Seventh Circle Audio A12 Mic Pre (Kit)
I have been using Seventh Circle Audio Pre's for at least 10 years. I have used them on countless projects and even grammy nominated/grammy winning projects.
Sonically, they are definitely in the "API" family. Great fast attack, and up front present response. In my opinion they have slightly higher headroom than the current API 512c, but still can get a lovely crunch when pushed a little harder... and it's nice that there is an output trim so that pushing doesn't require a variable pad after the fact as with API.
I have tried a variety of Op Amps in these... including the SCA-25, API 2520, and Scott Leibers Red Dot. I liked the Red Dot the best, and the SCA-25 and 2520 are almost impossible to tell apart.
The build is easy, and there is plenty of help online. Additionally, you can buy them fully assembled.
This pre has all the stuff I like an API pre for. It's great on drums, and I especially love the on High Hat, and strummed Acoustic Guitars.
A great price on a modular pre with no sonic compromises. These sound as good or better than pre's costing twice as much.
3 Thumbs up! :)
Seventh Circle Audio A12
The Seventh Circle Audio mic pres were my first foray into the DIY world. I had read some reviews in Tape Op and here, and it seemed like a no-brainer opportunity to get some great pres for half the price.
I had never done any real solder work before, so I got myself an iron and the usual tools and ordered this kit and the chassis/psu. It all came well-packaged with very detailed documentation, and with a little practice and research into soldering techniques, the whole thing came together very quickly.
I now have 2 A12 units. I was able to score a used Sowter output transformer that is an API 312 replacement, so I used that for my 2nd unit for variety.
These are everything you would expect from an API-style mic pre. Fast and somewhat mid-forward with a clear low end, and the transformer options from SCA let you tailor the distortion characteristics with Steel, Low Nickel and High Nickel options.
The power supply allows for up to 30V rails and the op amps are 2520 pin compatible so all the usual offerings from SCA, Scott Lieber, CAPI, and Hardy are available.
Each pre has phantom and a phase switch, but I would've liked to have seen a HPF as well. However, for the form factor, there's just not much room left.
I have since built other units from SCA, and they have all been of the highest quality. I can't recommend them more.