The final thing I do is to wire up the ratio board with the correct lengths of coloured wire as per Mnats instructions. Some of the colours are different due to what was available to me but as long as you are keeping a note of what colours you have switched you’ll be fine.
You can see from the picture that the wires are fairly tough, straight wire – this is the smallest gage hookup wire I could get at Maplin as the holes on the ratio board are quite small diameter. In my first build I had to cut away some of the copper wires to fir them through the hole so hopefully this will make a better connection. The only problem with this wire is that the shield melts very easily when soldering but a bit of practice goes a long way!
You can see from the picture below that the hookup of the ratio board with the attack and release pots is fairly complex so take your time but if the wires are the right lengths then you shouldn’t have any issues. The toughest bit I find is where you have to suspend wires, a capacitor (with very short legs) and also a resistor on the attack pot and solder them all together – I find one of those leg tools with clips on very useful at this stage.
At this point you should be ready to simply hook all the other cables to the molex headers on the main PCB to make the connections before the final stage – the meter circuit board and the output transformer.
Here the unit has been finished and I am warming the unit up for half an hour before calibrating it.
You can see that I have now hooked up the output transformer to the output XLR (along with the cable from the meter board) as well as terminating all the cables to their respective molex header on the main PCB. This is very straight forward as the colours are written on the PCB although these get obscured when you put the molex headers on so have a printed copy of the circuit diagram handy. You can hopefully also see why it is important to seat the main PCB so far over to the left – the cables from the output transformer with need lengthening otherwise.
The other stage is to hookup the final resistor to dim the lamp and connect this in with the main power inlet.
The only other thing to do is calibrate the unit – take your time! – and for this there are some great videos on YouTube and via the Mnats website.
I had no real issues when calibrating this unit except one stage where I was measuring the voltage read over R74 when I should have been using the test points next door – something I hadn’t figured as this step was different for the last two 1176 Rev D builds.
So how does this unit compare? Well for a start, the first thing you notice is the sound is rougher, grainier and definitely has more attitude to my two 1176 Rev D units. I will definitely be trying this on lead vocals! I have put this unit in a rack to the right of my console, away from the other two incase they start scrapping! – this is a beast with balls!