Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Microphone Preamp

Chameleon Labs

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Product Code: 9999-04659
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The Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII is made with 100% discrete components, hand wound transformers and was fabricated to precisely match vintage counterparts manufactured in the early to mid 70's. The Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII represents a dramatic breakthrough in delivering vintage audio performance at an affordable price.

Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Microphone Preamp & EQ Details

The Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII is the sequel to their smash hit 7602 Microphone Preamplifier/Equalizer. The 7602 MKII new features include: selectable mic impedance, LED input metering, upgraded knob styles, and two different power options--all of this for the same price as the original unit. The Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII ships with an inline power transformer (all regulation is done inside the unit). The optional rack-mountable CPS-1 can also still be used, but is no longer required.

The Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Microphone Preamplifier/Equalizer is based on a classic and revered design utilizing pure Class "A" circuitry. This unit is made with 100% discrete components, hand wound transformers and was fabricated to precisely match vintage counterparts manufactured in the early to mid 70's. The Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII represents a dramatic breakthrough in delivering vintage audio performance at an affordable price.

Special Note

As of November 1, 2010 all new Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII units ship with TANTALUM CAPACITORS as standard. Want more, just get the factory installed X-Mod and you're done with a fully modded 7602, sweet!

Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Equalizer Section (Selectable 3 band design with a flexible filter section)

  • Filter - this is a high pass filter with 3dB loss at 300Hz, 160Hz, 80Hz, and 50Hz with an 18dB cut per octave slope.
  • Low Equalization - This section has a shelving slope with four frequency selections: 220Hz, 110Hz, 60Hz and 35Hz. This equalizer affects the selected frequency and all others below it. The gain control provides 20dB of boost or cut.
  • Mid Equalization - This section has a peaking characteristic with six frequency selections: 360Hz, 700Hz, 1.6k, 3.2k, 4.8k and 7.2k. The gain control provides 20dB of boost or cut.
  • High Equalization - This section has a shelving characteristic with five frequency selections: 16k, 12k, 7k, 4.9k and 3.4k. This section adjusts the selected frequency and all others above it. The gain control provides 20dB of boost or cut.

Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Microphone Preamp & EQ Features

  • Tantalum capacitors now come standard throughout (All new A-Stock units shipping after Nov. 1 , 2010)
  • Fully balanced transformer mic and line inputs
  • Balanced XLR output
  • Hi-Z direct input for instruments on the front panel
  • LED input metering
  • Selectable mic impedance switch (300 or 1200 Ohms)
  • 48VDC phantom power switch
  • 180 degree phase reversal switch
  • 20 position gold contact ELMA rotary gain switch for both Mic and Line sections
  • Output level control functions as a fader when going straight to tape
  • Carnhill mic and output transformer option ($275 MSRP)
  • One-year warranty

Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Microphone Preamp & EQ Electronics

By employing classic circuit design, tantalum capacitors, a gold contact ELMA gain selector and custom wound transformers, Chameleon Labs ensures that the Model 7602 MKII will exhibit classic audio sound. The Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII has a transformer balanced input with a range between 20dB and 80 dB of gain. The separate line input is transformer balanced and accepts input levels from -20 to +10dB.

Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Microphone Preamp & EQ Specifications

  • Input impedance:
    • Microphone: 300 & 1,200 ohms
    • Line: 10,000 ohms
    • D.I.: 100,000 ohms
  • Sensitivity:
    • Microphone: -80dBm to -20 dBm in 5dB steps for 0 dBm output;
    • Line: -20 dBm to +10 dBm in 5 dB steps for 0 dBm output.
  • Noise: Measured at 80 db of gain with 200 ohm input termination, without 20Hz to 20kHz to assist in filtering out noise.
    • -49dbu with final output stage at 50% EIN -129 dbu;
    • -46dbu with final output stage at unity EIN -126 dbu;
    • -56dbu without final output stage EIN -136 dbu.
    • Controls either "flat" or switched out.
  • Output: Balanced and floating to feed a 600 ohm load. Maximum output +26 dBm into 600 ohms, or +20dBm into 150 ohms.
  • Output Impedance: 600 ohms, balanced (source impedance 75 ohms).
  • Frequency Response: 11 Hz - 77.65 kHz @ 3 dB. Level variation is less than 0.2%.
  • Distortion: 1k Hz = 0.0245%

Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Optional X-Mod Modification

Front End Audio offers factory installed Carnhill Mic and Output Transformers for the Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII. This X-mod transformer upgrade is installed and tested in the Chameleon Labs facilities and takes your Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII to the next level!

8 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII Xmod
    West Wing Audio

    I was looking for a channel strip that had lots of character/color, something to replace a Great River MP-2NV I had to sell off a few years ago. While the 7602 is certainly different than the Great River, it's got character and color for days and the EQ gives this box fantastic flexibility. Using it with an FMR Audio PBC-6A to tame transients with either an SM7B or a Brauner Phatom C - I think I've found my new favorite vocal channel setup.

