SC-1 Mic Preamp Kit

Finished SC-1mk3 Mic Preamp Kit

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The SC-1mk3 Mic Preamp is a clean, "fast", clear, low-noise, high-gain preamp. Its sound is very transparent, offering a flat response, smooth highs and well-defined mids.

This is a great project for a first-time beginner to kit building. The kit is very affordable, but don't let it's low price fool you. This preamp delivers top-notch performance.

  • All solid-state design, using chipsets from THAT Corp and Burr-Brown
  • Soft-start, slow ramp-on +48V phantom power
  • Option to use input transformer for added sound “flavor”
  • Gain range from +12 to +72dB, in 6dB increments from +12db to +42dB; 4dB increments from 46dB to 72dB.
  • Onboard Power Supply Regulation, adjustable +/- voltage rails
  • Robust 48Volt short circuit protection (from accidental phantom power shorts)
  • LED-lighted push buttons for phantom power, -20dB pad and polarity reverse
  • VU Meter, 5-LED bargraph
  • Relay controlled Pad
  • Relay controlled Polarity Reverse
  • Hole locations compatible with our X-12 Mic Preamp. (Now you can have (1) X-12 Mic Preamp and (1) SC-1mk3 Mic Preamp in the same 1u Rack Case)
  • Electronically balanced input and output stages with option to use Input Transformer
  • 12-position Grayhill gain selector switch
  • Input RFI protection
  • Input clamping protection
  • Output surge protection circuit
  • Output RFI protection
  • High quality Bourns, sealed, conductive plastic potentiometer for volume control
  • Gold-plated, machined, low-profile IC sockets
  • Use of high quality 1% Metal Film resistors, and high-quality ceramic and electrolytic capacitors
  • Solder pads for optional INSERT jacks
  • Easy to assemble, easy to troubleshoot design
  • Thick PCB board with 2oz. copper

Download PDF Assembly Guide

If you want to build your own case, here are the hole dimensions and locations.

Note: The SC-1, SC-1mk2, SC-1mk3, SC-1mk500 (now renamed SC-501) all have the same audio DNA, and share the same audio path circuitry. This is just a small sampling of customer testimonials. To read more, click here.

If you want a good sounding preamp with little risk or ambiguity, the Five Fish SC-1 are wonderful meaty units for little money. - Garrett Haines, Recording Tips Editor, Tape Op, Chief Mastering Engineer, Treelady Studios

The pre-amps both worked perfectly from the first time and seem to sound very good. I've already had questions about buying more of these kits 'wholesale' in numbers. Good Luck with your kit. It's a solid product and I had fun building it. - Barry Rudolph, Recording Engineer/Producer -

I'm using my Five Fish pre amps exclusively for all tracks done from my studio. Thanks again. - Dave Cleveland

Well my SC-1 project is done and in use. I just wanted to rave a little. The nutshell is that this is an incredibly clean and quiet pre-amp, even at massive gain levels. The signal you put in is the signal you get out without coloration -- which is what the doctor ordered for me! And it was a ton of fun to build too. If you are not afraid of a little soldering (its not a difficult thing to learn -- if you can glue a model airplane together you can learn to solder) I highly recommend an SC-1 or two or eight. - scottso

I tried the SC-1 pres up against other high-end preamps with great results. They really open up the ribbon mics I have made. We were kinda shocked (big improvement) but your pres sounded much better than my other pres. So much so that my buddy kept them! The othe preamp had a different full sound-not good or bad. We used your pres instead for the drum overheads. I have another producer who is going to use the pres and the ribbons on a horn session next week. We tuned the trim all the way up and just used the gain. If this is any indication of what the new version will be I can't wait to get some time to make and use the newer SC-1mk2. We were under a time constraint so we did not have time to delve into the super-specifics but under pressure, the SC-1s performed flawlessly. - Ed P., USA (Ribbon Mic Manufacturer)

I don't have any experience building gear, just soldering cables. So when I ordered your SC-1 kit, I didn't know if I could do it or not. But your PDF guide (great read BTW) made the process easy to understand and has been a great help for a newb like me. And the best thing is I couldn't believe it worked! I'm impressed (not only because it sounded very good) but the fact that I built it myself. ME! I built this thing! And it was not as hard as I thought it will be. This project has opened up a new world for me. Now, I want to build your other kits. Thanks again.

