R5 Insert Routers

Powerful, comprehensive analogue signal routers for dual mastering and recording studios

A 15 insert R5 Router

I can’t believe how much quicker I can work, and how much better I’m using my outboard. Well impressed!
James Clear
ME, UK

Complete control of analogue outboard

The R5 is a powerful insert router, packed with features to let you get the best out of your precious analogue outboard and chosen converters. In addition it lets you automatically patch your precious outboard between the R5 for mastering, and your DAW for tracking & mixing.

In master mode, it not only lets you choose which inserts you want, in the order you want them, but lets you A/B chains, level adjustments, different converters, and lets you listen to and meter the output, or the effect of any of your outboard, inside a record chain

Like all Crookwood routers, it lets you form a record chain, from any connected outboard, in any order. You can then A/B this chain instantly against other chains, adjusting and optimising levels into the chain and into your ADC.

You can selectively MS any piece or pieces of outboard, and form parallel chains and mix them back together (sum them) in the analogue domain, prior to sending them to the ADC of your choice.

You can save insert chains, MS and trim levels in the R5, or in a session via MIDI, and reload them by playing back the MIDI file.

Finally, any piece of outboard connected to the R5 can be repatched back to your DAW at the click of a button, so you can use it for tracking or mixing, without having to manually move it. You can even keep some outboard in the R5 for a master bus at the same time.

We use balanced gas sealed relays for all switching, and all electronic gains are relay bypassable. If you want ot run the R5 completely passively you can do.

The R5 is ideal for flexible studios, that want to use their outboard gear to mix and master, maximising the use of their analogue gear boosting their creativity, while working to tight schedules.

The R5 is available in sizes of 7,11 and 15 stereo inserts.

If the R4 isn’t quite right for you, check out our other routers, or look at a full custom one – here


Description

The R5 is a powerful router for comprehensively routing and assessing the effect of your expensive analogue outboard gear within a flexible studio environment.

It uses Crookwood’s proven relay crosspoint systems to let you form any chain, as if you were patching it with a regular patchbay, but much, much quicker. Our electronics use similar relay based gain cells for low noise, high accuracy audio performance.

Move your outboard between the R5 and your DAW or mixer.

The R5 lets you move any pieces of outboard connected to it, that you’re not using, to your DAW inserts. It does this with a single button click.

This means that you can use all your outboard, when and where you’d like to use it, without complex and time consuming re-patching. You can even leave some in the R5 and use the R5 as a master bus, while using other pieces of outboard on channels or stems in your DAW.

Fast A/B Different Chains

The speed of routing means you can experiment with different combinations, or order of outboard and A/B two different chains to determine the best choice for a particular track. You can even have two identical chains, but adjust the input and output gains of each chain, to refine ADC clipping, or operating levels. As you A/B, the chain would stay the same, but the trim levels change.

In addition, the source and destination selectors let you rapidly choose different DACs and ADCs too.

Parallel Processing

As well a a single path, the R5 has Crookwood’s advanced parallel path technology. You can:

  • Choose which inserts are in the main path
  • Separately choose other inserts for the parallel path
  • Choose where to split off from the main path – at the start, end or middle of the path
  • Choose a completely separate input for the parallel path – for instance to add some reverb or ambience into the mix
  • A/B different parallel paths and mix levels to determine the best choice for that track
  • Mix together the main and parallel paths, with our summing mixer, adjusting each level
  • Solo each path to check the effect

Monitor and meter any insert

The R5 is equipped with our unique insert monitor. This lets you listen to and meter the output of any piece of outboard, no matter where it is in the chain. Great for working with vintage pieces with no meters.

In addition, you can engage our delta monitor. The delta system subtracts the input from the output of the outboard, so you just hear the effect of that piece of gear. This is great to be able to really tweak the outboard to maximum effect.

MS encoder and decoder

The R5 comes with a flexible MS system, presented as a piece of outboard. By wiring the MS to two inserts, our routing system allows you to selectively MS any piece or pieces of outboard, and adjust the S level too.

Store and recall settings to memory, or tracks

The R5 has 8 internal memories for storing and recalling all insert routing. In addition Store #1 is recalled on power up, so you can hit the ground running fast!

However the R5 can also respond to MIDI commands. This lets you send a dump to a session track, for storing the routing with the session. When you open and play the session again, the R5 will recall to the exact settings you used for the original session.

Pure Passive Routing

The routing and source selection in the R5 is passive, using precision, gas sealed, balanced relays. It has no inherent sound, no noise, no distortion, and no signal gain or loss, so you only hear the effects of the outboard you insert. Perfect for precision and repeatable working.

Our trimmers and MS are active designs for the best performance, but these too have full relay bypasses to take them out of the signal path. In the path however, our 30 years plus of audio experience shows – they are quiet and sonically neutral. Perfect for precision mastering.


Basics

A R5 is made up of these elements:

  • One or two 1U audio processing racks, depending on the number of inserts
  • A hardware remote, consiting of two panels, supplied with a wooden pod
  • A 5M long thin cable connecting the remote to the racks
  • A four stereo input source selector
  • A second stereo input selector for the parallel path
  • A four stereo output selector
  • A 7,11, or 15 stereo insert switch to move outboard between the DAW inserts and the R5 insert matrix
  • A 7, 11 or 15 stereo insert matrix
  • A MS encoder and decoder
  • Two stereo trimmers, with individual L&R trim levels

Signals and Noise

  • Being truly passive, the noise floor is around -140dBu
  • The maximum signal level is recommended to be below 120V DAC, or about +40dBu
  • With the trimmer or MS electronics engaged, the noise floor is about -95dBu and the maximum level is about +28dBu ( S/N of ~123dBu, or 126dB A weighted)
  • The four trimmers have a range of +/-6dB in 0.25dB steps
  • In parallel mode, the parallel path trim has a range of -36dB to + 6dB

Physical

  • All audio is routed in remote, 1U air cooled racks that can be placed in a rack, or on the floor, in a machine room, or near to the outboard to reduce cable lengths
  • The control panel is compact, and can be moved easily when not needed, to maximise your rack area, and minimise reflections
  • The control panel is supplied in a wooden pod, with a raised rear for easy use
  • Panel buttons and encoders are rated for 1M plus actions
  • OLED displays can be seen at virtually any angle or lighting for instant feedback
  • All audio IO via 25w Dsubs, Tascam pinout
  • Control panel is about 110mm wide, 200mm high, and 50mm deep, when mounted in a wooden pod

Architecture

  • Passive balanced relay based routers, the ultimate audio switch
  • Inserts can be placed in any order, in any path
  • A passive source selector selects the input and outputs to the router
  • An AES buffered router works in parallel with the analogue routers
  • Active trimmer gain stages are made with balanced relay gain stages, with full relay bypasses
  • Design is modular based, allowing for easy upgrades and sidegrades
  • All routes and levels can be stored and replayed for instant setup, either locally or by a MIDI file dump


Prices

  • Our 7 insert R5 router is GBP 3375, ≅ Euro 3,952 , or US$ 4,209
  • Our 11 insert R5 router is GBP 4195, ≅ Euro 4,912 , or US$ 5,232
  • Our 15 insert R5 router is GBP 5175, ≅ Euro 6,060 , or US$ 6,454
  • All prices are ex factory and do not include shipping or local sales & import taxes
  • Contact us for a quote with shipping to your country

Resources

  • More details to come 🙂 Contact us in the meantime if you need any further information