The New Alice 828 Mk3

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The first prototype 828 Mk3 has been sitting on my desk for a few days now; there’s still lots of testing to do, and try-out recordings to judge how it behaves with different microphones; perhaps that will form a later video! But first, an introduction that gives an idea of what the 828 is all about.

The 828 series mixer went into production at the Alice factory in Windsor in 1976.  The last one was made there in 1986. The Mk3 was designed by Ted Fletcher in 2019 with production starting towards the end of 2020.

DESIGN

The original designers were Ted Fletcher, Eric Keene and Byron Davis, the technical directors of the Alice Company. The Mk3 is based on original design from 1976 together with 44 years of professional audio experience.

MIC AMP

The input amplifier has a transformer input for both mic and line input, with switchable phantom power with indicator LED.

The circuitry is discrete transistor working in pure class A.

Inputs are XLR for mic input and standard balanced jack for line.

Levels of -60dB and -20dB can be handled from mic and line.

THE EQ

The mono channel equaliser is a discrete class A version of the Baxandall EQ circuit with an EQ in/out switch and LED indicator.  The mid frequency sweep covers 400Hz to 3.5KHz and the lift and cut is 14dB.

THE CHANNEL FADER and ROUTING

The channel fader is a 60mm ALPS precision fader driving a pair of aux controls (one pre and one post fader), a rotary pan control and a direct channel output which appears on the rear termination panel as a standard jack (unbalanced at nominal zero level).

A locking PFL switch routes pre-fader audio to the monitoring system.

THE STEREO CHANNEL

A pair of standard jack connections on the termination panel drive each stereo channel. The input gain control handled levels above -20dB and a version with RIAA input from magnetic cartridge is available via RCA connectors if specified.

The stereo fader is a precision ALPS fader and the channel has aux sends and PFL (mono) as the mono channel. The input gain of the stereo channel is adjustable over a wide range to accommodate  all volume levels of inputs.

GROUP and LIMITERS

Mixing from the mono and stereo channels is passive, mixing to a pair of discrete transistor limiters of the classic 828 design.

Each limiter has an in/out button and an indicator LED to show activation. A further LED shows when the limiter is acting on the audio signal. Amount of limit action is set by threshold control.

Main output after the ALPS master faders,  is via parallel integrated amplifiers and output transformers.

There are additional aux line inputs direct to the mix bus and line out amplifiers for the pre and post aux feeds from the channels.

Line outputs are via XLR connectors other outputs and inputs are by standard jacks.

MONITORING

All active circuitry in the signal path is discrete transistor using ‘through hole’ technology following the original circuitry of the Mk1, however, the monitor section has been converted to surface-mount technology.

Monitoring is to a stereo jack socket on the rear panel which is interrupted by both PFL and by a mute system, and also via a headphone jack socket on the front panel interrupted by PFL.

Dim, mono and polarity reverse affect both outputs. A further stereo aux monitor input and gain control override the monitor outputs.

Metering is by illuminated VU meters and PFL registers on both meters.

POWER

Unlike the original, the new Mk3 is mains powered via a switch-mode power supply operating from any mains voltage. This supply operates at very high efficiency producing almost no heat. (In fact, the lamps in the meter illumination consume the same amount of energy as the rest of the mixer!)

CONSTRUCTION

The body of the mixer is made of 1.6mm steel, this provides a super-rugged framework for the electronics which are built on separate vertical printed circuit boards joined by removeable ribbon cable. Internal wiring is minimized by fitting all connectors to circuit boards.

The steel construction provides an efficient total magnetic screen to minimise any possibility of electrical or magnetic interference.

The mixer measures 460 X 306 X 100mm and weighs 7.2Kgs. Power consumption is less than 5 watts.

PERFORMANCE

The 828 Mk3 technical performance is designed for, and is suitable for professional use in record production, broadcasting and communications.

PRICE and AVAILABILITY

As of 19th October 2020 price is not yet fixed; we need to complete production of the first few mixers. All manufacture is in the UK and first indications are that the price will be close to UK£1750 for the standard 3+5 version with VU meters.

We plan for the mixers to be available for delivery in UK and the USA in December 2020 with retail support arranged in both territories.

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