Grace Design m103

Single-Channel Transformerless Channel Strip with 3-Band Equalizer, Optical Compressor, and Flexible I/O
Grace Design m103 image 1
Grace Design m103 image 1
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Grace Design m103
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The Versatility is Clear with Grace's Channel Strip!

With the m103, Grace Designs has combined some of their finest transformerless circuitry to release a channel strip that meets their extreme criteria of high-headroom, intricate detail, and immaculate clarity. The m103 comes complete with a three-band equalizer, and optical compressor, and comprehensive I/O options that let you access the preamplifier and equalizer/compression sections independently, so your options are far from limited. The compressor controls of two m103s can even be linked to allow for stereo applications. And since it's from Grace Designs, you can expect their signature neutral transparency out of the m103 channel strip.

Grace Designs m103 at a Glance:
  • The lucid transparency of transformerless design keeps the mix clean
  • A complete equalizer and compressor section lets you tune your sound
  • Comprehensive I/O options allow for creative applications
The lucid transparency of transformerless design keeps the mix clean

Grace Designs approached the m103 by using their legendary m101 transformerless microphone preamplifier circuity. The m103 includes a 75Hz highpass filter and 48V phantom power, as well as Grace's exclusive ribbon mic mode to better accommodate the relatively low impedance and resulting low output of most ribbon microphones. Ultimately, the signal-path remains untainted from most noise and yields a truly musical character.

A complete equalizer and compressor section lets you tune your sound

The m103 features both a three-band equalizer and an optical compressor for maximum control over your sound. The equalizer is based around single-stage parallel tuning for a natural and musical tone at all frequencies. It features a fully parametric mid-range control, as well as shelving and peak modes for the high and low bands. The optical compressor circuit provides gentle limiting to fairly heavy compression without adding excessive coloration, so you can use it with a heavy hand and not worry about distortion. With the push of a button, you can switch the order of the equalizer and compressor, and you can also link the compressors of two units for stereo applications.

Comprehensive I/O options allow for creative applications

The microphone and equalizer/compressor sections of the m103 are independently accessible. This allows you to gain access to capitalize on the transparent preamplifier and take full advantage of a heavily colored external dynamics unit. Conversely, you can also run a heavily colored preamplifier into the neutral dynamics section of the m103 and compress the signal without adding additional color.

Grace Designs m103 Features:
  • Transformerless microphone preamplifier based on the m101 circuitry
  • Three-band equalizer with parametric mid-range and peak/shelf options
  • Optical attenuator based compressor with linking option
  • Comprehensive I/O for added compatibility with other units
Experience phenomenal clarity in the powerhouse channel strip from Grace Designs!

Additional Media

m103 Cue Sheet
m103 User Manual
Studio Preamp Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 1
Frequency Response .016Hz-150kHz
Phantom Power Yes
EQ Yes
Compressor Yes
Analog Inputs 1 x XLR (Mic), 1 x XLR (Line), 1 x 1/4" (Hi-Z)
Analog Outputs 1 x XLR, 2 x 1/4" (Balanced, Unbalanced)
Other I/O 1 x XLR (Mic Pre Out)
Rack Spaces 1U
Height 1.75"
Depth 9"
Width 19"
Weight 4.5 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number m103

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Write your review

Great sound, easy to use.

The Grace Design m103 is the first channel strip I purchased. I chose it because I had been using the Grace Design m101 pre and liked the clarity. I am a novice at recording and am basically teaching myself, learning from errors as well as successes. This product has been easy for me to navigate, and learn about EQ and Comp. I use it with tube powered mics, the Lauten Torch for acoustic guitar, and Mojave M300 for singing vocals. So I get the best of both worlds (in my mind ) warmth with clarity and articulation. I use it with the Royer 121 for spoken word and WOW! Even tough it has a boost for ribbon mic's I use the cloud lifter for quiet sources. If you can afford it, this is a great Channel strip to learn on. You will get great sounds with it.
Music background: Musician, Recording Hobbyist.

Sweetwater Advice

Bart Good

The Grace Design m103 is is an amazing channel strip! The preamp is nice and transparent, and both the optical compressor and equalizer follow the same design principle: powerful, yet uncolored. Master technician and designer Fred Forsell designed both the compressor and EQ, and his design lives up to his reputation - they are nothing less than top shelf. The m103 is super-versatile - good for everything from ribbon mics all the way to being an in-line processing tool for mastering. I couldn't help myself and bought two for mastering, but I'll also use them for on-location recording with my ribbon mics!
See also: Grace Design, Grace Design Channel Strips, Grace Design Preamps