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Microphone Month 2

Grace Design m101 Reviews

5.0 stars based on 23 customer reviews
Questions about the Grace Design m101?

Questions about the Grace Design m101?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

Sweetwater Advice

  • Brad Every

    This is one of the cleanest preamps on the market! I haven't run into anything that doesn't sound amazing through it!

  • from Camarillo CA April 22, 2017

    The track finally sounds like the amp!

    I have been using interface preamps and less expensive outboard preamps, with a mix of mic'd and direct recording. The M101 has been a total game changer for both applications. The realism and definition of mic'd sources is astounding, and direct sources have a new lushness and organic quality. Done with mic pre's that "warm up your sound" (i.e., roll off treble), the Grace is now the centerpiece of my input signal path. A great product!

  • from Goldsboro, NC January 26, 2017Music Background:
    Hiphop/Rap R&B

    The hype is real!!!

    I'm a hard customer to please, so when I just couldn't get the vocal I wanted from my Black Lion Auteur I looked elsewhere and found so many great reviews on the Grace M101. The Auteur is colored especially in the low mids, this preamp however is clean and crystal clear! Not much if any EQ is required in the mud range for my voice anyway! I'm very pleased with my purchase!! Now I can swap my mics out without worrying about if my preamp is affecting the sound! My advice..upgrade your preamp before you upgrade your mic and make sure its a Grace M101!!! I use the AT4050 microphone!

  • from Indiana November 10, 2015Music Background:
    Solo Recording Artist

    Amazing Mic Pre!

    As a solo recording artist, I usually only need one channel most of the time. After doing some research I decided to purchase the m101 as a studio upgrade. I'm extremely glad I did. If you are looking for a single channel mic pre that will help you get a clear and accurate recording of your sound source this is an excellent purchase, especially given the price. I can already tell a huge difference between my recordings prior to adding this to my signal chain. My hat's off to the Grace team on this one.

  • from Baltimore, MD September 3, 2015Music Background:
    Producer, Engineer

    My "GO-TO" Pre for a clean, uncolored source

    I picked up my m101 here at Sweetwater back in September 2011. At that time Grace Design was relative newcomer, and you could still an m101 for under $600. I'm so happy I did, because these little single channel preamps became AMAZINGLY POPULAR for anyone who needed or wanted a pure, clean, uncolored sound. These guys are so in-demand that the price has shot up $200 over the past four years (between Sept. 2011 - Sept. 2015). They are still well worth the price of admission however. In fact I regret not getting a second years ago.

    I use my m101 almost exclusively with analog synths and effects which all have mono output, so one channel has always fit my tracking requirements, but I would like to have a second m101 for the day I pickup a Moog Voyager (which has Stereo Output).

    A lot of things can color your audio. The devices in your chain, the capacitance of the cables you are using (capacitance in your cables act as a low-pass-filter, absorbing/blocking high frequency analog audio, and as a result will color the audio), but the pre seems to have one of the largest effects.
    In general the m101 is the type of preamp you want if you are looking to capture the actual source audio of the devices and the cables within your chain without any coloration or tonal changes being added by the pre.

    If a clean uncolored channel is what you're after, the m101 will provide.

  • from June 12, 2014Music Background:
    Producer/Audio Engineer


    Bought this Item from Sweetwater Since 2012 and its 2014... All I can say is WOW..Today I am going to guide you on how to get the quality of the Major Studio after you purchase the GRACE M101...because this is so clean and quiet you can use Waves Plugins, Ik Multimedia eq 73 to emulate NEVE,API,SSL... GRACE M101 into Focusrite Forte line input using Mogami Cable...Microphone- Project Studio C1, Avantone C12...Be prepare to be blown away and shock many..

  • from West Virginia May 19, 2014Music Background:
    Home Studio, Multi-Instrumentalist, Recording, Producing, Gear Fanatic.


    I've learned that people talk about preamps more than politics and religion combined; and boy do they have their opinions! Haha! So here's (my) humble opinion after obscene amounts of research. You can always ADD preamp color, but you can't take it out. If you want the "color" or "tone" of a very specific preamp maker, then by all means, have at it! BUT...understand that everything you record will have that character. Not a problem IF that's all you ever want to sound like. However, the Grace M101 (as you will discover anywhere you look) is always described as "super-clean with loads of gain." And that's a fact. I don't care what mic I run through this thing (dynamic, condenser, ribbon), it gives it mass amounts of super-clean, dead-quiet power. And I have never (heard) the full potential of any of my mics until I got this beast. And NOW...with plug-ins being as powerful as they've become, I can very easily emulate the characteristics of essentially any preamp I'd like. WOOHOO!!!

  • from The Great State of Texas January 23, 2013Music Background:
    Studio Owner

    Perfect paired with a ribbon!

