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SKU

110126

Cranborne Audio Camden 500 Series Microphone Preamp

Astoundingly transparent and detailed 500 series mic, line, and hi-z preamp with mojo - two analog saturation styles that emulate vintage tube and transformer effects
MFR# CA-CAMDEN500

Product Description

Put simply, the Cranborne Audio Camden 500 is the most astoundingly clean, linear, and transparent preamp you’ve ever heard.

Camden 500 was designed from the ground-up to be the ultimate front-end for the modern studio and engineer and to withstand the rigors of modern workflow and production techniques. It features a completely original, custom-designed ‘Camden’ preamp topology that achieves stunning low-noise and low-distortion performance as well as frequency and phase linearity at all gain settings. The sum result is -129.8dB EIN (150 ohm, unweighted), THD+N as low as 0.0002%, frequency response of ±0.7 dB from 5 Hz to 200 kHz at max gain and <2° phase shift @ 20 Hz – 20 kHz.

For moments when that extra bit of ‘British’ character is required, rather than use a transformer and learn to live with its drawbacks, Cranborne Audio developed Mojo - two discrete analogue saturation styles that transform Camden 500 into the fattest, warmest, and most characterful preamp in your arsenal - all at the turn of a dial. Perhaps best of all, unlike transformer and other legacy designs, Mojo can be subtle, it can also be exaggerated, but it can also be bypassed.

Clean, Precise, and Natural

Whilst preamp specifications often quote fantastic figures at specific gain values, when the gain is increased, those figures often change radically. Camden 500 was designed to retain all of its impressive performance specifications at all gain positions from 8 dB to 68 dB. This means that even when the preamp is running at maximum gain, the Phase and Frequency response remains linear and THD always remains inaudible - enabling all gain positions to be usable for any source and mic combination.

Vintage, Warm, and Colored

Camden 500 features mojo - a new type of saturation circuit that consists of an array of filters and discrete second/third order harmonic generators that allow precise emulation of the saturation and low-end reinforcement behaviors of vintage transformer and valve-based equipment. The key to Mojo is that it can be dialed in to taste; use subtle amounts for gentle saturation, or dial it in to well beyond the point that destructive clipping would usually occur with transformer-based. Perhaps the very best part of Mojo is that it can be bypassed to reveal the pristine base sound of the Camden 500.

Thump

Thump is a style that works best on - but is not limited to - low-frequency based instruments. Thump excites low-end content by boosting harmonics in the range of ~100 Hz to 20 Hz and below without increasing the fundamental frequencies - resulting in fuller low-end on all reproduction mediums. As Thump is not EQ-based, the additional harmonic content is shaped by the source and it’s existing low-end frequency content resulting in a natural addition of extra “Thump”. Similar-sounding EQ moves will result in extreme wooliness as all sonic energy is boosted - even unwanted audio in-between the hits.

Cream

Cream introduces a vintage smoothness that enables tracks to sit deep within a complex mix in a way that cannot be replicated with EQ. The Cream setting drastically increases THD whilst smoothing-out the low-mids. As with Thump, Cream is not EQ based and is purely achieved by blending 2 saturation stages with the dry signal and additional harmonics. Cream varies entirely on the harmonic signature of the incoming source. It will increase high-end forwardness and create unique harmonic-based tonal shaping effects on mid-range instruments, but it will also add low-end on full range sources as well as unique “compression-style” effect on transients.

Features:

  • Fully-discrete, transformerless design featuring custom ‘Camden’ preamp topology designed by Cranbourne Director of Engineering, Edward Holmes
  • Performs at the near-theoretical limits of noise, distortion, and phase/frequency linearity at all gain settings
  • Optimized input Impedance and input headroom for Mic, Line, and Hi-z sources
  • Custom ‘Mojo’ analog saturation circuit with variable control, true bypass, and 2 discrete styles - Thump and Cream
  • Gold Flashing on backplane contacts for increase conductivity and durability
  • Designed, engineered and manufactured in the United Kingdom

Product Specifications

Condition New
Chassis Module
Module Type 500 Series
Module Slot Count 1 Slot

Product Reviews

5 out of 5 stars.
Review Count (11)

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GOOD SOUND!

By Takahashi J on May 17, 2020

Truly high-end, phase-accurate, transparent, low-noise preamp. It replaced my API 512c and non-500-series preamps which honestly just sound like a joke in comparison. I only wish that the Camden 500 was available much earlier, I would have gotten better results in critical projects. It also costs much, much less than various "big name" preamps which are greatly inferior. To summarize: This is the best preamp in 500 series and one of the best in the world in general, and it's from a very fair company that has fair prices and which has a true focus on high sound quality above all.
As for the "Mojo" section, it's a bunch of nonsense as far as I'm concerned. Always better left off. But they had to include something to appease all the people who think some lame distortion is a must. This doesn't detract from the score at all, because of course it can just be left Off.

By Shy on April 8, 2020

Extremely transparent, low noise preamp with the option to add character via the two “Mojo” circuits “Cream” and “Thump”. I bought these to replace some more expensive ”clean” preamps and the added bonus of the mojo feels like I got an upgrade in doing so. Ended up going back for more Mojo and now I have 4 of these!

By Brendan S on March 16, 2020

This thing is great! For the price it can’t be beat!

By Jeffrey W on February 12, 2020

I think these will become a classic. This is the most versatile preamp I have ever used. I tried to beat it with plugins and just couldn't come close.

By David D on January 13, 2020

Super bargain. Sounds great. Super clean with loads of headroom.

By Glenn M on December 9, 2019

Love this preamp Extremely clean and transparent signal when you want it - great for my Slate virtual modeling microphones, and the mojo filter adds great color/distortion when you need that. I especially like plugging the guitar in direct through this when using software Amp/effect emulators like Amplitube or Guitar Rig 5 and using the mojo to give the guitar a little extra character.

By Martin S on October 21, 2019

So far I've used my Camden 500 on two instruments with magnetic pickups. I used the hi-Z input with a guitar cord on both. I haven't tried it with any vocal mics yet, but I can tell you what I have done. The first was a Fender electric bass so I used a little "thump" mojo and got a great capture. The second was an all-steel body resonator guitar and on that I used some "cream" mojo. Everyone liked the tracks so I did want to give some early feedback on an excellent preamp. Great job Cranborne Audio!

By Tommy D on July 17, 2019

Amazing value, well built, clean, transparent but not sterile sounding, then there is the MOJO knob that adds to the equation. You need two of these

By BORIS M on July 2, 2019

I purchased two Camden pre's & have used them on many various sources. They have not disappointed.
My first impression out of the box was the chassis seemed a little thin & not as durable as other units but the front panel is solid & laid out in a easy to navigate design.
Second impression, they sound so open! It was like taking the roof off your top end frequencies. The sound is honest & not hyped. These have their unique characteristic that I reach for often. A great compliment to my collection of colored, punchy & tube gear.

By ONLINE8258 on May 6, 2019

Love this preamp. Been using it instead of my heritage 1073/500 for my Sony c800g and loving it! The cream setting about a 1/3 up sounds great and the DI on guitar sounds super good. Definitely recommend and it definitely doesn’t sound boring.

By Jeremy G on January 29, 2019

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The speed of delivery exceeded my expectations! I was VERY pleased that my shipment arrived in time for a scheduled vocal tracking session. The packing insured that my order arrived safely. And the sales staff responded quickly to questions regarding the product.
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