Great River Electronics MP-500NV 500-Series Preamp
Great River's signature Neve-inspired mic preamp in a double-bay 500 series format for zero compromise of their large transformer-based tone!
What we think:
Great River has taken a familiar design and in a lot of ways improved upon it. When it comes to sound, the often unwieldy low-mids that a classic 1073 (or 1073 clone) will tend to have is much tighter and punchier with the Great River preamp. Also the Hi-freq response reveals much more detail than its inspiration. Key features like the “loading” button that engages a 600 ohm resistor before the output stage opens the door to a ton of sonic variations. Also, switchable input and output metering really set this preamp apart in the ever growing sea of Neve inspired hardware.
When I use it on rock vocals, it adds a weight and texture that is simply to die for. This is also my go to pre for overhead recordings, where the high frequencies are delivered in a warm, controlled manner and the drums sound punchy and thunderous. Being a Neve-inspired unit, it shares the same source flexibility, so while I have my favorites, it performs exceptionally all throughout the studio. I also really like the DI of the Great River. They managed to implement a FET-buffered route for the instrument signal to pass through the custom wound Sowter transformer. This makes the DI much more than an afterthought which, lets face it, on some mic pres thats exactly what it is. I often go with its DI over my pricy dedicated DI units.
I appreciate that Great River did not compromise the components in order to conform to the 500 series format as well. It is a bit of a bummer that it takes two slots, but putting smaller transformers in just to fit a 1U slot would no doubt have a negative sonic effect. However, there are some phenomenal 1U 500 series mic pres with a similar vibe. if you feel like real estate in your chassis is too valuable to take up two slots consider the Phoenix DRS-1R or the Vintech 573 just to name a couple.
The MP-500NV is a professional quality microphone preamplifier designed to re-create the vintage sound characteristics of the early 1970s large consoles. Modern components give the MP-500NV more clarity, punch and performance under normal use. In addition, features like metering before and after the major gain stages let the user drive it hard to greatly expand the range of sonic options. All microphones will benefit from the power of the MP-500NV preamplifier, including dynamic, condenser and especially ribbon types. The MP-500NV uses the same audio and metering circuit board found in the NV series preamplifiers. This unit is designed to fit into a 500 series rack using 2 available slots. It receives its power supply from the host rack. The unit is equipped with a HI-Z instrument jack that has its own input amplifier and was designed for DI applications. All specifications and performance details are identical to the NV series preamplifiers with the exception of size, weight, patch jack, -10dBv Out.