Britain’s Phoenix Audio International knows vintage Neve consoles. The company formed in 1996 with the purpose of serving owners of pre 1980 Neve recording consoles. The company provides over 100 man-years of Neve experience including some of the original designers and technicians. To continue the proliferation of the Neve audio quality to the new millennium, Phoenix Audio has introduced a line of equalizer, effects and dynamics modules than can be used as stand alone boxes or can be incorporated into any Neve console. Since these new products are reasonably priced, they are not only attractive to existing Neve equipped studios but also to project and home-based studios. Included in this Phoenix line is the DRS-2 dual channel microphone preamp and DI ($2,495).
Product PointsApplications: Studio
Key Features: Two-channel; 48V phantom power; Class A; high-pass filter; 20 dB pad; phase reverse
Contact: Phoenix Audio/Transamerica Audio Group at 702-365-5155, Web Site,
+ Killer vintage sound
+ Microphone inputs on both front and rear panels
The Score: The Phoenix Audio DRS-2 provides a reliable way to record audio in the vintage Class A Neve tradition at an extremely reasonable price.www.transaudiogroup.com.
The 1RU DRS-2 is powered with a standard IEC power cable and a 240V/110V voltage input selector switch that allows the voltage to be quickly and easily set to local power. The pure Class A device has a 40dB gain range and a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz ±0.5 dB. The box’s maximum output is +26 dBu @ 1 kHz with a noise measurement of -90 dB @ 22 Hz to 22 kHz.
On the rear panel, a pair of female XLR connectors provides microphone input and a pair of male XLR and 1/4-inch TRS jacks provide line output. Additionally, a pair of front panel-mounted female XLR connectors also provide microphone input. The DRS-2 features Phoenix Audio’s transformerless, Class A, balanced mic input stage. The front panel also offers two 1/4-inch jacks for instrument input. The frequency response of the mic input stage is -0.4 dB @ 40 Hz, -0.3 dB @ 25 kHz and the frequency response of the DI input stage is -0.3dB @ 40 Hz, – 0.5 dB @ 25 kHz.
On the front panel, each channel is equipped with an input select switch (mic or line) a ground lift switch, a phase reverse switch, a high-pass filter activation switch, a 20 dB pad activation switch (mic only) and a phantom power switch. The microphone’s gain range is adjustable from -30 to -70 in 5 dB steps with an additional 10 dB available on the output fader. Metering is provided on each channel with a green and red LED. The green LED illuminates at a 0dB output level and the red LED illuminates at +8 dB.
The Phoenix DRS-2 has the look and feel of a Neve 1081 and it sounds fantastic. The first thing I put the box to work on was kick and snare during a tracking session and I had wonderful results. The kick (recorded with an AKG D112) sounded rich and full and surprisingly required very little EQ. The snare (recorded with a Shure SM57) had a nice crack on the attack with plenty of punch and body. On a different tracking date I used the DRS-2 (with a Royer SF-12) to record drum overheads and again had fantastic results.
Electric guitars are a pleasure to record with the DRS-2. I had the best results with my Royer R-122. I was able to capture lower frequencies that were fat and full without ever sounding muddy or boomy. The box also worked well along with an Earthworks SR-77 to capture the sound of an acoustic guitar.
I used the direct inputs to record keyboards and had great results. In every instance, they sounded smooth, full and clear. I recorded bass through the direct inputs as well and although the sound was usable, this was the one instance that I wasn’t totally blown away by the box’s performance.
I had exceptional results using the DRS-2 along with a Brauner VM1-KHE to record male vocals. The preamp did a wonderful job capturing the subtleties of the vocal without losing the aggressiveness of the performance. The DRS-2 worked equally well with a BLUE Cactus microphone to capture a female vocal performance.
I frequently rent vintage Neve modules and the problem I often face is the lack of reliability of the 1970’s electronics. They are built well but any 30 year old electronic component, regardless of the quality of construction, will have reliability issues. The Phoenix Audio DRS-2 offers the quality Class A, Neve sound with the reliability of a high end modern device all at a decent price.
iZ RADAR 24 hard disk recorder; Lucid Gen-X-96 clock; Mogami cabling; PMC TB1, Yamaha NS-10M monitors; GML 8200 parametric EQ; TubeTech CL-1B compressor, Distressor compressor, Pendulum 6386 Variable MU compressor/limiter; Brauner VM1-KHE, BLUE Cactus, Royer R-122, SF-12, Earthworks SR77, AKG D112 and Shure SM57 microphones.