Lipinski L-408 and L-409 Microphone Preamplifiers

Lipinski L-408 and L-409 Microphone Preamplifiers
he relatively new pro audio company
Lipinski Sound made their mic
preamp debut last fall at the AES show
in San Francisco. Producer and engineer Andrew Lipinski, the company’s
founder, has long been a respected feature in
the world of high-end audio. After years of
disappointment with the current state of professional audio equipment, Mr. Lipinski
found himself performing countless modifications to equipment that didn’t live up to his
expectations. This eventually led to the design
and construction of his own components
which are a culmination of his lifetime pursuit
of audio perfection. Lipinski Sound has made
it a mandate to deliver exceptional equipment
that will withstand the test of time, to the most
discerning audio professionals.
In the effort to design the perfect microphone preamplifier, Mr. Lipinski spent significant time evaluating microphone preamplifier components from the ground up. This
included both transformer and transformerless designs, classic and contemporary
designs, and tube, transistor and integrated
circuit based designs. After completing his
research, Mr. Lipinski concluded that the
ultimate preamp should have a two-position
turn ratio transformer input and that it
should incorporate two amplifying stages.
This resulted in the Lipinski L-408 and L409 microphone preamplifiers.
Lipinski L-408 and
L-409 Microphone
The L-408 and L-409 offer identical controls and are both visually stunning. The
$995 L-408 is finished in brushed steel with
all controls labeled in bold black and the
$1,095 L-409 is finished in black with white
labeling. Both preamplifiers feature a copper anodized enclosure that has been left
The L-408 is one of the finest clean-sounding
mic preamps that I’ve ever encountered.
The resolution and detail of the pres
are amazing, especially in the bottom end.
Copyright 2005 JRS Publishing, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
unfinished for better conductivity and the
best possible RFI protection. Located on the
front panel of each mic pre is a three-position pad switch which can be set to 0 (off), 10 dB or –20 dB. The $695 L-410 power
supply (available in brushed steel or black)
features an oversized toroidal transformer
and has the ability to power up to nine units.
The rear panel of each mic preamp
includes a female XLR connector for microphone input, a male XLR connector for
audio output, and two power supply connectors for power in and out (power out is used
to route the power to another preamp). A
pair of 1/4-inch jacks allows the signal to be
patched directly out of the preamps first
stage or directly into the pre’s second stage.
The power supply and the mic preamps are
each equipped with a ground lift switch to
help resolve grounding issues. In addition,
the power supply has a 115V/230V voltage
switch that allows the correct operating voltage to be selected. Lipinski Sound recommends the use of one power supply for no
more than five microphone preamplifiers to
achieve optimum performance. The modular design of the L-408, L-409 and L-410
offers a wide variety of mounting options.
Both mic preamps have two amplifying
stages, two separate 10-step gain controls,
and a separate meter for each stage. The first
stage is built on discrete transistors and has
Class A circuitry with minimal negative feedback, and with a separate unbalanced output.
The second stage uses the fastest available
current feedback integrated amplifiers and
has a balanced output. G1 (the first stage) is
in 4 dB steps; 4 dB, 8 dB, 12 dB, 16 dB, 20
"The L-409 is reminiscent of a vintage Class A
mic preamp. Though it sounds like neither, its
performance reminds me of falling somewhere
between an API and a Neve 1081. In my mind,
the optimum preamp palette would be a pair of
each mounted in one of the 3RU rack units."
The 1U rack unit ($99) fits three units horizontally; one power supply and two mic
preamps. The 3U rack unit ($119) fits ten units
vertically; one power supply and nine mic
preamps or two power supplies and eight mic
preamps. There is also a lunch box option
(similar to the API Lunchbox) that mounts the
power supply and mic preamps vertically.
The L-408 features an input transformer
with a 200 kHz bandwidth and an acceptable
input level of up to +16 dBu and the input
transformer featured with the L-409 has an 80
kHz bandwidth and an acceptable input level
of up to +29 dBu. Both preamplifiers have
front panel switchable, two position turn ratio
transformers. Each transformer has a different
core and therefore sounds different.
Fast Facts
■ Applications:
Studio, broadcast, post production
■ Key Features:
Two-channel; level control; 10 dB,
20 dB pad; phase reverse; Class A;
LED meters
■ Price:
L-408 - $995, L-409 - $1,095
■ Contact:
Lipinski Sound at 301-229-4360,
dB, 24 dB, 28 dB, 32 dB, 36 dB or 40 dB and
G2 (the second stage) is in 2 dB steps; 2 dB,
4 dB, 6 dB, 8 dB, 10 dB, 12 dB, 14 dB, 16
dB, 18 dB or 20 dB. Selecting transformer
ratio, setting a particular gain at the first and
a separate gain at the second stage gives the
user a huge palette of sonic options.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to have a pair
of L-408s and a pair of L-409s to use over the
past two months now and I’ve been astounded
with their performance. The preamps look
great, are easy to use, and once you get the feel
for their flexibility, they offer a wide variety of
sonic textures that are quick and easy to dial
in. Thinking of a mic pre having two stages is
a bit bizarre at first but once you hear the difference in how each stage effects the sound, it
becomes second nature to quickly push one
stage harder while pushing the other stage
less. The same is true with choosing the selection of the first or second turn ratio on the
transformer. The metering is accurate and easy
to monitor and quickly lets you see how hard
each stage is being pushed and the controls are
beautifully designed to feel comfortable to the
touch and quick to adjust.
The L-408 is one of the finest cleansounding mic preamps that I’ve ever
encountered. The 200 kHz bandwidth of the
pre makes it a perfect choice for high-reso-
Copyright 2005 JRS Publishing (USA), Inc. Reprinted with permission.
lution recording. I used the L-408s and a
pair of Earthworks SR-77s to record a
Taylor 514-CE acoustic guitar at 96 kHz
and had stellar results. The resolution and
detail of the pres are amazing, especially in
the bottom end. Although I was never disappointed with the performance of this pre,
I had the best results using it to record cello
(with a Royer SF-1A), violin (also with the
Royer), acoustic guitar (with the
Earthworks SR-77s), drum overheads (with
a Royer SF-12) and vocals (with a Sony C800G and a Brauner VM-1KHE).
The L-409 is reminiscent of a vintage
Class A mic preamp. Though it sounds like
neither, its performance reminds me of
falling somewhere between an API and a
Neve 1081. This becomes more true the
harder the input is driven and the more colored the sound becomes. I found this pre to
work wonders on kick drum (with an AKG
D112 and a beyerdynamic M-88), snare
drum (with a Shure SM57), electric guitars
(with a Royer R-122) and vocals (with the
Blue Cactus).
In most instances, when comparing the
two preamps, my ear was drawn to the
sound of the L-409 over the sound of the L408. There were several times though that I
preferred the L-408, typically those
instances when a purer, less colored sound
was desired. In my mind, the optimum
preamp palette would be a pair of each
mounted in one of the 3RU rack units.
After spending a significant amount of
time with both the L-408 and the L-409, I’m
extremely impressed with both units.
Though they are identical in operation they
perform quite differently and they each have
an extreme sonic palette. Either mic pre
would find itself welcome in the equipment
arsenal of the most critical professional.
Russ Long owns The Carport studio in Nashville.
Lipinski Sound Corporation
6120 Massachusetts Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20816
Tel. 301-229-4360
Reprinted from Pro Audio Review
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF