also known as
"THE FRONT END"
Let's get the name thing out of the way now. Originally I named my disc transfer toolbox "Mousetrap", as I felt it was better than anything then available and that the world would consequently beat a path to my door. Such are the delusions of youth. Seeing no obvious evedence that this was happening, I launched it in the USA as "The Front End", wherupon everybody started referring to it as "Mousetrap"...
Anyway, Mousterap and The Front End are, for the present, one and the same thing. A stereo universal disc preamplifier, known as The Stereo Front End, will shortly be available. In the meantime, a description of the original unit follows.
The Front End is designed to solve the many problems involved in reproducing recordings from mono grooved media, both cylinders and discs. Chief among these are different recording senses (vertical, lateral, etc.), surface noise and selection of the correct playback characteristic.Other units exist which tackle some of these problems, but The Front End is unusual in tackling all three in one unit. This integrated approach allows the various system elements to be designed synergistically, to the benefit of performance.
The input signal may be taken direct from a stereo magnetic pickup (for which there are two switchable inputs) or from a line level source (stereo tape or DAT, for example). Provision is made for the correct playback of vertical or lateral cuts.
The first noise reduction sidechain continually selects the quieter groove wall for reproduction. This proven technique is rendered powerful in The Front End by the use of fast devices and meticulous circuit design, the result being very effective crackle reduction.
Residual crackle and clicks are dealt with in the second sidechain, which exploits the degree of freedom inherent in the mono groove to permit reliable detection of impulsive noise and minimise false triggering.
The third sidechain, whilst similar in approach to the second, makes assumptions about the wanted signal which permit greater reduction of impulse noise but carry a risk of distortion on some electrical recordings. It should therefore be used with care, but the results on acoustic recordings can be astonishing!
These three sidechains are supplied as standard, but The Front End also contains provision for a fourth sidechain to allow for future developments and safeguard your investment.Furthermore, several customers have found that The Front End works well in conjunction with computer noise reduction systems such as CEDAR, making for a formidably powerful sound restoration tool.
Equalisation of old recordings is a complicated business. There was no industry standard curve until the stereo era and frequently the particular curve used for a given recording is a mystery, even before the day-to-day variations of the recording electronics is considered. The Front End tackles these problems in two ways. Firstly, provision is made for the correction of any published recording curve, up to and including RIAA, with a special curve for optimal playback of acoustic recordings. Secondly, this is arranged in the classic AES three-control configuration, with one switch for each of bass, middle and treble time-constants, together with a sweepable 12dB/octave Bessel low pass filter. This arrangement not only ensures the maximum flexibility, but allows speedy determination of the likely correct playback curve by ear when this information is not otherwise available.
Some archives have conservation protocols which require the storage of the unequalised signals from left and right groove walls. These are available on a separate pair of output sockets, independent of the main outputs.
The Front End originally evolved when its designer was introduced to the delights of shellac by John R.T. Davies. Resolving to enter the remastering field himself, he found that the existing tools for the job could be substantially improved, and developed The Front End for his own and Davies' use. Units have now been sold to other top remastering engineers and to several national sound archives. You can thus be assured that The Front End is a practical toolbox providing solutions to a range of real world transfer problems. Furthermore, the unit is designed for continuous use in a professional environment, and to have a long service life.
The Front End is available direct from us, the current price being £4500 sterling and delivery six weeks.
Contact Ted Kendall
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