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Chameleon Labs 581 Microphone Preamp Reviews

5.0 stars based on 3 customer reviews
Questions about the Chameleon Labs 581 Microphone Preamp?

Questions about the Chameleon Labs 581 Microphone Preamp?

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  • from Irwin. PA June 24, 2015Music Background:
    Studio Owner

    Chameleon Labs 581

    Recieved new 581 blackface. Tested on dw kick and was extremely pleased. I would say its sound is somewhere between classic API VP28 and Heritage audio 1073. Not quite as big on low end as neve or vp28 however definately usable. Would not hesitate to get 3 more for Snare top and botton and overheads. Fender Jazz bass plugged in DI was again very, very good. All in all Im extremely satisfied with 581.

  • from March 11, 2015Music Background:
    Recording Engineer / Musician

    Chameleon Labs 581

    After a long wait, I received my revised blackface Chameleon Labs 581 and put it through its paces. I was eager to compare it to other Neve inspired pieces in my studio, and see how a mix comes together using just the 581. My most direct comparison was to the Heritage Audio 73JR, which quickly won me over and has been my go to preamp. I noticed right away that the 73JR has a more grinding and open saturation, with extended bottom end, and a very pronounced upper midrange saturation.
    When the 73JR is pushed, it gets beefy, and also has more upper midrange to it. The 581 doesn't share the low end content of it's Neve inspired Class A competition, the 581 is tighter and handles the bottom end transients with excellent clarity. The upper mids aren't as in your face, but more reserved, yet still very defined. The more you push the 581, the more it's silky texture is brought to life, and it shows its rich harmonics without losing clarity; slightly increasing the bottom end, and bringing an edge to the highs, yet still retaining a tight and focused sound. Switching back to the 73JR, you get a more open feel, and the sounds are bigger, but not better - just different. In my experience, the 73JR can definitely be too much of a good thing, and lead to the signature Neve cloudiness in the low frequency transients when used on every track, but the 581 will provide detail where the 73JR might contribute to said cloudiness. Overall, they compliment each other very very well. I can see myself using the 581 more and more, specially on high track counts.

  • from Jackson, NJ January 17, 2013Music Background:
    Guitar, recording


    For those of you who desire the Neve sound but cannot afford an original or a new Neve 1081 Mic Pre than look no further than this Chameleon Labs 500 Series 581 Mic Pre. This is an outstanding unit. It has all the features you would want in a high end mic pre plus the build quality to match. I own several pieces of Chameleon Labs recording gear and this unit fits right in with the outstanding quality the company is known for. You're able to get the Neve "grit" which is perfect for guitars although you can apply it to anything, vocals, drums (especially snare), bass, etc. I personally don't think there is a better unit on the market in this price range. Once again Chameleon Labs knocks it out of the park!

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