Crane Song Syren 500-Series Tube Preamp  From Crane Song

Syren is sonic proof that you don't need to use a 19" rack preamp to achieve a huge, rich, and magical tube sound! Welcome the Syren to the 500-series preamp world!

Crane Song

$1,199.00

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What We Think

The Syren is proof that we've finally reached the point where 500-series modules can provide that huge, rich, and magical tube sound that, up until this point, was viewed as only available with a 19" rack preamp. So let's pop some champagne and celebrate!!! WOOOOOO!!!!

.....anyways, the natural question we've asked ourselves is, "how is this huge sound acheived?" Dave Hill, owner/designer of Crane Song and veteran audio industry guru, was able to pack two high quality Lundahl transformers and a 12AX7B dual-triode tube into this tiny, single-bay 500-series chassis to provide multiple different components from which the Syren draws its massive color. In addition to input and output gain, the Syren also features a switch labeled "open"/"color". This either removes or introduces negative feedback, which, to heavily abbreviate, ranges from more focus and definition with negative feedback ("color") to warmer and smoother without negative feedback ("open"). With the dual gain control and feedback switch, the Syren is essentially a "color box" with an incredible range of available tube saturation. 

How does this work in practice you ask? Well, for starters it was effortless to dial in that polished and smooth vocal sound with the Syren, as the dual-transformers and tube within the unit do an excellent job at grabbing any potentially jumpy transients and tucking them in naturally and gently. This element of transient control was also excellent on an electric guitar amp, where the common strident top-end of an overdriven amp was controlled and muted, but not to the point of dulling the overall signal. Additionally the tube harmonics it provided beautifully combined with the amp's overdrive to produce a truly unique tone not available through using just the amp and pedals. On the amp I noticed using the "color" option to allow negative feedback provided an enhanced focus, or center point to latch your ears onto. On the vocal, both switch options sounded great to my ears and I felt either could have worked depending on the style I was after, however the decision was a bit more cut and dry on the guitar amp.

Again, I think Dave Hill and the rest of the Crane Song team deserve a solid "kudos" on the work they've done with the Syren. Never before have I heard such richness and musical color coming from a unit of this size. There are some other 500-series units that do rival the Syren with its color and sonic size, however none are able to do so while staying within the confines of a single 500-series slot (most rely on occupying 2 slots for a single channel). If you're after a truly unique 500-series tube preamp with a massive arsenal of available tube color, the Syren will blow you away. Set up a demo to hear for yourself in your own studio!

Manufacturer's Description from Crane Song

SYREN features a dual gain stage circuit and allows overdrive effects.

A switch selectable HI-z input is included.  The low cut filter is at 90 Hz and is 24 db/ octave.  The pad has
-15 db and -25 db settings to allow a wide input range of signals.

The audio path color is changed by modifying the second stage tube circuit so it has negative feedback or does not have negative feedback.  This changes the interaction between the tube stages and thus the sound of the pre-amp.  With negative feedback it is a more accurate audio path with wider frequency response and without negative feedback it has a more open warmer sound.

Crane Song

About Manufacturer

Designer Dave Hill has always had an interest in electronics, and started designing and building devices at an early age. He was building synthesizers from scratch and started doing professional level sound recording and equipment maintenance at a local music store while still in school. After high school Dave decided to pursue a career in electronics and enrolled in a course at a local community college. After his first semester he was asked by the college to take over teaching the course. He taught for 8 years and continued his involvement in pro audio. To date Dave has been doing studio and film sound recording since 1972. He has also been involved in film post production. Early in the 1980's Dave was asked by a used equipment dealer if he could design a tube compressor that would have the sound of the older tube type devices and still be clean enough to compete with modern devices. The result of this request was the Summit Audio TLA-100. Due to the success of that design Dave Hill went on to design and set up the manufacture of all Summit Audio products until September of 1994 at which time Summit Audio was relocated the manufacturing to California. From 1984 to 1994 Summit Audio grew from a single product and one employee working out of the basement of Dave's home to a full product line and over a dozen fulltime employees. Beginning in August of 1995, several of those key members of the Summit production crew began working for Dave again in his new company called Crane Song. After the move of Summit Audio, Dave wanted to keep the production crew together and start a new company. First he designed a tube playback pre-amp for the ATR-102 tape machine called the HDV-2. This is now being manufactured for the ATR Service Company by Crane Song. Next Dave designed a two channel discrete class A compressor-limiter, called the STC-8. The Today the Crane Song family of products has grown to five; *HEDD (Harmonically Enhanced Digital Device), FLAMINGO stereo mic preamp, TRAKKER, single channel compressor, and the new SPIDER 8 channel mic preamp, mixer, A/D convertor which has recently joined the family. Crane Song Ltd. is able to provide the highest level of quality due to the many years of experience of both Dave and the people who have stayed with him. Some of these employees have worked with Dave since 1988 and continue to have an intense interest in developing the best audio devices possible. Crane Song's combination of innovative design and uncompromising attention have helped the company make its mark in the professional audio world.

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