Universal Audio DCS Remote Preamp (Bonus)

Universal Audio''s DCS Remote Preamp is a 2-channel preamp with extensive routing and digital control functionality.
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This online bonus material supplements the Universal Audio DCS Remote Preamp review in the November 2007 issue of Electronic Musician.

Sounding Off

The DCS Remote Preamp''s sound is highly detailed and, to my ear, distinctly flat. Testing it against a transformer-based preamp that accentuates low frequencies confirmed for me that the DCS Remote''s two pres were representing all frequencies pretty much equally. After switching to a high-quality tube preamp I know to be very transparent and performing some further comparisons, I became even more convinced of the DCS Remote''s accuracy.

High frequencies were very cleanly reproduced on piano and drums when miking either close to the source or farther away. I dragged out my clavichord because it is such a quiet instrument; the DCS Remote not only provided enough gain, but when I later cranked it up during a quiet passage of the recording, it was as devoid of noise as could be, easily competing with my tube preamp.

Unfortunately, I couldn''t compare the DCS Remote with a similar preamp because I don''t have one, and from what I could find, they are scarcely commercially available. Like the Grace Designs M802 and the Audio Upgrades High Speed Microphone Preamp, the DCS Remote Preamp is based on a current-feedback design, as opposed to the voltage-feedback circuits more commonly used in tube and solid-state preamps.

A current-feedback amplifier''s faster slew rate is supposed to result in better high-frequency and transient response, and the DCS Remote benefits from that design. I rattled keys (always a good test for high-frequency response), recorded cymbals, and again tested on piano and clavichord with that in mind, as the complex upper harmonics generated by interacting high notes can be among the more difficult high-frequency information to capture. All came through well and had clarity similar to that of my transparent tube preamp.