Though Useful Arts have only been around as a brand for just over a year, their quest for vibrant ’straight from the source’ sound and and use of circuits inspired by gear from the 40s, 50s and 60s makes them an interesting contender in the preamp market. Following up their SFP-60 two-channel tube preamp, which carried a suggested retail price of $3499, is a single-channel version that will cost less that half of that.
The SFP-30, as it’s called, is a one-channel tube preamp inspired by the classic Telefunken V76 with variable second-order harmonic control. As with the SFP-60, Peter Swann, the device’s designer, employed different gain stages to use the tubes for what they are best at: accentuating harmonics. The unusual ‘Color’ control provides an incredible amount of artistic distortion to make those mixes stand out, say its makers. In addition, the SFP-30 uses a massive inductor, providing stacks of headroom with over 55dB of useable gain. According to Useful Arts, this results in vocals and instruments that are up-front in the mix.
Editor in Chief Paul White caught up with Peter Swann at the AES show. Watch that above.