Fredenstein Artistic Mic Preamp is a 1-Channel Mic-Preamp for the 500-series. OPA2 discrete audio operational amplifier, Hi-Z Instrument Input, switchable Impedance (1500 Ohms - 300 Ohms), +48V Phantom Power switchable, -20dB Pad, Gain Switch 15dB up to 65 dB, LED Meter, POL-Switch, Power consumption: +/- 16V, +/- 50mA
Review in Sound on Sound, Magazine:
- Good musical and technical performances.
- Fine build quality.
- Ability to swap DOA gain blocks with compatible alternatives.
- Transformer–coupled outputs.
- No significant gain–bunching on preamp.
- Superbly cost–effective.
- At these prices? None!
"The Artistic Mic Preamp is also a very straightforward design, featuring an electronically balanced mic input via the host chassis’s connectors and a front–panel Direct Input socket (100kΩ input impedance). The mic input is automatically disconnected when an instrument plug is inserted. The primary gain stage is courtesy of the company’s OPA2 discrete op amp block (using SMD technology), which is pin–compatible with the likes of the API 2520 and Jensen 990 designs, allowing substitution, if desired. An American steel–core output transformer is also employed.
The white legends are very readable on the black painted panel, and everything feels solid and reliable. An eight–LED output level meter commands the top of the control panel, with a rotary gain knob and four illuminated push–buttons below. The phantom–power button light is red, the Low Z one green (changing the mic input impedance from 1500 to 300 Ω), a –20dB Pad yellow (this is only effective on the mic input, not the instrument input), and output polarity reverse is blue. The available gain range spans a nominal 15 to 65 dB, and the control scale suggests reasonable uniformity with rotation. The bar–graph meter covers a usefully wide dynamic range from –30 to +20 dBu, with five green LEDs (–30, –20, –10, –5 and 0 dBu), followed by two yellows (+5 and +10 dBu) and a red (+20dBu).
In use, Fredenstein’s Artistic preamp has a respectably low noise floor at all gain settings, with a tonally well–balanced and very open sound character. I felt it also exhibits a slightly mid-range–rich and larger–than–life quality, and the sound is definitely musical and involving. I might even say pleasingly ‘analogue’ — it certainly could not be called sterile! There’s plenty of gain available for all normal purposes, and the pad option ensures very loud sources and sensitive microphones can be accommodated without issue."