It is an octal preamp mic / line / instrument monitoring output with stereo headphones.
The connection is complete: 8 inputs XLR / TRS combo / jack, 8 line outputs XLR or D-sub 25.
The settings are also complete: there are for every one PAD (-30dB), 48V, phase reverse, a low cut (80Hz slope) and a mute.
The cash DRS8 +24 dBu input and delivers up to +26 dBu output.
The noise level is less than-90dB over the entire spectrum.
There is 70dB of input gain (in 5dB steps from 30 to 70dB) and + /-10dB output (trimmer)
The preamp input is discrete, transformer and the output stage is more colorful, with transformer.
Operation is simple even if you have to take some precautions in setting the gains.
Do not forget that the gain can be adjusted from 30 to 70 dB or 0-40 dB when the PAD is activated. Which gives us a range of 40 dB.
Thus, unless the PAD engaged or weak sources, we avoid overloading the input gain under penalty of twist quickly. It is always tempting to start pushing the input gain level even lower output saturation but quickly calmed DRS8 my enthusiasm!
Once it has built, and one remains in the normal operating range of the preamp it becomes easy to explore the sounds of the instrument.
Here we are!
It is a typical preamp that benefits from expertise of a former Neve and again in philosophy. Discrete transistor circuits which provide a beautiful harmonic coloration when they are pushed.
Thus, the input stage is rather transparent, well-balanced across the entire spectrum with a good transient response. A clear, airy, crystalline.
Pushing the output stage with transformer, we can soften the transient gain in thickness while maintaining a good definition of the spectrum.
But be careful not to exceed the critical threshold of saturation of the preamp because it is the point of no return!
I like to use it on batteries where it excels soften transients, to bring a little thickness while maintaining a good sense of dynamics.
I have not been disappointed on more demanding instruments like a piano or a violin he is very respectful of the stamp that is well defined.
To summarize, if the patch is still well defined, we appreciate that tend to soften and thicken the sound without it becoming soft.
A small downside however, DRS8 generates a lot of breath when pushed. No buzz, no hum, noise or weird! just not bad breath but this.
2 years as I have, I am very happy with the sound of this amp knows to be discreet and at the same time give me a bit of softness and thickness before hitting my converters.
Of course, to compare, it is not the level of transparency of Millennia or harmonic richness of a tube preamp premium as an A-Designs example. The finish of the unit reveals a few shortcomings in the quality of manufacture.
But for that price, I think the DRS8 offers a good compromise between discretion and coloring. Even if the manufacturing quality seems a bit limited, I have not yet encountered problems with hand craftsmanship and its design is not displease me. While some concessions had to be made on the quality and flexibility of use, which no doubt is that it sounds!