Grace Design m501 Microphone Preamp

Single-channel 500 Series Preamplifier Module with 48V Phantom Power, 75Hz Highpass FIlter, 1/4" hi-Z Instrument Input, and Ribbon Microphone Mode
Grace Design m501 Microphone Preamp image 1
Grace Design m501 Microphone Preamp image 1
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Grace Design m501 Microphone Preamp
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Put Grace Design Clarity Into Your 500 Series Rack!

Check out the m501 - Grace Design's first-ever 500 series module. Packaged into this convenient 500 series format, the m501 actually is actually a version of Grace Design's popular m101 preamp. It will fit inside any 500 Series module, which it requires in order to operate. This fully balanced, transformerless module features a 12-position rotary gain switch, hi-Z input switching, and a ribbon microphone mode that deactivates the onboard phantom power. A highpass filter and a trim pot are also onboard the Grace Design m501.

Grace Design m501 500 Series Microphone and Instrument Preamplifier at a Glance:
  • Musical clarity for the 500 series
  • The secret weapon of DI recording
  • A ribbon-friendly approach to preamplification
Musical clarity for the 500 series

Because of the 500 series rack format's growing popularity among the makers of high-end audio equipment producers, there are already many modules in this configuration that offer the signature characteristics of industry favorite microphone preamplifiers and signal processors. In fact, one of the major advantage of owning a 500 series rack lies in its flexibility to accept relatively inexpensive components in a "pick and choose" configuration, so you can get exactly the tonal qualities that you are looking for in a single unit. Unlike most of the preamplifiers formatted for the 500 series rack, the Grace Design m501 features the same natural transparency of the m101. By adding a m501 to your 500 series rack, you gain the ability to fully exploit the sonic characteristics of specific signal processors without adding the more coloration from your microphone preamplifier.

The secret weapon of DI recording

It might not be the industry's best kept secret, but the hi-Z circuitry of the m101, the same found in the m501 is exceptionally good for recording direct for the purposes of reamplification. Because of the m101 and m501's signal path doesn't rely on potentially noisy transformation stages, the tone of the output remains more faithful to the incoming sound source than with most other preamplifiers. For guitars, that means that if you record a direct input signal with the m501, you'll be better able to reproduce the original performance when you either apply an amp model plug-in in your DAW or run the signal back out to a guitar amp for reamplification.

A ribbon-friendly approach to preamplification

One more reason to add a Grace Design m501 to your 500 series rack is the capability it gives you to properly preamplify ribbon microphones. Ribbon microphones tend to operate on much lower impedances, which results in a lower output when used with modern, high-impedance gear. By using the m501's ribbon microphone mode, the input circuitry switches to better accommodate the ribbon mic's signal, which dramatically boosts its output and adds depth to the sound. For added safety, ribbon mode also switches off phantom power, which would destroy the delicate ribbon of most ribbon microphones.

Grace Design m501 500 Series Microphone and Instrument Preamplifier Features:
  • 500 series single-channel preamplifier version of m101
  • 12-position rotary gain switch and hi-Z input switching
  • Ribbon mode deactivates the onboard 48V phantom power
  • Onboard highpass filter and trim pot
  • Certified by the API VPR Alliance
  • Requires a 500 series module to work
Put the natural, musical sound of Grace Design's m501 preamplifier into your handy 500 series rack! Quality Gear from Grace Design

Grace Design has been providing audio professionals with some of the finest tools available since 1994, when founder Michael Grace brought his single-order audio product business into the mainstream. Over the years, Grace Design has consistently developed new products and technologies that keep pace with the demands of recording engineers worldwide. Grace Design's product line has evolved into a definitive collection of microphone preamplifier configurations and other unique professional audio products. Their outboard microphone preamplifiers and direct-to-tape recording gear set new standards in professional audio production. That's always been Grace Design's goal.

Additional Media

500 Series Buying Guide
m501 User Manual

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 1
Frequency Response 3.8Hz-288kHz
Phantom Power Yes
EQ Yes
Height 5.25"
Depth 6.6"
Width 1.5"
Weight .7 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number m501

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Write your review

Sound Purity, With Grace

I say "purity" because this is the most transparent, true-to-the-source preamp I've ever worked with. If you're looking for your pre to add "color" -- look somewhere else. If you have your mic placement down and love the sound of whatever you're recording as-is, this is the pre to use.

Major League CLEAN Gain

I, like every other recording engineer, enjoy a little "color" in my tracks, but sometimes I like to do the coloring myself, and not have to be at the mercy of the pre-amp. This 500 series pre is so clean, so incredibly transparent, that you'll truly believe you're in the room with the instrument. It really is like a wire with gain. That's all that needs to be said. No character, no color, no noise, nothing but perfect amplification. I can't believe I'm the first person to write a review on this. Maybe all the other owners haven't stopped playing with it long enough to put fingers to keyboard, huh? i would have given it 5 stars if there was some type of gain meter on the panel. It does have a single led that illuminates green when signal is passing through, and turns red when it's overdriven, but it would be nice to see the output metered in segments. This is definitely worth what I paid for it, and actually a bit more. You'll love it, I promise.
Music background: Studio Owner, Recording Engineer, Songwriter, Musician
See also: 500 Series Pre, Grace Design, Grace Design 500 Series Preamps