Unlike many microphone preamplifiers in this price range (around $700), the VMP-2 uses Jensen input transformers and 12AX7 tubes to get the job done, as opposed to a solid state chip using a starved tube as a buffer. Included at no extra cost are 100 Hz and 10 kHz tube shelving EQs with cut or boost. Also included on each channel: a 20 dB pad, phantom power, hi pass filter with selectable 40 and 80 Hz shelves - PLUS, this thing looks like it belongs on a submarine - chicken head knobs for gain, and heavy duty switches for everything else. The VMP-2 has been incredibly useful on everything - drums, acoustic guitar and voice (it seems custom tailored to work with the Neumann TLM 103) - great for ribbon mics too! Although the manual states a frequency range of 10 Hz to 40 kHz, I would describe the tone as muted- very useful for rounding off bright instruments like trumpet or violin. I've since gotten more expensive preamps (I've had the vmp2 for 4 years now) - and I'm still tempted to pick up another one. My only criticism is that it could really use a level meter - you have to listen closely to the source as you are bringing up levels. With careful adjustment you'll get some pleasing compression, but I've pushed a few electric guitars into brittle overdrive by not listening to my levels - this is some very dynamic gear and the tone tightens up considerably as you increase the gain. I also recommend using the unbalanced 1/4" inch outs - the output transformers are not as good as the Jensens and can add a grainy quality I'm not into. (www.peavey.com)

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