A volume knob for each input, with 2 buttons: power +48 V "switch phase" (phase inversion).
Suffice to say the bare minimum, especially today, when so many manufacturers offer both an adjustment for the level and gain setting, the choice of input line / mic, a low-pass filter or an overall limit on all outputs ... The absence of VU meter is nevertheless really harmful, although (not surprisingly) the device is designed to be connected to a console or a capture card that will this possibility ...
At the same time, one feels immediately strength: as metal, screws everywhere, the least possible mail: construction to rival a Volkswagen combi!
Note (homemade) that the knob can not be perfectly "square" a small house recalibration may be necessary to properly match the values presented externally (on the surface of the beast) Reality internally ( unscrewing the knob, and we try to deliver better - the case of a half-hour to 8).
The simplicity of the beast that its use is amazingly simple: you plug it on, it works! However there must be a manual, probably more interesting to identify all technical specifications to really help employment.
And in case of any problems, John Oram, the manufacturer of the machine is at your disposal 24h/24h: having contacted to convert feed my copy (used) 110 220 volts, it m ' said (several times) in the time, putting me all available diagrams for me to do it myself, when other (again) forced to go through a service or place one week to respond. Well, on the other hand, everything is in English, and given the size of the box, it is not soon they will employ a full-time translator french !
Finally, at the risk of repeating myself, the strength is incredible: after 6 months of nomadic use a used equipment already lived well, nothing, no weakness, no damaged button, no jumpers to replace; Please note only a serious background noise, not very loud but now, after powering on the device (annoying in my field when shooting sound in the same space as the musicians, rock negligible or in a cab).
To understand this choice, it should be noted that I work only taking its classical and jazz, and often nomadic (to save this church with such piano, such resonance), I need the equipment all the more flattering remaining transparent, most reliable and most nomadic possible.
Before buying, I tried a lot of things in amp "pro" 8 channels: Millennia HV-3D obviously, but also Hearing, RME and Focusrite same.
Compared to the Millenia (and even RME) is a little less clear, it is obvious; one feels a little faster a very light breeze, a little faster a risk of saturation. Compared to Hearing, RME or Focusrite is a little less convenient: no VU meter, no possibility digital conversion (John Oram is proudly attached to the world of analog). But color issue, it's great: it is both a reward and paste, neutrality transistors and presence reminiscent of the best recordings for Decca and Deutsche G.; it's a bit away from the current logic of the more detailed sound, most surgical, but at the same time it's so nice, so generous while being accurate and honest, we can only agree . The sound of a harpsichord (or guitar) is splendid, a string quartet frank and wide, the woods are ennobled; it can be a little too neutral for choir or voice, but already provides a great grip on which rework.
After, let's agree: it remains in the field of transistor preamps, and acoustic music seeking the greatest possible fidelity: we will never make the same adjustment with octasonic with a Avalon, as it is not work at all in the same optical (working the sound of a pop-rock singer with a octasonic example, it is a bit like digging a hole in a concrete wall armed with a spoon: sterile and ineffective). I imagine that most people who come to read this know, but sometimes seen comments audiofanzine, better clarify ...
Compared to so many brands storefront, being known and recognized for several decades, we must dare to do this little side step to dark English strong, growing labor quality analog hostile to reduce costs (and prices!), focusing on the less options but the highest quality. But I think in the case of a work purely acoustic preamp, requiring a great respect for the source, the choice is relevant, especially considering the price: about 1900 euros well as new, are regularly found at 600-800 euros on ebay (indestructible, so obviously in good condition), less than 100 euros online. With the price of shot between 4 and 5 times lower than a line at Millenia, 8-10 times lower in Neve, the sound is already in the court very large; only lack a little bit of transparency, but less work for Decca and EMI (and have the credits accordingly) ...