UnderTone Audio MPEQ-1 Microphone Preamp/EQ/DI
19 inch rack mount Class A mic preamp, equalizer and DI
The UnderToneAudio MPEQ-1 is the amalgamation of the UTA EQ and UTA's new custom mic pre. You can use the equalizer and the mic pre separately or as a complete channel strip.
The mic pre has a custom input transformer and a carefully chosen output transformer. Both are optimized to accentuate the most flattering sonic qualities inherent in audio transformers. The unique mic pre design makes both of the transformers bypass-able. This offers users a choice between the detailed clarity of a Class-A transformer-less design or the vintage musicality of a dual transformer mic preamp.
- -10 to -60 dB boost range (in stepped 5 dB increments)
- Switchable 20 dB pad
- Instrument DI
- Front panel XLR–1/4" (DI) combo input
- Phase reverse switch
- + 48 V phantom power
- +/- 10 dB trim knob
- Bypass-able input and output transformers
- Ability to use mic-pre and UTA EQ on seperate signals.
- Inputs/Outputs (all XLR):
- Mic-pre Input
- Mic-pre direct Line Output
- Line Input
- EQ Line Output - w/ output transformer
- EQ Line Output - w/o output transformer
- Mic In transformerless: 2K ohms
- MIc In 200 Ω: 2K ohms
- MIc In 50 Ω: 500 ohms
- Line In: Greater than 10K
- Mic Out: 47 ohms
- Main Out Transformerless: 47 ohms
- Main Out with Transformer: 120 ohms
- Mic Preamp: 10 Hz - 80 kHz +0 /-1 dB
- Line In/Out: 10 Hz - 50 kHz +0 /-1 dB
- Mic Preamp: -128 dBu (20 Hz - 20 kHz)
- Line Level Circuit: -91.5 dBu (20 Hz - 20 kHz)
Max Level Before Clip:
- Mic Preamp: +27 dBu (or better)
- Line Level Circuit: +27 dBu (or better)
- Mic Preamp: .003% at +27 dBu
- Line Level Circuit: .015% at +27 dBu
- Front to Back: 12.25” (with heat sinks and knobs: 14”)
- Left to Right: 17.25” (with rack ears: 19”)
Weight: 10 lbs
This is an amazing piece of gear, based on my description of what I was looking for (or not looking for) in an additional preamp. My main pre/eq strip for the past several years has been a Great River that I bought from VK, and it has been great with tons of mojo, however, being 1073-ish I found it to be a bit crunchy when pushed, not horribly crunchy but enough for me to notice.
So when I went in I explained my dilemma
to Anthony at the LA Showroom and he suggested either this piece or the Shelford Channel. He was super patient I went back to a couple of times on my vacation there and after listening and researching I trusted my gut and went for the Undertone, although the Neve was alluring and would’ve been the more standard way to go.
When it arrived at home in Hawaii I quickly unboxed it, there are a bunch of different options for the input and output and the eq is a little bit different but after spending some time with it I found a magic setting and I haven’t looked back since. It is open but not sterile has the mojo that I love about the Great River but with a bit more clarity. There are other options as mentioned running the output and input through the transformers or transformerless gives you a plethora of options. All in all I am super stoked with the sound I am getting and how the vocal tracks are sitting in the mix. I would definitely recommend this piece and purchasing it from VK! They take the time to find you what you need and want they have come through for me on numerous occasions.
If you want eq flexibility, stop wasting your time. It’s got everything and more, but I think the mic pre is perfect. It has the perfect balance of clean but warm, and it plays well with every mix I’ve sent through it from ribbon to tube to pencil to large diaphragm condenser.
I find the UnderTone MPEQ-1 to be an extremely useful marriage of artistic creativity and technology. Simply beautiful. I never hesitate to reach for that pre, or heck, even just the EQ section (you can use them separately or together) This box is precise, flexible and the EQ is amazingly comprehensive. I mean, how many preamps have a low pass section on the EQ? Great for guitar amps or anything with unwanted high frequencies. For example, Ive noticed that my vintage 1176 performs better when I filter out anything above 20k, especially when Im using a mic that goes to 40k (Earthworks QTC40. The 1176 seems to not enjoy having to react to all that energy above what is audible.) You can even change the slope of the low pass filter!
I can drive the transformer of the mic preamp for some wonderful color, dial it back all the way to super clean, or even use the transformerless output for astounding transparency. Theres also a transformerless option when choosing microphone impedance. I love ribbon mics thru it, tube LDCs, and everything else. Ive yet to be disappointed, so kudos to Eric V and UTA. I can get just about any sound I want from this box. I would say it has the classy beauty and depth of a D.W. Fearn, the transparency of a Grace Design (if wanted) or the classic color of Chandler or of our Studer console, all in one box. I dig.
And I sure do like this trend of engineers and producers making great audio tools for other artists to create art. Thanks, and please don't stop!
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