The Ocean Audio Ark is no longer manufactured.
The Interphase Audio Ark console is the new and improved version.
The information on this page is for reference only.
The Ark - Custom built modular analogue console with support for 500-series modules
Ocean Audio offers a range of consoles and custom consoles, build to your specifications.
To make it easy for you and for us, our consoles are assembled with a number of building blocks.
While the standard consoles are predefined configurations, you can choose and combine any of our console building blocks and have us assemble almost any console.
A lot is possible, so please contact us if you have any other customisation requests. We’ll happily discuss them.
Each version of the Ark has been assembled using a combination of building blocks.
By combining a master section with a number of input channel blocks and one or more producer desks / patch bay, almost any configuration is possible.
There are two different master sections available:
The Ark LX master section
The Ark Extended master section
There are two different input channel blocks available:
The Ark 500 input channels (block of 8 channels)
The Ark 900 input channels (block of 8 channels)
The Ark building blocks can be combined in any way you want.
This gives you a huge number of inputs, 500 series slots and possibilities.
The console electronics have deliberately been designed to be as transparent and with as much headroom as possible. The Ark 500 input channels can be used without the addition of any 500 series modules as a stand alone line level console. In a multi-track studio environment the console will perform both tracking and remix functions equally well. All inputs and outputs are electronically balanced and ground sensing outputs are used to make sure that interfacing to external equipment is never compromised.
The console has been designed with ease of servicing in mind.
Its fully modular construction makes it a simple matter to remove any module should a component need replacing. All active circuitry (IC's etc) are socketed, again to aid servicing. All passive components (resistors, capacitors etc.) are of conventional types and are not surface mount (because surface mount components are difficult to remove and replace). The modules connect to each other via motherboards, which ensure maximum reliability and freedom from wiring errors.
The difference between the Ark 500 and Ark 900 channels is in the upper section of the channel.
* Ark 500 channels feature 2 slots for 500-series modules per channel (these are not “tied” to the channel).
* Ark 900 channels feature Mic Preamps and dual EQ’s per channel.
The lower section of Ark 500 and Ark 900 channels is identical.
Ark 500 upper input channel section:
* Two (2) slots for 500-series modules per channel, with input and output for each slot through D-Sub connectors. Any slot can be connected to any input, insert or output of the console.
Ark 900 upper input channel section:
* The Ark 900 upper input section is a very high quality transformer coupled microphone pre-amplifier together with two equaliser sections designed to be very musical and intuitive to use.
At the top of the module is the microphone pre-amplifier which provides continuously variable level control from –10db to +60db. Because of this wide range, it does not require an input pad. A high quality custom designed input transformer provides perfect impedance matching for both dynamic and condenser microphones.
The first (upper) equaliser section is inserted in the main channel signal path and provides four swept ranges with continuously variable boost and cut with centre detent controls. The high and low ranges can be switched between shelving and peaking characteristics to further increase the range of facilities. When the equaliser is bypassed, the signal does not pass through the equaliser circuit so the signal does not pass through any unnecessary circuitry when not in use.
The swept high pass filter is part of the EQ, but can be independently bypassed.
The second (lower) equaliser section is inserted in the channel monitor section and comprises a three band type providing high and low frequency shelving together with a swept mid frequency range.
The inclusion of this equaliser greatly increases the versatility of the channel monitor section.
If the [i/p reverse] switch is activated (see section on the lower input channel), both EQs are inserted in the channel monitor path. This means that you have a 7-band EQ available on mixdown.
Ark 500 & Ark 900 lower input channel section:
Each channel can be routed to the 8 sub groups and master Left-Right.
The associated VU meter reads either the channel direct output signal (after fader) or the signal feeding the channel monitor section (pre fader).
The input switch selects between two input sources referred to as “External Input” and “Line Input”. This actually emulates the mic/line input switching of a conventional analogue recording console. In case of the Ark 900 input channel, the “Ext” input is actually the output of the MicPre.
In case of the Ark 500 input channel, the “Ext” input can be anything connected to the external input on the back panel. A typical example of this might be where the “External Input” is connected to a 500 series slot containing a microphone pre-amplifier while the “Line Input” is connected to the output of a DAW multi-track system, possibly going through another 500 series slot hosting an EQ.
The six auxiliary sends consist of four mono (auxiliaries 1-4) and one stereo (auxiliaries 5-6.)
All auxiliaries can be pre or post fader and the six auxes can be split between channel and monitor path.
