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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TONELUX MP5A
Basics:
transformer-coupled discrete Class-A/B mic preamp featuring proprietary Tilt EQ circuit, front panel XLR is paralleled to the rear panel XLR, 35dB gain, 20dB pad
Extra: can bring its amplifier gain to unity instead of +6 dB, allowing 6 dB more headroom before the 20dB pad is required; when turned up, the Tilt control has a 0 to 6dB boost on the high end while cutting the low end in the same proportion; if turned down, Tilt will boost the low end up to 6 dB and cut the high end proportionally; Tilt centers at 800 Hz
Tonelux MP5A product page

TRUE SYSTEMS pT2-500
Basics:
discrete FET DI with In and Thru jacks for signal-splitting applications, detented dual-range gain control for easy setting/resetting over gain ranges from 6 to 70 dB, balanced circuit topology and steel enclosure
Extra: features the company's Type-2 circuit design; rail-to-rail design; 0.1-percent precision resistors for excellent CMRR; output signal balance; and unit-to-unit sonic consistency
True Systems pT2-500 product page

TRUE SYSTEMS pT2-500D
Basics:
discrete FET DI with In and Thru jacks, LF adjust control, detented dual-range gain control for easy setting/resetting over gain ranges from 7.5 to 76 dB
Extra: incorporates the company's Type-2 circuit design, balanced topology for insensitivity to ground noise/loops, insensitivity to EMI both externally and from adjacent modules/power supplies, reduced distortion, rail-to-rail design, 0.1-percent precision resistors for common-mode and output signal balance performance
True Systems home page

VINTAGEDESIGN M581mk2
Basics:
Vintagedesign states that the M581mk2 is currently sold out and will be replaced in late March 2012 with an all-Class-A unit; instrument input features a high-impedance FET input that feeds the input transformer via a Class-A driver stage
Extra: uses updated versions of the circuits found in the Neve 1081, Class-A input stage and Class-A/B output stage, custom-wound Carnhill transformers; new version will use the same type of output stage and transformers as the 19-inch Vintagedesign units, and will contain a feedback control for more color
Vintagedesign M581mk2 product page

VINTECH VA573
Basics:
Class-A, all-discrete, transformer-balanced, high-impedance DI that goes through the input transformer, capable of accepting line-level sources via a switch on the front panel
Extra: based on the classic Neve 1073 module, contains no ICs nor surface-mount components
Vintech home page

VSI AUDIO L-21 SPECTRUM
Basics:
based on an input transformer, discrete op amp and output transformer topology; twin coil “UI” output transformer has a flat 20 to 20k Hz frequency response; multi-segment LED meter; polarity switch; 48V phantom power; 2-position gain; 3-position pad; LED in or out; 3-position HPF switches; LED indicators for power and phantom power
Extra: stepped input attenuator (Greyhill switch), output gain pots; company “hopes to go into full production in 2012”
VSI Audio L-21 Spectrum product page

VSI AUDIO L-22 OVERTONE
Basics:
based on an input transformer, discrete op amp and output transformer topology; single-coil “EI” output transformer for more midrange “punch”; multi-segment LED meter; polarity switch; 48V phantom power; 2-position gain; 3-position pad; LED in or out; 3-position HPF switches; LED indicators for power and phantom power
Extra: stepped input attenuator (Greyhill switch), output gain pots; company “hopes to go into full production in 2012”
VSI Audio L-22 Overtone product page

WEISS A1
Basics:
transformer-balanced, discrete Class-A design; 15 to 60 dB of gain in 3dB steps; 20dB pad; switchable to 40 Hz, 80 Hz or off; frequency, bandwidth and threshold front panel controls; further parameters via DIP switches; level control; polarity switch; high maximum output level (+27 dBu) and output current
Extra: Second-order Butterworth design, current-feedback amplifier architecture for low distortion and wide bandwidth across the full gain range; extensive metering; direct signal path is analog, sidechain path is digital; low-latency sidechain with 500kHz sampling rate; precision low-distortion MDAC as the variable gain element
Weiss home page






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