Black Lion Audio Sparrow MkII ADC RED version
Black Lion Audio proudly introduces our completely redesigned, 2-channel analog-to-digital converter, the Sparrow mkII!
There is an obvious need for affordable, yet good-quality converters within the professional and project studio world. Certainly there are great two-channel systems available, but they are prohibitively expensive. Those that are within reach of the project studio’s budget usually suffer from the poor sonic qualities that plague mass-produced studio equipment. We have made it our mission to develop superior-quality, boutique audio equipment at very “un-boutique,” affordable prices, and the Sparrow mkII is exactly that!
The Sparrow mkII is housed in a 1U, ½ rack chassis, featuring XLR and ¼” balanced inputs, LED metering, BNC word clock I/O, AES output, coax & optical S/PDIF output, and user selectable input level calibration that accommodates nominal input signal levels from +11dBu down to -10dBV. It features sampling rates from 44.1kHz -192kHz, with clocking architecture that features low jitter and wide Q third harmonic crystal oscillators. Because of the quality of the clock multiplier and PLL recovery stages, performance will not degrade should the converter be synchronized to a lower quality word clock reference.
The A/D conversion process is a tricky beast to tame. Because conversion requires so much current movement, there are plenty of places for unwanted noise to be created, both within the signal chain and in the power supply. As we began to research and test approaches to converter design, we discovered a unique way to reduce these unwanted artifacts, one that’s not cost prohibitive to implement and works better than traditional approaches. We coupled this proprietary converter circuit to a high-speed, high-headroom analog stage that can capture the smallest nuances and micro-dynamics. The result is unparalleled: a mastering grade, two-channel A/D converter that not only has an enormous sound with pinpoint imaging, but also has a smooth, open sonic quality and a wonderfully rich midrange. No other converter sounds like a Sparrow mkII.
Our Sparrow mkII features 4 input stage trim presets and a single amplifier before the converter for simplicity and purity of signal path. Power supply filtration is designed around latest-generation high grade capacitors, ensuring low power supply noise. This is an A/D whose sonic performance is as good or better than the top A/D’s currently available; once you use the Sparrow mkII A/D converter, your standards will be forever changed!
The Sparrow mkII RED (red faceplate) is a two-channel ADC based on the circuitry used in our FM192 (used on major label recordings by Maroon 5, Lady GaGa, Alison Krauss, Beyonce, and others). It is in a class of its own, yet priced at only $1399. It features a low-noise, low-ripple converter circuit design and the same FM clock that’s found in our FM192. A rich, euphonic frequency response, shimmering top end, and fat low-end extension are all elements of this uniquely musical converter. Once you track with it, you’ll find that other converters sound hard, processed, or lifeless. Use it for mastering, recording, final mixes, or whatever application your studio needs.