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LaChapell Audio 983M

Valve Microphone Preamplifier
By Bob Thomas

LaChapell Audio 983M

Offering everything from pristine cleanliness to tube-driven colour, this preamp can hold its head high in the company of more expensive designs.

Launched in April 2006, LaChapell Audio's Model 992 was a high-end, hand-assembled, transformer-balanced, dual-mono, multi-tube microphone and instrument preamplifier — the first in a product family that has continued to evolve ever since. Evolution started quickly and, by November 2006, the 992 had morphed into the (still current) 992 EG (Extended Gain). In addition, the 992's circuitry had inspired the 583S, a double-slot, single–tube, single-ended 500-series version of the 992 with a solid-state output stage. 2014 saw the arrival of the 983S, a dual–mono, 1U rackmount incarnation of the 583S, and the latter slimmed down to become the single-slot 583S MK2, which featured a Cinemag input transformer and Jensen output transformer instead of the 983S's all-Jensen setup. The latest additions to the 992's family tree are the all-new, updated 983S MK2 and, reviewed here, its mono, half-rack width sibling: the 983M Vacuum Tube Preamp, to give it its full title.

Inside & Out

Cosmetically, the 983M is instantly recognisable as a LaChapell Audio product courtesy of its matte–burgundy faceplate and twin matte–silver knobs. A black-finished area highlights a four-segment VU meter, the front-panel high–impedance (instrument) input and the unit's six function switches, each with an individual LED indicator. Finally, an illuminated power switch controls the input from the...

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Published September 2019