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Win! Peach Audio M196sx stereo mic preamp

Your chance to win this top-notch stereo valve microphone preamp, worth £2999$2999.

Peach Audio know a thing or two about valve equipment — as they should, because their founder David Peach has been repairing and modifying vintage valve gear since before it was vintage!

The company that bears his name was set up to build top-notch valve equipment, and their debut — and this month’s competition prize — is the M196sx stereo valve microphone preamp. Its two channels are operated independently, and each can accept either mic, line or instrument inputs (jacks for the latter being conveniently located on the front panel). Input selection is via a handy rotary switch, so you can leave both mic and line XLRs connected and select between them as desired. The instrument jack overrides the switch, making it a doddle to lay down a quick guitar part.

Pretty much every facility you’d expect from a preamp is present, as are a few unusual yet highly useful extras. For example, that instrument input can optionally be switched to act as an insert point, allowing you to use guitar pedals on a microphone signal, and the two channels of the preamp can also be set to Mid-Sides mode if required. Both high- and low-pass filters are present, each with a range of turnover frequencies, and you can even adjust the impedance on the microphone input — another useful tone-shaping option that should prove particularly useful on dynamic and ribbon microphones.

Pretty much every facility you’d expect from a preamp is present, as are a few unusual yet highly useful extras.

The preamp can dish out up to 68dB of gain via its 7025 input and 6189 output valves, and for those who like their valves to earn their keep, the channel outputs can be attenuated, allowing you to drive the inputs without overloading your A-D converters. Australian-made Harbuch transformers balance the outputs, but you can optionally bypass them to present you with a direct, AC-coupled, unbalanced signal from the 6189 output valve’s anode. This provides a cleaner, more neutral tone at the expense of a few dB of gain.

In his SOS May 2020 review, Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns described the M196sx as “a joy to use”, and “a great-sounding preamp, with an open, fast and appealing character that can sound either modern or vintage depending on settings.” High praise then, and the lucky winner of this month’s SOS competition will get the enviable opportunity to experience it for themselves!

To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize, all you have to do to enter is answer the questions on the right, dream up a tie-breaker, and submit your entry by Friday 04 September 2020. Good luck!

Prizes kindly donated by Peach Audio.

Competition Rules

  • Only one entry per person is permitted.
  • In entering this competition, you confirm that you are aged 18 years or older.
  • By submitting your entry, you agree to supply Sound On Sound and the Prize Donor with a photograph of you and the prize(s) plus some words about winning the prize. This may be used on each company's website, email newsletter announcements and/or social media channels. Your name will be abbreviated to first name last initial and your town/city/country, eg. Peter G of New Orleans, USA.
  • Please DO NOT ENTER if you do not agree to these terms.
  • Employees of SOS Publications Group, Peach Audio, and their immediate families are ineligible for entry.
  • No cash alternative is available in lieu of the stated prize.
  • The competition organisers reserve the right to change the specification of the prize offered.
  • The judges' decision is final and legally binding, and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • No other correspondence is to be included with competition entries.
  • Please ensure that you give your DAYTIME telephone number on your entry form.
  • Prize winners must be prepared to make themselves available in the event that the competition organisers wish to make a personal presentation.
  • The winning entrants name and county/state will be made available upon request.

Tie-breaker *

In their 1995 hit, the Presidents Of The United States Of America sang about getting millions of peaches, peaches for free. If you had millions of Peach Audio M196sx preamps, what would you record with them and why?

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