Shadow Hills Mono Gama Mic Pre Review

I tend to shy away from gear reviews with my blog, in that there are so many blogs who do just that. In the past, I have reviewed free plugins, or odd recording devices that I find interesting. Since I started engineering out of Barefoot Recording Studio in Brighton Massachusetts I have been using more high end gear on a regular basis.

This month I will be reviewing a few pieces that I find extremely interesting.

Shadow Hills Mono Gama in API 500 Series Format

Shadow Hills Mono Gama in API 500 Series Format

The first remarkable thing about the Shadow Hills company is their keen attention to aesthetic design. This mic pre looks like a cross between an Orwellian toaster oven and a crappy NASA experiment. The knobs and switches all feel very solid and have a classy brushed black coat of paint.

The purpose of this pre is certainly not to come anywhere close to clean. In a similar manner to the No Toasters Nice Pair, which I reviewed a couple of months ago, the Gama is a character piece that is meant to be used for instruments that need to stand out in a mix. There are three options of selectable transformers to choose from. The unit that I regularly use is an eight channel version with 4 channels modded for a descrete, transformerless pre. The options are described as Nickel, Iron, Steel, and descrete. Although I have read other reviews that claim on transformer is clean and one is dirty I find this to be a bit of a misnomer.

Depending upon how hard the pre is driven, and what the source microphone is, I find that any of the options can sound “clean”. This is the magical aspect of the Gama. It is very colored, but changes with microphones. I still find new colors and textures coming out of this box every time I plug it in. A U87 in Nickel may sound very smooth and classic with acoustic guitar, but with a growling electric guitar, the same signal chain can appear totally clean.

If this is a preamp you are interested in, I would be happy to bring you into the studio and show it to you. just send me an email: shaneoconnorrecording@gmail.com

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