The preamp follows what may be thought of as a very traditional topology that uses both an input transformer and an output transformer. Both are high quality American made transformers. The steel-core output transformer in particular is a very important sound shaping component which helps produce a smooth vintage touch without being dark or just “mid-rangy” or mushy.
A single discrete amplifier is used for the active gain element and there are no chip based amplifiers in the signal path. To achieve an unusual high level of performance the circuit is based on our OPA2 discrete audio operational amplifier. As in all Fredenstein products, the OPA2 is not a copy of an older design, but is a completely new design manufactured in SMT technology with matched and integrated dual input transistors to guarantee vastly improved specifications compared to older designs. The OPA2, in the tradition of similar modules, is socketed and can be exchanged without tools. The industry standard pin-out makes it compatible with many other amplifier modules.
A 2 MOhms high impedance direct input is located on the front-panel, it accepts unbalanced signals, the rear microphone input is automatically disconnected when a plug is inserted in the DI connector.
The features include a maximum gain of 70 dB, a 20 dB Pad, and Phantom-Power support, plus a new feature simply labeled “Color”. The “Color” switch is intended to produce some tube-like harmonic content that, while not calling attention to itself, can bring some sounds to life and bring them forward in the mix and seem to make them sound more detailed and dimensional. While the color circuit does increase distortion, the audible effect is subtle enough that few people would ever describe the effect as “distorted”.
As all Fredenstein products, the Magic Pre is designed by a German-American team and manufactured in Taiwan.