SM Pro TC02 Dual mic preamp and DI in a 19" metal rack box. Designed in the free land of Australia and like so many things these days, manufactured in 'The Peoples Republic of China'.
There is a single valve inside serving the 2 channels on the input stage. Go figure - you'll need an expert to explain that one!
So it's a CLASS A Transformless high voltage signal path preamp with a sexy red metal face. It's a nice change from all that black stuff. If you like shiney, you'll love this.
I needed a dual preamp because I wanted to record piano in stereo. I'm a musician, so I didnt want to spend too much. The TC02 has phantom power, phase reversal, and -20 dB PAD and an optical compressor on both channels. XLR and 1/4'' on input and output. For €200 this spec is hard to beat.
My first impressions out of the box were not good - the level meters (which are sealed and cannot be cleaned) had a 'frosting' inside. Like a dust residue after condensation. Yuk! OK, it's just cosmetic and they work just fine, but I hate that kind of thing - what the hay?- lets take her out for a test run.
Power up, disappointment no.2 - the level meters lights have different intensities. One is dimmer than the other. Now I'm thinking of sending it back. I open her up to see whats going on to discover a nice big single tube and two circuit boards. One board rather clumsily snapped into place and forcing the assembler to bend one of the LEDs illuminating the dimmer volume meter - with the box unplugged and a little fiddling I managed to fix this. Hurray for me!
Plugged in two noname SDCs setup in the XY Stereo config. Switch on the phantom power on both channels and one of the phantom power lights starts flickering - it doesnt affect the sound in any way and it seems to have a mind of it's own in that sometimes if I switch it off and on again, it stops messing around.
OK by now your probably thinking this is crap - but hang on.
The good news is the gain is clean and there is plenty of it too. Crystal clean. My recording are so good. For the want of better words - I'm getting a clear strong image. The TC02 works where it counts, I'm really impressed.
I also ran my electribe through it and had a lot of fun with the compressor - it's a very usable optical compressor.
I tried the DI with my favorite single coil guitar - I think this DI would suit a bass better.
So all in all, mine must be a Monday made. Shoddy build, €200?? Worth every cent none the less - I'm keeping it.