German developer Fuse Audio Labs has released an emulation of the coveted Telefunken V376 vintage broadcast tube microphone preamp. A super-classic and rare piece of kit, it’s highly sought after to this day and units in good condition sell for thousands of dollars, if you can actually find one.
Whether this piece of German engineering sounds as good as the legend would suggest, on that I cannot comment. For me, all a preamp has to do to satisfy my needs is to provide enough clean gain to boost my microphone’s signal to recording level. I’m a simple man, but many aren’t.
Thankfully, if they aren’t privileged with access to the original unit, they can opt for this USD 20 emulation which claims to faithfully reproduce the vintage hardware. The audio transformers, discrete class A preamp and driver circuitry are fully emulated, claims the developer. And like most of today’s developers do, Fuse Audio has taken advantage of the software realm’s possibilities to enrich the plug-in with some useful features to make it more usable in a modern production setting.
These are phase inversion, a continuous drive control, a gain compensation algorithm, a linear trim control, and a VU meter. Wow! It sounds like Fuse Audio actually took the circuit schematics and made their own V376-based preamp. But, as long as the sound is spot on, I don’t care about purity.
The developer encourages the use of VPRE-376 as a “coloration box” of sorts, in addition to using it as a straight-up pre, for it has the ability to introduce different levels of saturation to your signal. So feel free to simply insert it in your signal chain and push those virtual tubes hard. You may end up liking what you hear. Or it may sound way too 1950’s for your taste. It’s all up to you!
Price and availability
VPRE376 is sold at a promotional price of USD 19, down from USD 39. The plug-in is available in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU formats for 32- and 64-bit Mac and Windows computers.