VT-1, VT-2, VT-24
The VT-series microphone preamplifiers will change the way you think of audio quality. The transparency is astounding. Vocals sound smoother, warmer, more intimate, with a compelling presence. Any microphone and any sound will benefit from the improved clarity, definition, and lack of solid-state artifacts.
In designing the VT preamp, no compromise in sonic quality, reliability, or ruggedness was permitted. Like the best tube equipment of the 1950s and ’60s, the VT preamp is built on a heavy-gauge aluminum chassis, utilizing point-to-point wiring. Each vacuum tube is selected for minimum noise and microphonics, and maximum sonic clarity. The front panel switches control sealed, gold-contact precision relays for all audio switching, eliminating the possibility of dirty contacts degrading the sound and minimizing the internal audio path. Four class-A triode amplifier sections (in two tubes) in each channel comprise the entire active circuit. This surprisingly simple circuit, along with top-quality components and careful design optimization, results in the sonic superiority that the VT preamp has become known for.
- All vacuum-tube design
- Lo-Z input position for superior performance with transformerless mics
- Phase (polarity) reverse switch
- +48 volt phantom power (completely disconnected when off)
- Custom-design Jensen input and output transformers
- 20 dB input pad (switchable)
- True VU meters (amplifier isolated)
- All point-to-point audio wiring
- Gold input and output XLR connectors
- Polypropylene and polystyrene coupling capacitors
- All audio switching through gold-contact, sealed precision relays
- International operation on 100, 120, or 220 VAC, 50/60 Hz
- CE certified, RoHS-compliant
- +4 dBm output
- Conservatively rated precision components and rugged construction for stability and long life
- Input 150 ohms
- Input Load Impedance 1.5k ohms
- Minimum Input Level -65 dBm nominal
- Maximum Input Level @ 20 cps -30 dBm without pad, -5 dBm with 20 dB pad
- Gain 53 dB
- Frequency Response +/-0.25 dB 20 cps to 20 kc; -3 dB @ 0.5 cps and 55 kc
- THD+Noise less than 0.25% 20 cps to 20 kc
- Intermodulation Distortion SMPTE less than 0.02%
- Signal to Noise Ratio 74 dB minimum
- Equivalent Input Noise -124 dBm maximum
- Output low-Z, transformer-balanced
- Maximum Output Level +22 dBm, 20k ohm load
- Power Requirements 100, 120, or 220 VAC, 50/60 Hz
- Dimensions 19” (48.26cm) W, 5.25” (13.34cm) H, 14” (35.56cm) D
The VT-4 and VT-5 equalizers will change the way you think of eq. It’s smooth and sweet, and can be very subtle at mild settings, but quite strong with aggressive use of the controls. Creative use of the low boost and cut will create a powerful bass that has to be heard to be believed. The high boost adds just the right brightness to vocals, guitars — any sound, or even an entire mix. Even with extreme settings, a VT-4 or VT-5 will never sound harsh.
This equalizer uses passive LC circuitry with class-A triode vacuum tube stages for the input and output. The tube circuitry is largely derived from the VT-1/VT-2 mic preamp design, so the equalizer has much the same sonic character as the preamps.
The LC-style passive equalization circuitry is based on the classic designs that are still the best-sounding way to achieve high-quality tonal control.
The input is line-level, transformer balanced-bridging. An active vacuum tube input section has adjustable gain to accommodate input signals as low as -10 dBm. The input transformer is made by Jensen. The output stage utilizes the same custom Jensen transformer used on the VT-1/VT-2 mic preamps.
All controls are stepped for precise repeatability and uniform matching between units. High-quality rotary switches are used with 1% metal-film resistors. All of the audio capacitors are polystyrene or polypropylene. The inductors are custom-made for us by Jensen Transformers Inc.
The equalizer is constructed of heavy-gauge aluminum, with a 3RU (5.25 inch), 1/4-inch thick front panel, finished in D.W. Fearn red. It matches the VT-1/VT-2 series of mic preamps in appearance and construction.
Like the VT-1/VT-2 preamps, the Equalizer has been designed to provide an exceptional tool for audio professionals. The design frequencies and curves were determined by ear, after extensive listening to a variety of program material, both individual tracks and overall mixes. The result is a highly-musical equalizer with plenty of range for enhancing any track or mix.
