Published by yotonic on 8th April 2012
JMK Audio JM-130 Hand Built Preamp
This is my first and probably last review. I am not submitting this to get into some sort of contest, but simply because I "love" this product. I am a singer and I have shot this preamp out against just about every high end preamp made; Fearn, Forssell, Neve, Aurora, API etc...
And this is my absolute favorite preamp on male vocals. It has all of the detail of a Fearn or a Forssell with a better "midrange". This thing is dialed into the "sweet-spot" for male vocals as only a Nashville builder could do!
How did I find this little known, hand-built mic pre? By listening to James Lugo's ultimate 500 preamp shootout. Out of all of those preamps I heard something special in the midrange of this unit on vocals. Granted this is a rack mount unit (500 series now available) but there is something incredibly wonderful about the voicing of this preamp. It has that lovely midrange for vocals and excellent detail with just the right amount of transformer warmth. Mike Keith builds these as a labor of love and you get way more than what you pay for. Try one and then thank me!!
Here are some details from his webpage:
"Warm. Clear. Clean. Quiet." These are just some of the words used to describe the sonic qualities of the JM-130. With it's high headroom, hand wired point to point, and very short signal path. The JM-130 is the perfect choice for Vocals, Acoustic Instruments and those prized ribbon mics that require Hi Gain and Low Noise. Using an external power supply and gold connections you can be sure to have one of the quietest mic pres around close at your finger tips for criitcal listening and adjusting.
JM-130/JM-530 Features not found on most other mic pres:
Very high Input headroom: for a very wide Dynamic range, over 131dB for the JM-130, >128dB for the JM-530.
The Pad is on the output: this has several advantages; One it does not affect the loading and sound on the mic, Two; Since No DC voltage goes thru the switch (Phantom) like most Mic pre pad circuits on other mic pres there is NO pop when the switch is engaged. Third; being on the output allows the output transformer to be driven harder for a warmer sound.
The Phantom switch: the phantom voltage ramps up to reduce the pop when powering a Condenser mic.
All switches on both the JM-130 & JM-530 are the large Gold plated switch, to provide very long life and improve the clarity of the signal path, and greatly reduce the probability of noise and static.