Digital Audio Labs is no stranger to the recording studio, having developed and released products like the CardD, CardDeluxe and V8 audio interfaces more than 20 years ago. With the acquisition of LaChapell Audio, Digital Audio Labs adds tube microphone preamps and 500 series modules to its pedigree of recording products.
"LaChapell Audio is known throughout the recording industry for designing the quietest and most versatile tube microphone preamps. Being the first company to release a 500 series tube preamp (and still the only to supply the needed tube voltage necessary for vacuum tubes to run at full potential), LaChapell Audio blends a perfect mix of sound quality, build quality, and innovation. As a testament to their technology leadership, the 583S mk2 500 series tube mic preamp was nominated for NAMM's Annual Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards, in the category of Outstanding Technical Achievement," Digital Audio Labs states.
LaChapell Audio was founded by Scott LaChapell, in Nashville, Tennessee, with the aim to "design and make the best quality gear with practical, original features that make records sound great." Scott LaChapell grew up in a home where both music and electronics were a part of life. Piano lessons and electronics kits gave way to professional composing and recording. It was while working in studios in California and Nashville that seeds of LaChapell Audio were planted. Together with his father, a retired senior design engineer at Lawrence Livermore Labs with a lifetime of experience in electronics, they collaborated and experimented for over nine years to produce the predecessor to the 992 and ultimately the 992 tube microphone preamplifier. Testing out circuits and prototypes in actual studio sessions allowed Scott to develop a signature unique sound that sits in the mix perfectly. The next products to come off their workbench carried that same signature sound and attention to detail and quality.
In 2007, LaChapell Audio released the first 500 series tube preamplifier, the 583s. After a highly successful run, in 2013, LaChapell Audio replaced the 583s with the single bay 583s MK2, improving on the original while retaining identical microphone and Hi-Z topologies, featuring a Cinemag input transformer and Jensen JT-11 output transformers. The company also offers the Model 583e tube microphone preamp with a transformer-less three-band EQ section with fully sweeping frequency controls and cut/boost settings of +/- 8dB.
LaChapell Audio's catalog includes the 983s and 983sx tube microphone preamplifiers, single rack space units based on its popular 500 Series line. The rack mount units feature a special double balanced output stage with ultra-low output impedance for long cable runs, allowing its use in love sound applications.
The flagship of the range is the Model 992EG Tube Mic Pre, a two channel fully balanced all-tube preamplifier and instrument input amplifier, utilizing a total of eight vacuum tubes and featuring unique control options on the input and output stages.
LaChapell Audio's attention to sonic detail caught the attention of Digital Audio Labs. "I've known Scott and Mark LaChapell for decades. And there are very few preamps on the market that give you the range of sonic possibilities that their gear does," says Andy Swanson, Digital Audio Labs' Director of Marketing. "With the dual drive stages, you can dial in clean and transparent, or a sound rich with second order harmonics. There is nothing more versatile out there."
Digital Audio Labs has built up stock of LaChapell products, including the 992, 983 and popular 583S MK2 models and is committed to keeping the quality, sound signatures, and pricing the same as when under the LaChapell Audio banner. They have brought on Scott LaChapell to oversee production, new model development and to keep in touch with dealers and customers.
"With great success in the live sound and studio markets with their Livemix personal monitor system, Digital Audio Labs is looking forward to building on the legacy of LaChapell Audio. This acquisition marks a strong commitment to the studio market and foretells of more to come," the company adds.
Digital Audio Labs has over 25 years of experience in digital audio, amplification, digital signal processing and audio equipment manufacturing. The company introduced their first audio interface in the late 80’s when digital audio was in its infancy. The CardD, CardDeluxe, and V8 systems are well known for their sound and build quality, and many of these systems are still in use, more than 20 years later, having become industry standards in the broadcast and data acquisition industries. In addition to Livemix and now LaChapell Audio, Digital Audio Labs is a design and manufacturing OEM partner for many industry leading companies, developing amplifier, digital signal processing, and integration solutions for a number of partners.