Great River Article by Bob (funboyuno) Green and Stephen JylzThe Great River MP-500NV and MP2-NVDate 7/02/17As the owner of a small home studio, everything comes at such a premium, I need to get the biggest bang out of what equipment I can afford. I have spent a considerable amount of time using average consumer quality gear and making average consumer recordings. It was working for me and there is a level of contentment that comes with familiarity. That was about to change.A view shared by certain people working "in the box (ITB)", is that you could forgo the classic recording equipment scenario i.e. an affordable 16/24/32 channel board, mics and signal processing gear, and build one high end signal chain. Start with a mic then a pre-amp and then the interface. Lather, Rinse, Repeat!I wasn’t sure this was what I needed, but, after the Panman hounded me, I decided to try this out. I had a good mid level condenser, a couple classic dynamics, and ribbon microphones and an interface so the obvious next step was a pre.After some research I decided on the Great River MP-500NV.Right out of the box and into action, and, my vocals had never sounded so smooth!There has always been a problem with recording my voice, even though I use some great mics. I thought my voice was the problem! I never liked the low end of my voice, and in order to get the high end texture I wanted, it would become too sibilant. Running my large diaphragm condenser mic through the Great River, the low end problem went away, and the texture appeared without overriding highs.The MP-500NV is a 500 series preamp that was designed to be a modern take on a vintage sound. To that, I can't honestly say, as I have never used the vintage gear that it is emulating. But, the website says it has top quality modern components for more clarity and punch, and to that I can attest. The MP-500NV seems to be as good as the reviews say it is!It is nicely metered with input and output ladder LED arrays. The layout offers push buttons with corresponding status LED's for Polarity, Phantom power, Impedance, and Loading. The Impedance and Loading really shine when using ribbon mics, among others. The unit has input Gain and Output Cal knobs with the Gain control nicely detented for accurate recall, as well as structuring your gain stage which keeps it from getting too hot, since the headroom this thing has is great! All that being said, please check out the Great River Electronics website for all the specs at www.greweb.com and for information, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their service is top tier.To start, the unit is SOLID. It is built like a little miniature tank. The pots feel extremely smooth, and again, the gain has detents, so I can accurately reset where I had it previously. I was skeptical about needing to use these. I am like many musicians - I use an assortment of mic preamps. But, this is a different caliber. As I stated earlier in this article, I can turn out respectable recordings with the gear I own and, honestly, I thought it was mostly hype, as to how well a preamp of this quality could change my recordings. Ok, I was wrong. What I noticed first was the detail, the clarity, and when I needed to use eq on a track, I barely had to change anything on my console or ITB. I heard a big difference! Whereas before, not so much.Next step, was to try it with some ribbon mics, as it has the ability to drastically change the characteristics of the ribbon mics. Ok, I have a cheap ribbon mic that has always sounded extremely dull, so that got the first test. I found that it did pretty well, by using the impedance and loading switches it helped bring out the highs and take out the dull sound. That mic didn’t give me what I wanted on the guitar though, so I put in the medium diaphragm condenser, and got the sound I wanted. Nice and crispy lead guitar with the character of the amp! A dynamic mic gave me satisfactory results, as well. Since it was a universally owned mic, I can say that using it in conjunction with the MP-500NV makes that choice a very smart one.The DI rocks on bass guitar. With judicious use of the gain and output controls, I could get wonderful and rich tones with my active pickup system. It also gave me a great place to use the pickups in my acoustic guitar. The piezo pickup was bright and jangly and the humbucker in the sound hole had a nice fat bottom with nice mids.We used a mid-priced condenser mic on the vocals. Crystal clear is all I can say! Nice breathy highs, full body, and tons of information coming through this preamp. Still, no shrill tones coming out.We also got good sound with dynamic mics from some cheap ones (for fun) to some good ones that get used in the majority of project studios. This alone is a difference maker! Take the gear you've already got, add a preamp like this for your 500 series box or the standalone ME-1NV or the MP-2NV two channel rack mounted units - and you have just made a big jump up in the quality of your recordings. Guaranteed. The bad thing is, that once you let the genie out of the bottle, you will be changed.Every studio should have a pair of these in their arsenal. … At least! Great River Electronics has produced a solid winner. If you are planning on upgrading your system, then this is a no brainer. I am looking forward to trying other products that they have created, and I am confidant that, based on the quality and performance of the MP-500NV, I will be pleased with them as well.