    If you have been at all disappointed with the sound of that new ribbon mic, try pairing it with the m101. You will hear what the ribbon is supposed to sound like! Even the cheaper ribbons coming out sound surprisingly good. But, the m101 and Sure KSM 313 achieves a level of performance your vocalist will ask for again. Canít recommend this combination enough.

  • from Portland, IN September 7, 2012Music Background:
    Home Recordist/Musician

    Another Grace

    I bought my 1st m101 a couple of years ago and absolutlely love it. Very transparent, clear and clean. You hear your mic not the pre. They are simply stunning(the m101). I don't think you could find anything that the Grace didn't sound good on or make it sound better anyway. I bought another m101 and another Miktek C-5 this week. Bought a Whirlwind Phase Reverse Adaptor for one of my mic cables plugged both of the cables in to their respective m101's. Hit a G chord on my D-28................ wow ! the Miktek C-5's and the Grace m101's... heavenly.
    Spaced pair, 12th fret-bridge, wide spaced pair, could not get a bad sound. I played because it sounded so good, just to listen. My search is over, I have found The SOUND for my old Martin..... and the mics and pres to give that sound consistantly. You want clean, clear and open? You can't in my opinion, do better than the 101 and C-5.

  • from Trinidad.WI May 10, 2012Music Background:
    Producer/Song Engineer

    Will Beat or Sound same as $4000 plus HD interfaces

    I was looking for Sonic High Definiton quality for a project studio and research each day for the best device and finally bought this..I promise you will never regret this interface...I use this as preamp bypassing Tc Electronic Twin Impact pre but using the AD 192 converter on the TC for a $20,000 quailty... The Pre amp on GRACE M101 is the best.....

    I have recorded Major International Hits on this device.Now its your Turn.BUY it

  • from Easton, PA, USA March 5, 2012Music Background:
    Voice Over Professional

    Amazing Grace

    As a voice-over professional, it is essential that I deliver crisp, clear and uncolored audio to my clients. When I upgraded to a high-end microphone, I knew it deserved a preamp that would make it shine.

    From the first time I plugged my new mic into the m101, it had more presence. The audio quality is absolutely pristine and natural.

    I have finally found my signature sound!

  • from Boston, MA June 28, 2011Music Background:
    Sound Designer

    If you want clean, this is your pre!

    I had read about how this pre was transparent, clean, and grave a tremendous amount of gain. I was so excited to get one for myself, and it was everything I could have hoped for. As a sound designer, I wanted transparency, and needed the gain for recording very quiet things. This pre excelled in every way for me. I have it on a half rack-mount, but in a way so I can easily remove to take it outside of my home studio, I love using it that much! And in my opinion, this pre is worth far more than what it costs. If you want one of the best single channel pre's out there, get the m101. You will be glad you did!

  • from Portland, IN. USA August 15, 2010Music Background:
    Home Studio Recordist/Musician

    Amazing Micpre

    I bought this pre as an upgrade to my studio vocal chain, paired it with a Mojave Audio MA200. Absolutely amazing open and transparent sound, you hear the quality of the mic not the pre, which was/is my goal. Out of curiosity I patched in an AT 3035 and a AT4040, not as airy and open as the MA200 but definately an improvement over my other pre. The ubiquitious SM 57 sounds good through this pre as well. In my opinion the grace truly is a desert island type of pre. If openness and transparency is you goal for a micpre- look no further this is your pre.

  • from New York, NY May 8, 2010

    A microphone's best friend!

    I didn't really understand what "clean gain" really meant until I bought the Grace m101. Having purchased a Shure SM7B microphone, I quickly discovered that my other preamps just didn't give me enough really clean gain, so on the recommendation of Paul Allen, my Sweetwater rep, I picked up this pre and was blown away at the quality of the sound: clean, crisp, and clear. Where the mic sounded distant and dirty before, the Grace makes my SM7B SING! I could not be happier.

    If you're looking for a phenomenal preamp, this one's the way to go. I love my Grace m101!

  • from IL March 28, 2010Music Background:
    Recording artist

    Best Pre-amp for the money hands down!

    Just a incredible pre-amp.
    I use it with my Lawson L47mp MarkII tube mic.

  • from CA December 12, 2009Music Background:

    Considered to be the best tested Preamp in its price range.

    Projects the same sonic character as a much higher priced Preamp. Designed AND manufactured in the USA. So another words they really do believe in maximum quality.

  • from Phoenix, AZ May 25, 2009Music Background:


    After much research, I decided to purchase the M101 as I wanted something that would allow me to stack/mix vocals with MAXIMUM clarity without running into distortion & gathering a bunch of "mud" in the lower-mid frequencies (a problem that I was dealing with again and again using my interfaces' stock preamps)... Thank God I took the time to do the research because this is one EXCELLENT preamp that has a clarity that is OUT OF THIS WORLD for the price...

