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In the past I've made some fairly lukewarm comments about the FMR RNP ("really nice preamp") which I have owned since pretty early in my recording career. Well, I've poked around with it a lot recently and have a lot more respect for now.

It started when I was looking for more gain for my Beyer ribbon mics. I have the RNC (really nice compressor) inserted into the RNP, and I figured I could use the makeup gain to give me 80db of gain if necessary. Well, I really didn't need the compressor and kept it bypassed. Though the specs of the RNP show it with 66dB of gain vs the 65dB of gain in the API 3124 - effectively it showed a lot more gain.

So I've been using it a lot more and getting to know it better. I've been much more impressed. It has very good headroom and transient response. Not in the class of the API or the DVC, but at a fraction of the price per channel I can't expect it to. FMR is very frank about it having a high measured noise floor, but I did not find it to be a problem - since I didn't have to push the last bit of gain out of it I had fewer problems with noise.

Now, their design goal is to make a transparent preamp in the DAV, True, Grace, mold. I have not used these so I can't make a comparison. I've read some comments calling the RNP "colored." Maybe that kind of comment is justified in comparison to these (higher priced) pres in the same style. But from the point of view someone who likes color the RNP is at best eggshell white. Now that I have a better idea of how to make the best use of this I can deal with it more effectively, but I think the very neutral sound was a big part of the source of my initial lack of enthusiasm.

Just to complete the review, I'll note a bunch of features - including cosmetic compromises that FMR made to hit their price point. On the plus side, the warm up sequence and the way phantom power engages is a very nice feature. The gain pots are 6dB steps. I like this but others don't. Other negatives: wall wart, ugly plastic box, only three meter lights, no bass cut. And the worst - clunkly gain knobs that attach with allen set screws and are always falling off.

So put this one in the "reflection and appology" bag.

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