Retro Instruments 500PRE Tube Microphone Preamp
The Retro Instruments 500PRE is a vintage-inspired 500 Series microphone preamplifier that combines the circuit topology of the legendary Sta-Level tube compressor with class-leading distortion, noise and frequency response characteristics in a compact package. Equipped with three powerful 12AT7 tubes, the 500PRE delivers thick, rich analog tone with gentle limiting characteristics—making it the perfect tool for tracking and mixing.
The Retro Instruments 500PRE packs the massive tone of the Sta-Level compressor into a compact 500 series module. This thick, rich-sounding preamp offers the same depth, detail and musicality of your favorite tube compressors from yesteryear. With minimal distortion, vanishingly low noise, and a balanced, neutral frequency response, the 500PRE delivers world-class tone that never sounds plastic and brittle like solid-state amplifiers.
The Retro Instruments 500PRE features an inviting interface with rugged, heavy-duty knobs and a durable steel chassis. A large input knob at the top lets you dial up an impressive 75 dB of amplification.
Below the input knob are three hefty switches for Gain Select, Phantom Power and Polarity. The Gain Select switch toggles between two input modes. Low Gain mode uses a classic two-stage amplifier and can sustain +10 dBu input levels without overload, while High Gain mode uses a high gain, three stage topology.
Below the Gain Select switch is the Phantom Power switch, which is used to provide 48 V for recording with condenser microphones. The Polarity switch lets you invert the polarity of the incoming signal—a useful feature when recording in stereo.
Equipped with three new-production TAD 12AT7 tubes and soft-start circuitry that minimizes stress to the tubes and power supply, the 500PRE is built to last. Unlike old-school tube gear which can take what seems like an eternity to heat up, the 500PRE is warm and ready to go in less than 60 seconds. And for those who prefer the original, the 500PRE is also compatible with vintage and new-old-stock tubes.
In addition to giving your recordings a rich, warm tone, 500PRE gracefully limits input signals at +18 dBu, without destroying the details of your transients. The perfect limiter for both tracking and mixing, 500PRE is ideal for fattening up tracks with thick, rich harmonics that never sound plastic or brittle like solid-state amplifiers, even when overdriven.