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Workhorse SixPack Using & Applications

The following page describes how to use the SixPack in a typical studio setup. This is intended for experienced users. For more details, we invite you to download the full manual by clicking on the icon at left.

Overview

The SixPack is a 6 slot power rack that is designed to house 500 series modules. The SixPack provides the voltage to power the modules plus 48 volt phantom power for mic preamps via a 15 pin card slot connector. Phantom power automatically feeds the preamps and is simply ignored by modules such as EQs or compressors that do not use it. All connections to and from the modules are performed on the rear panel.

Putting together your rack

Before plugging in modules or making any connections, turn off the power from the SixPack by disconnecting the 5-pin XLR cable and ensure all audio levels are muted or turned off. There is no power switch on the SixPack. You should avoid hot-swapping modules [plugging in and out when power is on] as this may cause a spark at the connector which will reduce connector life and send a transient through your system that could damage more sensitive components such as tweeters.

Align the desired module to the 15-pin card edge and ensure it is properly seated. Then secure the module in place by carefully screwing it in. The small screws make it easy to cross-thread if you force it... so take your time! Once you have assembled the modules, reconnect the power on the SixPack and check to make sure each module is powered. Most companies provide some form of LED indicator that will let you know power is on.

Patching modules in series

Patching from one module to the next to create a channel strip is done using the FEED switch. This is the same as patching one module into the other using a cable. The SixPack's FEED switch is basically wired in parallel with the XLR in and out and will work on all 500 series modules. A typical example of a channel strip would be to connect a Radial PowerPre mic preamplifier into a Q4 equalizer and then send the output of the Q4 into the Komit compressor. The output of the Komit would then be sent to your recording system.

Patching modules in parallel

The tremendous connectivity options built into the SixPack give you a creative advantage. This lets you pull signal from multiple places and then mix them separately, in series or even take things to another level by cross-patching and parallel processing.

You could for instance use the channel strip above to start and take a direct out from the PowerPre and send this unprocessed signal to your recorder for safe keeping and later Reamping. Then, use the ¼" TRS connector and split the output to feed an EXTC effects module to route the vocal track through a tube distortion pedal for added character. This can then be sent to your recorder where you could then mix the dry track, the compressed track and the effects track together.

Using the D-Subs and front panel convenience XLRs

The SixPack is equipped with two 8-channel 25-pin D-Sub connectors that let you route the 6 modules to and from your workstation. This frees up the XLR connectors for patching. Given the fact that the D-Sub standard as originally developed by Tascam is an 8 channel system, and the SixPack only has 6 slots, this of course means two of the channels would not normally be in use.

As we felt that the SixPack would surely play a central role on the desktop, we thought that it would be super convenient to patch directly into your recording system via the two spare channels. Thus, we added two XLRs on the front panel. And considering the SixPack would often be used as a stereo channel strip, we added two switches to let you route the front panel XLRs to inputs 1 and 4 so that you do not have to reach around the back for quick stereo takes.

Setting up stereo sets

Many modules are outfitted to be stereo linked. This is most common with dynamic processors like compressors. With other racks, setting up a stereo link is done by soldering an internal jumper. In other words, you have to take the rack apart to set up two slots for stereo use. The SixPack eliminates the nuisance by providing a simple stereo LINK switch. All you do is move the LINK switch into the up position and you are set to go. No more soldering!

Mounting the SixPack into your desk top

You can purchase optional mounting hardware that will let you recess the SixPack into your desk top. This facilitates either flush-mounting or angle-mounting depending on your preference. You merely remove the carry handle, cut the appropriate hole into the desk top and then mount the flanges to fit. The slotted design enables you to adjust the positioning so that it conforms to the thickness of your desk top.

Mounting the SixPack into a 19" rack

The same optional flanges may also be used to rack mount the SixPack into a standard 19" equipment rack. This option is great for mobile recording studios, engineers who use multiple studios or for those who want to take their favorite 500 series modules on the road. You merely remove the carry handle, attach the flanges and the SixPack is locked right in the middle of your rack space for easy access.