This review is on the 573 Vintech API lunchbox module.
The preamp features your regular step gain knob going from 20 to 70 db. it also has a trim knob, which is great for reducing the output at any given level of gain.
other than this, it has useful phantom power, a nice phase reverse switch, and my favorite, an impedance switch from 300 OHMS to a more modern sounding 1200 OHMS. I use the 300 setting for DI guitars and bass, but find that mic'ed sources like vocals drums amps and what not sound nicer, tighter and better in the 1200 setting. but this also depends on your microphone i guess.
This is a huge step up for anyone who, like me, has been using the preamps on their audio interface. (mine is a focusrite saffire pro 40). So after 30 minutes of use, i already love it. it has done 2 things to my sound.
First, the thing i did expect: the preamp sounds super warm and rich compared to what i had before. took my bright sounding mic (AKG Perception 420) to being warmer. And second, the thing i didn't expect, the preamp has created a much better soundstage, im not sure how to explain this, but i feel like the sound is more alive.
The reason i went for this is because i heard so much about the coveted "Neve sound". For 700 dollars, i figured it was worth a shot. i am very glad i went with it.
i gave a 10 everywhere because of the fact that for 700 dollars, it does all that i expected.
anyways, for anyone looking to buy this, i love it, hopefully you will too!
When I first get a piece of gear, I like to get a feel of the build and read up on the components before I ever plug it in. The 573 is a brute when you take a look at it. The main gain potentiometer is stepped and not clunky. The steps between 20 and 70 are clearly labeled and click with ease. The only thing I found a little odd was the "off" setting between 50 and 55. That being said the big red knob protrudes out of the faceplate and is an impressive knob indeed. This has a cool look to it that grabs my attention.
Below the Gain knob there is a set of three switches for Phantom, Impedance and Phase. Phantom and Phase are standards when it comes to a mic pre, but the impedance allows you to impedance levels from 1200 ohms or 300 ohms. Try adding additional color and flavor to your dynamic mics by switching into the 300 ohms setting!
This is great for switching up your microphones and getting the most of all the mics in your mic locker. I enjoy toggling between the two and noting the audio perception between the different levels. The only thing I guess I expected was that when you switched any of the three switches I expected some sort of light behind the switch to illuminate.
The next item is the trim knob for output level. I have developed a strong almost love to mic pre's that have this type of setup. Saturate your pre and get the coloration that you want or need and dial it in to match your A/D converters.
Other useful features, there is a DI on the front panel to run your guitar, bass or other direct instrument into and a toggle switch for selecting between Mic and Line levels.
I again wish there were some sort of indicators on the pre that showed where the level of the pre was hitting, but look to your DAW and you will be fine. With lighting (visual feedback) of any kind not being present on this pre is the only reason I gave it a 4/5 on features.
Now for the sound. I haven't heard this pre sound bad! It is a great pre for versatility and coloration. It adds just enough "vintage fuzz" to your favorite mics, it it like the proverbial hot butter on toast when it comes to your sound. I favorite it over some much more expensive pres on use of Piano, Guitar and certain hand percussion.
Vintech has scored with this build, I highly recommend this for the Audio enthusiasts out there. If you are on a budget or in a high end studio the Vintech 573 is cost effective and a must have in your 500 series collection.