Nick Cesarz


Cranborne Audio 500ADAT Review

Cranborne Audio 500ADAT Review

In the middle of last year, I decided it was time to go all in on a 500 series rack—something I could implement quickly into my current infrastructure.

I first thought of going more budget-friendly with something like a Radial Workhorse. It’s affordable, and many people swear by it. 

I then had an issue. How could I use a 500 series rack with a tiny RME Babyface? I lost hope at that point. Theoretically, it could be done, but that little unit needs more I/O to make it plausible. So I searched Sweetwater some more and came across the Cranborne Audio 500ADAT rack unit.

I had never seen a 500 series rack with ADAT ins and outs, so I got excited. Not only can I use it with my existing setup, but I’ll also be able to expand to another unit once I get a Fireface or other similar interface.

I didn’t initially want to spend $1,499 on a 500 series chassis alone (this was before I bought what went inside it). But I decided to invest in myself and my business since I was starting to get serious about production and mixing. Fortunately, it was 100% worth it. 

So let’s get into it.

Cranborne Audio 500ADAT Review

The Cranborne Audio 500ADAT chassis holds eight 500 series modules while also being an 8-in/8-out ADAT expander. Any ADAT-equipped audio interface is compatible, bringing the analog goodness of 500 series gear to more bedroom producers.

But it’s not just ADAT connectivity either. Like with most 500 series chassis, there is regular I/O on the back of the unit.

The unit also features an 8×2 summing mixer (which I have yet to utilize), a zero-latency cue mixer, and two reference-grade headphone outs. You can also use sample rates up to 192kHz, but I still produce and mix at 44.1kHz.

The location of the sample rate switches is an issue. They’re located on the back of the unit, making it rather annoying to switch them. I must get out a flashlight, climb behind my rack, kneel down, and squint to ensure I’ve flipped the correct switch.

Also, with any external audio gear, ensure your speakers are muted or off while turning things on. For example, if you turn on your 500ADAT while they’re on, it crackles pretty loud, and you can easily damage your speakers.

Inside my ADAT500, so far, I’ve picked up the following:

  • SSL SiXChannel 500 Series
  • Heritage Audio 73jr
  • WesAudio DIONE Stereo Compressor
  • TK-Lizer 500 Series EQ

I’d love to get another bus compressor or the Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph. We’ll have to see how 2023 plays out. Overall, this is a killer unit, perfect for any home producer looking to get into 500 series. You’ll have to save up and spend a bit on it, but it’s 100% worth it if your interface has ADAT in and out.

I’m not the most specialized person regarding audio gear, so if you want a more technical review, read Matt Houghton’s review over at Sound on Sound.