Preamp (more than $1,000) - EMusician

Preamp (more than $1,000)

Langevin Dual Vocal Combo Premium mic preamps are key ingredients in superlative recordings, and it's no secret that Manley Laboratories makes some of
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Langevin Dual Vocal ComboPremium mic preamps are key ingredients in superlative recordings, and it's no secret that Manley Laboratories makes some of the finest. But until the Dual Vocal Combo (DVC) hit the street, not many people at the personal-studio level could entertain thoughts of owning a voice processor hand-built by the esteemed Manley Labs.

What makes the DVC so irresistible? Pretty much everything about it: the look, the build, the sound, the features - this box gets it right at nearly every turn. The unit employs a minimalist, all-discrete, Class A circuit design with custom-wound transformers on the mic inputs. Each mic channel provides 45 dB of clean, ultraquiet gain; phantom power (with locking switches); a wonderfully smooth and transparent elec-optical limiter; and some of the sweetest-sounding low-and high-shelving EQ we've heard. The limiter section provides independent, hard-wired bypasses; a Link switch for stereo operation; and two Sifam VU meters that can be independently switched to monitor gain reduction or output levels.

Sonically, the DVC gets our highest marks. Not only is the DVC a prime piece of audio real estate, it's also a lovely sight to behold. Among the die-hard recordists here at EM (we record, therefore we exist), no hardware processor stirred up quite as much excitement last year.