Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp
The Grace Design m101 is a high fidelity single channel microphone preamp employing a balanced, transformerless, and transimpedance circuit topology. With incredible bandwidth and headroom, the m101 is natural, musical and detailed, allowing engineers and musicians to consistently record vibrant, amazing tracks.
The Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp is equipped with Grace Design's new universal switching power supply, which is dead quiet and accepts input voltages from 100 to 240VAC. The front panel is a tough black anodized / laser etched black, which ensures legibility and usability in varying light conditions. And all preamp functions have a dedicated indicator LED, including the 48V phantom power and HPF switch.
Built in as standard is Grace Design's unique Ribbon Mic Mode, which bypasses the input decoupling capacitors, raises the input impedance from 8.1kO to 20kO, and defeats the 48V phantom power, preventing damage to delicate ribbon mic elements. Ribbon mics, you’re welcome. The gain range is 10-75dB, including the additional +10dB of gain available with the output trim control. This provides ample gain for use of any type of microphone in any recording situation. The gain control is a precision gold plated 12 position switch and the circuit path is built with 0.5% metal film resistors. Included is a HI-Z input on the front panel. Rear panel I/O options include both balanced TRS and unbalanced TS 1/4” outputs, along with the standard XLR balanced out and XLR microphone in.
Equally at home amplifying a vintage condenser mic or a plugged-in acoustic guitar, the Grace Design's m101 Microphone Preamp delivers the kind of high fidelity performance previously available only to big budget recording studios and Grammy winning musicians. Add it all up while considering that the price is unmatched and the picture becomes pretty clear – the Grace Design m101 is one little hot rod piece of pro audio gear for the masses.
Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp Features
- Fast and musical transimpedance architecture
- Updated audio path with 0.5% precision metal film resistors
- New 12 position gold plated rotary gain switch
- High performance output line driver amplifier and HPF amplifier
- New Ribbon mic mode (also great for dynamic mics)- Relay bypass of phantom power decoupling capacitors, increased
- input impedance, and 48V lockout
- Wider 10-75dB gain range
- Enhanced RFI interference suppression
- Three output connectors: XLR balanced, TRS balanced and ¼" unbalanced
- Bombproof laser-etched black anodized frontpanel
- Sealed gold contact relay for Hi-Z input switching
- Built in power supply / no wall-wart!
- Led indicators for +48V, Ribbon mode, and HPF
- Made in the USA
Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp Specifications
- Gain Range (5dB Steps):
- Mic Input: 10-65dB
- Hi-Z Input: -10-45dB
- Output Trim Control: 0 to +10dB
- @ 20dB Gain +20dBu Out: <0.00085%
- @ 40dB Gain +20dBu Out: <0.0010%
- @ 60dB Gain +20dBu Out: <0.0050%
- Intermodulation Distortion:
- @ 40dB Gain +20dBu Out: SMPTE/DIN 4:1 7kHz/50Hz: <0.0020
- Noise - Referred to Input:
- 50O Source: <-130dB
- 150O Source: <-128dB
- 600O Source: <-124dB
- 100Hz: >68dB
- 1kHz: >75dB
- 10kHz: >65dB
- Phase Deviation (HPF Off):
- 50Hz-25kHz: <6°
- Frequency Response:
- Mic Input @ 40dB Gain -3dB: 4.5Hz-390kHz
- Mic Input @ 40dB Gain -0.5dB: 10.5Hz-140kHz
- Hi-Z Input @ 20dB Gain -3dB: 2.5Hz-195kHz
- Hi-Z Input @ 20dB Gain -0.5dB: 6Hz-74kHz
- Mic Input: 8.1kO
- Mic Input, Ribbon Mode: 20kO
- Hi-Z Input (Unbalanced): 1MO
- Hi-Z Input (balanced): 2MO
- Balanced Output: 300O
- Unbalanced Output: 150O
- Peak LED Meter:
- Green Threshold: -14dBu
- Red Threshold: +16dBu
- Maximum Output Level:
- 100k Ohm Load, 0.1% THD: +25dBu
- Weight & Dimensions:
- Weight: 2.4 lbs / 1.09 kg
- Dimensions: (H x W x D) 1.7" x 8.5" x 9.0" / 4.3cm x 21.6cm x 22.8cm
- Power Consumption:
- Volts: 100 - 240 VAC
- Power: 5 Watts Max
Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp Includes
- Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp
- Owners Manual
- 5 Year Warranty
Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp Downloads
- Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp Owners Manual (PDF)
- Grace Design m101 Microphone Preamp Brochure (PDF)
What We Think
"The Grace Design m101 is one of those microphone preamps that you can't help but love. First off, it's not to hard on the wallet, especially given the level of sheer audio quality you're getting into. Grace Design preamps are chameleons, somewhat in that they're clean, but they've got character. They sparkle, but they're not especially bright. They epitomize precision, but are also lustrous... But overall, they are a great investment when you're looking to up your game. My first exposure to Grace Design was a classical album that I assisted on many years back. The sheer depth of the soundfield really was shocking. The emotion could really cut through and was clearly conveyed. If the viola player dug-in on the strings with the bow a little more, you could almost see the particles of horse hair burning off into the air around her. If you're recording acoustic instrumentation and/or simply want to make a significant improvement to your front end, there are fewer choices that could be better than the Grace m101."
