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Avalon M5 Reviews

4.5 stars based on 8 customer reviews
Questions about the Avalon M5?

Questions about the Avalon M5?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

Sweetwater Advice

  • 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.

  • Tim Harrington

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

  • from Wisconsin May 10, 2017Music Background:


    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!

  • from Akron, OH September 8, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Commercial Studio Owner, Voiceoverist

    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.

  • from Sydney, Australia August 16, 2007Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Studio Bassist

    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...!

  • from Los Angeles March 26, 2017Music Background:
    Musician, composer, engineer

    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.

  • from Manhatten October 18, 2006Music Background:
    Recording and Sound 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.

  • from UK July 8, 2006Music Background:
    ya right...

    Not bad mates...

    ...not too bad for rock and roll. I like recording with this in my home or I will sometimes even use it on the road for writng. Its crystal clear man... late ...KR

  • from london July 1, 2005

    Avalon M5

    It's a preamp that almost seems not to exist. It's like plugging a microphone directly into your head. Not like a Neve 1081, which is like deep frying the signal. Rich but crispy. The avalon is more of an invisible bit of gear. Very pure. Rather a bad idea to use it on a snare drum, y'know. Unless you like Mariah Carey. Give me a mixing desk fitted with 24 of these and I'll be a happy man. Neptunes schmeptunes.

  • from London, UK January 1, 2005

    Avalon M5

    I aint used it but ma boyz The Neptunes hav an it sounds Fantabulous, its used on every track they record 4real!


  • 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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