How To Listen: Vintage Gear Edition: Microphone Preamps

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Microphone preamplifiers can have an incredible influence on the tone of the source being recorded. Specific microphone preamplifiers from well known name brands are coveted for the sonic imprint they impart onto recordings.

In the latest entry to our How To Listen Series, Fab Dupont and Chris Mara (producer, engineer, and owner of the Nashville based recording studio, "Welcome To 1979") sit down with four different flavors of microphone preamplifiers for the purpose of quantifying the characteristics each contribute to the final sound of the recording.

This is a chance to hear the sound of coveted microphone preamplifiers on the same drummer, playing the same pattern, through the same microphones, so that you can listen to the differences for yourself as Chris, and Fab demonstrate, explain, and give you tips on what to focus on in order to learn the sound of microphone preamplifiers.

Exercise files
Equipment & Software
  • 1978 MCI 400 Console w/CAPI API MIC Preamps
  • Trident 80 Sidecar
  • Heritage Audio HA-73 Mic Amp/Equalizer
  • Vintech Audio X73 Mic Preamp Equalizer
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Fab Dupont

Fab Dupont is a Grammy winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of

Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.

He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.

Fab has been nominated for Grammys 6 times, including two Latin Grammys and has received many other accolades around the world, including Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards and US independent music awards.


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What do you have to say?
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Jose Malqui
2019 Oct 19
Falta la traducción al español por favor :(
2019 Oct 13
It's very common these days to work in isolation so to be able to virtually sit in on a test and discussion like this between two seasoned engineers is really interesting and beneficial. More like this please!
2019 Oct 09
Awesome video, but I can't see any stems
2019 Oct 07
Very insightful video! I would've loved to see how we would've perceived a Neve 1073 or API Plugin compared back to back with these hardware versions.
2019 Oct 06
This is one of the best piece of educational video that exist. Thank you.
2019 Oct 06
Great series! Thx! :)
2019 Oct 05
Thank you for this video!
2019 Oct 04
Great lesson! Please allow access to the stems
2019 Oct 04
There are no stems! too . Please add project . I enjoyed to from your video .It's amazing testing some gear ,faithfully . Just , you can add SSL preamp to this compare . I thinks 5% it's so important , because every 5% in record - edit - mixing - mastering can be add more than 50% resolution . MCI - API - Trident - Heritage , I think Heritage is brighter and also more frequency in the bass . but MCI is relax and isochromatic sound . Trident , is like to heritage is strong and bright but not like heritage good bass frequency response . Also API is classic good sound .
2019 Oct 03
I enjoyed all the sidebar conversations and the story of the bell. Question: What kind of CAPI mic pres where installed in the console? I got a VP312 in a lunch box. It's real clean
2019 Oct 02
Great idea for a series. Especially for us less experienced mixers/engineers.
2019 Oct 02
Leaving Fab's useful observation about downstream mixing considerations aside for the moment, I found the Neve and the API more engaging than the MCI and the Trident from a "toe-tapping" standpoint. This could be related to the (very) slightly more prominent bottom of the MCI and the Trident. The larger point remains: this is all great gear and it's all secondary to a great performance!! Thanks again for this really useful video:)
2019 Oct 02
This was really great: thank you:) A small editing suggestion if I may: leave a little more time between the tracks playback and the dialogue; give us a chance to grab the volume control:) I pretty much agree with your comments on the sonics of the pres under test. There are some fairly subtle frequency response differences (they're all accurate in any meaningful sense) but what stood out for me was how much the difference in transient response affected my perception of the groove.
2019 Oct 02
Not to be *that guy* but I would've loved to have seen this done with splitters, so that the same performance could be used for all four sets of pres.
2019 Oct 02
There are no stems!