Handling, Build Quality: Lovely piece of kit. I got this Thomann and it was packed perfectly and professionally. The unit itself is well made and feels sturdy. The knobs on it feel good too and not too cheap. Considering this cost of the unit, it doesnt seem that GAP have cheapened out on the design or cosmetics of the unit....in fact, I cant see where they may have "cheapened out".... in fact they havent at all!!
Feature, Sound: The whole point of preamps (IMHO) is to be able to really get that colour out of them. I dont know why some people want to get "clear" preamps...chances are that the pres that come with your audio interface are super clean already! Its a pity that they dont make a stereo version of this pre, but at 1/2 unit wide and 1U tall, you could always put 2 of these in a rack unit. I would have perhaps liked this to have detachable rack ears so that I wasnt reliant on the (sold separately of course) rack mounting unit. But I got the Comp54 and the rack mounting gear with it and they fit into my rack fairly cosily.
The DLX version of the GAP Pre73 includes an input pad which REALLY allows you to drive this pre a lot more than the standard version. As a result you can get a much more coloured tone, and for a device that imitates the Neve 1073, that can never be a bad thing! I have used this pre with everything - bass, vocals, distorted guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, and it never fails to deliver that "smooth" and "warm" sound that I want. It really does go well with a number of mics, and sounds great with everything I've put through it: SM57, SM58, SM7b, Se 2200a mk1 and mk2, Se Gemini 2, Audio Technica 4033 & 4040, Neumann U87 and more!
Conclusion: I would not bother with the standard version if you have the extra cash, as this version is the definitive version to get. The input pad really opens up the characteristics of this preamp and really lets you get the coloured sound from it. Couple this with a GAP Comp 54 or a UA 610 mk2 and you have a serious rig for DI bass, amped bass and vocals (provided you use a decent mic or course). This version is defintely worth the extra over the standard, and even at the higher price point, it is still well below the cost of competitive units and competes with them (and then some) at a sonic level. In fact, I dont know how I'll ever spend so much on a Pre amp again after hearing what these units can do. I am very happy with mine.
Forget the price. From sound point of view it stands next to 4-5x price preamps. Nice colouring, sits in the music well, balanced sound, a bit dark sounding but overall this is next to hi-end preamps. Sounds better than my UA6167... nice features, I don't have any cons to mention. Nice job GAP!
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