Custom-wound steel output transformer for dark, warm tone, great for ribbon mics.
In recording, there are certain things that you can only know through years of experience, such as which preamp works best on vocals, which one rules on guitar, or what preamp to use if you have a dark-sounding instrument or mic that needs some brightening. With A Designs Audio's EM series preamps you can let the 60 years of combined experience and super tone-sensitive ears of Jon Erickson and Pete Montessi save you years trying eek secrets out of pro engineers and lurking on forums. Each preamp in the series is designed to handle specific recording chores with the remarkable sound quality that A Designs Audio is now famous for. (Read the buzz on the forums, you'll find nothing but raves.) Best of all, you get high-quality audio in a space-saving and affordable package.
Custom transformers, the key to a big punchy sound
In solid-state preamp design, the key to a big punchy sound rests in the input and output transformers. (That's where you get what is known as the "big iron" sound of the '70s). To ensure top-quality sound, A Designs has their transformers custom-built by Tom Reichenbach of Cine-Mag, whose lineage extends back the days when his father Ed built transformers for Altec-Lansing in the '40s. Not only are the transformer hand-made, they're also "ear-made" by Jon (who spent years rebuilding vintage gear for LA studios), and Peter (longtime LA musician and preamp guru), who won't okay a transformer design until they get exactly the sound they're looking for. With the A Designs P1, you can put those ears and 60 years of combined experience to work for you and bring your recordings to new sonic heights.
The sound of the EM-Silver
The A Designs EM Series is a twist on the P-1 (based on the best-selling Pacifica). Each color has its own sound. This was accomplished by using different custom wound output and input transformers. The EM-Silver has a custom wound steel output transformer, which outputs a darker sound than the P-1, EM-Red, and EM-Blue, great for adding body to thin vocals. The EM-Silver is also very good match with ribbon microphones, which makes sense because steel transformers were widely used in the early days of recording and broadcast along with ribbon microphones. The sound/color/flavor you'll receive depends which ribbon mic you have. With today's influx of ribbon microphones there is a wide choice of character range available for you to determine which tone you are looking for or need.
Another feature of the EM-Silver is a DI (direct inject) for use with electric instruments. Thanks to the DI and its darker sound, the EM-Silver is a great pre for bass guitar and keyboards. Also, you may like to try the EM-Silver (depending on microphone) for your kick when recording drums! All in all, the Silver is a very versatile tool.
Solid build quality and functionality
The A-Designs EM-Silver features a 1/4-inch Hi-Z direct inject input for instruments, switches for 48-volt phantom power (with LED indicator), -20dB pad and phase reversal, 62dB of gain, a large aluminum cast knob for gain, custom-wound input and output transformers, two thumb screws for easy installation, and an extremely solid build quality. Most of all, the EM-Silver is another stellar example of the A Designs Audio mission: pro audio made affordable, and quality without compromise.
Requires the A Designs R52 (product # 180038) dual slot external power supply (See accessory box below). The EM-Silver is VPR Alliance compliant.