Classic Recording Studio Equipment

Vintage Digital

SPL Channel One Mk3

SPL Channel One Mk3 Channel Strip

The SPL Channel One Mk3 Channel Strip is the perfect front-end for the modern producer. For over 20 years, Channel One has been a synonym for a high-quality and extremely musical recording and mixing channel strip.


In the SPL Channel One Mk3 Channel Strip, this classic has been thoroughly revised and, in addition to a higher internal audio voltage (now +/-18 V) for even better, more detailed sound, a further improved preamplifier section, an integrated Transient Designer, a Tube Saturation stage and a Mic A/B comparison option for two microphones and other great features that raise the modern recording and mixing studio to a new level of quality.

With de-esser, compressor and equalizer, all the important tools of a real channel strip are still on board. Whether it’s a microphone, line, or instrument signal, the Channel One Mk3 makes any source sound like a professionally recorded signal. The new design of the SPL Studio Series perfectly highlights the sonic qualities of this 3rd generation Channel One. Channel One Mk3 is equipped with a discrete preamplifier.

The gain control can be used to adjust the preamplification. For microphone signals, a preamplification of up to 68 dB can be realized – so even really demanding microphones can show their qualities. The control range for line signals ranges between -20 dB and +16 dB. The control range for instrument signals ranges between -6 dB and +30 dB.

Channel One Mk3 offers two microphone inputs on the rear panel – Mic A and Mic B. Two microphones can be connected. This enormously simplifies the workflow. Thus, when comparing or changing microphones, it is no longer necessary to unplug them. The 48V switch activates the phantom power of 48 volts required for the use of condenser microphones. Phantom power can be activated individually for both microphone inputs!

The Preamp Out picks up the signal directly after the microphone amplifier. This signal can also be recorded on a separate track in the DAW, for example, to be on the safe side. If it is noticed after a recording session that the singer was a little louder in the perfect take and therefore hits the compressor too hard, this incorrect setting can still be changed afterwards. The signal recorded for safety can later be played back into the Channel One Mk3 via the Line In and be processed there with Tube Saturation, Compressor or other tools.

Channel One Mk3 offers the possibility to process line signals. This means that sources with line level, such as an analog signal from an audio interface, can be processed with de-esser, compressor, limiter and equalizer and then be recorded again. In this way, Channel One Mk3 becomes an “analog plugin” within an insert of a DAW.

With this control the amount of tube saturation can be determined. The output level is accommodated automatically, in extreme settings the level increases by only 6 dB. Therefore decent to expressive harmonic distortions can be easily dialed in by turning just one knob.

Saturation effects are generated through the tube being pushed to and beyond its normal operating limits. In contrast to semiconductors, a tube thus pushed to such levels does not clip from a certain level, approaching more gradually its level limits and thereby producing its typical tonal result, which in audio signal processing can have such often profitable aural effects — on one hand (and depending on the amount applied), from subtle to extensive harmonic distortion and on the other hand, a compaction of the sonic event, that is, a limiting effect that exhibits a pleasant, rounded or soft sound. Acoustically and also in its range of applications this can be compared very well with tape saturation effects.

The Tube Post switch changes the order of the Tube Saturation within the signal flow: When the switch is pressed, the Tube Saturation stage comes after the EQ stage and before the output stage; when the switch is not pressed, the Tube Saturation stage comes directly after the preamp and before the de-esser.

Unobtrusively and effectively, the Auto-Dynamic De-Esser removes distracting S‑sounds, in a mix or on vocal tracks, by detecting only the S‑frequencies, mixing them back into the main signal phase-inverted, and thus simply deleting sibilants in the original signal. The Auto-Threshold control maintains constant processing even as the singer’s distance from the microphone varies. The result is tonally neutral, unobtrusive and extremely effective. Even at high S‑reduction values, the de‑essing has no significant effect on the character and timbre of the voice.



  • Maximum input level (Mic, +9.5dB – +68 dB) 13.5dBu
  • Maximum input level (Line, -20 dB – +16 dB) 22.5dBu
  • Maximum input level (instrument, -6 dB – +30dB) 15 dBu
  • Input impedance (mic/line) 10 kΩ
  • Input impedance (instrument) 1.1 MΩ
  • Output impedance 75Ω
  • Frequency response 10Hz – 200kHz
  • Equivalent Input Noise (ON) -126 dBu
  • Noise (A-weighted, Mic Preamp, 150 Ω, 30 dB Gain) -95 dBu
  • Noise (A-weighted, Mic Preamp, 150 Ω, 50 dB Gain) -79.5 dBu
  • Noise (A-weighted, Mic Preamp, 150 Ω, 68 dB Gain) -61.7 dBu
  • Noise (A-weighted, Line/Instr Preamp, 600 Ω, 5 dB Gain) -96.5 dBu
  • Noise (A-weighted, Line/Instr Preamp, 600 Ω, 20 dB Gain) -84.7 dBu
  • Common mode rejection (1 kHz) Mic input <80dB
  • Common mode rejection (1 kHz) line input <50dB
  • THD+N Ratio (1 kHz), Mic 30 dB Gain 0.0022%
  • THD+N Ratio (1 kHz), Mic 50 dB Gain 0.013%
  • THD+N Ratio (1 kHz), Mic 68 dB Gain (Max.) 0.048%
  • THD+N Ratio (1 kHz), Line 0 dB Gain 0.0022%
  • THD+N ratio (1 kHz), line 16 dB gai 0.0017%
  • THD+N Ratio (1 kHz), Instr. Unity (100 kΩ source impedance) 0.012%


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SPL Channel One Mk3

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