Dave Hill Designs Europa I

1-ch Microphone Preamplifier with Selectable Impedance
Dave Hill Designs Europa I image 1
Dave Hill Designs Europa I image 1
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Sweetwater Exclusive - A Pre with Loads of Options

The Europa I from Dave Hill Designs represents a totally unique design concept in mic pres. The impedance is selectable (2.2Kohms, 300ohms, and 1.2Mohms) and you have up to 66dB of gain available, giving you a plethora of sonic options. But these features aren't what set the Europa I apart from other pres, as a trio of controls really let you dig into the coloration capabilities. Adjust the SPEED control and dictate how fast the preamp responds. The control goes from 0 to 8 with 8 being the fastest rate, and 0 being very drastic. Further shape the sound with the even and odd harmonic control, which gives you nine levels of coloration. All the controls - gain, speed, even harmonic, the odd harmonic controls - are stepped which makes it easy to recall your favorite settings.

Dave Hill Designs Europa I Microphone Preamplifier Features:
  • 1-channel
  • Three impedances selections: 2.2Kohms, 300ohm, or 1.2 Mohms
  • Gain adjustable in 1db steps from 0 to 66dB on the mic input, 0 to 30dB
  • Gain is displayed on a 2 digit led display
  • Low cut filter with 3 pole, 18dB per octave: 148Hz, 130Hz, 117Hz, 100Hz, 81Hz, 63Hz, 48Hz, 33Hz, and off
  • SPEED changes how fast the pre-amp can respond
  • Even harmonic control provides 9 levels of color from 0 to 8
  • Odd harmonic control which also has 9 levels color with the 0 setting being the cleanest in both cases

Additional Media

Europa I User Manual
Studio Preamp Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 1
Phantom Power Yes
EQ Yes
Analog Inputs 1 x XLR (Mic)
Analog Outputs 1 x XLR
Rack Spaces 1U
Height 1.75"
Width 19"
Manufacturer Part Number Europa1

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
Write your review

Killer Shaping

I bought this preamp a few years back and it is amazingly versatile. I have been primarily using it on vocals with excellent results. Being kind of the analog purest I get frustrated with any gear with a single knob! The Europa preamp can evolve into endless preamp combinations, so in my world it is a dream preamp and saves me from buy 4 more other brands. I agree like other reviews I agree you really need to sit down, dig in, turn knobs and take the preamp to dinner to get to know it. The creative potential in this preamp is endless and running anything through it inspires new combinations of settings you better write down! Don't get fooled by hype of ancient preamp copies and living in the past! It is time to bring sound forward and of course Dave Hill delivers something that puts us in the drivers seat!
Music background: Electronic musician, Vocalist

Hobbyist however lives up to the Tweakability hype!

im no expert, and just learning Audio Engineering, however this is one of my most powerful tools in my studio. For my vocals, i can tweak up the wazoo before my sound even hits my DAW. If you are one of those people that cant decide on warmth or punchy, or vintage or whatever heck else you are looking for in a mic preamp, then get this bad boy. It can give you whatever sound you are looking for provided you do your homework and mess with it and learn it. Hope this review helps
Music background: Hobbyist/Student

Clarity with character, the sound in my head.

As a friend said "Dave Hill is the new Rupert Neve." This box is genius. I've got a pair of them as my primary chain. Somehow sources are more real, while simultaneously more polished. It can also get very vintage sounding. It's more detailed to me than an API. I'm very happy with them and they will be sticking around for years to come. If you aren't stuck on being a retro-fetishist, then I would buy one or two of these.
Music background: Professional Musician

The sound is clear and very clean

For me, a good choice for a clear and warm sound. Have the flexibility to adjust as needed.From the sound of vintage or to a completely new era.
Music background: Musician , Recording Engineer

A Master Manipulator

I first heard of this unit from my Sales Engineer, Stuart Niven. I was skeptical at first, it being a new product and all, but after using this unit with my Manley Reference microphone, all I can say is WOW! The clarity is just what I've been looking for. I have recordings that have people in awe because they aren't mixed yet, only ran through the Europa w/ slight compression. That's saying something. The versatility of this unit is great, I spent hours in my studio recording using just about all of the settings so I could get an idea of how the knobs work in conjunction with each other. So far everything about the Europa has kept me smiling, from the opening of the box to putting it into my rack space. I Love it!!
Music background: Recording Artist/Songwriter/Producer/Owner of Tymeless Music Ent. LLC

Sweetwater Advice

Carson McClain

Think Black Keys or Jack White with a hint of Tom Waits. You can pull it off with the Europa.

Charlie Davis

The Dave Hill Designs Europa 1 has to be one of the most versatile preamps I've ever seen. By adjusting the speed control, along with the Even/Odd Harmonic controls, you can dial in anything from a very precise (modern) sound, or something smoother with elements of harmonic distortion (vintage). This, along with the multiple impedence settings, make it one of the most versatile preamps out.

Alex Morales

I recently took a Dave Hill Designs Europa 1 on a rock drum session and instantly fell in love with it. I used it as the preamp for the condenser capsule of an Audio-Technica AE2500 miking the kick drum. The speed was all the way up with a little bit of harmonic content added and the HPF at about 100HZ.  I combined that for the click/attack along with the dynamic capsule of the same mic through a Chandler Germanium pre and a Steven Slate Dragon Compressor for the body and a Yamaha Subkick through a Daking pre for added low end.  The Europa really made the kick cut through perfectly!

Stuart Niven

The Dave Hill Designs Europa 1 sounds incredible! Definitely not a "1" trick pony! Ranging from clean and "modern" to darker and "Vintage" sounding with a few adjustments, the Europa can shape and create a wide pallette of tonal joy. Dave Hill is regarded as one of the best electronic designers in the business (responsible for the amazing Crane Song equipment) and nobody knows how to get that sound better than he. If you are looking for a super-high-quality versatile preamp, this is a winner!
See also: Dave Hill Designs, Dave Hill Designs Preamps