"Great sound at a great value!"
This reviewer purchased this item from Same Day Music.
Because I'm making initial investments in a modest home studio, I am aware that having a quality preamp is a must. But also having little to no experience using them personally, I really didn't know what to expect. Other positive reviews and this unit's price were major turn-ons. I really had no idea how much difference a good preamp makes in the source being recorded. I've done miked acoustic and electric guitar as well as DI guitar (it has a handy DI switch and input on the front for this) and it sounds AWESOME. Big, fat, warm tone every time. I really didn't know how many tonal options could be had with just 2 knobs but there are a ton of sounds in this little red box.
I can't comment on features too much because I'm not as familiar with preamps as others might be but for what it has, it works for me. Phantom power, impedance switch (to go between high and low), DI input on the front as well as mic and line level inputs/outputs make this a pretty versatile unit.
Ease of Use:
This was fairly plug-and-play for me. I've never personally used an external pre so I did my best in setup and dialing something in and got sound right away. I will mention that for a newbie like me, the "manual" is severely lacking. The instructions are only 1 sheet of heavy cardstock that don't really EXPLAIN anything. It only seems to further detail features. That aside, if you know what you're doing with preamps then this unit seems pretty straightforward.
For being a studio unit (for me) this thing is built like a tank. It's worth it to invest in the rackmount unit as it can hold 2 preamps (room for more!) and the color matches the awesome red color of the unit. This thing just looks legit and sounds just as good. Top notch quality. I don't abuse my equipment, I USE it. I've used this several times and it still feels like it did when it came from the box. This will last me for a long time.
Have not had to deal with the company. No comment on this.
The value for this unit is awesome compared to the great tone you get, especially at half the price of the others I was shopping (Grace Design m101, Summit Audio 2BA-221, Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity). My first choice was the Summit Audio and then I found this for half the cost, I jumped on it just to try it and now I'm in love. Not to mention Same Day Music's return policy is awesome and they actually give you TIME to use a product to decide if you like it (imagine that!) so if you try it and don't love it, just send it back.
The Wow Factor:
I think it's pretty obvious this thing wooed me from the time I first plugged it in. I really had no idea how much a great pre helped things. I did a demo with my voice with my Rode NT-1A and the Golden Age into my Presonus Firestudio Project (there's a return plug on the back to use that bypasses the internal pres on the unit) and it literally made me jump when I heard my voice through my headphones because it sounded so warm and fat. I've only done acoustic guitar and electric guitar (mic and DI) through it so I can't fully comment on vocals but the difference is there.
Just the other day, I did sound samples for my brother because he is considering this unit. I did samples with spoken word and miked acoustic guitar (fingerpick and strumming with a pick) and he was ABSOLUTELY convinced of what this unit can provide so he's buying one too for his studio. The comparison between the Golden Age and the internal XMAX pres on the Presonus is night and day, Golden Age blows them away.
I was initially looking for tube pres or tube/ss pres that were twice this price. My first choice in a preamp would actually be a Neve X73, but they're just too much investment for me right now. Being as how this preamp is based off the original 1073 circuit (the X73 is a "reiusse") I thought I'd give it a try, especially given the price point is half the cost of what I was looking into originally. This unit exceeded my expectations in all things: build quality, tone, and looks. If you're in the market for a preamp and are looking at similar units at twice the price, I highly recommend looking into this unit first and at their price you could get 2 for the price of a higher priced unit!