Biz / Pants in EQ November 2008 

 These two pres are very useful, and have their own distinct characteristics. Both units offer helpful tri-color LEDs for both input and output level, as well as an impedance rotary switch and 1/4" DI inputs.

The Biz is very aggressive-sounding—great for “in your face” mids, and tight lows. It excels on cutting rock vocals and distorted guitars, and its 1/4" inputs are great for keyboards. The unit offers 35dB of gain in line mode, 60dB in mic mode, and 75dB with the “dual” button depressed (note that we sometimes had to use the line mode when tracking loud sources to avoid clipping). When using a pair, I was astounded at the stereo imaging and clarity when tracking the Motif with a piano sound on a rock song. If you want a pre that knows how to cut through in a mix, this is the one.

The Pants has a much thicker low end with full low mids, which works well on thin sources than need fattening: Rap vocals, snare on heavy music, kick drum, and line in bass guitar all benefit. It offers 40dB of gain in line mode, 60dB of gain in single mode, and 75dB in dual mode. It has very big lows and a pronounced top with smooth mids; when tracking vocals, it caused my U87 to sound much bigger than normal, with a nice top end presence for loud rock and punk vocals.

Price (either unit): $675 
Strengths: Input and output metering and level control. Switchable input impedance. Lit switches. Low price. Switchable dual-gain stage.
Limitations: Use of line mode often needed to avoid input clipping.

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