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Home | Products | Modular Studio Series | MSS-10 Overview

MSS-10 Overview

Overviews are brief descriptions of benefits and features. You may read the text version below or download a PDF which is identical to the glossy printed Overview in our literature rack.

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The Natural Sound Mic Preamp
Movers and shakers of professional audio dream about finding that rare piece of equipment that will keep them on the cutting edge. A career building tool that effortlessly produces awesome sound. The Martech MSS-10 quickly established itself as the mic preamp of choice for many of the audio elite because it has Natural Sound, the mythical straight wire with gain. Its uncanny ability to deliver astonishing realism is, simply stated, audio magic in a box. Join the hit makers who already enjoy immense artistic satisfaction using the MSS-10 Natural Sound Mic Preamp and turn your audio dreams into recording legends.

"I’m blown away in the sense that it’s very hi-fi and open and sweet, but it’s not sterile and boring. It’s got fidelity but it’s got a lot of character and a lot of soul and it brings things present in the track. Audiophile used to be a bad word but this is hi-fi with soul."-Joe Chiccarelli, Engineer on Elton John’s Songs From the West Coast

Why the MSS-10
In the past, world-class engineers collected the best tube and discrete preamps, each for its own character. One for great top end, another for clarity, a third for punch, and still another for bottom. Over time, these preamps became almost mystical, credited for creating the magic of great recordings. In reality, those talented engineers just used the preamp that was least detrimental to the desired characteristic, struggling to maintain the magic of the performance.

The Martech MSS-10 brings a new paradigm to mic preamps. The real magic of the MSS-10 is that it does absolutely nothing. With nothing to cheat your audio you’ll hear it like never before! No sideshow hype or tacky disappearing acts. Illusions of zip, zing, and whoompf can’t satisfy once you experience real magic. Silky top, absolute clarity, knockdown punch, and fat bottom end to make your world go ’round. The MSS-10 delivers the body and soul of the performance with astonishing realism and immediacy. Real magic we call Natural Sound.

"Shockingly good" is a stunning endorsement from Bruce Botnick, a man who has heard it all. His engineering work, from the Doors to major motion picture scores, is driven by his passion for audio. Bruce knows that the secret of legendary recording lies in capturing the excitement and beauty of the original performance. He selects only the best equipment that faithfully reproduces every detail. Bruce uses the MSS-10 with his world-class mics over other well-respected preamps, because the Natural Sound of the MSS-10 delivers the real magic he strives for.

What is Natural Sound?
When equipment seriously degrades audio there are many esoteric and vulgar words to describe it. Gear that does a better job of preserving the original sound is often called euphonic. By reproducing every detail of the original without introducing any artifacts, we discovered something far better than euphonic; something very special we call Natural Sound.

Natural Sound is far from sterile, being full of life and vitality. And while accuracy is often judged by static measurements, Natural Sound goes far beyond technical precision by faithfully recreating the intricacies and realism of the original performance.

Experience unconstrained dynamics that never remove the faintest detail or pinch when the music soars. And when punch is required, stand back. Enjoy airy top end without smear, crystal clear mids, real warmth without mud, and extra octaves of rock solid bottom end. Natural Sound is simply breathtaking. An aural seduction. The essence of what drives one’s passion for audio.

Natural Sound. Nothing added. Nothing removed. Everything you always dreamed of.

Features and functions
The MSS-10 is comprised of dual signal paths in a single unit, allowing flexibility in getting the best audio from a microphone to a recorder.

The preamp section uses two stages of gain from mic input to direct out, providing wide bandwidth and a stable design. It features 65dB of gain switched in 5dB steps, 48V phantom, 20dB pad and polarity reverse.

The line driver section can select the preamp out or a balanced line input. This makes a great EQ insert point. The level control adjusts continuously from infinity to +10dB, allowing for riding of gain. The addition of a mute and professional VU meter allows the finest audio quality possible to be sent directly to the recorder. Engaging the Cal button provides precise VU monitoring of the selected source.

Not only does it sound awesome, it looks like a piece of art. The sophisticated, elegant appearance of the matte finish, nickel-plated faceplate matches your finest microphones while ergonomic knobs and lighted push buttons provide positional information at a glance from any angle. The beautiful package tells your clients that you own only the best.

A peek under the lid
Tracing out the schematic or unpotting the transformer will not reveal the secret of the natural sound of the MSS-10. Martech’s Natural Sound Design Methodology uses the exquisitely sensitive human ear to guide all design choices.

Every component and circuit was listened to, individually and collectively, assuring the finest signal path possible. Thousands of hours were invested, listening for the subtlest differences compared against a wire.

As a result, the heart of the MSS-10 comprises proprietary, high resolution, high voltage, all discrete, non-inverting amplifiers along with a custom built, oversize input transformer. Special silver switches with redundant contacts are preconditioned with a stabilizing agent. Hard wiring avoids internal connectors. Carefully tuned DC servo amps eliminate the coloration of in-path capacitors, while improving bottom end response. Bipolar 24v rails provide true +24dBm output even into an unbalanced input.

Finally, unique grounding techniques and balanced impedance outputs are used to ensure a flawless interface to the outside world.

What others are saying

"The main solid-state mic pres we used were Martech MSS-10s; we found those to be the best out of everything we had. At times, we had up to eight of those going. Paul Simon’s vocal mic signal chain throughout the album was a Neumann M149 through the Martech mic pre." - Andy Smith, Engineer on recording Paul Simon’s album You’re the One

"The MSS-10 gives me the clarity and musicality that I need for DSD and 96kHz/24 bit. The noise floor is well below the vintage microphones that I use and doesn’t add unwanted coloration to the sound." - Bruce Botnick, Producer/Mixer/ Engineer on recording motion picture scores

"The first thing that I really noticed was on vocals, which sold me on it immediately. It made the vocals sound really present, which required less EQ and less compression to really get them to stand out on the track." - Jerry Finn, Producer on recording Blink 182’s albums Take Off Your Pants & Jacket and Enema of the State

"The Specs are impressive, but Martech clearly intends the performance to be judged by the ear rather than the meter." - Dave Foister - Studio Sound, June 1997

Judge for yourself
If you crave astonishing realism check out the MSS-10 and judge Natural Sound for yourself. The experience is so awesome that we sell the MSS-10 with a no risk, no questions asked, 60-day buy back guarantee. So what are you waiting for? Call us to order your very own and get ready to make history with your next session.

Technical specifications

Microphone preamplifier section
Gain 20dB–65dB
Maximum Input +22.5 dBu (@ 1kHz, THD 0.003%, 20 dB Pad In)
Maximum Output +24 dBu
Input Impedance 2,450 Ohms (@ 1kHz)
Output Impedance 50 Ohms
Frequency Response 10Hz – 20kHz (+0.5/-0.0)
EIN -126.5 dBu Typ. (10Hz–20kHz, 150 Ohm Source)
THD+N 0.0015% (20dB Gain @ 1kHz, +4dBu Out)
CMRR 65dB Gain 60Hz 108dB 1kHz 85dB 10kHz 65dB

Line driver section
Gain 10dB
Maximum Input +24 dBu
Maximum Output +24 dBu
Input Impedance 20k Ohms (Balanced)
Output Impedance 50 Ohms
Frequency Response 10Hz – 200kHz (+0.0/-0.25)
THD+N 0.001% (0dB Gain @ 1kHz, +4dBu Out)

Power supply
Power Rails -+24V
Phantom +48V
Power Consumption 10 Watts
Power Requirements 100–120, 220–240 VAC

3u rack mount chassis holds 4 MSS-10s
Steel with matching nickel-plated faceplate

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