PRESONUS ADL 600 — AudioTechnology
When you want something special you call in the experts, at least that’s what PreSonus has done with this stereo mic/line preamp.
Text: Adam Ellis
In the last issue of AudioTechnology I reviewed the PreSonus Eureka channel strip, which came through with flying colours, delivering great results beyond my expectations. This time around PreSonus have teamed up with world-renowned audio designer Anthony DeMaria to engineer and produce what could be called their ‘latest and greatest’.
ON THE BONNET
The PreSonus ADL 600 is a 2RU mic, instrument and line preamp with a distinctive vintage character and very sexy nu-skool/ol’-skool design. Hand built in the USA, the ADL 600’s sleek look includes switched attenuators and analogue VU and LED meters (blue lights… bling, bling). A rotary input control selects among instrument, line and mic inputs for each channel, and mic inputs have a further choice of four different impedance settings to sculpt the signal’s tone. Another rotary switch for each channel selects a 40, 80 or 120Hz high-pass filter setting and gain is adjusted in steps for each channel via rotary gain switch and continuously variable rotary trim control. Again we have the standard regulated +48V phantom power, polarity inversion and –20dB pad.
UNDER THE BONNET
A total of three tubes (one 12AT7A and two 6922s) serve each channel’s audio path. With the exception of the transformerless instrument inputs, all I/Os are transformer-balanced. The 600V power rails give the ADL 600 an impressive +30dBu headroom for line and instrument inputs, and allow +25dBu maximum input level for padded mic inputs. The maximum output level is specified to be +23dBu (for 0.5% THD+N). The EIN for mic inputs is a quiet –125dBu (A-weighted). The unit’s frequency response is stated to be 10 to 45kHz, ±1dB.
KICK IT IN THE GUTS BARRY
After patching in and powering up I made a quick call to an old friend to see if he was up for a spot of recording.
To start off we thought we’d go for some acoustic guitar tracking and after trying several different mics the first thing that the guitarist mentioned was, ‘that’s the best my guitar has ever sounded’. We continued to listen back to several recordings and I began to notice the colouration the ADL was bringing to the recordings. The sound was warm, rich with a subtle top end.
Fans of ribbon mics will have no problems with gain structure as the ADL features around 73dB of gain. This will also work a treat for any low output instruments you may have, such as a Rhodes or Wurly. Next we moved onto some vocal tracking. I used a few different large-diaphragm tube and condenser mics with, again, fantastic results. The space and dimension delivered to the recordings was just divine. Even passing a couple of stereo mixes through this box made a serious difference and I’m always one to try and get the most out of one piece of gear.
THE JURY’S IN…
These days I always seem to be looking for big results and performance… and that’s what I got with the ADL600 – ‘Big’. The biggest winner for me was that most signals passed through the ADL 600 sounded ‘natural’ but in its own trademark way. For the most part it really is a high performing, high-end piece of gear and any fans of Anthony DeMaria Labs’ (ADL) equipment will be sure to find space in their racks, as this certainly is one worth investing in. This box is priced around the four-figure mark but well worth it, as it comes in at around half the price of some of your other high-end equipment.