New Toys: Mäag Audio PREQ2-500 Mic Preamp

The Mäag Audio PreQ2-500 Mic Pre-amp with EQ comes with the company’s very popular Air Band® shelving equalizer built-in. This all-analog single-channel module is suitable for both recording and mixing and fits into a single slot of a standard 500VPR rack. It has up to 71dB of class-A mic gain and is perfectly suited for all input sources. Easily record whisper-quiet vocals using a low output dynamic or ribbon mic to background/foley sound effects to very loud drums using condenser mics.

Besides the standard 150-ohm low impedance microphone input that uses a custom nickel-core input transformer, there is also a high-impedance 1/4-inch input jack on the front panel for recording direct instruments. That same signal coming in is also boosted, isolated and sent out a second front panel 1/4-inch unbalanced Inst/Thru jack. This Thru signal goes out loss-free (even over a long cable) to your guitar amp (or powered speaker) to be amplified again and then also recorded using a microphone and hopefully another Mäag Audio PREQ2-500.

This unique, built-in re-amplification feature enables creative experimentation when recording and/or mixing using: stomp pedals, guitar amps, or Leslie speaker cabinets. The PREQ2-500 has +25dBU of headroom, and a very low noise floor. The Air Band® has up to 9dB of boost and switchable frequencies of 2.5kHz, 5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, 20kHz and 40kHz.

Front panel includes switches for: +48-volt phantom on/off, -20dB attenuation pad, phase/polarity flip, and in/out switches for both the 2nd order 12dB/octave 70-Hz high-pass filter, and the Air Band EQ. The +25dB gain button (A red LED lights up when engaged) selects between two gain ranges of either +20dB to +42dB or +42dB to +71dB. 

I liked the large, easy-to-grab, red pre-amp gain knob for continuously adjusting the recording level, but I love the super-clear and pristine sound of this amplifier design. The Mäag Audio PREQ2-500 is a single-channel 500 version of their Dual-Channel 1U rack mount PREQ2 Dual Mic Pre-amp with EQ and a great way to get into the sound of Mäag Audio. It sells for $959 MSRP.