I just got my X-12 kit finished. Kit went together easily, other than a couple of issues.
- First issue was my fault, due to being a perfectionist, I screwed up one of my LED switches, and it snowballed from there.
- Second issue wasn't anybody's fault, I turned the power supply on and it immediately blew the fuse. Spoke with Ruel and he said it sounded like possibly the transformer was bad, even though he had never seen one go bad. I sent it in for him to look at just to be safe. Come to find out everything was fine. He replaced the fuse and it powered right up and everything worked fine. Bad fuse I guess, go figure.
I hooked my $200 AKG condenser mic to the pre, and tested it out. It really blew me away how clean it sounds. I don't have any experience with high end mic pre's, and everybody says the API-style mic pre's are one of the more "colored" types of circuits out there, which is amazing considering I really don't hear any color from it. It makes me wonder how a truly "clean" uncolored pre, such as the SC-1, must sound.
I'm able to turn the gain up so loud that the circuit starts to clip, which I honestly must say sounds terrible. Clipping = bad when it comes to this pre. Even if distorted vocals is what you're going for, it really does sound bad if you let it clip, so don't.
But, it really takes a LOT of gain before it clips. There's so much headroom with this thing, that it amazes me just how loud I can get it without going above 0db in Logic Pro. You push the pad button, and then you can crank the gain even higher, but it really doesn't make a huge difference. Honestly, the pre is so clean either way, I think I prefer to just leave the pad turned off and get the gain as high as I can get it without it clipping.
I do industrial music, and I've been trying really hard to get my vocals to sound right. I knew I needed a decent mic pre to really push it over the top, and now that I have that, the only real excuse I have now is that I need a better mic.
Honestly, a better mic would probably be a waste, considering that I'm likely going to end up running the output of the mic pre straight into a compressor, and then a pitchshifter. The chain as a whole makes my vocals very aggressive and edgy sounding, and the mic pre part of the ensemble is what really gives the whole sound its loud clarity.
I love the way it sounds, but honestly I'm disappointed...it apparently isn't the magic bullet that makes me instantly sound like Robert Plant.
But seriously, it sounds great, and now my only real excuse is that I need to work on my vocal technique, and maybe treat my room a bit.
Thanks for the great product Ruel, and thanks for your patience in dealing with the customer from hell.