001, with this unit capable of 16 channels of either A/D or D/A conversion simultaneously. Early adopters of this technology included Abbey Road Studios, Metropolis Studios and Air Studio amongst others, establishing Prism Sound as the leading manufacturer of digital audio converters. 

Prism Sound is fundamentally known for their ultra-transparent sound, and ability to capture amazingly detailed audio recordings. Their current range of devices includes the legendary ADA-8XR, the new flagship ADA128, middle-range Atlas and Titan series, and the compact Lyra 1 and 2 audio interfaces. These devices all offer extremely flexible, quality solutions for audio production. The range is suitable for discerning users with varying track count requirements, from bedroom producers, through to high-end recording and broadcast facilities looking for uncompromising AD/DA conversion. 

The higher specification of their range features the recently released ADA128, which boasts a whole host of features. These include customisable I/O of up to 128 channels, four simultaneous clocking domains, ADRA analogue and digital internal routing architecture, plus support for sampling rates up to 768 Khz at 32-bit.

Designed with flexibility and quality in mind, this unit offers connectivity with Dante, Pro Tools and AES directly, and in combination with on-board analogue I/O. The internal routing allows for connectivity between any of these input or output sources seamlessly, while the desktop control application allows remote control of the preamp section. The compact modular design features high quality, customisable capability that easily fulfils requirements in the professional studio environment. This is all housed in a two rack unit box, and packs a powerful presence for its relative size. 

While the company continues to support high-end capability for recording and broadcast, they have a range of options that support compact solutions for home studio users seeking Prism Sound’s ultra-transparent audio capability. The Lyra 1 features soft-clip limiting and Class-A preamps, with two analogue input channels and two analogue output channels, in addition to stereo S/PIDIF digital I/O. 

Supporting sample rates of up to 192kHz, this unit excels through providing quality audio transparency in an affordable format. The slightly expanded version of this compact series the Lyra 2, adds an additional two analogue outputs, word clock capability, plus expanded digital I/O capability with S/PDIF, ADAT (eight channels) and AES3.

The middle range of the Prism Sound series is covered by the Titan and Atlas interfaces. The Titan interface steps up in I/O capability with 4 ultra-clean, low noise microphone pre-amps, designed to compliment the transparent A/D conversion. Connectivity to the computer is via a standard USB connection, but also offers the capability to connect directly to Pro tools HDX, Native or a DANTE equipped network. 

Users needing more analogue input capability would move towards the Atlas interface, which offers eight microphone preamps. Both of these models feature combo XLR/6.5mm jack inputs and 8 x 6.5mm jack outputs.

Overall, the Prism Sound range has options for musicians, independent producers, through to high-end facilities which demand capturing the truest, most faithful reproduction of sound possible.  

Prism Sound is distributed in Australia via AVP Imports.