An Absolutely Magnificent Performer
There is a point in most musician's/engineer's careers where we realize that our best recording option is right at home. At that point, I think we all perform an inventory inspection of sorts to see what areas of our home-studios absolutely need improvement. In my case, it was certainly on the front end. That's what lead me to acquiring the Daking Mic Pre/EQ.
Upon the pre's arrival, I did an immediate a/b to see what the difference was between the preamps on my Sapphire Pro and on this joint. What I can tell you is that after the test, I felt like my studio had just developed a sort of magic... Alas, the most comfortable studio a musician can work in (his/her own) finally had in it's walls a piece of gear with commercial moxy. All of that to say that the solid-state harshness of the Sapphire Pro gave way to the brilliantly apparent solid-state warmth of the Daking Mic Pre/EQ. It was an amazing experience for an audiophile like myself.
Besides the preamp, there are several other nuanced things that are highly functional about this item. The first of them being the output/gain section. What I particularly like about the output/gain section is that you can set the default level of output via the stepped gain knob before having to adjust the output knob. In function, the section acts as sort of a manual recall. That is, I can set my vocal mic level via the output and gain knobs and then immediate plug my cab mic into the unit or patch and only have to adjust the stepped gain knob to find the right level. After that, I can immediately switch back to my vocal mic and only have to adjust the stepped gain knob back to exactly the same level as it was in the first place.
What I also find highly functional about this unit is both the EQ section, which sounds brilliant, and the EQ bypass switch. The EQ itself is very transparent; the curves seem to have been set at the most optimal 'Q'. But in addition to that, I can set the EQ to handle a vocal mic and then bypass it when I want to patch in a cab mic. Again, this allows for instant recall.
Last, but not least, is the mute function. It's just nice to have... Especially when overdubbing. Sometimes you just want to quickly mute the recording channel without having to do it inside the DAW... It's nice to just be able to hit a button and the same thing be accomplished without having to go through the process of re-arming. Slight benefit but a benefit nonetheless.
All in all... I'm totally head over heals about both the magical and musical sound quality of this pre AND the functionality of it's features. This gets a total 'buy' rating from me.