    No full level meters to show you EXACTLY where you're at, but this unit does have a single-led clip indicator that turns green at -14DB and then it turns red once you get to +16DB (10DB BELOW clipping [which is a GODSEND as it gives you some "elbow room" when tracking]): As i'm working solo as of right now with no engineer, I basically just adjusted the level when I first set mine up so that the clip indicator hits red only BRIEFLY on BRIEF transients (with a Neumann TLM-103, this is about 25DB [3 "clicks" up from the lowest setting])... This way, I can tell that i'm NOT clipping at the preamp stage and I tell you, altogether, this preamp has really has turned things around for me... Thick/full/clear background vocals without a hint of distortion... Of course I also set each BGVOX channel to about -20DB in Protools and make cautious use of compression plugins when recording... But this preamp was the MAIN factor in improving my sound...

    Yea, I don't mind saying that my DREAM setup for vocals is a Sony C800G, a Neve 1073 preamp and an Emperical Labs Distressor compressor... But I don't have the (roughly) $13,000 for that setup right now, so this will DEFINITELY get me by with this current setup until things really come together with the finances (and being that the "Neve" is somehow known as a "colored" preamp, i'll probably STILL continue to use the M101 at least on occasion because its just THAT good :-)... If you're hesitating, DON'T HESISTATE: This is one EXCELLENT-sounding piece of gear for an excellent price and if you're looking for clarity, you won't be let down with this bad boy!!!!

  • from Collegeville, PA April 9, 2009Music Background:
    Recording engineer, studio owner, pro musician

    Incredible preamp

    IMO, this is hands down the best preamp under $1000. Very clean and accurate. Be warned though that it WILL reveal all your limitations. If you have a good player, good instrument, and a good room, it will knock your socks off. If you are looking for a colored, character sounding pre, you will not be happy. This is as close to "wire with gain" that you will find in this price range. Wonderful box.

  • from Sunnyvale, CA USA September 23, 2008Music Background:

    Wonderful clarity of sound

    From the moment I plugged into this preamp, I was impressed. It presents sound with such clarity and detail, and works very well with a wide variety of mics. It's got a good range of gain, and the built in selectable high pass filter is a nice addition. Overall, you just can't get this kind of performance for this price anywhere else. Now that I have one, I need another!

  • from Cherry Hill, NJ May 22, 2008Music Background:
    Producer, Sound Engineer Graduate from New York

    Great preamp

    This preamp is amazing. I have a neve portico 5012. Which cost $1,699.00. And a grace m101. Guess which one sounds more detailed and more professional. The grace. The portico isnt bad. its just more warm sounding since it has a transformer in it. Listen to alot of recordings. There all more detailed and crisp sounding now than warm and dark. Get the Grace you wont be let down

  • from Chappaqua, NY, USA November 1, 2011Music Background:
    In and out and back in of the recording arena.

    Grace M101

    Got a pair to do live stereo with matched mics. Of course anxiety always means using 4 to six mics in these quick set-up and knock downs. Love these, quiet and transparent. Now it's a fight between which pair of mics gets to ride up front with these or with the almost as nice RME Quads.
    Only problem with doing these quick set-ups, sometimes without even a levels check, is noise from switching on the left detented gain knob. I've learned to not go there during a performance, but have a general idea where to start.

  • from USA March 16, 2010Music Background:
    Semi-pro musician, VO artist

    Great Device for its Transparency

    My primary use of the m101 is in voice over work. I am a true bass (Formants = 80 - 100 Hz). Due to the quality of my voice, I do not need or want color that tends to mush up the intelligibility of my reads. Even with good microphones (regardless of brands), clarity was not quite there in my project studio ... until I used the m101. The unit enables me to deliver "A: list sound with subtle power, clarity and expressiveness of tone without perceptible distortion or coloration. My voice sounds like it is.

  • from Brooklyn, NY January 16, 2010Music Background:
    Professional Musician

    Worth Twice The Price

    I don`t own this pre (yet) but had the pleasure of using it several weeks ago while tracking some vocals and acoustic guitars on a TLM 102. The Grace 101 has a wonderful open and balanced sound. Its bright without being harsh, warm without being dark. Highly recommended if you record baritone vocals and acoustic guitars. Grace has a winner here and could easily ask $1200 - $1500 for this and get it.

  • from Nashville February 8, 2012Music Background:

    Good pre for price, not Class A

    I have a couple and like them for acoustic guitar. But I've yet to find a Class AB pre that was any good for vocals. So if that's what you're looking for, save your money and buy the real deal with the big honkin' PSU and transformers.

Questions about the Grace Design m101?

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