Ark8
High Voltage - Discrete - Class-A - Modular - Configurable - Analogue - Console


Development

The concept and design of the Ark8 is the sum of the input from professionals from all over the world and from all parts of the audio industry.
The Ark8 has been designed from the ground up - with full respect for decades of recording technology - constantly keeping in mind that the best way to use an analogue console today may not necessarily be the way it was used in the past.

The Ark8 is fully modular, fully configurable and fully expandable, allowing for different workflows and setups.
All new, high-voltage, discrete op-amp cards have been developed that eliminate crossover distortion while offering extended headroom, dynamic range, and improved frequency response.

The Ark8 is designed in the UK and hand-built in the EU

The Ark8 is available in any configuration from 8 to 64 channels, and is priced as a small-to-medium format console, but has the quality, features and attitude of a large-format console.
The Ark8 can be configured to your requirements and budget.


All Ark8 consoles share the following:

* Fully discrete, Class-A, High Voltage (48V) design
* (Inline) Dual Audio Path architecture
* Fully symmetrically balanced discrete summing bus system
* Fully modular, configurable and expandable
* 8 to 64 channels
* Support for 500 or 51x modules

* Fully customisable look.
As standard faceplates are full colour printed with Silver or Black background,
but can be any colour or design you like (no extra cost)
As standard the aluminium knobs are Silver but can be any colour you like.

* Dual audio path architecture with independent routing and inserts for each audio path
* 8 subgroups, 2 stereo master outputs and insert send/return per audio path per channel
* Unique Aux Doubling Technology offering up to 16 aux sends (patent pending)
* Classic Analogue Metering with Global Meter Sensitivity switching
* Global Light Intensity Control
* Designed in the UK
* Hand-built in Belgium

Ark8 - Concept (or how combining channel buckets builds any size console)

To offer maximum flexibility, the Ark8 has been split-up in independent modular frames (buckets).
The buckets are used to construct any 8 to 64 channel Ark, and can be put next to each other in any order you prefer.
Each bucket is fully modular, and has either of the following:

• 8 inline input channels with multi EQ section
• 8 inline or stereo input channels with support for 500 or 51x modules
• Master section with or without support for 500 or 51x modules
• Rack rails for patchbay or 19” rackgear
• Producer desk / center control

Ark8 - Quality (or the sound of high-voltage, fully discrete, class-A circuitry)

When designing the Ark8, we did not want to cut any corners, and took every single detail into consideration.
The Ark has been designed from the ground up, evaluating every single knob, switch, connection and function.
Even placement of the circuit boards, screws, and cable paths took hours of discussion and evaluation.
Not only to make sure she looks as good on the inside as on the outside, but mostly to make sure that the absolute best signal quality and the absolute best user experience are achieved.

The Ark8 is a fully Discrete, Class-A design.
As a result, the Ark’s performance is “off the charts” in terms of headroom, distortion and dynamic range.
 
This is being achieved by using high-voltage, fully discrete, Class-A circuitry throughout the console, in combination with fully balanced master mix busses. In order to keep the audio as clean as possible, active circuitry is kept to a minimum, passive circuits are used where possible and there are no electrolytic capacitors anywhere in the signal path (so no re-capping necessary in the future).

For signal amplification and control, we designed high-voltage, discrete op-amp cards that eliminate crossover distortion while offering extended headroom, dynamic range and improved frequency response. These discrete op-amp cards are used throughout the console.
 
Fully balanced mix and group busses.
Fully balanced mix busses are more work and more expensive to implement, so most manufacturers (even the “famous” ones) use semi-balanced busses, at the expense of dynamic range. But because our aim is to offer one of the best analogue consoles currently on the market, we have chosen not to take the easy path, so in the Ark8 all Group and Mix busses are fully balanced.
 
Even so, and despite using only top quality components, painstaking design of both the electronics and the mechanical construction means we can offer the Ark8 at extremely attractive prices.

Ark8 - Input Channels (or how the Ark can be fully configured to your needs)

The Ark8 is fully modular, but to offer extended configurability, each channel has been split up in separate modules / sections.
Different versions of each of the channel section modules are available.
While the Ark8 has been designed as inline console, the Ark8 also offers stereo input channels and split-console functionality.

Each input channel is made up of different sections:
* VU meter section
* Upper section which holds input and routing modules
* Middle section which can hold our multi EQ modules, or 500 / 51x modules
* Lower section which holds sends and faders

All this offers maximum flexibility so the Ark8 can be configured to your requirements.

The inline input channels have Mic (or Group), Line and DAW input.
Each of these inputs can be routed through the small fader path, or the large fader path.

Unlike most other inline consoles, the Ark8 features two fully independent audio paths per channel.
Each of the audio paths has it’s own independent routing, insert, EQ, fader and auxes. It’s like having 2 channels in one.

Colour and character are added in the middle input channel section, by means of our own multi-EQ or with 500 / 51x series modules.

The lower input channel section features 16 auxiliary sends, using our unique
Aux Doubling Technology.