- (eq out)
- Frequency response: +/- 0.2 dB 20 Hz to 20 kHz
- THD: less than 0.06%
- Signal-to-Noise: better than 80 dB
(All controls are independent and can be used in any combination)
- Low Cut at 30, 40, 100, or 400 Hz, 0 to -18 dB shelving in 2 dB steps
- Low Boost at 20, 40, 60, or 140 Hz, 0 to 16 dB shelving in 2 dB steps
- Mid Cut at 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, or 700 Hz, 0 to -16 dB in 2 dB steps
- High Boost at 1.5, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, or 16 kHz, 0 to 12 dB in 2 dB steps
- High Bandwidth Q of 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 1.4, or 1.7
- High Frequency Cut at 1.5, 3.5, 8, or 28 kHz, 0 to -14 dB shelving in 2 dB steps
- Gain adjustable from -9 to +9 dB, referenced to +4 dBm, in 3 dB steps
NOTE: Frequency is specified in cycles per second (cps) or kilocycles per second (kc). These units correspond to Hz and kHz respectively. Measurements made with -50 dBm input and 50 dB gain in a 22 cps to 22 kc bandwidth. Specifications and price subject to change without notice.
The VT-7 has an all Class-A vacuum tube audio path, like all our products. The gain reduction elements utilize circuitry that duplicates the sound and characteristics of the finest classic vacuum tube compressors, without depending on tubes that are no longer manufactured. The control circuitry is modern solid-state analog.
The two channels may be used independently or linked together for stereo. A built in side-chain high-pass filter may be selected to reduce the compression on bass-heavy material.
- Separate/Link/Link HPF
The VU meters may be switched between indicating gain reduction or output level.
The VT-7 has a highly transparent sound, although it can be used more aggressively when needed. Artifacts of the compression process are substantially lower than in most other compressors.
The two channels may be used independently or linked for stereo. In addition, a third position on the Link switch inserts a high-pass filter (HPF) in the side-chain to reduce the gain-reduction sensitivity of the VT-7 to low frequencies. This is a gentle roll-off, nominally at 100Hz. This allows a bass-heavy mix to have a better frequency balance and prevents heavy low-frequency audio from modulating the audio level. (NOTE: The photo of the VT-7 shows an older unit without the Link HPF position.)
Like all our products, the VT-7 is designed to process high-quality audio and make it sound even better.
The VT-7 is equally adept in tracking as well as a bus compressor. Even jazz and classical tracks can be sent through the VT-7 for some mild gain control without obvious effect other than a significant improvement in the overall sound of the mix.
(no gain reduction, unity gain)
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.5dB
- -3dB at 5Hz and 65kHz
- THD: less than 0.07%
- Signal to Noise Radio: better than 80dB
VT-12 Vacuum Tube 70dB Microphone Preamplifier
The D.W. Fearn VT-12 Vacuum tube 70dB microphone Preamplifier is designed to accommodate the low output level of ribbon and dynamic microphones. it can also be used with condenser microphones. (Our VT-1 and VT-2 Vacuum tube microphone Preamplifiers are optimized for condensers.)
The VT-12 is very similar to our VT-2, but with higher gain (the VT-2 has 53dB of gain). We use the same custom Jensen transformers and the same sonic philosophy as the VT-2. So the trademark sound is there — definitely in the D.W. Fearn family of products.
To make the VT-12 more versatile, we include provision for phantom powering condenser microphones (and ribbon mics that require phantom power). But since many engineers are concerned about possible damage to ribbon mics if phantom power is accidentally applied, we have a rear panel switch that disables all possibility of applying phantom power. The front panel “+48” switches are inoperative in this mode, and a dual red/green indicator displays the status (green for disabled phantom power, off when phantom power is available but not turned on, and red when phantom power is turned on.)
(no gain reduction, unity gain)
- Frequency Response: +0.25dB 20Hz-20kHz (-3dB at 0.5Hz and 60kHz)
- THD+Noise: <0.3% 20Hz-20kHz
- Noise: <-72dBu, unweighted
- Input Load Impedance: 10k ohm
- Maximum Input Level for 1% THD at 20Hz: -25dBu (-5dBu with pad)
- Maximum Gain: 70dB
- Input: Transformer balanced
- Output: Transformer balanced
- Maximum Output Level: +22dBu into 20k ohm bridging load
- Dimensions: 19W x 5.25H x 10D (inches)
- (48 x 13 x 25 cm)
- Weight: 18 lbs (8.2kg)
- Shipping Weight: 24 lbs (11kg)
The VT-I/F is a dual-channel, all-triode vacuum tube DI (“direct box”) for recording electric or electronic instruments. The inputs are designed to provide the proper load impedance for all instruments that have a 1/4-inch phone jack output. Tube circuitry provides the very high impedance necessary to capture all the details of these instruments.
