Nick Mitchell at KMR Audio on their blog has written a great article showcasing a range 500 Series modules all under £500 grouped into different user categories. We start with The Singer Songwriter. Over to you Nick...
The Singer Songwriter : Mic Pre-Amp & DI
First up, the Mic Pre-amp side of things. You can't go wrong with any of the following designs, some have a built in D.I (Direct Input for instruments) others may require a separate unit.
Mick Hinton, the man behind D.A.V Electronics, was previously a Design and Maintenance engineer at DECCA Studios. Mick has taken those Decca sonics and created a range of 'Broadhurst Gardens' (BG) products designed with quality signal paths, clean pre-amps, low distortion but plenty of gain and punch. There are quite a few studios I know that use the D.I on this unit (on Bass especially), in preference to rather larger format 'traditional' console preamps. A great product.
Warm Audio have created a preamp based upon the classic 312 type design, but with different op-amps and transformers providing a variety of tone, hence the name 'Tone-Beast'. With 3 Cinemag Transformers in total, mic/line input, Instrument input, Tone switch and gain control dial, this is more of a character preamp should you wish to drive your signals a little more, with the added Clean or Vintage mode to boot.
Rupert Neve Designs have many Portico modules available in the 500 Series, but the 511 provides a high quality mic preamp, adjustable high pass filter and the famous Red Silk Texture, which is controlled by a Texture Dial. If you want a 'Neve' sound, this is a good place to start.
Renowned for their pristine and musical preamps, Grace Design have built a solid reputation on providing timeless high fidelity products, which are now available in the 500 Series. The m501 provides a mic preamp, high pass filter, instrument DI, enough gain for many sources and a NEW Ribbon Mic mode. Quality.
The Tonelux MP5A is a 500 series design based upon the original classic by Paul Wolff which features the unique 'Tilt EQ'. The Tilt EQ is a Baxendall boost / cut filter, when you boost the highs it cuts the lows, turning the dial to the right, and the opposite when you turn it to the left (boosting the lows and cutting the highs). There are two gain controls, one for the mic preamp and one for the output, and a high quality instrument DI on the front.
In part 2 we will look at Compression For The Track Engineer.