D. W. FEARN PRODUCTS
VT-series microphone preamplifiers have long been the go-to weapon of choice as an ultra-high fidelity mic pre during tracking, but is is also an essential part of the entire workflow for many artists, engineers, producers, and other audio professionals. Any microphone and any sound will benefit from the improved clarity, definition, and lack of solid-state artifacts that D. W. Fearn products bring to your session.
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.
New models of VT-2 preamp feature an integrated, switchable 43 dB pad, enabling it to be patched into the Master Buss during mixdown and mastering to provide D.W. Fearn’s unique sonic signature to the final mix or mastering process. This replaces the need for the LP-1 Line pad, which was a separate box previously available from D.W. Fearn. The new design now makes the VT-2 a veritable triple threat, equally at home in recording, mixing, and mastering.
- 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 tube 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.
New VT-5 units have been optimized to eliminate the need for an internal fan. While the fans in D.W. Fearn equipment has always been extraordinarily quiet, research has shown that no fan is even quieter.
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 compressor has an all Class-A vacuum tube audio path, like all D. W. Fearn 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.
- 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.
New VT-7s have been optimized to eliminate the need for an internal fan. While the fans in D.W. Fearn equipment has always been extraordinarily quiet, research has shown that no fan is even quieter.
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
Vented Panel – D.W. Fearn
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 .25 inch laser-cut and milled aluminum.