Great Preamps for the Symphony
These preamps are fantastic. They have a tiny bit of color - in a good way - but still sound very natural, warm, and open. Plus, having that 85dB of gain is incredible. It can push my Fat Head II ribbon with ease, along with any of my other dynamic or condenser microphones. They do have a little noise when you really push the gain for quiet sources or on certain microphones, but it's manageable. I'd imagine adding a Cloudlifter might take care of many of those issues. The DI sounds great too; I'd say it's certainly on par with my Avalon U5 - if not better - for DI sounds on both acoustic (magnetic pickup) and electric guitar (of course, without the Tone/EQ on the U5). I certainly prefer using an external DI to split the source for more options with the great Symphony conversion, but in a pinch (or if you like DI sounds?) this definitely has a good DI input. I have yet to use the inserts, but having that feature alone had me choosing this for my Symphony over other external multi-channel preamps at similar price points. I'd eventually love to have different flavors, but for an all-in-one, flexible pre with multiple DIs (and inserts!) for this price, this thing is simply incredible.