  • 5
    Amazing pre and EQ
    Evan Phillips

    This thing is killer. You can totally sculpt your sound with the eq. Great on kick and snare. Amazing on guitar and bass. So stoked.

  • 5
    Great buy!
    Robert Allen

    This was and is the first good preamp for my small studio - the rest are the ones built into my Firstudio. The difference is clear, the 7602 MKII rocks! And aside from a great preamp, you also get a HPF and EQ that works really well. The EQ has variable boost/cut but stepped frequency selection, as well as "bypass" for each band - handy. All the frequencies available on the EQ and HPF are very useful for all types of music recording. The LED metering and output volume controls are both a plus. My only complaint is that the power transformer is bulky, but at least it stays away from the unit itself. All in all, a great preamp/EQ I would recommend!

  • 5
    Mario G.

    This is the best preamp I've worked with. I can't say if it has the characteristics of the vintage pre it's modeled after (never worked with one), but this suits me just fine. It's clean, & gives a more even, professional sound to my recordings. I got mine with the factory installed x-mod. I love how you can eq each track before putting it down (instead of eq'ing later). This is now my go-to preamp.

  • 5
    YES, I Love It!!!
    Jeremy Park

    The first time I fired this unit up was while mixing an album, where I wanted the snare to have a bit more vintage coloration and sheen. The 7602 MKII worked beautifully in this application. Utilizing its transformer stage, I was able to crank up the input and lower the output volume, causing the snare to hit the transformer a little harder than usual. This created a sound that we've all heard on older recordings! The snare became thicker, more controlled, and well...more analog. I also engaged the EQ section to introduce even more sound shaping, which is amazing BTW. The HF shelf is incredibly smooth while boosting, even in radical amounts, and it will simply kill most of your plugin EQs for raising those highs. I've also recorded some cello, violins, and auxiliary percussion through the 7602 MKII with impressive results. I really love this piece of gear and would love to purchase another when I can afford to =)

  • 5
    Great pre for the $

    I bought two of these for my studio. They go from nice and clean to a gritty drive. I like how you can switch the different bands of the filter and eq (sounds awesome) in and out according to what you need at the time. The DI is a nice option and sounds great. The selectable mic impedance and 80db of gain is perfect with ribbon mics. The Front End Audio guys are great so dont hesitate to call them if you have any questions.

  • 5
    A Great Preamp!

    This preamp sounds great and in my opinion is a great bank-for-buck preamp. It is supposed to be modeled after a vintage Neve 1073. It is actually much cleaner and does not give the same character that a 1073 would. The 1073 in my opinion has more girth and definition in the low end. It is a "character" preamp. The 7602 does sound great though. It holds its own and I find that I do like the character of the preamp. I use it on kick, snare, bass, electric guitar, and I find that it excels on these instruments. The eq is extremely useful and sounds killer. If I don't need the pre I can use the line input so that I can use the eq with other preamps I own. I have not heard the mods on this preamp, but they look enticing. I talked to Alan whom was very helpful with my purchase and explained the mods that are done. Apparently Carnhill input and output transformers are used, so if you have the extra cash get the mod! He told me that I could get them modded at a later date.

  • 5
    I diggit

    I got the premium upgrade option for use in my home studio and am really impressed (I record a lot of experimental pop and folk rock stuff). This thing has a really musical, extended top end that immediately makes my newer tracks pop out and require less processing later. It is generally very clean and "hi-fi" sounding, but the output fader gives you the option of adding some pleasant thickness from the input when needed. Also, the eq is really, really nice- for any price range. The balanced line input is a nice bonus when I just want the eq. I can't directly compare it with a 1073 or a pricier clone- but I have used them in the past and this basically matches my memory of using those units- it might be a little more open (quick transients) and modern sounding. I have a couple other options when I want a grittier or darker preamp sound, but I imagine this will be my go-to for years to come.

What We Think


Pound for pound, the Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII represents one of the best deals going for home, project, and pro studios alike. If you've ever wanted the sound of a Neve 1073 preamp and equalizer but you don't have around $4500 just laying around for an original or a reissue racked up in a power supply, then the 7602 MKII certainly makes for an attractive option. PLUS, it's affordable enough as to be considered to have several channels of pretty dang good sounding preamps and eq for tracking drums or mixing, or what-have-you. In fact, we have several customers who have, over the years, continually called back to order pair after pair. of 7602s. The Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII is versatile enough to be considered for use on a multitude of sources. I love the enthusiastic responses I get from customers who have just upgraded to a pair of these from their interface's on-board preamps. And compared to most any other channel strip under $1000, the Chameleon Labs 7602 MKII wins the turkey shoot. Add the X-Mod option, you're getting the Carnhill (formerly St. Ives) input and output transformers factory installed on these units. The Carnhills add a depth of character, detail and a guts to this already good sounding channel strip. That and the fact that they now come standard with Tantalum Capacitors installed, makes for a serious contender for budget minded recordists and pros alike. Talk about a no-brainer....

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