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Rating and Reviews: M-Audio Octane Preamp

Add 8 quality mic pres and A/D converters to your multichannel audio interface via ADAT Lightpipe. Two mic/instrument channels accommodate guitar or bass.

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"Beware, phantom power design flaw." submitted March 28, 2006

By a customer from aol.com
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Musical Background: Active musician/recording
Music Style: Jazz, Fusion, Progressive
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Sound: I discovered almost immediately that when plugging my overhead condenser mics (Marshall MXL 2003's) into channels 7&8 with phantom power engaged, that a fairly loud buzzing and humming noise came up. The noise slowly faded away after about 10-15 min. I switched chords, outlets, ground scenarios etc. and it still happened after a cold start. The weird thing was that if I engaged the -20 db pad on channels 7&8 the buzz went away, even with the gain all the way up. M-audio sent me a 2nd unit to try to see if the unit was defective. Same results with the 2nd unit. I took the Octane to a local high end recording studio to check it with other mics, cables and power supply. Same results with my mics (Marshall's & Rode) but when some Neumann U87's were used, no buzz. We started trying some other mics with different ohm ratings (ADK-A51's, Oktava mk012's, Shure KSM-141's). Bottom line, any mic less than 200 ohms caused channels 7&8 to buzz. I informed M-audio's tech support of this and they did their own testing of the Octane units at their factory with various mics. Sure enough, they have admitted to me that it is a design flaw. So, if you have an M-audio octane or are looking to buy an Octane be careful about the condensers you use. Anything less than 200 ohms will more than likely cause you a very annoying buzz or a 15 min. warm up time for the noise to go away. Feature: M-S matrix feature is nice in theory but I have not fully tested it yet. The rest of the features are pretty standard for 8 channel pre-amps and work well, with the exception of the phantom power issue mentioned above. Ease of Use: Straightforeword operation and clear manual. Quality: Unit feels and looks well put together. Value: If you have campatible condenser mics (over 200 ohms impedance) you will be pleased with the units sound and performance. If not, power it up, grab a cup of coffee and wait for the buzz/hum to go away. Manufacturer Support: Tech support was easy to reach but I was very dissapointed when they admitted the unit had a design flaw they basically said "sorry, we don't plan on doing anything about it" Overall: Hopefully the phantom power issue will not get worse over time. If it does I won't be buying another Octane anytime soon.
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M-Audio Octane Preamp Customer Review submitted October 4, 2009

Sound: I'm cutting drums through it and I'm happy with it. I also have a hum problem with both of my units though. Early on I found that engaging the M/S switch would eliminate much of the hum and just yesterday discovered that engaging the pad on channel 8 would get rid of it. I just make sure that I put something that could use a pad on 7 and 8 and it's dead quiet.
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M-Audio Octane Preamp Customer Review submitted November 16, 2004

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Sound: fabulous, nobody has any bad experiences with it, whys it got such a low rating of 6.2 out of ten?
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