X-12 Mic Preamp Kit

Finished X-12 Mic Preamp Kit

Top View

Rear View

Left Profile View

The X-12 Mic Preamp captures that 70's aggressive rock sound, sometimes known as the "L.A. Sound". This is our take on the classics. The Input and Output transformers gives this preamp a lot of aggressive, mid-forward flavor. The X-12 has a little of that signature grainy upper mids with a more focused bottom end as one user puts it. Warm, big, punchy... with lots of mojo and character - another user remarked.

Get boutique sound quality at an affordable price with this X-12 Mic Preamp Kit!

  • Using "Made in USA" Input and Output custom transformers
  • 12-step Gain from 22dB to 68dB, at 4dB/step
  • -20dB Input Pad
  • High-quality parts
  • Using high-performance chipsets from Burr-Brown TI, National Semiconductors
  • Option to use Discrete OpAmps with the 990/2520 format (DOA-12, DOA-17, API2520, etc.)
  • Using High-speed 2000V/us, high-current transformer line driver
  • Using Grayhill switch - high quality mil-spec
  • with output trim Bourns potentiometer
  • Null offset trimmer adjustment
  • LED-lighted push buttons for 48V phantom, pads, and polarity reverse
  • Relay Controlled Polarity Reverse
  • Relay Controlled -20dB Pad
  • Soft-start/Ramp-up 48V Phantom Power
  • Includes on-board voltage regulators
  • Professional PCB, Rohs PCB with double-sided, plated-through holes, 2oz. copper
  • with soldermask, silkscreen layout,
  • Includes everything... 5-LED VU Meter, spacers, screws, knobs

Note: The X-12 Mic Preamp Kit and X-12 500 Series have the same audio DNA, and audio path circuitry. This is just a small sampling of customer testimonials. To read more, click here.

I put the X-12 preamp and power supply together in my own 1U rack case. The whole project including machining the chassis was 9.5 hours. Easy to follow instructions and all parts were present. It sounds great on first power up and all functions work. I will be back for more. - Michael Whitney, whitneyamplification.com

Hey, just want to say thanks! I bought one of your X-12 lunchbox pre last month to try it out. I admit I didn't have high expectations due to it's low price, but when I finally got to try it out, WOW! Honestly, I didn't expect this high sound quality. It stands equal with my other pres costing twice as much. But it's the sound, man, it's the sound that matters and this X-12 has got the balls, you nailed it! It just sounds great! I just bought another X-12 a few minutes ago. When I get paid I'll try your X-72 next. Keep up the great work!

Hey Folks, I received my X-12mk500 preamp and wanted to say thanks for the fast shipping, and how great this thing sounds! Fantastic preamp!! - Dave Albro, Capricorn Sound Works, Nashville, TN

You make a damn nice sounding pre. In fact, you make at least 2. After a couple sessions with the X-12 and X-72 I've decided that I need a pair of each. With that in mind, could I repeat my last order of an X-12 and an X-72? Then all I have to do is decide if I fill the last 2 slots of my Lunchbox with PEQ-503s or MX5s. - Andrew M, Canada

At tax time, I wanted to add some nice flavor to my studio. I bought an A-Designs 500-HR rack and (2) 500 series units: a name-brand preamp and the Five Fish Studios X-12. I used both for various purposes over the next 2 months: upright piano, drums (kick, snare, OH,) guitar, bass guitar...And in the end, I got rid of the name-brand preamp and picked up another X-12, no contest. I found the X-12 to be crisper and clearer, easier to use, easy to dial in the perfect gain structure. That's just my personal take on it. I think the name-brand preamp is great but for my money, it will always be the X-12, no contest. - post on Gearslutz.com

The fivefish kits are very high-end, the PCBs are very thick and sturdy, the coating is excellent and very resistant, they look very well done, unlike anything i have ever seen before. - J.Gomez, Analog Recording Forum

Just got my pre-built X-12. its totally rock solid. Messed around with it a little today, great addition to any collection of preamps. The x12 had a little of that signature grainy upper mids with a more focused bottom end. No DI included, but it loves to amp the Countryman DI. I like the meter, its handy. The construction is top-notch, solid knobs and switches, good illumination. You can get in there and swap out the IC for a DOA, etc.. but I think the transformers are making the "sound". Oh yeah, its quiet too. - Andy S, USA

I'm up to (2) SC-1's, (2) X-12's, and a deal pending on (2) X-72's! i'll be sure to take a photo of my full lunchbox and send it to you or your site. i am really enjoying your pres, and i'd like to thank you for making a great sounding, quality product.