Front End Audio
8 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews
I'm so glad I finally got a stereo set of these. For years I've been using amp sims but wanted to get back in to live room recording after building out my new studio. Everything good that has been said about these pres for all the years these have been out is true. Every mic sounds better and truer to what's in the room and I find myself needing little to no eq to make things fit. They are more than just "wire with gain"... they are true, crisp and open sounding; delivering higher dynamics and headroom than other pres I have used. Built like little black and chrome tanks...definitely worth the investment. Front End as always was a pleasure to buy from.
I use this preamp with my colored mics, such as the Royer and some tube mics. It is clean without sounding sterile. You would have to spend significantly more money to move to the next level of preamps that are clean. The newer versions work even better with ribbon mics.
I've always wanted a pristine preamp, and this is the first one I've had. The M101 is way quieter than anything I've used (Solo 610, Neve 517). I'm still getting used to its character, but I am super glad I purchased it. Great pre! I ran into a snag with my purchase and Front End went above and beyond to resolve it, so I am a satisfied customer.
You don't need "mojo" or "color" in a preamp if your room and instrument and mic have already sufficiently taken care of that. I have a pair of these and a pair of Golden Age Pre 73. I use the Grace more often. I didn't think these were over $600! Might wanna search the classifieds. I got one for $350 and the other for $450 (both used but in perfect condition). Sorry for the suggestion FEA but I'm for the people. Plus, I've bought plenty from ya
The Grace m101 is a relatively affordable and very transparent mic pre. Before buying you should be aware that this pre is EXTREMELY quiet and clean sounding so if you want "color," this definitely won't do it. Otherwise, for classical recordings it rivals Millenia pres; for recordings with ribbon mics it rivals AEA's TRP (due to its variable impedance option) - all at a reasonable price. In my opinion it's the cheapest "truly good" pre out there. I recently got my second one and I am very pleased with my purchase.
I bought this preamp initially to try out in my vocal chain, and it has performed excellently! No other preamp under $1000 displays the kind of transparency that the M101 manages. Running a microphone through this preamp is a great way to hear how a mic truly sounds, without the coloration of a lesser-quality or overly-warm pre. Tracks recorded through the M101 tend to stack incredibly well through all stages of a mix. Great buy!
This pre made me realise how "adequate only" a mixers pre amps are. Seems to fill up so much more of the frequency spectrum in a really nice way, to my ears. Dynamic mics never sounded so good as this in "ribbon mic" mode. Very glad I took the chance & spent the money.
I received the Grace m101 preamp the other day and love it! The clarity and cleanness of the signal of this preamp is something I have never experienced before. I'm currently running a Peluso 2247 microphone as a drum overhead into the Grace and it really sounds full and bright and gives the drums a high-production value sound. The housing is solid, the knobs are solid, everything about this beast is solid! It's got a boost button for ribbon mics which I greatly appreciate as ribbons can use all the help they can get. With both a gain as well as a trim knob you can really dial in the precise level you want to hit it. really, I can't find anything wrong with this thing.