Public Post on TapeOp Forum: Those FiveFish units (SC-1) rock... An engineer I deal with a lot has a "preamp on a stick" (4 of those preamps on a small piece of plywood) that he's been using as "go to" units for months. I went there for a "shootout" last fall - They sound great on everything. And they seem so simple... Although I'm not exactly an electrical engineer... Keeping in mind that he has Amek, Langevin, Neve, hot-rodded this & thats lying around also. And he's using these kits more than any of them now. -John S, Massive Mastering, USA

I bought your SC-1 preamps months ago. Have only opened this to set up and assemble it......amazing wont describe the sound quality, my friend...its actually awesome sounding preamp...I am more than impressed ..I have a range of new and old preamps also have many emulation preamps...but none was sweet as this pre. Best money invested. - M.Nambi, Ireland

The SC-1 pre is awesome. It is so good, no noise, very clear, nice dynamics and all that without a trafo. I'm very happy and i will recommend that unit to anyone who is serious. You have sonic perfect mic pre amps, it knocks the others off the shelf, and leaves them running a close second, but in very many cases they're two laps behind you. This is the best money I've spent this year. Thank you. Great product. - Warren, Spain

I use the SC-1 and it is absolutely fantastic sounding. Clean, transparent, and exceptionally musical. - Daniel R, post on

I have a Shadow Hills Mono Gama, Avedis MA5, Five Fish SC-1mk500, and Chandler Germanium. While I love the other pres for other things, the Five Fish is my favorite on my voice with the SM7b. It seems a tad more open and it sits in the mix better for some reason. - post by PlayRadioPlay! on

I bought 2 channels of the fivefish pre's, and they were the simplest build ever... The circuit boards are TOP-NOTCH.. fully through-plated vias, incredible component layer silkscreen.... I barely even needed to look at the directions... all parts were individually packed and labeled... put together the power supply board in about 1 hour... the preamp boards took about 1.5hours for the first one, and about 1 hour for the second... - forum post on

And after another round of trials, my SC-1's were used by the touring engineer for John Doe (from the seminal LA punk band "X")...this was an acoustic show at the Great American Music Hall, and the pres were used on the vocals. Big, warm and detailed - that's how i would describe the sound and feel. No noise issues whatsoever - very, very nice. - Tyler S., Audio Engineer, USA

I've just finished the first SC-1. What can I say: WOW Very Happy The amount of CLEAN gain is unbelieveable and that's with everything in the open on my makeshift worksurface! No hum, buzz, or whatever, just clean! Now it's time to build the other one. Can't stop smiling Very Happy - Geert G., Netherlands

Awww yeah, this has been a super cool experience, building and learning, and then listening. I gotta give it to FiveFish Studios - the kit is ridiculously well packaged, and the support is spot-on. Mine worked beautifully from the moment I powered it up, too. Success! So I put it in a radio shack project box mainly to see how close I can have the preamp card to the transformer and PS card - the project box is 8" deep, the same depth as the metal rack case that will ultimately be home to four SC-1 pres. This is obviously enough space, as I can't seem to make the thing hum, buzz or otherwise reveal AC/RFI noise. - Trock, USA

I've been meaning to let you know how much I appreciate your whole DIY thing. It's a great service to all the DIY audio freaks out there and the PSU's rock. Very nice attention to detail also, which means a lot to me. I'm a furniture maker by trade, so elegance in design is something I notice. - T.Philp

There are more reviews!

