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RNP 8380 Pre-Amp

FMR Audio Really Nice Preamp (RNP8380)

4.15 4.15 out of 5, based on 4 Reviews

Nice sounding pre-amp, small size and price


19th February 2012

FMR Audio Really Nice Preamp (RNP8380) by edva

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
RNP 8380 Pre-Amp

The RNP ("really nice pre-amp") manufactured by FMR Audio in the USA is a two channel microphone pre-amp in the company's now familiar one-third rackspace form factor. It uses an external "wall wart" power supply. Like all FMR products, the RNP has a kind of "DIY" appearance, so if you want "sex appeal", look elsewhere. However, in the "bang for buck" department, it is hard to beat.
The RNP has several nice features: first, it is two-channel, allowing for stereo recording. It's very small, lightweight, and easy to transport. Insert jacks are provided on each channel, as are front-panel DI inputs, LED meters, high quality stepped gain knobs with 6 db increments, phase inversion buttons, and buttons to engage 48V phantom power individually per channel. The phantom power is "ramped" at turn-on to prevent large spikes (and give you time to respond if you accidently hit the button, for example with a ribbon mic attached. Because of the unit's tiny size, and the small buttons with micro travel, one must take care when making adjustments.)
The RNP does not have any EQ controls, nor high pass filters. It offers slightly more than 60 db of gain, and is pretty clean and quiet for the first 50 db or so, presenting a nice, focused sound with plenty of detail and body. Despite the relatively modest amount of gain, there is excellent headroom, so it is possible to hit the pre with a lot of signal and get great results. The sound in fact belies the unit's small size, and is generally big, clear, and fully professional sounding. Certainly it is one of the best, if not the best, two channel pre-amps in its price range, and highly recommended for recordists on a tight budget.

15th March 2012

FMR Audio Really Nice Preamp (RNP8380) by poserp

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
RNP 8380 Pre-Amp

The FMR RNP is, in my humble opinion, the perfect project studio mic preamp. It has a whole host of features that make recording easier.

The things I really dig about the RNP:

1.) It's a great DI box. I love the sound of the RNP on bass and guitar as a DI, it's not hyped but at the same time it "sits" very well in a mix. It accurately translates the tone of your instrument and thus "tells the truth", i.e. if the sound sucks it's definitely not the DI's fault.

2.) It's excellent for doing direct/cab recording. Run a direct signal into one channel, mic up your cabinet with the other channel. Done. Flip the phase reverse switch if necessary to get things sounding "solid" and you're good to go.

3.) It's an incredible value for the money. Two channels of preamp that sound this good for under $500 is pretty darn amazing. And it does all sorts of neat tricks (the gain pot is stepped for repeatability, it automatically cuts off the audio outputs when you turn it on via a relay so there's no "pop" if it power cycles, same thing happens when you engage phantom power) that you usually only find on more expensive mic pres.

Here are the things I don't dig:

1.) Like the manual says, the wall wart sucks. Not so much if you're running one or two of these, it's more of an issue if you want to rack up a bunch of them (say, to make a cheap "console" along with a good line mixer like the Speck Electronics X-Sum).

2.) No low-cut filter. It would be nice to have a decent low-cut filter, but perhaps that's asking too much at this price point.

I've used the RNP to record bass, guitar, piano, drums, and vocals. I feel like it has always done the job with workmanlike reliability and consistently excellent results. Perhaps there will one day be a better way to power a bunch of them from the same supply...

30th March 2012

FMR Audio Really Nice Preamp (RNP8380) by Mark_Andrasko

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
RNP 8380 Pre-Amp

I bought the FMR RNP8380 (short for "Really Nice Preamp") after scouring the internets for reviews of affordable microphone preamplifiers. An enormous number of reviews said the FMR RNP was an incredible deal for the price and comparable to preamps twice the price.

I salivated at the chance to own one and purchased one as soon as I could. After tracking a variety of instruments with the RNP for a year and a half I have to conclude that the RNP might not quite live up to the internet hype but it really is in fact a "Really Nice Preamp".

One of the first things I did when I got my RNP was track an entire song with every instrument through this box. And that's where, for me, the RNP failed. The song while it sounds pretty decent just has a certain sluggishness to the mix that I would describe as "not juicy" leading me to conclude that the RNP definitely isn't the greatest preamp in the world for endless stacking of tracks (but there were an enormous number of layered guitar takes in the song).

That said, this is a great preamp for that avid home recording engineer that needs decent preamps right now for tracking drums or band all at once. I have had a lot of success with it on overheads, toms, and acoustic guitar. I think it performed strongest on snare, electric guitar, and even vocals which makes this a pretty well rounded little preamp.

The FMR RNP was a great jump up in preamp quality for me and my home recordings when I realized the preamps I were using were complete crap. Was it as revolutionary as my single channel Daking Mic Pre One? Definitely not.

In conclusion: Endless stacking? Not a chance. Is the "Really Nice Preamp" a decent option when you have several things to track all at once? Oh hell yes.

14th September 2012

FMR Audio Really Nice Preamp (RNP8380) by Ray Sr.

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
RNP 8380 Pre-Amp

I have owned the RNP for about 6 yrs now & know it very well. I mainly use it for recording Hip Hop & R&B vocals, some electric GTR & use the DI (direct in) for turntables.
In my opinion when recording vocals or GTR the RNP has a very Dry or Raw sound. It only gives you the sound you put into it. Meaning it won't give you that pro polished sound that you hear on the radio as soon as you record it. You have to clean things up with EQ & add Compression for flavor. Also there isn't any Air around it so you'll need to add reverb or delay for that.
I like that its very dry & raw. That way you can use it on anything & add the flavor later that suits the vibe.
The DI is really good too. The DI doesn't need much. Turntables & GTR sit in the mix nicely with very little EQ.
Anyway, just know when you buy the RNP that you're gonna get a Dry Raw sound that is waiting to be scuplted & painted with EQ & compression. Also Mark of FMR Audio fixed my RNP for Free when I sent it to him because it needed so little work. And 2 yrs later when I called him because I didn't know how to hook up the PBC-6a compressor he took time to walk me through it personally. Great company.

 
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