One of my favorite new purchases this season was this tube Mic pre/compressor-limiter by Summit Audio. I first used the unit as a bass pre and it worked great. It has a Hi-Z input on the faceplate making it real convenient to use with line instruments. The Hi-Z input also has an impedance matching pot, so you can adjust the loading factor of the pre. There's also a gain control for both mic and inst. sections so you can vary the tone from a clean to saturated tube sound. I used the MPC on an acoustic guitar track and it blew me away. I was faced with a situation where I was adding acoustic guitar to an already thick mix. The only mic/placement that the artist was happy with was a 57 semi close to the hole of the guitar. Of course this left the weenie engineer with a boomy and uneven low end on the guitar. I kicked in the compressor on the unit and used it to completely even out the low end on the guitar, thus avoiding any evil or demonic EQ on this wonderful guitar. I also tried the unit on vocals but wanted to really whack them with a lot of compression, and I didn't like the MPC as much with extreme compression, so I went with an Altec 438C instead. Had I needed a rational amount of compression, I would have gone with the MPC. Overall, this unit is transparent but warm and sounds fantastic with great low end and a super-even overall response. At around $2400, it's not cheap but every studio needs at least one excellent mic pre/compressor and the range of sounds and verstatilty of this unit are hard to beat at any price. (

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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