Manley MicMAIDIf you’re looking for a good router for quick audition and recall of mics and preamps, then you need the Manley MicMAID.  This unique product is pretty much a one of a kind item—there’s simply nothing else like it out there.  It gives you the option to quickly recall any combination of four mics and four preamps by pushing a button.  You can mix and match your mics and preamps in any way you like.  Set up a mic for audition across all four of your preamps, or have four mics auditioned across one preamp, or split it two mics across two preamps, or three and one, or one and three…you get the idea.

The Manley MicMAID keeps all those pops and clicks out of the recording when switching mics and preamps by using phantom power.  This revolves around supplying power only to the MicMAID itself.  You can turn this option off, of course, and simply use a hard-wired connection from an input to an output.  When it’s on, though, the MicMAID manages everything.  For example, it will disable any signal path from a preamp that is supplying phantom power and signal you to turn off the voltage from that preamp.

Once it’s set up, it really requires no further maintenance.  You’ll find that you suddenly have the ability to audition different mic and preamp combos without any delay or patching required.  Once you find the combination you want, save it and recall it at the touch of a button.  There are only two real downsides: you may hear the occasional crack or pop when you’re switching mics or preamps during transient peaks, and you may find the price is a bit steep.  The Manley MicMAID costs $3,500. Read more

Looking for a reasonable priced tube mic pre that is well suited for just about any type of recording?  Then you may want to check out the Mindprint DTC.  This two-channel device comes with high quality preamps that feature both instrument and line inputs, great equalization capability, and basic dynamics that use two ECC83 triodes.  mindprint tdcUsers can add an optional high resolution analogue/digital converter module to turn the DTC into a digital workstation or make it function as a mastering processor.  It can also use the analogue domain to translate one digital format to a different one.

You’ll find the connectors on the DTC are nicely spaced out, and each one is identified.  There is an XLR input for the mic, a combination TRS/XLR socket for line, and both a quarter inch jack and a XLR socket for balanced and unbalanced line input.  Finally, another two TRS sockets are available for balanced insert.  The unique design of the DTC’s mic transformers, something Mindprint teamed with German manufacturer Haufe for, feature a 1.5 turns ratio.  This gives users a high input impedance of 5k, but thanks to reduced loading, the DTC can provide better sound in some instances.

As far as processing goes, the DTC’s ultra high quality mic preamp, instrument stage and line input, and very clean sounding nature all combine to create an excellent unit.  The equaliser features fourteen different knobs, but they’re spaced very closely together, making it easy to turn the wrong one.  Despite this, the DTC provides very musical EQ at all settings, and you can subtly nudge your sound in any direction.  You can also easily remove resonances and bring in different sample rates, although there can be some issues when outputting to some machines. Read more

Tube Mic PreampAre you looking for the absolute best tube mic preamp out there?  Well, while it’s hard to pull out one name and say it’s the absolute best, it is possible to make a list of all the top tube mic preamps out there.  This list contains some of the greatest mic preamps available today.  There are actually a good number of quality tube mic preamps on the market, but the ones listed here are the top of the line models.

•    The Aphex 1100 A discrete Class-A tube features an internal clock that can support 44.1, 48, or 96 kHz samples.  It also makes use of the MicLim function to limit the microphone signal before preamp so that there’s no clipping.  Its low-frequency cancellation filter lets uses have as much as 20 dB of low frequency cut before they need to use any headroom at all.

•    The Apogee Trak-2 combines several different functions to create an amazing mic preamp.  These include SoftLimit, SoftSaturate, and the Apogee 24-bit converter.  The Trak-2 also features analog insert points for removing analog preamp or for patching in compressors.

•    The Crane Song Flamingo is a class-A two-channel mic preamp that has four very unique sounds to it.  It creates these through the use of the fat/norm and the iron/no iron switches, which allow users to change the amplification color and the amount of iron in the signal path.  It also features stepped gain and variable attenuation.

