576-Channel Mixing System
Loyal Rane fans often use equipment in unique ways. David Kronemyer had a requirement to mix 576 audio channels in realtime, and Rane gear met the challenge.
David Kronemyer has been involved with the performing arts since first attending opera and symphony performances in junior high school. In 1984, he became Vice President of Capitol Records and in 1993, Senior Vice President of Atlantic Records.
David has also been involved in the production, financing and distribution of nearly 75 movies, including Sex, Lies and Videotape and My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- one of the most successful independently-produced motion pictures ever.
Over the years, David's music studio has collected a variety of classic synthesizers and sound modules. As a matter of performance ethic, he decided he wanted to keep all of them on all of the time, accessible via a master stereo bus.
Over a period of time, David and his crew attempted to devise a method to accomplish this result. For various reasons, the solutions they implemented were unsatisfactory.
David writes: "We therefore determined to use discontinued Rane SM 26 Splitter Mixers for the mono synths and Rane SM 82 Stereo Mixers for the stereo synths and modules.
The SM 26 has six input channels, and the SM 82 has eight stereo channels (nine if you use the stereo return as an input channel, as David did). Both units have a feature that allows them to be daisy-chained together on a single bus. David's studio uses chains of twos and threes.
After evaluating several master bus modules, David and his team selected the TubeTech SSA 2A, which has eight stereo pairs and four mono channels.
All of the modules terminate at the back of the racks on EDAC/ELCO 90-pin connectors. The snakes then lead to stage boxes throughout the studio (for the keyboard synths) or to EDAC/ELCO 90-pin connectors on the back of the racks (for the sound modules). (David admits that "this was a considerable wiring project!")
"We acquired 24 of the Rane SM 26 and 24 of the Rane SM 82 units. We re-chipped several of the older units. A few of them did not function properly and in lieu of trying to fix them ourselves, we sent them off to Rane for repair. We would like to complement Rane’s product support department, which restored them to pristine working condition quickly and inexpensively."
In the end, David had his 576 channels. He writes: "The stereo bus is whisper-quiet, even when pushed to higher gains. We attribute this primarily to plenty of AC headroom (900 amps); use of EquiTech balancing transformers; tying all power supplies together to a single transformer; careful wiring practices, such as separating all power from all audio; progressive optimization of the chips inside of the mixers; and over-all component excellence. We sincerely appreciate the great modules from Rane that made this project possible."
David claims that he is still in need of additional audio channels.
Note: The SM 26 and SM 82 were upgraded in 2008 to contain internal power supplies and renamed the SM 26S and SM 82S. All features are the same.