I bought an X-12 and iiked it so much that I had to get rid of my other peamp and replace it with another X-12. Kudos on making such an awesome design, I look forward to outfitting my studio with some more of your other tonal options in the near future. - Justin H., USA

I got the X-12's that I ordered hooked up last night and I did some experimenting. Well, I have good news, and I got bad news. The good news is they sound unbelievable! The bad news is they put the rest of my preamps to shame. I'm spoiled now. Man, I love these things. Thanks for all your hard work. - Daniel S., USA

Man, am I impressed by your kits!! Fell in love with the X-12 at my first listen.. Warm, big, punchy... Im glad you guys are out there!! Keep up the good work!! - Fredrik L, Sweden

I bought an X-12 about a month ago and i've finally gotten to play around with it a little bit and I have to say that it's killer on my snare with a Sennheiser e604. I'm actually selling my other preamp and I'm thinking of picking up some more of your units. - Roy H, Canada

I recieved your X-12 pre. It's a great sounding/looking pre. Sounded big, bottom end extended way down..! - Clinton, USA

After weeks of shopping around for the best preamp kits for the money, I finally settled on buying your preamps. Your lunch box pres look awesome and I like how the pres look when sitting together side-by-side. You also delivered on sound quality. Your X-12 pre sounds fantastic on all sources I've tried it. The SC-1 is also a cool workhorse preamp. I can always use it with anything, vocals, guitars, drums, perc. One of these days, I'll try your X-72mk500 preamp. :) Anyway, I just want to say thank you for providing these affordable but high quality kits to us. I look forward to future kits from Fivefish studios. Maybe a compressor next? :) - Daniel R., Canada

Anyway, I still love the X-12 preamps and use them almost exclusively to power my drum overhead mics when doing a kit, and also for just about any lead vocals recorded with the BLUE Kiwi microphone! They are totally great preamps. - http://www.wayoutweststudio.com

I just got an assembled X-12 pair in the mail today. Build quality is excellent. Not much time to mess around with them yet, but I did have a chance to check them out for a few minutes with an SM7B. The only other pres I have in the room at that moment are the pres on my Toft ATB. So I tried that first, and it sounded pretty good. Plugged in the X-12 to compare and HOLY S*** did it sound good. Huge and very detailed. I'm looking forward to putting some distorted gtr through it later tonight. I'm already thinking about picking up another pair, or maybe one of the X-72's. - posted on Gearslutz forum

Just wanted to give you a quick note about the X-12. It's in my nice 500 rack and almost every day up and running. Did some heavy band session checking it out on various instruments with different mics. I love the precision and fatness of the sound - different to all my other 500 pres, but in a positive way.

BTW your X-12 ROCKS. I really like the sound of this pre. I did some experiments with acoustic piano and condenser mics this past weekend... it is REALLY sweet! - Steve K., USA

X-12 Mic Preamp Kit

$270 Single Channel Kit
$350 Single Channel Kit +
Power Supply/Power Transformer Kit
$600 Dual Channel Kit +
Power Supply & Power Transformer Kit
Buy Now

Audio Demo

Male Vocals using X-12 Mic Preamp
Courtesy of Jim Wheeler, Owner & Producer - Woodnote Studios
How does the X-12 pre sound with male vocals?
"Just got done recording the vocals to a piano song. It really sounded nice. Helped it really cut through the mix so clearly, I barely have to do anything to it! It was clear where the X-12 was shinning. It contained more lows, the low mids were about even. It was less present in the 2k area but more present in the 4k. High-mids and highs were louder. It just handles those bands sooo well. Really smooth and musical to my ears." - Jim W. The vocals in the mix setting:

Male Vocals

CREDITS: Performed by Derek Waldron
Vocals recorded and mixed by Jim Wheeler, Woodnote Studios
Female Vocals using X-12 Mic Preamp
Courtesy of Jason Mallow!
How does the X-12 pre sound with vocals??? This clips shows the X-12 preamp used as a vocal mic preamp with a Shure SM7 into an LA-3 type limiter with no more than 3dB of reduction. A little EQ, compression and reverb and it SOUNDS GREAT! The X-12 Preamp and the SM7 is my favorite pairing. It's a very good pairing. It really kicks a*s on vocals. It does that thing that you hear on old Foreigner records. It adds the right amount of angst.

Female Vocals

CREDITS: Performed by Madison Rhoades
Vocals recorded and mixed by Jason Walsh, Farview Recording, www.farviewrecording.com
X-12 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. X-12 preamps was used on everything... drums, ryhthm and lead guitars, and bass.


The song is called 'Servant' and it's written and performed by Jason Mallow.
The guitars were recorded with an SM57 into the X-12. The rhythm guitars have no EQ, compression, or any other processing. The lead guitar is Eq'd to stand out in the mix more. The bass was recorded through the direct output of the amp into the X-12 and just has a little compression in the mix. The kick is a Shure Beta 52 through an X-12 preamp. Eq'd and compressed in the mix The snare is an SM57 through an X-12 preamp. The toms were Sennheisser 421's through an X-12 preamp. Eq'd and compressed in the mix The overheads SM-81's recorded through the SC-1 preamps. (Another FiveFish Studios product). Eq'd and compressed in the mix
CREDITS: Written and performed by Jason Mallow, www.myspace.com/kingsizeotis
Recorded and mixed by Jason Walsh, Farview Recording, www.farviewrecording.com