Cranborne Audio Camden 500 Preamp (Stereo Pair)

Cranborne Audio

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Product Code: 1873
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The Cranborne Audio Camden 500 Preamp is an astoundingly transparent and detailed 500 series mic, line, and hi-z preamp with mojo - two analogue saturation styles that emulate vintage valve and transformer effects. Available at Front End Audio in stereo pairs ideal for stereo recording applications.

Put simply, Camden 500 is the most astoundingly clean, linear, and transparent preamp you’ve ever heard. But it can also be the most colourful and characterful at the turn of a dial. The Camden 500 was designed from the ground-up to be the ultimate front-end for the modern studio and engineer and to withstand the rigours of modern workflow and production techniques. It features a completely original, custom-designed preamp topology that achieves stunning low-noise and low-distortion performance as well as frequency and phase linearity at all gain settings. The sum result is -129.5dB EIN (150ohm, unweighted), THD+N as low as 0.0002%, frequency response of ±0.7dB from 5Hz to 200kHz at max gain and <2° phase shift @ 20Hz – 20kHz. For moments when that extra bit of preamp character is required, rather than use a transformer and learn to live with its sonic drawbacks, Cranborne Audio developed Mojo - two discrete analogue saturation styles that transform Camden 500 into the fattest, warmest, and most characterful preamp in your arsenal - all at the turn of a dial. Perhaps best of all and unlike transformer and other legacy designs, Mojo can be subtle, it can also be exaggerated, but it can also be bypassed when complete transparency is required for the session.

Clean, Precise, and Natural - at all gain positions
Whilst preamp specifications often quote fantastic figures at specific gain values, when the gain is increased, those figures often change radically. Camden 500 was designed to retain all of its impressive performance specifications at all gain positions from 8dB to 68dB. This means that even when the preamp is running at maximum gain, the Phase and Frequency response remains linear and THD always remains inaudible - enabling all gain positions to be usable for any source and mic combination.

Vintage, Warm, and Coloured - thanks to Mojo
Mojo is a new type of saturation circuit that consists of an array of filters and discrete second/third order harmonic generators that allow precise emulation of the saturation and low-end reinforcement behaviours of vintage transformer and valve-based equipment. The key to Mojo is that it can be dialled in to taste; use subtle amounts for gentle saturation, or dial it in to well beyond the point that destructive clipping would usually occur in transformer-based preamps. Perhaps the very best part of Mojo is that it can be bypassed to reveal the pristine base sound of the Camden 500.

Thump is a style that works best on - but is not limited to - low-frequency based instruments. Thump excites low-end content by boosting harmonics in the range of ~100Hz to 20Hz and below without increasing the fundamental frequencies - resulting in fuller low-end on all reproduction mediums. As Thump is not EQ-based, the additional harmonic content is shaped by the source and it’s existing low-end frequency content resulting in a natural addition of extra “Thump”. Similar-sounding EQ moves will result in extreme wooliness as all sonic energy is boosted - even unwanted audio in-between the hits.

Cream introduces a vintage smoothness that enables tracks to sit deep within a complex mix in a way that cannot be replicated with EQ. The Cream setting drastically increases THD whilst smoothing-out the low-mids. As with Thump, Cream is not EQ based and is purely achieved by blending 2 saturation stages with the dry signal and additional harmonics. Cream varies entirely on the harmonic signature of the incoming source. It will increase high-end forwardness and create unique harmonic-based tonal shaping effects on mid-range instruments, but it will also add low-end on full range sources as well as unique “compression-style” effect on transients.

Cranborne Audio Camden 500 Preamp Features

  • Fully-discrete, transformerless design featuring custom ‘Camden’ preamp topology designed by Cranborne Audio’s Director of Engineering - Edward Holmes
  • Optimised Input Impedance and input headroom for Mic, Line, and HI-Z sources
  • Optimised for and fully-compliant with the 500-series format
  • Audio performance at the near-theoretical limits of noise, distortion, and phase/frequency linearity at all gain settings
  • RGB Signal Level LED with integrated Clip indicator
  • Unique 48v status LED
  • Mojo analogue saturation circuits with variable control, true bypass, and 2 discrete styles - Thump and Cream
  • Reamp line-level tracks from your DAW through Mojo to apply analogue saturation to your stems, VST, and stereo mixes
  • Gold Flashing on backplane contacts for increased conductivity and durability
  • Designed and Engineered in the UK

Cranborne Audio Camden 500 Preamp Specifications

  • Minimum Gain: Mic = 8dB, Line = 0dB, Hi-Z = 3dB
  • Maximum Gain: Mic = 68dB, Line = 60dB, Hi-Z = 63dB
  • Input Impedance: Mic= 8.9kOhms 48v Off, 5.4kOhms 48v ON, Line = 24.3kOhms, Hi-Z= 1.5MOhm unbalanced, 3MOhm balanced
  • Max Input Level: Mic = 17.6dBu (<0.003% THD), Line = 26.5dBu (<0.02% THD), Hi-Z = 24dBu (<0.02% THD)
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Max Output Level: 27.5dBu (<0.002% THD, 30dB gain)
  • Frequency Response: ±0.25dB (200 kHz, 35dB gain), <±1dB (200 kHz, max gain)
  • Phase Shift: <2.25° (40dB gain, 20Hz to 20kHz), <4° (max gain, 20Hz to 20kHz)
  • THD+N: <0.0004% (1kHz, 35dB gain, 24dBu out)
  • Intermodulation Distortion: <0.0008% (50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, 20dBu out), <0.0006% (50Hz and 7kHz, 35dB gain, 15dBu out)
  • Hi-Pass Filter (HPF): 80Hz, -3dB, 12dB/Oct
  • Current Draw: 120mA per rail - idle, 140mA per rail - typical use case
  • CMRR: >70dB, typ >85dB, 35dB gain, 10-20kHz, 100mV Common mode
  • Slew Rate: 20V/uS, 35dB gain, 25dBu out

Cranborne Audio Camden 500 Preamp (Stereo Pair) Includes

  • 2x Cranborne Audio Camden 500 Preamp
  • 2x Setup Guide
  • Manufacturer Warranty

2 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    SALVADOR velarde

    This preamp really warms up the harshness of a digital signal. 10 out of 10.

  • 5
    Cranborne Camden pair
    Jay Matheson

    These pres have got to be the best deal in audio right now. I just used them on overheads with stellar results and i must say that its the best sounding bass DI sound that I have in the studio. TheThump feature is incredible on bass. Haven't had time to try it on kick and snare yet but I expect that it will sound very good. Great results on acoustic and electric guitars so far as well. I think that everyone should have a pair of these. They perform far past their price point.

What We Think


The Cranborne Audio Camden 500 Preamp is a pleasantly surprising mic pre. If you are looking for a preamp that is clean but punchy and sounds good, this is the best value on the market. Add in the Mojo circuit and now it becomes cooler. The Thump gives you a ribbon like thick warm sound, and the Cream gives you a slightly gritty vintage tone (for some reason I think Rolling Stones when I hear the Cream Mojo). Being that the Camden handles Mic, Instrument, and Line Levels, it now becomes very versatile in it's use. This makes a lot of sense in getting two of them, as you can use them to process busses and add more life and character to drum buss, vocals, softsynths, and mix bus. Simply a great mic pre and pretty impossible to beat at the price point.

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