John Hardy M-2 3-Channel Microphone Preamp
The John Hardy M-2 3-Channel Microphone Preamp is among the finest mic preamps in the world. It provides the accuracy and transparency that is missing in other mic preamps. No matter what your application, the M-2 will provide superior sound quality.
The world's best input transformer (Jensen JT-16-B), best op-amp (990 discrete op-amp) and the elimination of all capacitors from the signal path combine to provide the highest performance.
The John Hardy M-2 has a 19" wide mainframe rack-mount chassis (1.75"H x 19"W x 8"D) and can be ordered with 1 to 4 channels. Additional channels and options can be easily added later up to the total capacity of the mainframe. Also when you order your M-2 you can specify if it will have a "20 OHM MIC" switch OR a "20dB PAD" switch.
The John Hardy M-2 was introduced in 1996. While sonically identical to the John Hardy M-1, there are a few control differences. The M-2 has a 16 position gain-switch with 1% metal-film resistors providing accurate and repeatable gain settings from 15dB to 60dB in 3dB steps. Also the M-2 can be ordered with either a "20 OHM MIC" switch OR a "20dB PAD" switch. (The M-1 has a two-section gain-pot providing continuously variable adjustment in two overlapping ranges that are selected by the HIGH GAIN switch that replaces the 20 OHM MIC switch or 20dB PAD switch found on the M-2).
John Hardy M-2 3-Channel Microphone Preamp Features
- JT-16-B Input Transformer. Jensen's best mic input model.
- 990 Discrete Op-Amp. Faster, quieter, more powerful and better sounding than typical monolithic op-amps.
- Elimination Of All Coupling Capacitors From The Signal Path. Results in less degradation of the audio signal.
- 16 Position Rotary Gain Switch. Provides accurate and repeatable gain settings from 15dB to 60dB in 3dB steps.
- Choice Of Either "20 OHM MIC"' OR "20dB PAD" Switch.
- Polarity Reverse Switch.
- Phantom Power Switch.
- All Front Panel Switches Are LED Illuminated.
- Gold Plated XLR Connectors for maximum reliability.
- Ground Lift Switch On Each Channel. Helpful for eliminating ground loops.
- Toroidal Power Transformer With Additional Shielding. Eliminates hum problems so no external power supply is needed.
- Universal Power Supply. Internal switch provides six primary voltage choices to accommodate use anywhere in the world.
- Chassis Ground Isolation Switch. Helpful for eliminating ground loops.
- Built To Order, The Way YOU Want It. Various options can be easily field installed at a later date.
John Hardy M-2 Included Options (from Front End Audio)
- VU-1 meter: Very accurate and informative 20 segment LED meter card with separate peak LED for monitoring preamp output.
- JT-11-BMQ Output Transformer: Jensen's best line output transformer.
John Hardy M-2 3-Channel Microphone Preamp Options
- -20dB PAD: This really should be the option of choice for 95% of users. This will be very handy if you are recording potentially loud sources such as drums, guitar amps, and jet engines.
- 20 Ohm Switch: This option is to help optimize microphones that have extremely low output impedances (such as Schoeps models that have 25 Ohm outputs) to work with the Hardy preamps. Optimally, a preamp will work best with these microphones if it sees the microphone as having a 150 Ohm output. This switch makes that so, and the sound opens up quite nicely. The Hardy M2 with the 20 Ohm Switch option is perhaps the finest choice you can make for use with these microphones. But if you don't have extremely low impedance microphones such as these, then go with the Default -20dB PAD option.
What We Think - John Hardy M-2 3-Channel Microphone Preamp Review
John Hardy preamps are the stuff of legend. John's relationship with Jensen transformers goes back to his relationship with Deane Jensen himself (for whom John custom made the Twin Servo 990 preamplifier). Utilizing top-flight components, including the celebrated 990C Discrete Op-Amp, and Jensen USA input and output transformers, John Hardy has made what many consider the ultimate microphone preamplifiers for musically exciting detail. Not empty or "blank" sounding like many "pristine" preamps, John Hardy preamps will be what you'll reach for time and time again. Just to be on the safe side, give yourself couple of weeks to take delivery, though it's usually much sooner than that - John builds them to order and the demand is high. But, if you know what a great mic preamp sounds like, once you hear them you'll be convinced that they are worth waiting a couple of days for.
- Front End Audio
John Hardy preamps are built to order and there is a typical wait time in most cases. It's part of dealing with small and boutique companies like Hardy, quality product but lead times on most orders. We've seen wait times from 3 days to ship, to several weeks. If you must meet a deadline, please email us and we'll work to find out where your order would be in the production line.
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