Camden 500 was designed from the ground-up to be the ultimate front-end for the modern studio and engineer and to withstand the rigours of modern workflow and production techniques. It features a completely original, custom-designed ‘Camden’ preamp topology that achieves stunning low-noise and low-distortion performance as well as frequency and phase linearity at all gain settings. The sum result is -129.8dB EIN (150ohm, unweighted), THD+N as low as 0.0002%, frequency response of ±0.7dB from 5Hz to 200kHz at max gain and <2° phase shift @ 20Hz – 20kHz.
VIDEO: Camden 500 By The Numbers
For moments when that extra bit of ‘British’ character is required, rather than use a transformer and learn to live with its drawbacks, Cranborne Audio developed Mojo - two discrete analogue saturation styles that transform Camden 500 into the fattest, warmest, and most characterful preamp in your arsenal - all at the turn of a dial. Perhaps best of all, unlike transformer and other legacy designs, Mojo can be subtle, it can also be exaggerated, but it can also be bypassed.
"I was immediately attracted to the Camden 500 because of its spacious, simple front-panel layout, and when I discovered the switched gain control I was smitten. But after listening to it and experimenting with the Mojo facility, I was completely sold. This really is a very impressive new preamp - both from the point of view of its sonics and the physical experience of adjusting the controls.
"That it's British-designed and built to very high standards, looks attractive, feels great to use, and is priced very competitively make this a very impressive first offering from Cranborne Audio.
"In short, this is how I'd design and build a quality preamp!"
Sound On Sound, October 2018
Whilst preamp specifications often quote fantastic figures at specific gain values, when the gain is increased, those figures often change radically. Camden 500 was designed to retain all of its impressive performance specifications at all gain positions from 8dB to 68dB. This means that even when the preamp is running at maximum gain, the Phase and Frequency response remains linear and THD always remains inaudible - enabling all gain positions to be usable for any source and mic combination.
Camden 500 features mojo - a new type of saturation circuit that consists of an array of filters and discrete second/third order harmonic generators that allow precise emulation of the saturation and low-end reinforcement behaviours of vintage transformer and valve-based equipment. The key to Mojo is that it can be dialled in to taste; use subtle amounts for gentle saturation, or dial it in to well beyond the point that destructive clipping would usually occur with transformer-based. Perhaps the very best part of Mojo is that it can be bypassed to reveal the pristine base sound of the Camden 500.
Thump is a style that works best on - but is not limited to - low-frequency based instruments. Thump excites low-end content by boosting harmonics in the range of ~100Hz to 20Hz and below without increasing the fundamental frequencies - resulting in fuller low-end on all reproduction mediums. As Thump is not EQ-based, the additional harmonic content is shaped by the source and it’s existing low-end frequency content resulting in a natural addition of extra “Thump”. Similar-sounding EQ moves will result in extreme wooliness as all sonic energy is boosted - even unwanted audio in-between the hits.
Cream introduces a vintage smoothness that enables tracks to sit deep within a complex mix in a way that cannot be replicated with EQ. The Cream setting drastically increases THD whilst smoothing-out the low-mids. As with Thump, Cream is not EQ based and is purely achieved by blending 2 saturation stages with the dry signal and additional harmonics. Cream varies entirely on the harmonic signature of the incoming source. It will increase high-end forwardness and create unique harmonic-based tonal shaping effects on mid-range instruments, but it will also add low-end on full range sources as well as unique “compression-style” effect on transients.
|Minimum Gain||Mic= 8dB |
Line = 0dB
Hi-Z = 3dB
|Maximum Gain||Mic = 68dB |
Line = 60dB
Hi-Z = 63dB
|Input Impedance||Mic= 8.9kOhms 48v Off, 5.4kOhms 48v ON |
Line = 24.3kOhms
Hi-Z= 1.5MOhm unbalanced, 3MOhm balanced
|Max Input Level||Mic = 17.6dBu (<0.003% THD) |
Line = 26.5dBu (<0.02% THD)
Hi-Z = 24dBu (<0.02% THD)
|Output Impedance||150 Ohms|
|Max Output Level||27.5dBu (<0.002% THD, 30dB gain)|
|Equivalent Input Noise (EIN)||<-129.5dBu (150 ohm source, unweighted) |
<-131dBu (150 ohm source, A-weighted)
<-135.5dBu (Inputs common, unweighted)
|Frequency Response||±0.25dB (<5 Hz to >200 kHz, 35dB gain) |
<±1dB (<5 Hz to >200 kHz, max gain)
|Phase Shift||<2.25° (40dB gain, 20Hz to 20kHz) |
<4° (max gain, 20Hz to 20kHz)
|THD+N||<0.0004% (1kHz, 35dB gain, 24dBu out)|
|Intermodulation Distortion||<0.0008% (50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, 20dBu out) |
<0.0006% (50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, 15dBu out)
|Hi-Pass Filter (HPF)||80Hz, -3dB, 12dB/Oct|
|Current Draw||120mA per rail - idle |
140mA per rail - typical use case
|CMRR||>70dB, typ >85dB, 35dB gain, 10-20kHz, 100mV Common mode|
|Slew Rate||20V/uS, 35dB gain, 25dBu out|
|Dimensions (mm)||31.8 x 133.35 x 170.11 (w/h/d)|