The Instrument Mic Thru / Instrument Input are versatile and creative features on the Mäag Audio PREQ2. Engineer and Producer, Scott Wiley shares his experience with the powerful Dual Mic Preamp with EQ and Air Band.
“Coolest thing in the PREQ2, in my opinion, is this Instrument Thru. Because it’s not just an instrument thru from the guitar, the DI line in, it comes from anywhere. It comes from the line in, it comes from the mic in. So when I got it and I heard that you could send a mic input through a pedal, I immediately started putting pedals because I have a lot of guitar pedals. I love messing with guitar pedals. I put pedals up on the credenza above the preamp, and every time I track a vocal, I would just send that chain through the different pedals and back into channel two. And then I’ve always got the clean, unaltered vocal that I can always go to. I can just mute that other check, but the singer’s out there singing and I might come up with something magic with some pedals that I just wouldn’t do with … You do different things with actual knobs, with analog gear than you do with plugins.
So I’d come up with something else and then I could tuck it under and give it to the vocalist or keep it separate for myself to just be kind of inspiring. That alone was just a whole new thing. I don’t have any other piece of gear that does that.
I love the fact that you can take a guitar DI and split it. You can take a microphone, send it through a delay pedal. I’ve got tape echoes, all different kinds of pedals that I’ve put a lot of money into and suddenly the world of Plus 4 Audio and tube microphones is open to these pedals without a whole bunch of different boxes getting in the way and it’s right there always. So if you are using the PREQ2 just because it’s a great pre, suddenly you have the option to just quarter inch out into any pedals, go into the second channel and then you got that.
I use the second channel because it’s right there. We’ve got two channels, might as well just go right into it. We’ve got the instrument through or instrument in on the other channel. And then it’s great because then you also have the hues there. You can boost the low end, you can loose the high end on that second chain that you have going and you can give that air band. We were doing it with the guitar earlier. I took that air band all the way down to two and a half to really get into some of those more mid-range guitar frequencies and kicked it up a lot and the guitar player was really loving that.
When we first had the PREQ2 in, we set up a number of different direct boxes. The truth is I’ve been, maybe because of this literal size or cost of some of these other direct boxes that are fantastic, I’ve been using those almost exclusively and I’ve kind of shied away from the DI input that you’ll find on the front of some gear. So we decided, let’s go through its phases and set up every DI and we put a bass guitar into each one and listened to the output. And I was really floored. I think we all were really floored by just the quality of the DI. I mean, I think it certainly broke down any barriers I had in my mind about using a kind of front panel DI on bass. It was so clean and I guess it has to do with the speed of the preamp or just the quality of the components inside, but it was just really clean and focused and didn’t have a lot of mud to it at all.
But then we also still had the EQ right there, handy, so we could kick up even all the way down to two and a half on some bass and certainly carve and focus the low end of the base. But I was really impressed with the DI and since doing that, have used it as a DI.” – Engineer and Producer, Scott Wiley