In 1994 we released the Model 801 microphone preamplifier,¹ which was the first production model for Grace Design. It set a new standard of sonic quality and reliability for microphone preamplifiers, providing much better performance than the built-in circuits in the recording consoles of the day. It featured independent circuit boards for each channel, gold contact rotary gain controls wired with precision metal film resistors, a musical sounding transimpedance (current feedback) gain stage, gold contact sealed relay signal switching, and there were NO electrolytic capacitors in the signal path.²
12 years later, we released the next generation of this preamplifier, renamed the m801,³ which refined the design features of the previous version, and added a fully differential signal path and Ribbon Mic mode, which optimized the signal path for low output ribbon microphones.
Now 20 years later, the next generation is here, now named the m801mk2. Newly designed amplifier circuitry adds to the features of the previous versions while significantly improving noise performance at low gains, increasing low frequency bandwidth for improved phase response, improving RFI/EMI immunity for today’s ever noisier world,⁴and eliminating the external DC power supply for a cleaner, simpler design.⁵
Today’s modern recording studio is invariably loaded with incredible sonic processing capability, making the opportunity to add great sounding color routine. But capturing the magic at the front end is still the job of skillfully designed analog hardware, for which there is no substitute. This makes our preamps more relevant than ever. If your source sounds great and your mic is plugged into the m801mk2, you’ll be rewarded with a recording of breathtaking depth and realism. If you choose to color it up from there, you’ll be starting with the best possible raw material you can get.
The m801mk2 will be begin shipping in November, 2018.
1. We’re seriously dating ourselves here, which is fine because nearly every single Model 801 we built back then is still in service today.
2. Electrolytic capacitors sound bad, and contribute to the dreaded, hard edged ‘solid state sound’. Grace preamps sound impressively musical and open.
3. Bored lawyers at a big audio company informed us the word ‘model’ in front of the number ‘801’ was a copyright infringement, so we changed it to just ‘m’.
4. Your cell phone, WiFi antennas, bluetooth thingies, the odd transmission from Mars to your cat – that stuff can sneak into your audio and cause problems.
5. The new, carefully designed universal switch mode power supply is quiet, light and conveniently operates on mains voltages from 100-240VAC.
Preliminary Specifications / October 2018 (subject to change)
@ 20dB gain ± 3dB 150Ω source 3.2Hz-530kHz
@ 20dB gain ± 0.2dB 150Ω source 14.8Hz-109kHz
@ 40dB gain ± 3dB 150Ω source 3.2Hz-500kHz
@ 40dB gain ± 0.2dB 150Ω source 15.4Hz-103kHz
@ 20dB gain +20dBu out, 1kHz <.0004%
@ 40dB gain +20dBu out, 1kHz <.0008%
@ 60dB gain +20dBu out, 1kHz <.0070%
@40dB gain +20dBu out
SMPTE/DIN 1:1 (50Hz, 7kHz) <.0015%
SMPTE/DIN 4:1 (50Hz, 7kHz) <.0020%
NOISE – REFERRED TO INPUT
@60dB gain 50Ω source -130dB
@60dB gain 150Ω source -127dB
@60dB gain 600Ω source -123dB
100-20KHz @40dB gain <3°
Any Channel @40dB gain 1kHz -140dB
Any Channel @40dB gain 10kHz -130dB
@60dB gain, 3.5Vcm, 1KHz >85dB
@60dB gain, 3.5Vcm, 10KHz >75dB
Voltage +48V +0.9/ -0.0
6.8kΩ resistor match tolerance +/- 0.1%
MAXIMUM OUTPUT LEVEL
1kHz, 100KΩ load +28dBu
Input, Ribbon Mode 20KΩ
Input, Pad Engaged 1.3KΩ
Weight 13lbs (5.9kg)
100-240VAC 50/60Hz 40 Watts max