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Blue Microphones Robbie Microphone Preamplifier
- Fully discrete input stage, tube gain stage and solid-state output stage
- Single large backlit potentiometer (gain) and 1/4 hi-Z instrument input in front
- Balanced XLR mic input, balanced XLR line output, polarity switch, -20 dB pad, input selector switch (mic/instrument) and phantom power on/off in back
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|Sold By||Photo Savings||Dale Pro Audio||American Musical Supply||Quinn Violins and Fret Central||Quantum Networks|
|Item Dimensions||8.50 x 5.00 x 8.50 inches||16.50 x 14.30 x 4.70 inches||0.00 x 0.00 x 0.00 inches||0.00 x 0.00 x 0.00 inches||1.93 x 1.93 x 4.72 inches|
Simplicity of design. Purity of sound. Meet Robbie, Blue’s Class-A discrete tube microphone and instrument preamplifier. All of the technical quality and design innovation that goes into our line of award-winning microphones has been engineered into making Robbie one of the finest tube preamps available today. With no ICs and only the highest- quality discrete components from input to output, Robbie is one of the quietest (-131 dB EIN @ 50 ohms) and most detailed (THD 0.006%) tube preamps available today. It features audiophile-grade ultra low noise metal film resistors and polystyrene capacitors, and provides the user with the best of both worlds: An electronically-balanced, fully discrete input stage, tube gain stage (ECC88 twin triode), and an electronically-balanced solid-state output stage. There is no switching crossover distortion anywhere in the completely balanced audio signal path. And if that’s not enough, Robbie achieves and amazing 34dB headroom before clipping! Elegance and simplicity are the driving forces behind our design philosophy, and Robbie is no exception. The front panel features a single large backlit potentiometer (gain) and 1/4 hi-Z instrument input. On the back, you’ll find the power cable input, power switch, balanced XLR mic input, balanced XLR line output, polarity switch, -20 dB pad, input selector switch (mic/instrument) and phantom power on/off.
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This analog sound is very clean, crystal clear and with a subtle and refined tube touch that smoothes the corners and gives a wider and more dimensional image. Vinyl and the analog world come to mind.
If you add an A/D and D/A converter to the chain just mentioned the sound degrades. It becomes more grainy, harder, less fluid. Even with a good interface like Apogee Element at 24bit 192kHz you will feel a qualitative difference from the pure analog sound!
If you really want to appreciate this preamplifier then you have to rethink your audio chain and if you can't work in the analog domain then the converter is the most critical element that slows down your sound.
Without using esoteric and expensive electronics I think we should consider DSD (DSD128 or DSD256) with products like Tascam DA-3000 or RME ADI-2 PRO FS or PCM with high performance (for example 768kHz / 32bit with ADC AKM AK557x converters).
Changing the standard tube (Electro Harmonix 6922 EH) with an ECC88-PHILIPS can improve the sound but only if the converter is up to the task of preserving the analog sound in the digital domain!
Note that the gain knob works in a "strange" way (as Blue support confirmed): the manual reports 8 ... 68db in reality you will go up to about 56db with an immediate jump to 68db at the end.
In conclusion, highly recommended for professional use (and for audiophiles
) but also very demanding to be fully exploited.
Read other reviews. This is not going to mellow your input through the magic of a tube modeled preamp. Not at all. What it will do, and do flawlessly, is boost the record levels very nicely without adding any additional noise to the signal. Yes, it will smooth out the sound, but not dramatically.
I do voice only, so I am not going to comment on using this as DI device. For voice, with a top line dynamic mic, I've found that the voice comes across very pure, with no additional color added and just a hint of smoothing on the rasps. With a condenser, there is no detectable noise added when the phantom power is used, a problem I had when using the phantom power from my mixer.
Before buying this unit, I'd tried mic preamps from Behringer (tube) and Audio Buddy (non-tube). The Berhinger was the closest to what I was looking for, but it did not sound as clean as Robbie does. Yes, the price does make a difference.
Is it worth the price difference? Only your ears can answer that. For me, the answer is YES!