SC-1mk3 Mic Preamp Kit

$120 Single Channel Kit
Buy Now

Audio Demo

Vocals using SC-1 Mic Preamp
Courtesy of Jason Mallow How does the SC-1 pre sound with vocals? This clips shows the SC-1 used as a vocal mic preamp with a Neumann M147 and Oktava 319 microphones.

Vocal solo
Vocals in mix setting (chorus snippet only)

Written by Jeff Evans and performed by Sazerac Recorded and mixed by Jason Mallow
SC-1 Preamp on Everything - Farview Recording Studios
Special thanks to Jason Walsh of Farview Recording studios for providing these audio samples
Note: This is an UNMASTERED mix recording created by Jason Walsh of Farview Recording Studios. SC-1 preamps was used on everything... drums, ryhthm and lead guitars, and bass.

In Jason's own words: "The guitar sounds I use throw off a ton of low end, the bass was recorded hrough an Ampeg SVT set at war volume, my drums are giant heavy metal drums from the 80's...there is some low end going on. The cool thing about your preamps is that they capture that low end without pooping out. The bass was both DI and mic'd cab. The guitars were double mic'd. A 57 and a ribbon for the rhythms, and a 57 and 421 for the lead. I like these things for guitar better than my Amek 9098 preamps that have been my go-to's."

MP3 file

SC-1 Preamps on everything. Mic and signal chain detail as follows:
  • The acoustic guitar is an Ovation LX series. The DI used was a Radial J48 active DI. It was mic'd with two Shure SM81's in an XY configuration.
  • Drum mix:
  • The kick was recorded with a AKG D-112 inside and a Shure Beta 52 in the vent hole.
  • The snare was recorded with a Shure SM57 on top and an Octava MK-012 on the bottom.
  • The toms were recorded through Sennheiser E504's.
  • The overheads are Shure SM81's in an XY pattern.
  • The bass was run through a Radial J48 active DI and an Ampeg SVT Classic miced with an Audio Technica 4033.
  • The rhythm guitars were a PRS Mc Carty with stock humbuckers into a Bogner Ecstasy 101 b fitted with EL34's and a Marshall cabinet mic'd with a Shure SM-57 and a Cascade Fathead II ribbon mic.
  • The lead was a PRS Mc Carty with soapbar pickups through the same amp and cabinet mic'd with a Shure SM-57 and a Sennheiser MD421.
CREDITS: Written and performed by Jason Mallow, Recorded and mixed by Jason Walsh, Farview Recording,
On-Location Stereo Match Pair Recording SC-1
Using Matched pair of Oktava mk012 cardiod Microphones 2-channels SC-1 Preamp recorded into a Yamaha AW1600
Bass and guitar are amplified. The room dimensions are about 3 x 5.5 m (10 x 18ft).

"Without Jean" by Ger Goltstein & Conny Peters in memoriam Jean Innemée 01/08/2007

Credits: Recording by: Geert Goltstein Featuring: Take 55 Ger Goltstein - saxophone Leo Lindelauf - piano Joost Heerkens - guitar Evert Eillert - bass Harry Krispijn - drums
Neumann U-87, Apogee Converters and SC-1 Mic Preamp
Another vocal sample submitted by Laurent Boutonnat from France. Thank you Laurent!
According to Laurent, this was recorded using a Neumann U-87 mic, with Evidence Audio cable, the SC-1 mic preamp, and Apogee converters.

Drôle de Creepie, theme song of 'Growing up Creepie'

Music: Laurent Boutonnat
Lyrics: Mylène Farmer
Interpreted by: Lisa
Neumann U-67, API 525C, Weiss ADC-1 and SC-1 Mic Preamp
Thanks to Laurent Boutonnat for these audio samples.

Audio Sample

User comments: Notice the clearity and depth in the vocals and how well they are situated in the mix. This is probably the most important character of a pre-amp: how well it let's the vocal or solo instrument sound in the mix. I also used the SC-1 on the D-50 which you hear in the background and solo in the coda.
Artist: Mylène Farmer