The outputs of the VT-I/F are mic level (150 ohm source impedance at a nominal -30dBV). The VT-I/F is designed to operate into a high-quality microphone preamplifier like our VT-1 and VT-2 Vacuum Tube Microphone Preamplifiers
The operation is very simple: plug the instrument into the 1/4” front panel jack and take the output either from the front panel XLR connector, or a parallel XLR connector on the back panel. A second 1/4” jack provides an output to feed a guitar amplifier when necessary. A ground-lift switch helps eliminate ground loop buzz.
The two channels are entirely independent and can be used with two different instruments at the same time.
PDB Passive direct box
As a lower-cost alternative to the D.W. Fearn VT-I/F Vacuum Tube DI, we have the Passive Direct Box. This single-channel DI uses the top-of-the-line Jensen direct box transformer in a heavy-duty steel box, finished with the same high-quality paint as the other D.W. Fearn products.
It features dual 1/4-inch phone jacks for Instrument and Amp, a Neutrik gold-contact male XLR output connector, and a ground-lift switch.
The Passive Direct Box is ideal for recording any electric instrument, such as bass, electric guitar, electronic keyboards, etc. The high-impedance input is designed to properly match any instrument designed to normally feed a guitar amp. The output is 150 ohms, balanced, at mic-level.
The D.W. Fearn LP-1 Line Pad is a two-channel accessory for use with the VT-1 or VT-2 Vacuum Tube Microphone Preamplifiers. It is simply a high-quality bridging-type pad that accepts line-level inputs (+4 dBm nominal) and produces a mic level output. The actual pad loss is 45 dB. When used in conjunction with the VT-1 or VT-2 Input Pad (-20 dB), it allows the mic preamp to accommodate line-level signals from consumer-level (-10 dBV) to high professional levels (+10 dBm or more).
The LP-1 is packaged in a heavy-duty die-cast aluminum box, painted with the same high-quality red paint and gold silk-screened labels as the other D.W. Fearn products. The Input and Output connectors are gold-contact XLR.
The LP-1 is typically used when the subtle signal-modifying characteristics of the VT-1 or VT-2 are needed on a line-level source, such as a previously-recorded track, or at the end of a processing chain. Several LP-1/VT-2 owners use the combination on the overall mix. At least one CD mastering facility uses the LP-1/VT-2 in the mastering chain.
The LP-1/VT-2 combination can also often be used to effectively salvage tracks that are otherwise too distorted or “edgy” for master use.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The LP-1 is not a “direct box.” In most applications, the LP-1 cannot be used to record an electric or electronic musical instrument such as an electric bass guitar, synthesizer, etc. For direct recording of electric instruments, you need either the D.W. Fearn VT-I/F Vacuum Tube DI, or the D.W. Fearn Passive Direct Box.
Vented Rack Panel
Vented Rack Panel
VRP – Vented Rack Panel
We have always recommended that you provide at least one rack unit (RU) of space above and below our products. This is especially important for the more complex products like the VT-7 Compressor and the VT-5 Stereo Equalizer, which have many tubes and generate considerable heat while operating.
We have designed a 1.75 inch (1RU) ventilated rack panel that is painted with the same high-gloss polyurethane paint we use on all our products. The rack panel has a small D.W. Fearn logo and vacuum tube icon in the same gold that we use on the products.
These panels are made of high-quality steel, and will match the color of any D.W. Fearn gear made since 2006. (The color may be slightly different for some older units when we had to temporarily use a different paint due to European Union requirements. The differences in most cases are not major.)
The VLC-1 was designed as a lower cost alternative to the discontinued VT-15. It’s hand built in the same shop along side other D.W.Fearn products. It is constructed smaller and lighter with the intention that artists, producers, and engineers would take it along to sessions and be able to transport it in a carry-on suitcase. These units have been employed by top engineers and producers to capture vocals and instruments, and inserted on vocal channels or in pairs on the master bus for mix down. The VLC-1 utilizes the same preamp and power supply design as the VT family of preamps.
- Microphone / Line / DI Preamplifier; LC Equalizer
- Amplifier and power supply designed and licensed by D.W.Fearn
- Transformer coupled input and output
- All-tube signal path
- Passive EQ
- Custom-wound Inductor
- Dedicated line input
- Front panel Mic/DI input
- Locking +48V safety switch
- 5 year warranty (90 days for vacuum tubes)
- Built in the USA