Mindprint En-Voice MKII
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Mindprint En-Voice MKII

En-Voice MKII, Franja de canal from Mindprint.

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content in English
phraseland 05/12/2008

Mindprint En-Voice MKII : la opinión de phraseland (content in English)

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This is an analog tube mic preamp with built in EQ and compression. You have the usual balanced ins (XLR and Jack) and outs (XLR and Jack) plus an Insert for external FX or compression. There is an option for a digital in/out but I don't know how well it works.
On the front you can also plug in an instrument and the LED meter either shows the input or the output level.
You can buy some feet for the unit but it really is meant to be installed in a rack.
Everything is built very well and feels very robust. The knobs are quite nice even though they are quite close together. This makes it hard to read on the device which controls you are actually changing - you basically only see knobs when you look at it from a slight angle - but you get used to it after a while. I just think the writing is too small.

UTILIZATION

I think the setup is pretty straight forward. Only the compressor presets I don't care for too much. It is nice to have some quick access to specific tasks but I would have prefered to have a couple of more parameters to adjust myself instead of having to guess through a bunch of presets.
The LED meter is pretty efficient but I found the preamp to be a little too delicate when you reach the maximum gain. It seems with the gain that there is a lot of way just until you reach the 'yellow bar'. After that you have to be very gentle in dialing in the right gain setting.

SOUND QUALITY

I think this unit does color the sound quite considerably. But that is to be expected from a tube preamp. I like the instrument input better than using it as a microphone preamp - even though I do use the Envoice more for the latter. When recording vocals they become quite harsh once the tube kicks in. I find the sound actually to be annoying after a while and I have not been able to get a silky sound out of this machine. Of course using an AKG 414 this is difficult - but I also used it with a Brauner and a Neumann U87. So it definately is the preamp. I can't say that it is a bad unit but I will go for the sound I get from an SPL next time. The instrument input on the other hand sounds pretty good. Here the harshness and tube saturation complement the signal very nicely and give it a nice edge.
As I said - I always use the compression a bit but I have found one I generally like and I don't use it as a sound shaping tool. Personally I don't really care for it. But for users who don't have a lot of experience this might be a very good feature.

OVERALL OPINION

I have used the Encore for about two years now. A good friend of mine has used the older version for longer and had to have it repaired twice. It seems they were really sensitive with overloading and the way power was supplied. With the older versions clipping also really meant clipping. So once you hit red it meant redoing the recording.
They improved this in the new version but I still feel like saturating the tube too much just makes the sound rather unpleasant (especially voice).
I don't think I would buy this preamp again even though it is great value for its money. If you want to buy one then don't get the earlier version used!