•    The Earthworks 1024 is a four channel mic preamp that provides output at 10V RMS for 24-bit signals.  Each of its channels has variable control and stepped control for gain.

•    The GML 8300 Series offers up low noise with accurate, high headroom.  These preamps are all hand-built and have no FETs or ICs in their signal paths.  They come in two and four channel versions.

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Summit Audio TD-100 Instrument Preamp and Tube Direct Box Summit Audio TD-100 Instrument Preamp and Tube Direct Box
List Price: $449.99
Sale Price: $449.99

Combines Summit's stellar tube tone with discrete circuitry. The Summit Audio TD-100 is an instrument preamp and tube DI that brings true high-end audio quality to home studios. An excellent-sounding input stage for digital recording, adding personality and quality to the signal before it hits the converters. 12AX7A/ECC83 tube provides milky warmth. Transistor output section uses ±24V rails to boost the tube sound with no added coloration. Tube loading and output gain controls let you tailor the tone to your taste. Polarity reverse, ground lift, plus signal and peak LEDs. Also works great as a tube headphone amp.


Additional Resources for: Summit Audio Tube Direct

Summit Audio EQ video, 119th AES 2005

Shopping Results for: Summit Audio Td 100




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Combines Summit's stellar tube tone with discrete circuitry. The Summit Audio TD-100 is an instrument preamp and tube DI that brings true high-end audio quality to home studios. An excellent-sounding input stage for digital recording, adding personality and quality to the signal before it hits the converters. 12AX7A/ECC83 tube provides milky warmth. Transistor output section uses ±24V rails to boost the tube sound with no added coloration. Tube loading and output gain controls let you tailor the tone to your taste. Polarity reverse, ground lift, plus signal and peak LEDs. Also works great as a tube headphone amp.

Summit Audio TD-100 Summit Audio TD-100
List Price: $529.99
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New Summit Audio TD-100 Preamp Direct Box Pre Amplifier Module Studio HardwareBrand New, Direct from Summit Audio. Full Manufacturer's Warranty! We are Authorized Dealers!

Avalon Design U5 Single-Channel High-Voltage Instrument DI Preamp with 1 Year Free Extended Warranty Avalon Design U5 Single-Channel High-Voltage Instrument DI Preamp with 1 Year Free Extended Warranty
List Price: $620.00
Sale Price: $620.00

Includes 1 Year Free Extended Warranty. The U5 high-voltage DI-preamp combines a unique passive tone selector with a variable gain preamp and filter. The high input impedance accepts a wide variety of signal levels and instruments from acoustic guitars to high-output active bass guitars and keyboards. The U5 direct box is loaded with sonic character and user features professionals demand. SONIC EXCELLENCE The Avalon U5 Pure Class A instrument DI & preamplifier is the most powerful direct box available today. Designed to optimize absolute signal integrity and musical performance, the U5 includes many features and sonic excellence unequaled by lesser designs. The U5 is ideal for bass guitar and acoustic instruments, electric guitars, keyboards, synthesizers and low output pickups. Features include state-of-the-art, high input impedance input stage for zero load effect on sensitive pickups and keyboards, 100% discrete, Pure Class A signal amplifiers, practical user features and rugged hardware designed to deliver true high performance audio for many years. DESIGNED FOR DEEP & CONTROLLED BASS Avalon U5 DI-preamps have been in use around the world since 1995. They have found their way into the world's leading musicians rigs and recording sessions and been featured on thousands of the best selling (and sounding) albums and live performances. MINIMUM SIGNAL PATH DESIGN The U5 includes a variable gain Class A preamp to boost low level pickup signals and a high level speaker input for capturing the live sound of the instruments amp. 6 passive tone-EQ curves are also included to enhance a variety of acoustic and electric instruments. A high-cut switch eliminates unwanted acoustic pickup and high frequency noise, while a headphone monitor amp has been included for personal listening.


Additional Resources for: Summit Audio Td 100

Emerald Guitar Company X5-LIFE Woody... plugged in

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