Joemeek threeQ

1-ch Channel Strip with Microphone Preamp, 3-band EQ, and Optical Compressor
Joemeek threeQ image 1
Joemeek threeQ image 1
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Joemeek threeQ
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Big-time Features, Big-time Value!

Packing the great Joemeek sound and vibe into a compact desktop device, the threeQ is a super-affordable way to improve your recorded sound right now. Incorporating the same Burr-Brown ICs found in the higher-end studio channels, the threeQ gives you a stellar front end for the money — but the magic doesn't stop there! You also get a Joemeek EQ to dial in your sounds, along with top-notch optical compression. That's right, the same magic that made Joemeek gear a studio staple is included inside the threeQ — and at a price that makes the threeQ one heck of a bargain! Pro studio sound on a project studio budget — that's what you get with the Joemeek threeQ!

Joemeek threeQ Desktop Studio Channel Strip Features at a Glance:
  • Ultra-clean microphone preamplifier
  • Highly musical 3-band EQ with Sweep midrange
  • Full-featured optical compressor with settings from "silk" to "in your face!"
  • Accurate LED metering for quick monitoring of level and gain reduction
  • Line instrument input for use as a DI during sessions
  • Balanced and unbalanced I/O for proper interfacing with any system
  • Intuitive panel layout for "transparent" use while recording
  • Compact half-rack design for desktop or rackmount use
  • Input impedances: Mic: 1.2 Kohm; Line: 20 Kohm
  • Preamp overall gain: 0dB to 60dB
  • Common mode rejection: 70dB
  • Equivalent input noise: -128.5dBu (unweighted)
  • Distortion: 0.001% (below compressor threshold)
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 70kHz (-3dB)
  • Maximum input before clipping: Mic: +19.5dBu; Line: +44.5dBu
  • Headroom before clipping: +19.5dBu
  • Compressor threshold: +∞dBu to -20dBu (variable)
  • Compressor ratio: 5:1 (typical)
  • Compressor attack time: 1 ms to 100 ms (adaptive)
  • Compressor release time: 0.1 sec to 3 sec (adaptive)
  • EQ boost and cut: +/-15dB (zero phase-shift bell response)
  • LF frequency: 80Hz (fixed)
  • Mid frequency: 300Hz to 5kHz variable
  • HF frequency: 12kHz (fixed)
  • EQ "Q": 0.9 (1.6 octaves)
  • Output gain: -∞dBu to +16dBu (variable)
  • Nominal output levels: +4dBu/-10dBv (selectable)
  • Output impedance: 75 ohm
  • Output level switch: 12dB attenuation
  • Noise floor: -85dBu (typical, with ~40dB mic gain)
  • VU meter: 8-segment bar graph
  • Power supply: 12V AC mains adapter
  • Power consumption: 12 watts
Big studio sound on a budget: the Joemeek threeQ!

Additional Media

Studio Preamp Buying Guide
threeQ Cue Sheet
threeQ User Manual

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 1
Frequency Response 10Hz-70kHz
Phantom Power Yes
EQ Yes
Compressor Yes
Analog Inputs 1 x XLR (Mic), 1 x 1/4" (Line), 1 x 1/4" (Mix Input)
Analog Outputs 2 x 1/4"
Other I/O 1 x 1/4" (Inserts)
Rack Spaces Half
Height 1.75"
Depth 7.09"
Width 8.66"
Weight 2.2 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number threeQ

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Write your review

JoeMeek ThreeQ

I bought this pre-amp to use with my cassette 4-track recorder. This piece of equipment has made a massive difference in the overall quality of my recordings. It has also made mixing so much easier. This was worth every penny and is highly recommended.
Music background: Hobbyist Musician

Amazing results and great price!

I've been recording with a mbox 2 interface for about 7 years now, but just the other week I decided to step it up. I did a little research around the net and came to the conclusion this is one of the best preamps for the price. It has a real solid silky warm sound to it. I wouldn't think twice if you decide to get your first preamp on a low budget. I never really knew having a preamp is crucial to getting great vocals.
Music background: Hobbyist, Producer, and Rapper

Great channel strip

This gear made my vocal in different pro directions warmer,and sweeter.I use this channel strip and like a DI Box for recording guitars line in.The clarity of the sounds is amazing.I am happy with this product and I believe gonna serve me for long time.There's no need for upgrade.
Music background: Composer

Not really a go-to channel strip, but a good fun-box nonetheless.

Selling this as a "channel strip" is slightly disingenuous. The non-linear compression is ill suited for half the tasks you'd use a strip compressor on, the EQ doesn't have the precision or range for surgical tone adjustment, and the IC preamp probably isn't any better than the pres you'll find in desktop DAW interfaces. It doesn't really do the utility tone-shaping you expect from a channel strip. Having said that ... What you do get from the threeQ is a downright fun effect box for the price. A bold, punchy compressor that could never be accused of being "smooth" (although at more subtle levels it can add some lovely color), an EQ that can mimic the musicality of a few boutique EQs in some situations, and an inoffensive preamp to add to your collection. I wouldn't recommend it as a budget My First Channel Strip (you'd probably be better off with what ships with your DAW for everyday tasks), but it's a nice tool for a spot of tone bludgeoning and the controls and metering are nice for the price point (rear phantom controls notwithstanding). More than anything I find myself using it with guitars; little surprise PME extended the brand to pedals. It will never be a go-to channel strip, isn't really suitable for vocal compression outside of a few effect situations, and takes a bit of fiddling to get something out of it, but it's a color I'm always happy to have around when I want it.

It works for me

Based on the facts that Im in a budget and I believe that everybody must have some type of channel strip to use when tracking at problematic rooms/spaces... this unit works for me. I know it is a wrong shortcut but when you don't have a proper studio room these things may come handy. Even on a budget I wouldn't have it to use as my main or only vocal preamp

Sweetwater Advice

Cody Kraus

The subtle EQ and optical compression the threeQ provides has been a great addition to my recording setup. I also appreciate the line inputs, which allow me to use it as an insert for mixing.
See also: Joemeek, Joemeek Channel Strips, Joemeek Preamps