Szikla Prodigal Dual Channel Strip and Monitor Station

Szikla Prodigal Dual Channel Strip and Monitor Station

The Prodigal Dual Channel Strip is a high-end professional solid state analog audio input chain. It can be used in stereo, or dual mono, with both channels configured independently. Each channel consists of a bandwidth adjustable discrete transistor preamplifier, equalization, FET de-esser and FET compressor/limiter, with simultaneous peak and VU metering of input and output, as well as selectable gain reduction metering for the de-esser or compressor. The unit also features a fully independent monitor station and powerful headphone amplifier.

Developed in collaboration with Australian multi-award winning Producer/Engineer David Nicholas (US & UK #1s with INXS, Elton John, Bryan Adams, Pulp), the Prodigal Dual Channel Strip & Monitor Station is designed to make your work sound world class, whether in a pro studio, on location, or in a home recording environment.
The Prodigal Dual Channel Strip puts all the best input chain equipment in one box, in stereo, to produce recordings of the finest quality in an artist’s living room, or an engineer’s home studio. The design goal was: it should sound like angels beating you in the head with fluffy pillows. Three original prototypes were built, developed and improved over several years, while being trialled at the highest professional level. Prodigal tracks began appearing on many albums, including some top 20s and an Australian #1, all before a single production unit had been produced.

The Prodigal is comprised of 2,200 component parts, 10 circuit boards, 3 power transformers, and truly amazing sound. With dual channel processing and a built-in monitoring system, the Prodigal is versatile and portable, needing only the addition of a laptop computer, ADC, and some powered speakers to function as the hub of a compact, premium quality, professional recording setup.

The preamplifier is a silky smooth, low current, low noise discrete transistor design, using hand-matched components. It accepts mic and line signals via the main rear XLR inputs, or high impedance instruments and additional line level devices via the front panel TRS jack inputs. Phase reversal and a 20dB pad is available for all inputs, as well as P48 for microphones. The 20Hz to 20kHz bandwidth is sweepable to 200Hz at the low end, and 2kHz at the high end, to help eliminate any undesired outband audio prior to EQ and dynamics processing.

The equalization section provides a tight and responsive single band of sweepable cut or boost, a de-mud filter to attenuate anything muddy and un-musical at 300Hz, and an air filter to accentuate edges and add spaciousness by boosting above 10kHz. The slope of the air filter has been specially controlled to avoid any dip below the transition frequency, and any phase-shift above.

The de-esser reduces sibilance in vocals, and high frequency transients such as pick noise on guitars. It applies natural sounding FET limiting to all frequencies above a sweepable crossover point. The Hz control sets that point, and the ess control sets the amplitude threshold above which limiting occurs. This threshold level is continuously and automatically varied up or down in response to a fast-averaged sample of the full-bandwidth signal. This helps keep the amount of de-essing consistent regardless of program volume or dynamics. When de-essing occurs, the limit LED glows with varying and proportional intensity. When more monitoring is desired, the output meter can be switched to display de-esser gain reduction. Left and right channel FETs have been hand-matched to preserve stereo imaging.

The compressor/limiter transparently reduces dynamic peaks in program material. It applies ultra fast FET soft-knee limiting with faithful harmonics and sparkling linear phase. The compress control varies compression ratio and threshold together so that more input results in more compression, with peaks maintained at around -12dBFS. Great for airy vocals, or tight, level bass tracks, the Prodigal compressor loves to be driven super hard. When limiting occurs, the limit LED glows with varying and proportional intensity. When more monitoring is desired, the output meter can be switched to display compressor gain reduction. Left and right channel units may be linked, and FETs have been hand-matched to preserve stereo imaging.

The LED level meters display input and output levels in –dB Full Scale. Both meters simultaneously display VU as a solid bar, with an instantaneous peak level dot riding above. Peak hold is 3 seconds with a slow decay.

The output meter can be switched to display gain reduction levels for either the de-essers or the compressors. Gain reduction is displayed directly as a solid bar and no additional ballistics have been applied.

The monitor station provides central control of the listening environment. One of its inputs is fed directly from the Prodigal Channel Strip mix bus, but apart from that it may be thought of as an entirely separate device. Its principal function is to mix local audio at zero latency with playback from your DAW or other recording device. The resulting mix is then sent to the headphone output on the front panel, and/or via the studio master fader to a studio monitor output on the rear panel. The second studio monitor output might be connected to a sub-woofer or other speakers, an additional headphone amplifier, or used to send a sub-mix to another recorder. A second playback input has been provided for other audio sources, such as a CD player or tape machine. A third input has been provided on the front panel, specifically for playback from a phone or personal music player headphone outlet.


  • solid state analog recording chain
  • stereo/mono switchable
  • zero latency monitoring
  • studio, location or home use
  • tracking, mixing or mastering applications
  • mic, line and instrument inputs
  • hand-matched transistors
  • EQ and bandwidth adjustment
  • EQ “mud” and “air” filters
  • FET de-esser
  • FET compressor/limiter
  • peak dot and VU bar metering
  • gain-reduction metering
  • powerful headphone amplifier
  • 2 x studio monitor outputs
  • 2 x playback inputs for DAW, tape, CD, etc
  • playback input for smart-phone
  • 3 rack unit enclosure
  • international power supply

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