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Avis de mooseherman - Grace Design model 101

This is a solid-state mic preamp. There is an XLR input and a 1/4" HI-Z input. This unit features the standard XLR and 1/4" outs, as well as an additional TRS output. This is a rackable unit. This is basically a mic pre, so there aren't any effects or anything too crazy going on.

UTILIZATION

The sound editing on this mic pre is pretty easy to do. It's got two knobs, gain and trim, both of which are basically output and input level monitors. There is a switch that says "ribbon" which is to bypass the phantom power and raise the impedence for ribbon mics. There is also a switch to turn on the High Pass filter, as well as a switch to turn on the 48V lockout.

SOUND QUALITY

The console is one of the more transparent mic pres I've encountered with solid state gear. It really draws out the particular qualities of the microphone that you are using without sacrificing tone. It's especially good with ribbon mics, as the ribbon mode readjusts the qualities of the mic pre to better suit the range of a ribbon mic. The ribbon setting also helps with dynamic mics when you're having a difficult time getting the sound you want. I would say that I've had better results with acoustic instruments with the M101, such as vocals and strings (especially strings!) The acoustic guitar has yielded some good results for me as well. I don't really like it at all when I use it for any mic I'm recording guitar amps with, as they sound kind of weak and flimsy for those things. The high pass filter also helps a lot with noise, which is good when I'm home recording and can't avoid certain sounds.

OVERALL OPINION

I think that this is a pretty cool microphone preamp because it has some pretty unique features. It's certainly geared to use with ribbon mics, so I'd say that's its primary market. If you don't own any ribbons, this might not be for you, but then again, it might because it's a pretty good preamp in general. Not the most versatile one out there, but certainly very good in situations that have been known to give other mic-pres trouble. It's a pretty expensive one, but it's light and it's pretty solid. Maybe not worth the price for most people, maybe after purchasing a few more mic pres.