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JohnTennant 30th August 2015 07:07 PM

Sonic Farms Beamer
First thing is first: What kind of user am I?

I'm a sound designer by trade a music producer by hobby. I have about 16 years of sound design experience, and I've been dabbling in the music the whole time as well.

I make a dub/jungle hybrid style music mostly. ( for the curious)

My goals in this pre-amp purchase were:

1. Classic Class-A tone
2. Versatility
3. Dual channel for stereo processing
4. Modern equipment supported by a warranty

Once I got the tip off from a friend that I should check out the Sonic Farms stuff, I sent them an inquiry on their website introducing myself and telling them I'm interested in their stuff. I said I wasn't sure which preamp would be the right sound for me. Within two days, they phoned me up and said they just finished building a Beamer and offered to lend it to me for a few days to try it out. Well, yes please. boing

Boris (co-founder of Sonic Farm) came to my studio to drop off the unit. We had a long chat about the features and design philosophy... etc. Cool dude... totally legit.

Sound Quality

As expected, the unit sounds great. Between the two circuits on either side, and all the options on each circuit I found I could quickly achieve desired results on a variety of sources.

On the Berliner side, there is a clarity presence and expensive sounding sonic character that is extremely detailed with the high-mids sounding pleasing and organized to my ears at all times. As you would expect, the solid state output has a powerful tightness and density while the output transformer has an oomph and breadth of tone.

The Creamer+ side has got a way of sounding like it's inside my head. It has lots of colour sure, but what I didn't expect is the intimacy of the recordings I can get with it. The smoothness of the tone makes me want to listen to the program material more closely.

One both sides, the preset eqs are silky in the highs and tight and controlled in the lows. The switchable mic impedance can make a huge difference from microphone to microphone.

My experience when dialing in a setting is that I keep trying different configurations, they all sound great, and then, I hit the magic setting for that microphone with this vocalist or instrument. With this pre-amp, it really is worth it to take the time to figure out the best setting.

Basically, the range of quality tones that can be achieved from this single rack-space is totally absurd.

Ease of Use

I scored this a little low. Reason being: so many settings! Steep learning curve. This is not a 'one magic knob' box. But then again, it would be impossible to have the range of this box without all these settings. I'm convinced that all of these settings are useful--they each change the character of the sound in useful ways that lead to a far easier mix down. But yeah, this isn't a beginner's box.


I believe I've addressed this topic adequately above. abduction

Bang for Buck

If you're serious about recording excellent source material, then this box is a total bargain. But at $2850 CAD, it's not for the prosumer. It's a grown-up piece of kit. My prediction is these units will be considered totally classic and (this is already happening) we'll start to see them in the hands of many serious audio professionals.

In conclusion

So this box addresses all of my needs except the matched dual channel processing--it's two different pres in one rack. But I've been getting around that by converting my signal into mid/side and sending it through. I've been getting great results that way. Once I was sure that I could process stereo material reasonably well using mid/side, I gladly wrote Boris a cheque.

If you're in the market for a new pre-amp that you'll have the rest of your life, you should definitely consider this unit. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. kfhkh

YogiBlair 2nd May 2016 06:05 PM

Sonic Farm Beamer
Wow, what a masterpiece.
Sounds quality beyond anything I've heard. These guys are up to something fresh and yet old school warmth.
It has a killer clear sound with a very sweet tube warmth. You're getting the best of many world here. It's pure and simple yet has just the right amount of knob and switch options with out getting confusing. Two channels that each slightly vary.
No wonder everyone is talking about this relatively new company.
I previously had the Avalon 737 which is also nice yet this bad boy takes it to another level.

astralpen 19th August 2018 10:53 PM

After having bought and been delighted with the Tantra, I went back to Boris to talk about mic pres. I have been missing a tube-based pre in my rig. After some conversation, we settled on the Beamer for maximum flexibility. The Beamer has two channels: one containing the Berliner (which is an updated version of the V76) and the Creamer Plus. I spent time initially with an Upton 251 to evaluate the unit and it is awesome.

The Berliner side is big and smooth with a fat bottom end. Works really well with the 251. Both sides of the unit have an optional transformer on the output. The Berliner did not need this--for voice anyway, although I could see it being useful for other sources.

The Creamer side is tighter, more open and "in your face" without being overly aggressive. With the 251, the transformer in the output worked really well.

These units optionally have line in capability as well. These will definitely get some use as line amps at my place.

These guys love what they do and it shows both in the construction and quality of their products as well as in the way that they interact with customers.