Daking Owners Manuals and FAQ
Mic Pre One Manual (pdf)
Mic Pre 500 Manual (pdf)
Mic Pre EQ Manual (pdf)
Mic Pre IV Manual (pdf)
Fet II Manual (pdf)
Fet III Manual (pdf)
Meters and Levels with a Mic Pre One (and IV too!)
These days, most of us are recording into a DAW like Pro Tools, Sonar, Logic or Nuendo. All the DAKING equipment is professional gear and as such, expects equipment patched to it to also be set up for professional signal levels. You should set your levels on your audio interface for +4 and not for -10. +4 is the standard for pro gear and -10 is the standard for consumer gear, like a CD player or a cassette tape player. Setting your levels to +4 will give you 14 dB more headroom before clipping. If your gear is set to +4 and you’re still clipping into your audio interface, then you need to engage the Pad function to decrease the gain.
All of this confusion stems from the fact that their are many different reference levels that are used for “0 dB” in pro-audio. For instance:
In a DAW and on digital audio interfaces, 0 dB is the highest possible level without clipping. You should avoid hitting zero at all costs. Depending on your set up, you might get crackling digital distortion, no sound at all (drop out), or very yucky-sounding hard clipping that squares off the tops of your waveforms.
In the analog console and tape worlds, 0 dB VU is the nominal level and is a good place for your levels to hover around. In the analog world, 0 dB VU is 16-30 dB below the point where the signal clips. The fancier the equipment, the more headroom you have available. This means that you can send a bigger signal to a better piece of gear. The Daking gear was created based on concepts and designs from the Trident A-Range consoles and as such conforms to the higher levels that are possible with fancy analog gear. We included the digital meters to make it easier to switch between the analog and digital realms.
The Mic Pre One comes equipped with a Direct Box or DI built right into the preamp. When you plug a Hi-Z source like a bass or guitar into the 1/4″ input with a TS-TS guitar cable, you are plugging straight into the amplifier section. This bypasses the Pad and the input transformer.
Testing A Mic Pre for Noise
Question: How do I test the amount of noise added by a mic preamplifier?
Answer: First you need to terminate the input of the mic pre by connecting pins 2 and 3 together. This can be done with a paperclip inserted into pins 2 and 3 on the microphone input. If you have a microphone plugged into the mic input, then you are hearing the self-noise of the mic AND the noise of the preamp. If you have it connected to nothing then you are hearing an un-terminated connection which is likely to include electro-magnetic and radio interference.
With pins 2 and 3 shorted, you can easily evaluate the noise added by the pre-amplifier either by ear or with your favorite meter.
Do you sell matched pairs of FET IIs?
Thanks for your question. It deserves a thorough answer.
Let me give you a little background on the FET II. All of the resistors are 1% so the performance of each unit is virtually identical. The method of gain change is accomplished with a Field Effect Transistor. FETs are notoriously non-linear. Because of this, the compressors have several internal adjustments and are trimmed with an Audio Precision test set. They are optimized at 2:1 for buss compression. At 2:1 with the threshold set to “0”, a +4 input will give an output of 2.5db and a +14 input will give an output of 7.5 db for an exact 2:1 ratio. The unit can maintain an accuracy of .05 db in this range for a single mono unit.
Stereo linking is done by summing the DC control voltages of 2 or more units. We have some customers who link 6 for 5.1 mixing. Because of the inherent accuracy of the mono units, the units track very well as multiple units.
We have never produced or charged for a “matched pair”. Consecutive serial numbers are a good choice because they assure parts from the same batches. This means that the FET’s themselves will be most consistent.
Many mastering engineers use the FET II in their mastering chains. None of these compressors have ever been “matched”.
Fortunately the FET II does not trap you into one set or master controls. Each side of a stereo pair can be set identically (because of the positive switches) or individually. This gives you a great deal of flexibility with problem program material.
We are proud of our “off the shelf” units. I do not consider this a pejorative.
I think you will be very satisfied with your FET II’s. This unit is now in it’s 15th year of production and continues to be a staple compressor for mixing/mastering engineers worldwide.
I notice that after a few hours of being running/recording the chassis seemed to be quite warm
There are 4 voltage regulators on the left side as you face the unit. The chassis will be quite warm there, about 50C. This is normal. All components in the unit are rated either 80 or 100C.
Is it fine to keep this preamp running or should i be unplugging it after each session?
It is my philosophy that there should never be a power switch on the front of any equipment since inadvertent powering off during a performance can be disastrous. Most studio gear is racked and powered by some central power strip/switch which can turn off all the power at once.
There is no reason to power the unit off except for economy of power consumption. It draws about 45 watts.
I will be connecting an unbalanced device to Daking Mic Pre, and was wondering what would be the best way to make this connection.
First of all, all Daking products are happy when pin 3 (or 2, not both) are grounded for unbalanced applications.
If you own a Mic Pre EQ or Mic Pre IV, and the 1/4″ inputs on your interface are unbalanced, it is very important that that the cable you use must be unbalanced. That means, it must be a female XLR to 1/4″ unbalanced TS (or Tip-Sleeve). This is because, if you use a balanced TRS (Tip-Ring-Sleeve) plug going into an unbalanced jack, the ring , or low side, has no connection. That will drop your signal and remove all low end.
The simple way to connect a Mic Pre One to an unbalanced unit is with a simple guitar cord which is tip and sleeve from the 1/4″ line output jack.
Will the new Mic Pre EQ be a match to my existing 52270B?
There is no change to the mic pre or eq circuits. Since the newer version has one more pole in the rotary switches, there is one more frequency on each band. The older frequencies have not changed. The extra frequencies make the bands overlap.
Because the boost/cut and frequency selectors are separate and use more panel space, the high and low pass filters became one frequency each. The high pass is the same 50Hz 12db per octave. The low pass is a 15kHz 6db per octave.
The very oldest units had Reichenbach transformers. Later ones had Jensens as do the newest ones. That should not make a difference in sound.
If using the new power supply, you have to connect 2 pins in the new connector to make the phantom power work in the older unit.
The older unit has 72db of gain. The new one has 75..
So to answer the question, “would I use them as a pair on a stereo buss ?”, I would have to try it. As individual units, there is no discernible difference.