500 Series Mic Preamps 2011

Dec 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher

A BUYER'S GUIDE TO A WIDE VARIETY OF FRONT-END OPTIONS

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With the growing popularity of the 500 Series format, it’s getting more and more difficult to wade through the field of products and make an educated decision. This month's roundup offers a list of more than 60 microphone preamps available from 45 manufacturers. Use this handy guide to get a quick fix on which features best fit your workflow and desires.

A DESIGNS P-1

A DESIGNS P-1

A DESIGNS P-1
Basics:
bright-red cast-aluminum gain knob, 48-volt phantom power, -20dB pad, phase switches, custom-wound input and output transformers, red LED phantom power indicator, thumb screws for easy installation
Extra: based on A-Designs’ Pacifica microphone preamplifier, the P-1 captures the sound of the ’70s Quad Eight Ventura, Coronado and Pacifica consoles; ¼-inch hi-Z direct inject input
A-Designs P-1 product page

EM-Silver
Basics:
cast-aluminum gain knob, 48V phantom power, -20dB pad, phase switches, custom-wound input and output transformers, red LED phantom-power indicator, thumb screws for easy installation
Extra: identical feature set to the P-1, except EM-Silver’s custom-wound output transformer has an all-steel winding for a dark, warm tone; when tracking via the DI input, this module can also be used on keyboards, bass guitar and kick drum
A-Designs EM-Silver product page

EM-Blue
Basics:
cast-aluminum gain knob, 48V phantom power, -20dB pad, phase switches, custom-wound input and output transformers, red LED phantom-power indicator, thumb screws for easy installation
Extra: high-nickel-wound output transformer generates a brighter, airy tone; ideal for use with darker-sounding microphones or instruments that require a crisp sound, such as a snare drum; DI is well suited for electric guitar
A-Designs EM-Blue product page

EM-Red
Basics:
cast-aluminum gain knob, 48V phantom power, -20dB pad, phase switches, custom-wound input and output transformers, red LED phantom-power indicator, thumb screws for easy installation
Extra: modified custom-wound input transformer brings the “mid-levels” forward; A-Designs recommends this module for recording acoustic guitar with a condenser microphone, as well as instruments where midrange tonal accents are desired
A-Designs EM-Red product page

EM-Gold
Basics:
62 dB of gain, ¼-inch hi-Z direct input, cast-aluminum gain knob, 48V phantom power, -20dB pad, phase switches, custom-wound input and output transformers, red LED phantom-power indicator, thumb screws for easy installation
Extra: combines the output transformer of the EM-Silver and the input transformer of the EM-Red; switches for phantom power, -20dB pad and polarity
A-Designs EM-Gold product page






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