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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FIVE FISH AUDIO SC-501
Basics:
 12-step selector switch for gain, lighted push-buttons for 20dB pad, polarity reverse, soft-start 48V phantom power, 72dB gain, variable trim knob from 0 dB to infinity, 5-LED VU meters, relay-controlled switching 
Extra: stock unit can be customized, such as adding a Jensen input transformer or an optional output transformer, THAT Corporation and Burr Brown chips, anodized and CNC-engraved front panel, solid machined-aluminum knobs, double-sided gold-plated fingers
Five Fish Audio SC-501 product page

FIVE FISH AUDIO X-12
Basics:
 12-step selector switch for gain, lighted push-buttons for 20dB pad, polarity reverse, soft-start 48V phantom power, 66dB gain, variable trim knob from 0dB to infinity, 5-LED VU meters, relay-controlled switching
Extra: U.S.-made input transformer, steel output transformer, option to use discrete op amp, anodized and CNC-engraved front panel, solid machined-aluminum knobs, double-sided gold-plated fingers
Five Fish Audio X-12 product page

FIVE FISH AUDIO X-72
Basics:
12-step selector switch for gain, lighted push-buttons for 20dB pad, polarity reverse, soft-start 48V phantom power, 66dB gain, variable trim knob from 0dB to infinity, 5-LED VU meters, relay-controlled switching
Extra: Carnhill input transformer imported from UK, Carnhill output transformers, option to use discrete op amp, anodized and CNC-engraved front panel, solid machined-aluminum knobs, double-sided gold-plated fingers
Five Fish Audio X-72 product page

FORSSELL TECHNOLOGIES SMP-500
Basics:
all Class-A discrete JFET front end with a gain range of 8 to 64 dB in 24 switched steps, fully balanced and floating output, maximum output level of greater than 26 dBu, front panel LED signal-level indicators, polarity invert switch, switchable 48V phantom power
Extra: based on company’s SMP-2 mic preamp, clipping LED lights at +24dBu output, which is about 2 dB before actual clipping
Forssell Technologies SMP-500 product page

GRACE DESIGN m501
Basics:
balanced, transformerless circuit design, 48V phantom power, 75Hz HPF, ¼-inch hi-Z instrument input
Extra: based on company’s m101 mic preamplifier; exclusive ribbon mic mode raises the mic input impedance, bypasses the input decoupling capacitors and deactivates 48V phantom power to protect delicate ribbon mics from damage
Grace Design m501 product page

GREAT RIVER ELECTRONICS MP-500NV
Basics:
designed to fit into a 500 Series rack using two available slots, receives its power supply from the host rack, ¼-inch hi-Z instrument input with its own input amplifier, -10dBv output
Extra: designed to re-create the vintage sound characteristics of the early 1970s large consoles, uses the same audio and metering circuit board found in the NV Series preamps, metering before and after the major gain stages
Great River Electronics MP-500NV product page

HELIOS TYPE 69
Basics:
5dB steps on the mic preamp gain switch, 16kHz EQ frequency selection, balanced output for easy interfacing with any digital converter
Extra: based on original Dick Swettenham (Olympic Studios) design, recommended for acoustic instruments
Helios home page

INWARD CONNECTIONS MAGNUM
Basics:
two VF600 all-discrete amp blocks, balanced Cinemag I/O transformers, 80 dB of gain, three highpass filter settings (70/100/200 Hz), +48VDC phantom-power switch, phase-reverse switch, hi-Z line input, ¼-inch phone jack for guitars, keyboards and low-level instruments
Extra: developed by Steve Firlotte, based on Inward Connections’ MPD-500 mic pre
Inward Connections Magnum product page






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