Continually seeking to make great products even greater, A-Designs Audio has re-released its JM-3001 Mic Preamp/EQ/D.I. under a new name, Ventura, nodding to the classic Quad Eight console after which the unit’s three-band parametric EQ is inspired.
In addition to its new moniker, the A-Designs Ventura features a cream-colored faceplate with black nomenclature for improved visibility in low-light environments, plus a much more attractive US MAP price of $2,095.00.
“Lest anyone worry that our JM-3001 is gone, rest assured–the Ventura features the exact same microphone preamplifier, equalizer, and instrument input circuitry and controls that many producers, engineers, and artists have grown to love,” says A-Designs Audio’s Peter Montessi. “We’ve simply given it an appropriately memorable name, enhanced its cosmetics for both aesthetic and utilitarian reasons, and reduced its price. That can’t be a bad thing, right?“
Hand built in the USA, the single-rack-space Ventura is a tracking and mixing powerhouse featuring a transformer coupled mic pre, instrument input, and three-band parametric equalizer. When operated at optimal levels, the unit produces a signal that is both clear and warm with all the air, detail, and generous depth that one would expect from high quality analog gear. Push it a little harder and the Ventura’s custom-wound, ear-tested transformers respond with a more aggressive sound while still retaining the utmost clarity.
Adding to its own special vibe, the Ventura features a three-band parametric equalizer inspired by the classic Quad Eight consoles from the 1970s. Even those engineers that avoid using equalization while tracking will find themselves looking for excuses to use this EQ–especially if they need midrange punch on guitars or snare without becoming harsh. Also, the Ventura’s EQ can be accessed via its own insert return for sweetening tracks during mixdown.
The separate 1/4-inch instrument input section is designed to enhance the response of any active or passive guitar/bass pickup or other instrument with a high impedance output. This feature is very useful during direct tracking or as a front-end preamp for live performances.
The heart of the device is a discrete transistor operational amplifier designed by Carl Johnson for the Ventura. Operating on high voltage rails, this opamp is a high gain, fast-slew, stable audio block with virtually no DC offset over the audio spectrum. It is used in the microphone preamp, instrument input amp, and main output/EQ stages. The mic preamp, itself, is a single-stage, transformer-coupled design with balanced I/O and is equipped with phase reverse, a -20 dB pad, +48V phantom power with LED indicator, and a conductive plastic gain control pot. The preamp section feeds both the EQ section and a preamp output mult simultaneously.
The Ventura’s three-band parametric equalizer is a unique design featuring 33 frequencies with three bands of overlapping ranges from 50Hz to 15 KHz. Both the frequency selection and the +/-12 dB boost/cut controls are stepped for precise, repeatable settings. Each band has a Q switch with three fixed positions: sharp, wide, and narrow. The low and high bands are peak/dip, but flipping the shelf switch changes their characteristic to shelf type. The shelving switch disables the Q feature on high and low bands only. When in the up position, the high/low filters insert the fixed 12dB/octave high- and low-cut filters, which work whether the EQ is in or out. And, finally, the equalizer’s input/insert return provides direct input to the EQ, bypassing both the mic pre and instrument input.
Separate from the mic pre is the instrument input section. This is a single-stage, single-ended, high-impedance preamp that also benefits from its own discrete opamp and includes a front-panel 1/4-inch jack and gain pot. This section also feeds the EQ and preamp output mult simultaneously via the input selector switch for extra flexibility in the studio or live applications.
Combining outstanding sonic performance and versatility, together with the ability to use its three sections independently, the A-Designs Ventura gives engineers and musicians a “desert island” preamp that will serve any and all recording and live applications, from tracking rock bands in the studio to mixing live recordings of orchestral ensembles and much more.
For a complete list of Ventura’s features, specifications, and a downloadable owner’s manual, visit A-Designs Audio’s newly revamped website at www.adesignsaudio.com.