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Phoenix Audio (UK) DRS-2 Mic Preamp/DISmart, original design in a two-channel Class A unit
|DRS-2 front view (click to enlarge image)|
Out of the Box
The DRS-2 lists for $2,495 and has a street price of around $1,950. The first thing I notice when pulling the DRS-2 from its packaging is that this unit is built like a tank. There's even a "mystique" to the DRS-2 that I usually find only on more vintage gear. I've seen no pictures of the DRS-2 anywhere that truly reveal what a handsomely-designed box this is, and I've included some pictures I've taken with this review that hopefully will show that. The evaluation model I have has the maroon Marconi winged knobs, which I find to be an interesting touch. I asked Leveque about them and he replied, "This is simply because we supply hundreds of these original knobs to customers, in fact we have the original tool, and we liked them. This is one of the features we will be changing in the very near future because people instantly assume it's a 'Neve knock-off' simply because of the knobs we used."
Well, for my money, I dig the Marconi knobs. I also like the four colored, back-lit buttons, a la Neve 1081, that are grouped together for DI, phase reversal, phantom power and high-pass filter. Leveque said they had about 40 of this particular model left. Personally, I like it just the way it is, but would also welcome any changes made by this innovative company.
The input gain knobs are stepped up in 5 dB increments from 30 dB to 70 dB with fine adjustments being made on the output-gain knob. A great touch and convenience on the DRS-2 is the inclusion of XLR mic inputs on the front, not just the back. Also included on the front panel are a -20 dB pad and an Earth lift button, as well as 1/4" TRS DI inputs and a power switch. My only initial gripe about the DRS-2 is the metering LEDs, which consist of a single green light and a single red light. But after further use these proved surprisingly informative and more accurate than a VU meter. The LED metering is a true PPM approach, with the green and red lights corresponding with the BBC's meter at "4" and "6."
|DSR-2 rear view (click to enlarge image)|
Related Keywords:Phoenix Audio, (UK), DRS-2, Mic, Preamp, DI, microphone, preamplifier, recording, Class A
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