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A new Pre-Preamp - sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite
Old 2nd March 2019
  #1
A new Pre-Preamp - sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite

For folks using ribbons and other low-output dynamic mics, we often wish for more gain than we might have available in our preamps. A conventional solution is a pre-preamp, a phantom powered amp with a fixed amount of gain placed inline, usually as close to the source mic as possible. There are several products from Cloud, Trion, BeesNeez and MartiAudio. Many folks have tried them and one of the frequent complaints has been about the perceived noise.

SoundOnSound tested the new sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite in their Feb 2019 issue (Vol 39 Issue 4), and found it to offer 29dB of clean gain with a very low -94.3 dBu noise floor when tested with an Audio Precision Test Set.

Price is $99.00. The unit is (unlike the cloudlifter) no bigger than an XLR adapter. It's unfortunately red in a marketing homage to the name, but I expect some black heat-shrink would make it more stage friendly.

Doug, I know that you'd been looking for more gain in your pre-Grace days, and you may not need this capability any more, but seeing this article made me think of you and the flaws you'd found with other products.
Old 2nd March 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
I am (rarely) using FETheads now and find them pretty good. As you eluded to, with the Grace m108, and no real passive ribbons in the closet any more, I don't need extra gain too often. I'd like to hear a pair to compare to the FETheads but not even $200 worth.

The mic I have now with the most need for gain, the Samar VL373A, works fine with the gain supplied by the Grace, even with small acoustic groups like Baroque quintets and the like.

D.
Old 2nd March 2019
  #3
Gear Nut
Do these types of gadgets (and I'm talking about the FETHeads, too) work the same if you connect them to your interface/preamp instead of the microphone? I mean something like: interface > FETHead (or DM1 Dynamite) > Cable > Microphone? If so, this could be a solution for the bright red on stage? Now, I'm a newbee, so don't laugh too much if I'm totally off here!
Old 3rd March 2019
  #4
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
Do these types of gadgets (and I'm talking about the FETHeads, too) work the same if you connect them to your interface/preamp instead of the microphone?
Same gain, of course, but a large part of the point is to have boosted the signal in the cable, reducing the proportional strength of interference especially over long runs. So, don't.

PS I can recommend the Radial McBoost, which doesn't seem to get mentioned often compared to the Cloudlifters and Fetheads. Very sturdy, selectable impedance up to 30k (great for ribbons) and considerably cheaper than the Cloudlifter CL-Z. Noise performance was identical to the Cloudlifter in my tests.

You shouldn't really need these for gain when using good pres - the advantages are in the cable driving and impedance options where appropriate, AFAIC.
Old 3rd March 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 
MBBCFP's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
For folks using ribbons and other low-output dynamic mics, we often wish for more gain than we might have available in our preamps. A conventional solution is a pre-preamp, a phantom powered amp with a fixed amount of gain placed inline, usually as close to the source mic as possible. There are several products from Cloud, Trion, BeesNeez and MartiAudio. Many folks have tried them and one of the frequent complaints has been about the perceived noise.

SoundOnSound tested the new sE Electronics DM1 Dynamite in their Feb 2019 issue (Vol 39 Issue 4), and found it to offer 29dB of clean gain with a very low -94.3 dBu noise floor when tested with an Audio Precision Test Set.

Price is $99.00. The unit is (unlike the cloudlifter) no bigger than an XLR adapter. It's unfortunately red in a marketing homage to the name, but I expect some black heat-shrink would make it more stage friendly.

Doug, I know that you'd been looking for more gain in your pre-Grace days, and you may not need this capability any more, but seeing this article made me think of you and the flaws you'd found with other products.
I use ribbons for a fair amount of my recordings. I have a pair of FetHeads and four Dynamites. They all do the job, but the tests as outlined above gave me the incentive to buy the Dynamites instead of more FetHeads. I am not sorry.
Old 4th March 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Bryce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ithinknot View Post
I can recommend the Radial McBoost, which doesn't seem to get mentioned often compared to the Cloudlifters and Fetheads. Very sturdy, selectable impedance up to 30k (great for ribbons) and considerably cheaper than the Cloudlifter CL-Z.
The Cloudlifter Z has continuously variable impedance though, so it can be exactly matched to the input impedance of the mic it's being used with, or creatively mismatched to vary the tone. The McBoost only has three fixed positions.

dB
Old 4th March 2019
  #7
Gear Nut
Do any of you have experience with this model: Jdecor.eng How would it compare to the more know brands, in your opinion/experience?
Old 5th March 2019
  #8
A very quiet mic preamp will best all of those in line fet boosters.
Old 5th March 2019
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
A very quiet mic preamp will best all of those in line fet boosters.
Yes. But it's a cost/performance tradeoff. I'd only use these for live sound or broadcast, where I need to get the gain "normal" for live mixing. For recording only, I use whatever clean gain I can get from the preamps and make it up in the mix session with digital trim.
Old 6th March 2019
  #10
EIN specs will tell you "the rest of the story". If you don't see those posted you may want to ask why.
Old 15th September 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
Imagine taking a bunch of these on a plane. My Fethead is kind of falling apart. These look more durable.

Old 15th September 2019
  #12
When I tested the original Cloudlifter and Fet head on my Audio Precision analyzer they both contributed 1 db of noise.
Old 15th September 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
When I tested the original Cloudlifter and Fet head on my Audio Precision analyzer they both contributed 1 db of noise.
Have you tested the Dynamite?
Old 16th September 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
As Tim mentioned in the first posting here, Sound On Sound magazine reviewed and measured it recently, and came up with these findings: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews...s-dm1-dynamite
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