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Review: APP Studio Ing. MA-1 Germanium Pre

Submitted On May 22, 2013 by Contributor:
ma1 5 reduced



Build Quality

Ease of Use


Overall Value

Total Score

94/ 100

Review Details

Price: >$600


Great germanium sound, inexpensive.


Not available on the open market… yet.
My Review

This is an interesting one that not many people will get to see or hear, but it’s a real hidden gem!  A DIY project hailing from beautiful southern Italy, this pre combines the clean snap of an API preamp with the tonal characteristics of a Germanium preamp.  The unit was released as a 500 series format, but is easily adapted to rack mounting with an appropriate power supply.  The mic features a single gain knob (similar to the API312) with buttons for 48v phantom, pad, phase inverse, and DI.  The DI button engages the front panel 1/4″ input that is absolutely AMAZING on electric bass.  The unit is also quite good when used for electric guitar duty (the rich harmonics the germanium transistors provide make for a really killer tone!).  Having almost compression like sounding quality, and beautifully sonically colored,  a pair of these pre’s are now a permanent fixture in my studio arsenal.

Putting one together is not very difficult if you’re good with a soldering iron and know how to follow a schematic and wiring diagrams.  Obviously, this is not for everyone out there, but those that can make it happen are out there and usually glad to help out a fellow engineer find some really great, unique gear.  Once assembled the thick aluminum faceplate and chassis feel more like a professionally manufactured unit than some bigger named products.  The nice part about the DIY aspect is that different transformers can be used to vary the tone a bit depending on taste. This is not something you would swap out on a whim mind you since most of the cost of the unit is in those transformers, but its nice to have options when gettting a piece of custom gear.

Overall, an A+ in my book!



Recommend to a friend

About The Contributor


Full service boutique studio in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. In addition to recording media services, the studio also builds a great deal of custom studio equipment.

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