FMR Audio Offers the Really Nice Preamp


Texas-based FMR Audio has been creating affordable equipment with stellar, high-quality results for more than a decade. All its products are designed and assembled in the United States and feature utilitarian “ugly” designed enclosures, which allows the company to keep the cost low, while sounding great! The RNP or Really Nice Preamp boasts two channels of Class-A microphone preamplification with 66 dB of gain. The front panel features two ¼" DI inputs, while the back offers a pair of XLR microphone inputs and a pair of ¼" balanced (TRS) line-level outputs. Additionally, there is a pair of ¼" TRS inserts between the preamp stage and output driver. Other notable features include a high input level capability (up to +28dBu), a high-capacity phantom power supply, sealed relay switching for invert/phantom power functions, and a gold-plated 12-postion gain switch for each channel, plus output muting during phantom engage/disengage.

The sound of the RNP was designed with sonic neutrality in mind without sounding “clinical” or sterile. There’s very little coloration and a flat frequency response, regardless of gain settings. Essentially, what you put into the RNP is what you get out of it. The RNP's design uses a unique configuration that permits Class-A operation of a discrete transistor pair that almost completely erases the non-linear effects of Vbe and emitter bulk resistance that dog traditional preamp circuits. Additionally, special circuitry constantly measures and adjusts circuit parameters to eliminate gain-control path capacitors and avoids costly individual trimming to achieve low distortion, high-CMRR performance required in commercial audio settings over the life of the preamp.

Instead of a variable gain pot, the RNP utilizes a Grayhill 12-postion sealed switch, which not only sound great, but allow for easy recall of previous settings. A third-order EMI filter at the front end is specifically designed to attenuate RF interference, while giving smooth audio performance up to 240 kHz. The precision metering on the front panel features three LEDs per channel (signal presence, +18 dBu, and clip) of the insert “Send” signal. In addition, the clip LED trips at 1 dB below actual clip and stays on for three seconds to make signal-chain troubleshooting easier. The metering is digitally calibrated and driven by the internal microprocessor.

If you are in the market for a “no-frills” transparent-sounding microphone preamp or DI, the RNP is worth a listen. FMR Audio also produces some excellent dynamics processors, such as the Really Nice Compressor and the Really Nice Leveling Amplifier, which offer excellent results at an affordable price.