Retro OP-6 Microphone Preamp
The Retro OP-6 Microphone Preamp brings the power and sound of the revered and legendary RCA OP-6 microphone preamplifier to the user and studio of today. If gigantic, lush, warm, and gooey totally tubular valve mic-pre sounds are in your wheelhouse, then you need the OP-6 in there to set the standard for all other tube preamps to follow.
The Retro OP-6 Microphone Preamp, setting yet another standard to compare your BEST vintage pieces! Retro Instruments has taken what has been learned from the PAST, and created a unit to be used NOW!
Retro OP-6 Microphone Preamp Features
- Stepped gain control
- Switchable Mic Impedance - /37/150/600
- Over 80db of gain
- Phase Switching
- 48V phantom power
- Instrument input
- 25db Pad
- High Quality VU Meter
- Output Attenuator Control
- Improved Noise Performance
- XLR Input/Output
- Integral Tube Test Functions
- Durable Hammer Tone Case Finish
- Faceplate holds true to original OP-6 design
- 115/230 Operation 50/60 Cycles
What We Think
"Well... Retro Instruments doesn't say a whole lot about the OP-6. But what they do elude to is that it is worth your attention. Intriguing? Well, considering the not-so-small pricetag - pretty much anyone would be intrigued.
What do I think about it? The OP-6 is a MONSTER. What I found is that it's pretty much the perfect tool for pairing with a great solid state microphone (a 3Zigma C-LOL is an excellent choice for this, by the way). The OP-6 doesn't just ooze totally tubular tone... because that would be sloppy; the OP-6 pretty much fires it at you. There is so much power in this unit that it's hard to describe. But few pieces of audio gear exude as much vibe - whether it be physical or sonic vibe.
What's important to consider is that the OP-6 isn't entirely faithful to the original RCA OP-6. But the changes make Retro's offering far more convenient right out of the box as pretty much any RCA OP-6 you'll see has a bevy of modifications done to it to make it relevant in today's world.
One thing to be aware of is that the unit is 'portable' and ships with a front lid already installed. You undo the top latch and the cover opens out toward you due to the bottom hing rails. So, this presents a bit of a conundrum, initially, as the cover will not sit flush to the table-top as it is. Perhaps you can set the preamp up on a book of some thickness, but that still leaves an open lid out in front of you. The best thing to do is just remove it. Basically, it just slides off and you put the lid in the OP-6's bag, and stick it back in the shipping box. If you bring an OP-6 into your studio, you're going to be using it... a LOT. So, you might as well leave yourself an unobstructed work surface around it.
Seriously - I cannot even get in to how massive this preamp sounds. It's definitely what I would call a 'Classic American Tube Preamp' as there is a certain 'wet and wild' tone that seems to connect the OP-6 and the UA 610 console preamp. But by comparison, the OP-6 is the 800 pound gorilla between the two; and that shouldn't be unexpected (again - the price: the other 800 pound gorilla).
If you appreciate the finer things in life, and can afford them as well (and don't mind that some of the "faithful to original design" attributes (like the placement of connectors) may cause you to occasionally say, "I really wish that they..." a couple of times) then the OP-6 is worthy of your investment. It's truly a drool worthy piece of gear that has a couple of funky design elements. But the OP-6 is from a time where the aesthetics and ergonomics took a backseat to the result. And boy, do the Retro OP-6's results ever speak for themselves!"
- Front End Audio
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