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Microphone Month

Summit Audio 2BA-221 Review

I was really impressed with quality and versatility of this unit.

Single-channel preamps are becoming all the rage these days, with the sprouting of huge numbers of home studios, and digital commercial studios. The Summit 2BA-221 is fast becoming a popular addition to both commerical and home studios. Taking the Summit 2BA-221 to my home studio I quickly realized the quality associated with the Summit name. The first thing I noticed after unpacking it, is that this thing is built like a tank. It is heavy and solid, there’s no messing around here. With the large ventalation holes on the top you can see the massive amount of circuitry that Summit has packed into this small unit to give it its huge sound.

Once I began patching it into my home studio I realized the flexibility of this unit. This thing offers three different inputs: mic, line, and instrument, with the ability to use the mic input in combination with either the line or instrument inputs, with separate gain controls for each. It essentially makes this thing a small two-channel mixer. Not only that, these units are “stackable.” Take the “stack” output of one unit into the “stack” input of another, and you’ve got four independent channels coming out of one tube output. There is also a separate output gain control for tube output. Turn it down to get clean solid-state sound, or crank it up to add as much real tube sound as you like. You can monitor the tube stage with the three-step LED.

So I plugged in my Rode NTK and broke out the acoustic guitar. Starting clean, I slowly started cranking up the tube output, which really brought out the bottom end, but still kept the highs nice and clear. The variable impedance control is great too: you can dial in the perfect impedance up to four times the impedance of the mic you have. Or you can play around with it like I did, to try and get some different sounds with just one mic, very cool! And this thing can tackle anything you can throw at it, not just acoustic guitar.

Whether you’re in a commercial studio looking for a nice tube piece of gear, or in your home studio looking to make the move up in preamps, this unit is for you. Its compact size will add huge sound to your recordings without breaking the bank. I was really impressed with quality and versatility of this unit, and I encourage anyone to check it out.

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