You need one!
This channel strip is simply amazing! We would all love a SSL console in our studio wouldn't we? Yes I know. We all don't have a extra $100,000 laying around for one. Well this channel strip will get you the sound of that $100,000 SSL console for a very small fraction of the price!
Every function on this channel strip is nearly identical to that of a real SSL console and it sounds just as amazing! This strip will make any decent mic sound like something much more expensive. If you think that's something try a really good mic though this thing. Talk about being blown away!
I ran my Rode K2 though this strip and it sounded like a totally different (and much more expensive) mic! I couldn't believe the detail in the sound! It was just like being in a major studio running a mic through the pre's of a SSL 4000. If someone recorded through this strip and the pre's of a SSL console, and then played it back and asked you to tell them which one was which, you really wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
Yes, it's that good and for the price your almost stealing it! The sound can go from very clean and flat to rather colored and warm depending on where you set the harmonic drive. While I'm on the subject of the harmonic drive let me say this is a really nice feature and helps those cold sounding mics in your collection sound like you paid a lot more money for them. Guitar and Bass sound fantastic through this as well.
That Harmonic Drive will take your instruments sound to a whole new level that you didn't know existed! (And that's no exaggeration!)
The EQ is, well, your typical SSL EQ. It's simply brilliant and as musical as you would expect SSL EQ to be. I really like the open sound of this EQ. It just doesn't get in the way of your tone and sounds really natural. Something else that I really like about the EQ section is you can totally take it out of the signal path. A mark of a truly professional unit. The only criticism I have of the EQ is you get a slight audible "click" in your signal when you disengage the EQ.
That isn't any big deal though. Just don't do it when your recording and you'll be fine. Moving on, this pre has tons of (very clean) gain and tons of headroom. The harder you drive it the better it sounds. The filter section works very well and really cuts down on the low frequency rumble. A handy feature to have if you live near a road and don't have a completely sound isolated room to work in! It's also nice to have that low frequency roll off if you don't have a mic with on board roll off.
The only other criticisms I have is I would have preferred separate XLR and TRS connectors and would have preferred all connections (stay a high Z input on the front) to be on the back of the unit. It's a little bit of a pain to run your cables to the front when everything in your rack hooks up in the rear. However these are all personal preferences and in no way take away from the sound or usability of the unit.
All in all I would highly recommend this unit to anyone that's looking for a nearly "do all" Swiss army knife mic/line pre that sounds like a hundred grand. It sounds great, it's built like a tank, and won't break the bank! You really get a lot for your money and honestly I can't believe this thing doesn't cost twice what it's selling for. It's a real steal at this price for sure!
This is a totally fantastic piece of gear that your studio simply can't do without! Thanks Sweetwater.