A Designs EM Red 500-Series Preamp


Mid-range punch and natural mix cutting like no other! The EM Red will quickly become your "go to" when you want your sounds to jump out of our speakers with and abundance of mid-range focus. 

What we think:


Looking for punch and a mid range boost to your guitar cabs?  The EM Red module is the way to go!  With its custom wound “50/50” transformer, the EM Red module will have your guitars sitting in the mix like never before.  We love the push of the mid range, the robust bottom end, but what is even more impressive is that while providing this, the EM Red doesn’t sacrifice the top end presence like many other “mid pushed preamps”.  It sounds relatively natural on top (neutral) as a result of its intense and smooth midrange which is clearly pushed in a very musical sounding way.  The Red will still sound wonderful on other sources like acoustic guitar and vocals where you want to focus that midrange forward and simultaneously retain the upper content of the source naturally (but not hype it up), but it really brings your drums to life with its mid range ‘meat’.  The Red is probably not the most versatile of the EM modules, in some ways it is the most different from the others in the series, but on the correct source it sound simply amazing.  A variety of drums in the kit such as toms, snare, as well as certain vocals, and guitars, are all fabulous places to use it.  Check out our plethora of electric guitar recordings that we made relying on the Red 500-series module.

The Rest of the EM Preamp Cards

The full line of EM Preamp cards from A Designs were built to bring a few different flavors into your 500 series rack, but built with an extreme quality standard that is only possible with small quantity, boutique runs which guarantee each module is built to world-class audio standards.  Each module has custom wound transformers which really create a noticeable difference in tone, and to be honest, the difference is quite impressive compared to many of the modules available on the market today from other manufacturers.  Each module has a lot of gain (around 72dB), and the front panel DI sits prior to the input transformer which allows you to pickup that great coloration that each of the modules individually presents, even when patching in an instrument. The preamp modules from the A-Designs series are the: P1, EM Red, EM Silver, EM Blue and EM Gold.   With the exception of the P-1 (Since we own 3x Pacificas), Sound Pure owns pairs of EVERY SINGLE module above, and use them daily in our own world-class recording studio, the Sound Pure Studios.  We are here to report our findings after years of using them, and you should know any question you have can be e-mailed to us, or you call us toll free, we’d love to talk to you more about these modules, microphone pairings, comparing these to other pres on the market, and whether or not they are right for you. 


Read for more info on some of the other available modules if this one doesn’t sound exactly right for your application: 

What We Think Of The Others

The P1 is modeled to be very similar to the Pacifica, with some moderate color and some very nice detail throughout the frequency range, with a very smooth and open top end.  The Red module has a “boost” to the mids due to the transformer, which we found to be wonderful on guitar cabs.  The Silver boasts a Steel output transformer that gives it the darkest tone of the bunch (and a big low end), and the Blue with its Nickel transformer has a very lofty, airy top end that is great for bringing a brighter life into darker sources.  Finally the Gold is a mixture of the Red (Input Transformer) and Silver (output transformer), which gives it the hottest output with a nice colored pushed midrange.

Manufacturer Description:

The A-Designs Audio EM-Red is the “mid-forward” preamp of the EM family. Its sound derives from the combination of an A-Designs proprietary input transformer featuring a unique winding, and a 50/50 steel/nickel-wound output transformer (also a proprietary A-Designs alloy). The EM-Red has the extra kick you need when you have a mic that lacks present mids (such as the mid-scooped Chinese capsules), or if you want to bring an instrument forward in the mix.

The upfront mids of the EM-Red make it ideal for drums, guitar, bass guitar, and acoustic instruments. In fact, you will find the EM-Red particularly useful when recording acoustic guitar with a condenser microphone. It’s also great for bringing out the resonance and character of rack toms and floor toms

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