Signal Path
The
Ark is an in-line console with two completely independent audio paths per channel.
We call them the Long Fader and the Short Fader signal paths.
Throughout these pages, the signal paths are referred to as LF and SF paths.

Each signal path has it’s own routing, fader and inserts.
Each signal path can be used by any of the inputs.
Grey background areas of the control surface are associated with the Short Fader (SF) path. Blue background areas of the control surface are associated with switches which effect the signal path.
Large Fader paths have “Silver” background colour on the Ark8, or “Black” background colour on D-Ark8


Master and Group Outputs
Each of the signal paths has full, and independent routing to 2 master outputs and 8 subgroups.


Inserts
Each signal path has it’s own inserts, for 2 insert send and returns per channel.


Direct Out
Each channel has one direct out, selectable to come from the Small or Large Fader.


Routing
The
Ark8 in-line architecture provides huge operational flexibility and power.
The block diagram below shows the SF and LF (short and long fader) paths.
Each channel features three positions where you can change (swap) the signal path.

The [IP Rev] switch on the upper input module determines whether the Mic/Line(/Group) or the DAW input is used for a particular path. As default condition the Mic/Line(/Group) input feeds the SF path while the DAW signal feeds the LF path.

The
[SF] switches put EQ’s and/or Auxes in the SF path. You can find these on the Hi-Cut Filter, Lo-Cut Filter, Inductive EQ and Swing EQ, and per pair of Aux Sends. The normal position for all switches on the console is UP and with the [SF] switch in the up position EQ’s and Auxes are in the LF path (ready for mixing).

The
[Dir Out LF] switch on the upper input module determines whether the Direct Output comes from the LF or SF output. The normal position for all switches on the console is UP and with the [Dir Out LF] switch in this position the Small Fader signal is routed to the Direct Output (ready for recording).

Combining the
[IP Rev], [SF] and [Direct Out LF] switches provides a huge amount of routing options, to give you full flexibility. Since these switches have a large impact on the signal path and your workflow, they are positioned on a dark blue background.

Note that there are no switches to change the signal path through the 500-series modules (if any are installed). We suggest to manually patch them in the LF or SF path by means of a patchbay.

Please refer to the block diagram below for possible routing options.
Note that this is a “per channel” configuration.

Large Fader and Short Fader can always be routed to either or both master outputs, and to all subgroups.

Ark8 - Master Section (or how the Ark becomes the centre of your universe)

Like the input section, the Ark8 master section is 8-channels wide.

It contains:
* Master VU meter section
* Upper section with master output controls for Group 1-8, Aux A 1-8, Aux B 1-8
* Main master section with full control of speakers, cues, talkback, etc (
check out the IP701 / IP702 page, our master section is really special)
* Optional 8 multipurpose stereo (or mono) returns, routed directly to either or both master outputs
* Producer desk with space for keyboard and/or trackpad

The middle master section can contain:
* 2 rows of 8 slots for 500 or 51x modules (for a total of 16 slots)
* blank panels to hold iPad, FX controls, pedals or whatever you feel like putting there
* 2 of our 8 multipurpose stereo inputs
* a combination of the above

Ark8 - Bus, Aux and Master Inputs (or how to connect a side-car or other console)

All connections of the Ark8 are on the rear-panel or the patchbay (when installed).
But apart from all the input and outputs you expect from the descriptions above, the Ark8 also had direct inputs to the master, aux and group busses.

Inputs to the master busses? Why?
These inputs to the master busses can have some interesting uses.
Here are a couple of scenarios we have in mind.

Connect an additional console or sidecar.
If you happen to own this exclusive sidecar, or have this extra console lying around (maybe one for all your synths), you can connect this directly the the busses of the Ark8.
- Connect the master outputs of the other console to the master bus inputs of the Ark8
- Connect the aux outputs of the other console to the Aux bus inputs of the Ark8
- Connect subgroup outputs of the other console to the group bus inputs of the Ark8
You’ll get full access to auxes, subgroups and masters from both the Ark8 and from your additional console or sidecar. It’s like both consoles become one.

Connect automated effects from your DAW
Maybe you like to automate the effect sends in your DAW?
- Send the effect (aux) masters from your DAW to separate outputs on your audio interface
- Connect these outputs to the aux bus inputs of the Ark8.
You’ll get full access to your hardware effects from both the Ark8 and from your DAW

Connect mix outputs from your DAW
- Send stems or automated channels to separate outputs on your audio interface
- Connect these outputs to the master bus inputs or group bus inputs of the Ark8
You’ll get full access to 2 stereo Master mix busses or 8 Group busses from both the Ark8 and your DAW

We can’t wait to find out what other uses you may come up with.

Ark8 - Modules

Ark8 - Modules overview page can be found
here

Ark8 - Buckets & Example Configurations

The overview of Buckets & Example Configurations can be found
here

This website is about the Ark Console.
The
main Interphase Audio website has all information about our other products.