Tube-Tech MEC 1A Tube Channel Strip

Product Category
Preamps & Channel Strips
Vacuum Tube Circuit
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Detailed Information

Vintage tube warmth. State-of-the-art performance. You get them both with the Tube-Tech MEC 1A Recording Channel, which combines mic/line/instrument preamplification with EQ and optical compression in one 2RU chassis. Individual preamps, equalizers, and compressors in that signature Tube Tech blue are found in top pro studios all over the world. And now all those circuits are available bundled into a single space-saving chassis.

The coveted Tube-Tech sound

With seven tubes deployed throughout the audio path, the MEC 1A delivers the coveted Tube-Tech sound: warm and fat, while remaining transparent and open. With its staggering 5Hz-80kHz frequency response and vanishingly low noise floor, this incredible all-tube channel strip will add another dimension to your studio sound. Vocals with warmth yet shimmering with glorious air. Enormous walls of guitars that embrace the width of the stereo spectrum. Drums with immediacy and depth. Bass that will rattle your chair. Uber-lush strings. Horns so real you can hear the wind coming from the bell. It’s the stuff great recordings are made of.

The preamp section

The front-panel controls of the MEC 1A are arranged logically and efficiently. Starting from the left with the preamp/DI section, you have two rotary gain switches: Course provides 20dB to 60dB of gain (in 10dB steps), while Fine adds another 10dB so you can finally use your favorite ribbon mics on quiet sources. Switches for phantom power, 20dB pad, and polarity reverse are joined by a highpass filter switch that affects the mic and DI inputs and has three positions: Off, 20Hz (12dB/octave), and 40Hz (6dB/octave).

The mic input handles levels of up to +6dBu without the pad; engage the pad and the MEC 1A will accommodate line-level signals up to +26dBu. The unbalanced, high-impedance DI jack has a gain range of 10-60dB and feeds into the preamp circuit after the input transformer; plugging into it disables the mic input. The mic and line inputs share a rear-panel XLR input.

The equalizer section

The equalizer section of the MEC 1A includes low and high shelving filters plus a parametric mid band. Tube-Tech takes a novel approach here, with rotary gain controls and boost/cut switches. Up to 15dB of boost or cut is on tap for the lows and highs; 20dB for the mids. Six low- and high-shelf frequencies are selectable between 20Hz-160Hz and 4kHz-26kHz, respectively. For the mids, you have a selection of 12 center frequencies between 40Hz and 10kHz, plus a continuously variable bandwidth control. A bypass switch completes the EQ section control set.

The compression section

Following normal signal flow, after the equalizer we have the optical compressor; however you have the choice of placing the compressor before the EQ via a switch in the master section. Below this is a compressor bypass switch, which is flanked by a Link selector switch and a switch that selects between manual and fixed attack (1ms) and release (50ms) times. Ratio, Threshold, Attack, and Release controls are provided, as well as an Output Gain pot that supplies up to 10dB of make-up gain.

The MEC 1A features a moving-coil VU meter that can be switched to read either output level or compressor gain reduction. An On/Off switch and bright red jewel pilot lamp complete the feature set. The MEC 1A’s rear panel hosts two TRS jacks that allow for linking the compressor sidechains of multiple units for ganged operation. Using the front-panel Link 1/Link 2 switches, you can determine, without re-patching, which of the daisy-chained compressors will be linked in two possible groups for stereo operation.

Tube-Tech MEC 1A Recording Channel Features:

  • An all-tube channel strip that delivers the coveted Tube-Tech sound
  • Mic/line/instrument preamp, equalizer, and compression sections
  • 5Hz-80kHz frequency response and vanishingly low noise floor
  • Rear-panel TRS jacks allow for linking the compressor sidechains of multiple units for ganged operation
  • Output Gain pot supplies up to 10dB of make-up gain
  • Moving-coil VU meter reads either output level or compressor gain reduction
  • Typical Tube-Tech weapons-grade build quality.