Knif Tube Mic Preamp Shootout

| Nov 5, 2014 | 5,151 Views | Share


I recorded these clips using my 1980 Marshall JMP, Bogner Slant 4X12 with Celestion Vintage 30's and my Fender John Mayer Signature Strat. The riff was played into a loop pedal so all of the performances are identical and each microphone was gain matched. The mic's used were a Heil PR30 and Shure SM57 into Prism ADA-8XR convertors.


Audio Clips

  • Knif V804 Tube Preamp

  • Chandler TG2

  • CAPI Vp28

  • PAU Model 805

  • Howertone Tube Preamp


  • I downloaded the files and loaded them all in my DAW and compared the KNIF clip to each of the rest.  They all sound great and very similar, but what I always hear is a bit more upper harmonics and high-end detail in the KNIF.  It feels a little more opened up and life-like to me, more like someone is playing in the room with me.  I'm perhaps already biased towards the KNIF based on past experience, but I tried listening to these blind and I was still able to pick out the KNIF most of the time.  I believe if you sent them to me unlabelled I could tell you which is the KNIF.

    By rackrecording on Nov 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm
  • Just listened to them all again, in headphones this time.  For me switching back to the KNIF still always feels the most natural and musical. 

    I don't know how they'd each sit in a mix, but solo'd like this my favorites in order are:

    1. KNIF

    2. PAU, probably the closest to the KNIF.  Nice and balanced with smooth mids and nice clarity.

    3. Howertone, like the overall tone but not quite as clear as the first two.

    4. Chandler

    5. CAPI

    I expected to like the Chandler more, but to me the mids were a little harsh.  Something just sounded a little unnatural and plasticy about the CAPI which is why I put it last although at certain points I liked how it's low-end seemed more dynamic than some of the others.

    By rackrecording on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm

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