The baby of the MSD series of stereo meters gets an overhaul with a new colour LCD panel.
Danish company DK Technologies have introduced another updated version of their MSD100 stereo meter. The black-and-white display of the previous model, reviewed back in SOS April 2002, has been replaced with a colour LCD panel, and the internals have been completely redesigned. Sadly the spectrum analyser function has got lost in the process, so this is only available now on the MSD200C and MSD600 models.
A rear-panel 25-pin D-Sub accepts balanced stereo analogue signals, stereo digital signals (AES3 or S/PDIF) at up to 96kHz sample rates, and 12-15V DC power from an external switched-mode line lump. A standard VGA output allows the metering display to be repeated on a larger screen, and an RS232 serial port can connect to a PC for configuration purposes.
The bright, clear screen is divided into three parts: a vertical phase meter on the left, a goniometer (vectorscope) display in the centre, and bar-graph metering to the right. Three buttons below the screen recall one of three programmable display presets. Each preset's bar-graph type can be changed simply by double-clicking the appropriate button and then selecting the required scale from a list of 11 options including four analogue PPM scales (NBC, ABC, Type I Nordic, and Type II BBC), four digital input scales (NBC, ABC, BBC, and DMU), and three further combined options.
If this isn't sufficiently flexible, there is a Windows-based PC utility on an included CD-ROM which, communicating via the RS232 interface, can alter virtually any aspect of the 11 stored meter configurations: signal source and display colour for all three meter sections; bar-graph meter scales, including the option to create bespoke scales; and phase meter integration time. Having modified the 11 presets, three can again be allocated to the meter's front-panel buttons for immediate access.
I've been a big fan of MSD meters for many years now, and find them utterly indispensable. The bar-graph metering is extremely accurate, and the ability to change scales can be surprisingly useful. The goniometer display takes all the guesswork out of panning and stereo mixing, and the phase meter provides reassurance that all is as it should be. While many of the MSD's metering facilities are provided as standard in most DAW systems now, if you work regularly with hardware mixers and recorders the MSD100C would be a wise investment that will remain in daily use long after you have repeatedly upgraded the rest of your equipment!