Speck Electronics MicPre 5.0
Feature-laden microphone preamplifier/mix node
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California-based Speck Electronics, founded in 1973 by Vince Poulos, makers of the highly successful XTRAMIX line mixer and Model ASC equalizer, have recently released the new MicPre 5.0 Microphone Preamplifier/Mix Node. The MicPre 5.0 is an original design and packs a lot of features into a compact half-rack space and can be rackmounted and combined with the Model ASC 4-band equalizer for a powerful and versatile channel strip.
I first received the MicPre 5.0 for review a few months ago, and the more we use it the more we like it. I had initially thought the MicPre 5.0's price might reflect that of the Model ASC EQ, which is in the $500 - $600 range. The MicPre 5.0 lists for $998 and has been seen with a street price of $850. Considering that the MicPre 5.0 has so many features and includes its own internal power supply, a price tag in the $850 range is more than acceptable especially when you hear it and spend time using it. It took me a little time to get used to the white faceplate, and when I spoke with Vince Poulos about it, he said he'd never had anyone mention they'd had a problem with the white color on the Model ASC EQ. Poulos also added, "The color of the MicPre 5.0 is light gray, not white. Put a white sheet of paper beside the unit and you'll see what I mean." So, maybe I'm in the minority and it's a non-issue. One thing I find important in the design of audio equipment is that visual and tactile interaction is easy and comfortable. Visually, the MicPre 5.0 is a breeze to work with and everything is clearly marked and the metering works well. It also feels good in the hands the knobs turn well and firmly as would be expected on quality equipment and everything is well layed-out.
|MicPre 5.0 (click image for larger view)|
Features, Specs and Versatility
Look around at what's on the market and you'll be hard-pressed to find another mic pre that has the features and specs of the MicPre 5.0. When using a mic pre, you often find yourself thinking, "It'd be great if it had...." Well, in the features department the MicPre 5.0 delivers in spades. First, it's truly a high-gain mic pre with 70 dB of gain great for low-output signals and ribbon mics. The front panel of the MicPre 5.0 includes a 1/4" DI jack, input gain knob that steps up in 5 dB increments, output trim from -10 dB to +10 dB, -20 dB pad, mic/DI selector button, 48V phantom power selector, phase reverse selector [after preamp gain stage], output switch that toggles between transformer-balanced out and active-balanced output, variable high-pass filter from 30Hz to 250Hz, high-pass filter bypass switch, 10-segment LED VU meter and on the Mix Node section, a level knob, pan knob and a mute button. [Pauses for breath.]
On the rear panel is an IEC socket with 115/230 VAC voltage selector, on/off power switch, Aux DC out for powering the Speck Model ASC EQ, Mix Link connector for combining other MicPre 5.0's together, balanced TRS insert send and insert return, line input, balanced TRS left and right mix outputs, XLR preamp output, XLR mic input and if that weren't enough an O.S.P. (output signal path) switch that allows for normal operation or bypassing all non-essential circuitry to the XLR pre out.
|MicPre 5.0 rear panel (click image for larger view)|
What more could you possibly cram into a half-rack pre!?
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