Great River Electronics ME-1NV by yapz
Legendary newsman David Brinkley was known to have a deep appreciation for tools because, as he put it, "A tool is designed to do one thing ... and it does it." I think Brinkley, were he an audio enthusiast, would have had a deep appreciation for the Great River ME-1NV -- for it is a finely crafted tool that does one thing -- amplify the output of a microphone to the degree that it becomes usable ...
But it does it in more than just one way.
Dan Kennedy's battleship-solid box is a sort of multitasking audio sampler -- in the Whitman's sense of the word ... thanks to circuitry that tips its hat to the good Mr. Neve and his brainchildren -- but also because Dan incorporated a clever way to access the generous iron dosage contained in the Sowter transformer you'll find inside. Using both the input and output pot in tandem, the ME-1NV allows you to manipulate the amount of "iron in the path" signal saturation you desire. Some prefer to use such descriptors as "clean" and "dirty" when assessing the extremes of transformer saturation; I opt for "pristine" and "colored." [That just sounds nicer.]
Two other switches also offer additional aural nuances as well -- Impedance and Loading. Without delving into the engineering and physics particulars here, suffice it to say that these two features, when engaged [or disengaged], do alter the sound output's character ever so slightly. In this particular case, options are a good thing.
Of course the thing has phantom power -- and a polarity reversal switch -- and an excellent Hi-Z input as well. But it also has a secondary output on the back: A 1/4", unbalanced, -10 dbu, tip-sleeve jack that Dan placed there for zero-latency DAW monitoring. But there's one more thing that makes this secondary output even more interesting: Unlike the main XLR-jacked output, this quarter-incher's output is pre-transformer. So although it doesn't have the full force & fury of the +4 main, that secondary output does represent yet another access point to a slightly different aural presentation. Why? No transformer, hence less iron in the path. Yet another bonus.
The ME-1NV isn't a full-blown channel strip, but it isn't just a "one trick pony" mic pre either. There's a lot going on under the hood, and while YMMV, every sonic mile you're going to log while driving the ME-1NV connected to the microphone of your choice is guaranteed to be rewarding and enjoyable.