One becomes so used to the cutting–edge complexity of a lot of modules these days, so it makes a refreshing change to review something simple and straightforward. The Little Mikey is a classic preamp in a sturdy 8HP module, designed to get your instrument and live microphone signals into the modular as cleanly as possibly at a sensible level, after which you can mangle, slice, decimate and generally punish your audio to your heart's content.
The preamp supplies up to 60dB of clean gain, and has a high–impedance switch for guitars, a -20dB pad switch and, unusually for a Eurorack module, a 48V phantom power switch, meaning you can use condenser microphones. Input is via a Neutrik XLR/TRS Combo connector, which is reassuringly sturdy. The output is via a single illuminated 3.5mm jack socket, which lights up when a signal is present. There is also a peak LED to show you when signals approach clipping.
In use, the Little Mikey did an excellent job of supplying phantom power and amplifying the signal without altering the mic's sound. Likewise, any instrument I plugged in sounded full and correct with nothing out of place. Overdriving the Little Mikey can produce some nice gentle harmonics or full-on crunch that sounds great on synth and drums sounds, so it could easily find its way into a patch just as a signal warmer, although you'll have to adapt 3.5mm jack to TRS in order to make use of the line input. It's by no means a character preamp, and would be unlikely to replace any dedicated outboard preamps in the studio, however it sounds clean and transparent and adds very little noise unless you're at the very top of the gain range. I can imagine it finding a place in live rigs where you might want to incorporate other musicians into your performance.
I can only find evidence of one other Eurorack preamp module with phantom power and that's the Cwejman AP-1 MkII, which costs over €650 if you can find one. So if you're in the market for a preamp module with phantom power, the Little Mikey is the only game in town. Thankfully, it does an exceptional job at a reasonable price.