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Benchmark Media Systems Introduces MPA1 Ultra-Low Distortion Microphone Preamplifier

The MPA1 maintains superb noise performance across the entire gain range (74 dB) by utilizing precision-matched, low-noise, transistor quad-arrays

By PSW Staff June 4, 2009

The Benchmark MPA1 two-channel microphone preamplifier. A larger version of this image is included below.

The new Benchmark Media Systems MPA1 is a two-channel microphone preamplifier designed to provide transparency, ultra-low distortion, and ultra-low noise performance, making it a great choice for stereo pairs, ribbon microphones, and other critical applications.

The input stage of the MPA1 is designed with high-voltage headroom (+29 dBu) and single-stage gain control to maximize signal-to-noise ratio.

The MPA1 maintains superb noise performance across the entire gain range (74 dB) by utilizing precision-matched, low-noise, transistor quad-arrays. A servo-controlled circuit minimizes DC-offset and maximizes headroom.

The MPA1 exhibits exceptional low-frequency performance with a dual-capacitor AC-coupling design. This dual-capacitor design defeats the limitations of single-capacitor AC-coupling designs, achieving an exceptionally low corner-frequency with excellent subsonic phase-accuracy.

The gain control of the MPA1 is completely unique. The gain is controlled via a 38-position, switched resistor ladder, set up in a continuously rotating orientation via relay control.

This gain control circuit offers 2 dB per step, 0-74 dB of gain without attenuation, and inter-channel gain precision of +/- 0.03 dB. A make-before-break scheme creates a silent switching circuit.

The Benchmark MPA1 microphone preamplifier (click to enlarge)

The transistor stage is protected from phantom power surges with an ultra-fast, multi-stage protection circuit. This circuit utilizes the high-speed capabilities of low-capacitance Schotky diodes and the high-current capabilities of TVS diodes to absorb the phantom power surges caused by shorts and plugging/unplugging microphones with +48V on.

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This circuit is pre-biased so that it is isolated from the circuit in normal operation and activated when a surge occurs.

Benchmark Media Systems Website

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