JDK Audio R20

2-channel Mic/Instrument Preamp with 54dB of Gain, Switchable Phantom Power, VU Meters, 20dB Mic Pad, and 10dB Instrument Pad
JDK Audio R20 image 1
JDK Audio R20 image 1
Sweetwater Savings: $96.00 MSRP: $1,195.00
Special Order
Special-ordered from JDK Audio and usually arrives to you within 1-2 weeks. Please note: special orders cannot be canceled or returned.
Note: While most of the items we sell ship for free, this item does not qualify for free shipping due to special circumstances.

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JDK Audio R20
Special Order

A Great-sounding Front End for Your Studio!

The JDK Audio R20 2-channel microphone and instrument preamp makes a solid, great-sounding front end to your recording setup. Take one look at the R20 and you'll know it's all business; the vintage-style front panel is equipped with analog VU meters, simple gain knobs, and toggles for phase, pad, mic/line, and phantom power functions. Each of the two preamps gives you 54dB of gain, while low-noise circuitry makes this preamp suitable for even the most demanding modern studio environments. Equally useful for mics and instruments, the R20 gives you bulletproof performance!

JDK Audio R20 2-channel Mic/Instrument Preamp at a Glance:
  • Legendary build quality in an original preamp design
  • Elegantly simple panel layout
  • What is JDK Audio?

Legendary build quality in an original preamp design
A product of API's know-how combined with a great new design, the R20 gives you a great blend of classic performance and modern functionality. The R20 provides two channels of premium analog microphone pre-amplification designed to provide a low noise, solid front end for all audio applications. Meticulously detailed and solidly constructed, the R20 features custom analog VU meters and hands-on analog control of the gain level. Individual toggle switches control the selection of 48v, polarity, pad and a mic/instrument switch.

Elegantly simple panel layout
The R20 sounds fantastic, and it's built to last. This JDK Audio product features an easy-to-navigate front panel that hearkens back to the great vintage designs; its uncluttered layout of knobs, toggles, indicators, VU meters, and input jacks give you the instant access and functionality you need. Form follows function, and the result is great performance and austere good looks.

What is JDK Audio?
API developed JDK Audio to design and build new products with new approaches, taking advantage of new technologies. This gives JDK Audio the ability to create premium audio gear from the ground up, with the legacy of API behind it. These products are built with long-term use in mind, so you can put them in your rack with confidence. And, most importantly, they sound great!

JDK Audio R20 2-channel Mic/Instrument Preamp Features:
  • Dual Mic Preamplifiers with 54dB of gain
  • Custom analog VU meters for monitoring output level
  • Front panel, high-impedance instrument input with 45dB of gain
  • Peak indicator
  • Pad switch attenuates the microphone signal by 20dB, or the instrument signal by 10dB
  • Switchable 48v Phantom power
  • Low distortion, low noise circuitry
  • Fully balanced output, both 1/4" and XLR
  • Inputs: Balanced XLR Mic jack (rear); Unbalanced 1/4" Instrument jack (front)
  • Outputs: Balanced XLR and 1/4" parallel jacks
Microphone Input
  • Max Gain: +55db (no pad), +36db (w/pad)
  • Min Gain: +9db (no pad), -10db (w/pad)
  • Pot Gain Range: 46db
  • Pad: -20db
  • Input Impedance: 6.8K Ohms
  • Bandwidth: +/- 0.5db, 20Hz - 50kHz
  • THD+N @ 1kHz, +4dbu: 0.013%
  • Maximum Level: +20dbu
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: -90db
Instrument Input
  • Max Gain: +31db (no pad), +21db (w/pad)
  • Min Gain: +10db (no pad), 0db (w/pad)
  • Pot Gain Range: 21db
  • Pad: 10db
  • Input Impedance: 500K Ohms
  • Bandwidth:
  • +/- 0.5db, 20Hz - 20kHz
  • THD+N @ 1kHz, +4dbu: 0.002%
  • Maximum Level: +20dbu
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: -80db
Dimensions and Weight
  • Dimensions: 2U EIA 19" Rack; H/W/D: 3.5" x 19" x 10"
  • Weight: 12 lbs.
The JDK Audio R20 preamp gives any studio setup a great-sounding front end!

What Does "Special Order" Mean?

A special-order product is one that we don't normally keep in stock. We order it from the manufacturer as soon as you order from us. We have great relationships with all the manufacturers we carry, so we can get your special order to you as fast as or faster than anyone else. Remember that special orders are non-returnable and non-cancelable, so make sure the item is right for you. A Sweetwater Sales Engineer can help you decide — call (800) 222-4700 for assistance!

Additional Media

R20 User Manual
Studio Preamp Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 2
Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz
Phantom Power Yes
Analog Inputs 2 x XLR (Mic), 2 x 1/4" (Hi-Z)
Analog Outputs 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4"
Rack Spaces 2U
Height 3.5"
Depth 10"
Width 19"
Weight 12 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number R20

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Write your review

API R 20

I bought the R20 about 2 months ago & am very pleased with it. I've tracked just about everything from acoustic/electric guitars, drums/percussion, bass & vocals. The pres are very punchy, smooth & full with a more natural sound. Everything I've recorded so far using the R20 has given me great results. The unit is built very solid & with great quality. I gave this 5 stars not just because the great price, but also because of the great results it gives.
Music background: Recording Engineer, Pro Musician

very nice dual pre

This dual pre works great for just about everything. I bought it specifically for drum overheads. It sounds very clean with little coloration. It may look vintage but has a modern sound. I just recorded a TV commercial, the back up singer was using a UA-610 and I decided last minute to track the main (male) vocals through the R20. It provided the perfect contrast between singers and really sat well in the mix. If your recording allot of female vocals then you may want to go with the ISA or UA pre's. I found it a little hard to control mid and high frequencies. Besides that it works great for a DI....I plugged my Telecaster straight in and the tone was sweet. It is also very well made. It will be part of my studio for another 50 years (if I'm lucky).
Music background: Producer/engineer

JDK Audio R20

I very much agree with the previous review. Very natural sounding preamp. Smooth but still retains punch. Clean without sounding sterile. These pres sound absolutely amazing on acoustic guitars and clean electrics as well. A high pass would be nice, but really not that big of a deal for me. Most of my mics have a high pass built in. Rugged build quality and on top of everything it looks SUPER cool. In my opinion, for two channels in this price range there is nothing i've heard that even stands close. Thanks goes to Kyle Manship for helping me make this decision.
Music background: Recording Engineer, Songwriter

Love It, But Not For Ribbons

I admit - I like the vintage military hardware look, and the sound is clean and smooth all the way up (not sterile though, as someone else also noted). Plus - the simple toggles, the bright indicator lights - all make life "easy" when setting up for a session. However, it does not quite have enough gain for many ribbon mics, so I have to gain-stage through my Grace m101 (another clean, transparent pre) for a bit of a boost before it hits the JDK R20. If you work with dynamics and condensers, not gonna be a problem for you. But if you've a collection of ribbons - you might seek something with more robust gain (70dB+)
Music background: Hobbyist, Songwriter
See also: JDK Audio, JDK Audio Preamps