Dizengoff Audio D4 Mic Preamp by sHOWpONY
This is a review about the Dizengoff D4 preamp.
When I think back to all the studio gear purchases I've ever made, mic preamps have so often been an underwhelming experience. I suppose this is because the hype is so compelling. Yet when they transition from being a slutty dream on my Santa wish-list to sitting in my studio turned on with a mic attached, the fog of mystery and intrigue vapourises, leaving me scratching my head wondering what
everyone else gets that I don't. The Dizengoff D4 was the first preamp I've gotten my paws on that I felt really actually gave me a different tonal tool. I'm not going to bore you with a tyrade about the thickness of the aluminium faceplate or how tidy all the components are inside the box. After trying
it out and falling in love with the sound, here's the scoop:
1. It's designed and built by a dude in the U.S. called Matt who used to be part of Black Lion Audio and
is a totally stand-up guy that gave me instant email support (thru my supplier) when I had questions
2. It's solidly built with hardly any knobs on the front. I like good gear with minimum knobs and switches to fart around with. When I'm busy in a session trying to get a level and keep the performer on it, I just want to dial it in and this box does it. To be specific, besides the 'on' switch and the trim (which I don't count as it only affects the output by a few dB) there are 3 switches and the gain knob. Perfect. That's a 20 dB pad, polarity and phantom power. Also an instrument in jack on the front with xlr mic input on the rear. It would be useful to have a low pass filter switch, a light for the phantom power and level indicators, but it's not a deal breaker.
3. It sounds so good on bass that I swear I wanted to cry a bit the first time I heard it. Prior to getting the D4 I was running bass (Musicman Sterling) through a Warm TB12 and LA610 ( not at the same time) and while these pre's sounded great on bass, there was clearly a slight wooly quality to the low end, where the D4 had a warm, fat clarity without the wooliness. In other words, bass just sounded thick and clear in the low end on the D4. Going back to my original claim about the D4 offering something different to other pre's, this is one area that gave me a new sound.
4. It doesn't have a lot of head room and saturates in a heavenly way when I'm getting the gain in to my interface at around anything above -10 dBFS on vocals. This was another thing I was loving about the D4.
The saturation really gives vocals (and bass) a gorgeous edge that was quite pronounced.
5. It's got a lively but controlled high end with a clear but full clarity in the low end. I recall another user suggesting it sounded 'hifi'. Not with the wonderful saturation that this offers. It's certainly present in the high end, but not in a clean, hifi way. This is one area where I think you need to match the D4 carefully with your mic. For example, I wasn't liking the sound of my Rode Classic II so much as the combination of an elevated high end in both the mic and the D4 seemed to make it a little too edgy up top. But putting my Rode NT1 and Golden Age R1 MkII ics (both with a more subdued high end) into this thing sounded WAY better. Adding a few dB of gain reduction with a Tubetech CL 1B on the way in was sublime.
6. It's got tons of quiet gain - 'nuff said.
So, from my viewpoint, if you're looking for a tube preamp to compliment your existing transformer/non
tube pre's then this could be just the ticket.