Shuttle™ Development

Necessity is the mother of invention. This is truly the seed that spawned the Shuttle and it developed organically. In other words, as we started to play with the Workhorse, the more fun we had, the more ideas came to mind. Because of the endless possibilities, we constantly asked ourselves: 'how can we could make this happen or get this to work?' These questions quickly pointed the way to the Shuttle and this is how we got there.

Patching In Effects
The Workhorse is all about creativity. For those who are obsessed with trying to come up with new sounds or creative effects, routing signals is as exciting as discovering new land. We began by asking how would one patch effects in and out of the Workhorse or other 500 series racks? Of course this is easy if you have a bunch of 500 modules, you simply plug one into the other and away you go. But if you have an effect device, like an old tape echo with unbalanced I/O, how do you route it in and out of the Workhorse easily and with the best sound quality possible?

To answer that question we developed the ShuttleShuttle™ 500 interface module. You can simply connect the source track into the Shuttle using the rear XLR on the Workhorse, and then send the signal to the effects device using the insert loops. But what type of insert loop is needed? Balanced, unbalanced? TRS? The simple answer was to give the Shuttle one of each type. We made Loop-1 balanced to keep the same low noise and symmetrical signal sent from your DAW through two ¼" TRS front panel jacks. With Loop-1 in place we saw the need for a good unbalanced to balanced interface. When interfacing unbalanced signals you can just plug into a balanced TRS or XLR input and it will work, but you're not really doing the signal justice. To properly interface unbalance devices with balanced pro-audio systems the signal should be electronically buffered. Loop-2 was added to the Shuttle's design with unbalanced-to-balanced buffering to accommodate the huge world of high impedance, unbalanced audio devices. Now connecting your vintage tape echo, MP3 music player or laptop computer is done right at the Shuttle's front panel jacks with common cables. Cool!

Patching in a Source
It then occurred to us that the Shuttle's "receive" jacks for Loop-1 and 2 could also be employed as a single-ended input to feed balanced or unbalanced signals into the Shuttle, other 500 series modules, the Workhorse mixer and your DAW. You could for instance hook up your field recorder or iPhone to the Workhorse with front panel access and common cables. Handy!

Patching in a Track
We then thought this through a little further and realized that recording in the analog domain is all about the now. You plug in, you play. No latency. Using two Shuttle modules makes it easy to route a stereo program track from your DAW right into the Workhorse and its mixer for overdubbing using a PowerPre or JDV-Pre. The mixer allows you to setup a cue-mix, audition it via headphones and connect to studio monitors through the balanced main and monitor outputs. You can connect to the Shuttle using the Workhorse rear panel XLRs, or the Shuttle front panel ¼" jacks. Can you see the doors opening?

Patching in Other Modules
During the Workhorse development stage, probably the most difficult challenge we had to overcome was trying to make the Workhorse compatible with all of our predecessors. One important feature we added was the 8 channel summing D-Sub input. This enables the Workhorse to interface with older API modules, and have it connect to the internal mixer. We wanted more. We wanted to find a way to quickly patch in modules without having to necessarily connect a D-Sub cable or reach around the inside of a rack. The Shuttle proved ready for the challenge by allowing you to plug in a non-Radial module into the Workhorse, activate the FEED switch on the back of the Workhorse rack, and presto! Your non-Radial module is now connected to the Workhorse eight channel mixer.

Patching in the Omniport
We then thought of the Omniport and figured that for analogue studios that employ patch bays, a simple connection could be particularly valuable. We assigned the Omniport's TRS jack as a standard tip-send, ring-return type insert to make this task easy. Finally we gave all three loops on-off bypass switches so the processed signal could easily be compared to the original, a further advantage to the creative process. The Shuttle opens the door by allowing you more freedom.

Now that's something to sing about!