The channel monitor section is in effect another independent input channel that operates separately from the main one. The purpose of the channel monitor section is to provide a means of monitoring the replay signal from a DAW or other recording device (such as a good old analogue multi-track tape recorder). But you can of course connect other line sources to this input as well.
The channel monitor section has it’s own mute and solo switches.
The i/p reverse switch reverses the channel line input and channel monitor signal paths. The connections to line input and monitor input get swapped. This is most useful for mixdown, since you get all the channel features.
Ark 900 note : Activating the i/p reverse switch on the Ark 900 puts both EQ sections in series. This means you get a 7-band EQ available for mixdown !
Ark 500 & Ark 900 input channels common features:
* Independent line and monitor inputs
* Four mono and two stereo aux sends switchable pre or post
* Aux sends can be shared between channel and monitor input
* Bussing to subgroups and master outputs
* Direct out and balanced insert send and return per channel
* input reverse to “flip” channel and monitor input
* PFL, AFL and solo-in-place solo modes with stereo solo bus.
* Full metering
* Fully balanced inputs and outputs on D-sub connectors
* Fully modular
Ark LX & Ark Extended master sections:
The difference between the Ark LX and Ark Extended master section is in the submaster channels.
* Ark LX master section features subgroup master section and aux master section on rotary knobs.
* Ark Extended master section features subgroup master section on faders and has an additional 16 monitor/FX returns with aux sends
* The master (CRM) module of Ark LX and Ark Extended master section is identical.
Ark master module for Ark LX & Ark Extended master sections:
The master module of the Ark LX and Ark Extended master section contains all of the controls that affect the overall functionality of the console.
Associated with the master module are an accurately matched 100mm stereo fader which controls the level of the master stereo balanced outputs together with a pair of very accurate 16 segment bargraph and two moving coil VU meters which indicate the signal being sent from the master left/right stereo outputs. The VU meters read in parallel with the bargraph meters making it possible to compare the signal measured on the two different types of meters.
The master module features Control Room Monitor and two alternate speaker sets.
Each have their own level control.
Independently controlled Studio Playback is also provided.
Below the studio playback controls is the master level control for the AFL / PFL system. This stereo level control adjusts the signal level in the control room speakers of whatever signal is selected to be monitored. As the AFL / PFL system is a separate mixing buss, it is possible to solo any number of signals according to requirements.
Associated with the AFL / PFL system is a large flashing LED situated between the two master VU meters so no Solo button will stay engaged unnoticed.
A talkback system is provided which incorporates an electret microphone and amplifier with a continuously variable level control. The signal can be routed via momentary action switches to either the 8 subgroups and master left/right outputs, selected auxiliary sends, or the studio playback speakers.
Ark Extended submaster module:
The submaster modules provide all of the facilities necessary when using the 8 sub group outputs. They provide monitoring of not only the 8 subgroups but an additional 8 line level returns, so that 16 track recordings can be monitored.
Each submaster module consists of an upper and lower section. The facilities are very similar except that the lower section provides extra controls for the 8 subgroup outputs.
At the top of submaster modules 1 to 6 are the master level controls for the 6 auxiliary sends with a solo switch (AFL) so you can check the output of the aux master.
The upper subgroup section provides monitoring of monitor / FX inputs 9 - 16.
Each of these inputs also feature 6 auxiliary sends switchable pre/post.
The lower subgroup section provides monitoring of subgroup outputs 1 - 8 or monitor / FX inputs 1 - 8, per input selectable with the replay switch.
The fader reverse switch reverses the function of the monitor level control and the subgroup fader located directly beneath it.
When the fader reverse switch is undepressed (out), the faders control the group sends. and the monitor levels control the inputs of monitor / FX input 1 - 8.
When the fader reverse switch is depressed (in), the monitor level controls the group sends, and the faders control the inputs of monitor / FX input 1 - 8
Ark LX submaster modules:
The group master modules provide all of the facilities necessary when using the 8 sub group outputs.
The output of the 8 groups is controlled by the 8 group masters. These control the signal which will get send out from the group outputs on the back panel.
The replay switch selects between the monitor inputs 1-8 on the rear panel, or the subgroup output being send to the master L/R bus.
When replay is selected, monitor input (1 to 8) will be routed to the master L/R bus through the monitor level controls of input channels 1 to 8.
When replay is undepressed (out), the subgroup output is routed through the insert send and return to the master L/R bus.
The monitor levels of channel 1 to 8 control the return signal going to master L/R.
The Aux master module has the master level controls for the 6 auxiliary sends. Each of these has a solo switch (AFL) so you can check the output of the aux master.