Avalon M5

Mono Microphone Preamp with Direct Instrument Inputs
Avalon M5 image 1
Avalon M5 image 1
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Avalon M5
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Treat yourself to brilliant preamp perfection from Avalon!

Easily one of the world's finest-sounding and respected preamps, the M5 belongs in the studio of every audio professional. The M5 is a low-noise mic preamp with DI instrument input. It's also a sterling example of Avalon's first-class design specifications-100% discrete, high-bias, pure Class A studio amp; minimal signal path designs; huge headroom; fantastic dynamic transient capability.

  • 100% discrete, pure Class A mode
  • Transformer coupled inputs
  • Musically balanced harmonic detail
  • Low noise, high headroom +30dB
  • Variable highpass filter on M5
  • B&K 130v optional card on M5
  • Accurate 2dB stepped gain control
  • High impedance DI instrument input

Additional Media

M5 Spec Sheet
Studio Preamp Buying Guide
Avalon M5 Review

Tech Specs

Preamp Type FET
Number of Channels 1
Frequency Response 1Hz-120kHz (-3dB)
Phantom Power Yes
Analog Inputs 1 x XLR (Mic), 1 x XLR (B&K 4000 Mic)
Analog Outputs 1 x XLR
Rack Spaces Half (2U)
Height 3.25"
Depth 5"
Width 7"
Weight 7 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number M5

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
Write your review


This is a, plug in and go preamp. It's clear, precise, clean as can be. I use it for vocals, and acoustic guitar primarily. The tracks I've used this on have been placed into hundreds of film/tv shows. I've used mics from Neumann TLM 49 to the MANLEY REF, with awesome results. Love it!
Music background: singer/songwriter

Elegant and Stunning

I first heard the Avalon U5 Direct Box and loved the openness of that unit. The M5 will give you the same wide-open, elegant sound for mics. I could do without the extra switches (on both units) because the things just sound so darned good "flat." I don't think you can go wrong with this preamp unless you're looking for something really colored and "vintage"-sounding. Awesome.
Music background: Recording Engineer, Commercial Studio Owner, Voiceoverist

Don't mistreat your tracks.

I've been recording my basses for many years and since I started using this unit 3 months ago its the first time I've seen my mixing engineer stroke his chin and ask what I did to the instrument. I said it's Avalon. He nodded and said thats the bass sound he'd been looking for. The sound seems to disappear into the floorboards without humping the lower mids. I've since used ot for percussion and voice. I've recorded everything from intimate jazz right up to the clamour of batucada and precariousness of Hip Hop. I can't believe how clean it is. Its seems to warm up the sound without killing the sound. I run everything thru it now. Comments I've read just seem to expect the sound to compare to something like a Neve with a Pultec ie something else I suppose. It doesn't sound like 'something else', it sounds clean and its results in trax that are easy to mix. Isn't that what we want? And I believe it's an Aussie invention...!
Music background: Pro Musician, Studio Bassist

Top Shelf

I purchased and used this unit for over a year. I bought it to use on vocals but have found I love it on bass, and tracking guitars as well. The M5 captures the sound source with full mids, smooth lows, which is especially helped by the high pass filter and smooth, natural sounding highs, overall well balanced across the spectrum. I have tried running this through a chain (1176, and WA eq) but find it requires nothing, just connect to a line input of your hardware interface and viola. My only complaint with this unit is the phantom power switch is on the back of the unit. Despite this, I highly recommend the M5 for anyone acquiring top shelf mic preamps.
Music background: Musician, composer, engineer

A solidly built Preamp

I've used the M5 for vocal tracking.It wasn't great but did sound clean. I prefer the Blue Robbie for vocals and acoustic Guitar.The Robbie is a hybrid design utilizing a discrete balanced solid state input and output with a 6922 dual triode in the middle. The THD and headroom specs are also better on the Robbie. Don't think the M5 isn't a good preamp,it is, it just doesn't have the overall sound I prefer-it's kind of sterile.
Music background: Recording and Sound Engineer

Sweetwater Advice

Tim Harrington

The M5 is perfect for live or studio enviroments: acoustic guitar, bass, or vocals, all with exceptional clarity and quality.

Stuart Niven

As a long-time fan of Avalon gear, I was truly excited when I had the chance to try the M5 out in the studio. On first touch I fell in love with its stunning construction and robust design. This is a solid unit that is easy on the eye! I plugged a Fender P-Bass directly in to the M5, dialed in some gain, dialed in the filter a little... Wow, 10 seconds later and a stunningly warm and smooth bass sound was impressing everybody in the room. I have since used the M5 for anything that I need to sound warm and smooth with that unmistakable clarity that comes from Avalon preamps: acoustic guitar, vocals, even a vintage Rhodes. The M5 will never gather dust - you will use it in every session.

Ryan Sloan

This is a fantastic item for anybody who wants to use an Avalon, but capture a pure tone. The M5 is a solid state preamplifier unlike the VT-737, which features tubes. Another important thing to mention is that this is just a preamp and not a compressor or EQ. That said, this preamp is fantastic at capturing the essence of your recording in a true way. I recorded some acoustic guitar with a Neumann TLM127 microphone and ran it into the M5 and then into my digital audio workstation (DAW). It really captured the essence of the original recording. It was full of body and had a lush atmosphere that really put the tonal highlights of the room into perspective. Next, I tested the direct input capabilities with an electric guitar. I ran an electric guitar into the M5 and then into a Boss GT-8. From there I went into my DAW. It sounded absolutely fantastic! The guitars really stood out in the mix with minimal mixing and processing and sounded amazingly rich and complex. The lead electric guitar had some soaring high parts and the distortion on the rhythm was full of body and texture on the bottom end. The Avalon M5 has a great amount headroom and an extremely low noise floor so you won't have to worry about hitting that threshold as much as you might with other gear. Like other great Avalon products the M5 is built like a tank so it's comfortable in a studio rack, or on the road in a touring environment. It's an all around winner!
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See also: Avalon, Avalon Preamps